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Harris Corporation pleased with $7M approved for police radio funding

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Florida lawmakers went back and forth on funding for new police radios in their $82.3 billion budget, eventually deciding to fork over $7 million for the new equipment to current supplier Harris Corporation. The communications company couldn’t be more pleased that lawmakers ended up “putting the safety of first responders and Floridians first,” according to an email it blasted out after the legislature passed the budget Friday night. The House had included funding for the radios in its budget proposal,…

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Florida poised to approve a nearly $82.3 billion budget

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Putting behind a year’s worth of rancor, the Florida Legislature on Friday will approve a more than $82.3 billion budget that includes a slight boost in money for schools but also rejects many of Gov. Rick Scott‘s main priorities. Just a few months ago the Republican-controlled Legislature was rushing to pass a budget to avoid a state government shutdown. This time the House and Senate put together a spending plan for this year that increases the state budget by roughly…

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House Speaker Steve Crisafulli says goodbye to ‘an incredible institution’

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Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli bid farewell to his colleagues Thursday, thanking his staff and fellow for making the House “an incredible institution.” “It has been a true honor to serve with all of you,” said Crisafulli. “The past two years have been challenging; they have brought on extraordinary times. But I am so proud of this House on how we confronted adversity.” Crisafulli was first elected to the Florida House in 2008 and served as the House Speaker from…

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House lays Seminole Compact failure at feet of Senate

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It’s the Florida Senate’s fault that the Seminole Compact wasn’t passed this session, two House leaders said Friday afternoon. They rejected claims that there weren’t enough votes in the House, saying instead there was no point in moving a bill that wasn’t going to be considered across the Capitol Rotunda. (For today’s background, click here.) The Senate gave up on it earlier this week, with President Andy Gardiner saying the compact “will be for another day, and for somebody else to handle.” This is his…

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Volunteer Florida, Uber collect 4,000 #SuitsForSession items for local job seekers

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Tallahassee insiders across Leon County gave local job seekers a big helping hand this week by donating thousands of pieces of professional attire. In the first-ever #SuitsForSession, Volunteer Florida and Uber collected 4,023 donations Tuesday at both the Capitol and by Uber drivers picking up items across the county free of charge. Through the project, which asked for donations of gently used, high-quality clothing, volunteers collected 2,751 items for women, 851 articles of men’s clothing and 421 shoes, belts and…

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House all but declares defeat on Seminole Compact, gambling legislation

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Their lips were saying “not dead yet” but House leadership otherwise made clear that the Seminole Compact and gambling legislation were goners for this session. “I’m not ready to declare it dead yet,” said state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, the Miami Republican who shepherded the bills through the process this year. Diaz spoke after the House’s floor session. After a deep breath, he added, “…but that’s the word around town.” Diaz said he talked to his counterpart, state Sen. Rob…

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State police radio replacement dispute becomes budget conference sticking point

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An obscure but heated battle over a state contract potentially worth hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money is at stake as budget conferees continue to hammer out differences between House and Senate proposals. At issues is the radio equipment law enforcement agents use to communicate. Problems with communication gear have led to the deaths of several officers across the country. Tucked into the House’s government operations budget proposal is $7 million for a line item that reads “Replacement Of Statewide Law…

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