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U. S. Sugar Corp

Halloween is brought you by these Florida lobbyists and political associations

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The witching hour is upon us. Ghosts and ghouls fill the streets. Zombies walk side-by-side with princesses and superheroes. Their mission the same: Spook and scare their neighbors in hopes of scoring enough candy to sustain them for the next year. Total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $8.2 billion in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation. The annual survey expects consumers will spend an average of $82.93, up from $74.34 in 2015. The National Retail Federation predicts…

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‘Year of water’ failed along with environmental bills, but some did pass

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Another legislative session dubbed the “year of water” failed to deliver in 2015 as the House went home early over a healthcare spending dispute with the Senate. HB 7003, a water bill that was a legislative priority of House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, passed the House by a 106-9 vote on the second day of session. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and industry groups supported the bill, which would have set milestones and timetables for cleaning up springs and other waterways. The Senate…

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Water, fracking bills die as Senate meets without House

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A House bill establishing comprehensive water policy was amended and passed by the Senate on Wednesday but was dead because the House had adjourned on Tuesday. And House bills dealing with hydraulic fracturing were not voted on in the Senate because their Senate sponsor said they lacked the two-thirds vote needed. The 2015 legislative session continued in an unusual atmosphere on Wednesday with the Senate taking up bills after the House adjourned amid a budget impasse over healthcare spending. A…

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Feds halt Lake O discharges after Florida pols sound alarm

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shut off discharges from Lake Okeechobee after claims of an algae bloom in waters coming from the lake. The federal agency discharges water to prevent weakening the Herbert Hoover Dike around the lake. But the nutrient-rich discharges can cause algal blooms that smother aquatic life in Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee River. “I have personally seen video and photos confirming that water adjacent to Lake Okeechobee is currently experiencing a toxic blue-green algae…

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Everglades group releases petition supporting U.S. Sugar land buy

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Environmental groups supporting the purchase of 46,000 acres of U.S. Sugar Corp. land launched on Wednesday commercials and released a petition from scientists in support of the proposal. The ads from the Everglades Trust show polluted water from Lake Okeechobee being discharged into the St. Lucie River with signs in Martin County warning against swimming. “Legislators must respect the mandate of the voters and use the Amendment 1 funds for what the voters intended — to buy lands in the…

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Environmentalists: House budget plan ignores Amendment 1 intent

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A House subcommittee chairman’s proposal for environmental spending ignores the will of voters who supported Amendment 1, environmental groups said Tuesday. “Most of Florida was left out of this budget,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida. He was responding to the 2015-16 environmental spending proposal issued Tuesday by Rep. Ben Albritton, chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. The proposal will be voted on by the full House Appropriations Committee. Amendment 1, approved by 75%…

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Bond Amendment 1 revenue, free up cash for other enviro projects, says House chair

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A House appropriations subcommittee chair on Tuesday recommended bonding Amendment 1 revenue for land-buying while using a significant amount of the cash from the conservation spending initiative for existing environmental spending, debt service, land management and agricultural water programs. A key issue in the 2015 legislative session is how the Legislature will spend an estimated $757 million from the Amendment 1 water and land conservation spending initiative. Environmentalists expect the measure to boost conservation land buying but House Speaker Steve Crisafulli…

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