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Capitol Reax: Visit Florida funding, Uber, high-speed rail

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The Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee voted 5-1 to approve a proposal (SB 596) that would allow telecommunications companies to put small wireless communications infrastructure in public rights-of-way. Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida: “AIF supports legislation to bring technology of the future to Florida, allowing our communities to be a part of the smart cities revolution.  Florida’s economic environment will greatly benefit from this good legislation, allowing new technologically advanced companies to locate here…

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Uber’s final frontier: Upstate New York

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Brian Cook‘s trip to Buffalo to cheer on Princeton’s basketball team in the NCAA Tournament was, for him, a journey back to a simpler time, when hailing a ride meant standing on a corner and waving your hands to flag down a taxi. “For a 19-year-old, that’s unknown,” said Cook, who flew in from Chicago to see his brother play in Princeton’s first-round game against Notre Dame. “I take Uber everywhere, always.” Upstate New York, essentially everything outside of the…

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House committee pushes through local bill abolishing Hillsborough PTC

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A bill to shutter the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Committee continued its rapid pace through the House, quickly passing the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Tuesday. Transportation and Infrastructure, which oversees taxicabs and limousines, has clashed with municipalities lately over the regulation of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. In past years, several members of the Hillsborough County legislative delegation have unsuccessfully sought the elimination of the agency, in support of transportation network companies (TNC). However, the 2017 Session is the…

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Jeff Brandes amends ridesharing bill in Florida Senate

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St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes has amended his ridesharing bill (SB 340) that has been moving its way through the Florida Senate. Among those changes include authorizing seaports to impose pickup fees on rideshare drivers when picking up or dropping riders from seaports, as long as they do not exceed what that particular port is charging taxicab companies to pay. In the original bill, only airports were allowed to charge pickup fees. The amendment also requires ridesharing companies to contract with…

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Janet Cruz is ready to lead her caucus during what’s expected to be a raucous Session

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Speaking to an audience in her home district of Tampa last month, House Minority Leader Janet Cruz feels Florida doesn’t have a spending or revenue problem. Tallahassee has a “priority problem,” the House District 62 representative said. She maintains that attitude going into the 2017 regular Legislative Session, which kicks off officially Tuesday. “The Republicans have continued to focus on massive handouts for the ultrawealthy and the large corporations at the expense of our public education, at the expense of our hospitals,…

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Floridians for Ridesharing Coalition pushes for statewide bill to get passed this year

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Last year in the Florida Legislature, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill to create statewide regulations regarding ridesharing, but the bill died ignominiously in the state Senate. Similar bills are winding their way through committees in both chambers already in 2017, and on Wednesday, the group Floridians for Ridesharing Coalition announced their support for that legislation, being sponsored in the House by Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls and Tampa Republican Jamie Grant and in the Senate by St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes. “We fully support legislation that…

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Ridesharing bill advances 21-1 in House committee

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A bill to create statewide regulations for ridesharing companies easily advanced in its last committee stop Tuesday in the Florida House, but not without some dissent from a handful of Democrats on the panel. The bill (HB 221) is sponsored by Tampa Republican Jamie Grant and Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls, and officials with Uber and Lyft are hoping that this is finally the year that such legislation is finally passed. The bill would require transportation network companies to have third-parties conduct local and national criminal background checks on drivers. People would…

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