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Vic Torres

Democrats file bills that would allow citizens to directly propose legislation

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Democratic lawmakers have filed bills in the House and Senate that would make it possible for Floridians to directly propose legislation through a process similar to the state’s ballot initiative procedure. HJR 349, sponsored by Aventura Rep. Joseph Geller, and SJR 1332, sponsored by Orlando Sen. Vic Torres, would allow bills to be put on the next general election ballot if they get petition signatures equal to 4 percent of the turnout in the last presidential election from half of the state’s congressional…

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Darren Soto “troubled” by Broward program shutdown

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State Sen. Darren Soto is adding his name to the growing list of state lawmakers objecting to the closing of a prisoner re-entry program in Broward County. Soto, an Orlando Democrat, wrote Friday to Corrections Secretary Julie Jones to say he was “troubled by this decision” because he is a “strong proponent of these types of facilities and programs.” “I believe that our best chance to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety is to properly rehabilitate and prepare inmates for when they are released…

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Dana Young dubious about prisoner program shutdown

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A top House Republican now is questioning the shutdown of a South Florida prisoner re-entry program. Dana Young, the leader of the Florida House of Representatives’ controlling Republican caucus, wrote a letter to Corrections Secretary Julie Jones on Wednesday. The letter, released to reporters on Thursday, comes on the tails of the department’s decision to discontinue a Broward County partnership with the Orlando-based Bridges of America nonprofit. The organization provided “transitional counseling” and drug treatment in Lauderdale Lakes to prisoners on work release who needed help…

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round. Off: John Hinchee has stepped down as legislative assistant for Longwood Republican Rep. Scott Plakon. On: Jervonte Edmonds will be Plakon’s new assistant. Off: Bryan Roberts is no longer district secretary for Opa Locka Democratic Rep. Cynthia Stafford. On: Dalie Sejour will be Stafford’s new secretary. Off: Kamia Brown has stepped down as legislative assistant for Orlando Democratic…

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Email Insights: SEIU says lawmakers will pay in 2016 for failure to raise minimum wage

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In a last-day-of-session email blast, the Florida branch of the Service Employees International Union told state legislators that their actions “will cost them at the ballot box.” The labor union was pushing for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and said it will come after lawmakers who didn’t pay attention by “throwing its 55,000-member statewide organization behind a broad push to affect the 2016 elections in Florida, from President to local races.” Miami Sen. Dwight Bullard and Orlando Rep. Victor…

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With Alan Grayson set to announce a Senate bid, the political dominoes are about to fall in Central Florida

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Rumors surrounding U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson and his designs on the Senate seat Marco Rubio will soon vacate are nothing new. But with word spreading the self-proclaimed “Congressman with Guts” will officially announce tomorrow, efforts to prepare for the electoral domino effect he will leave in his wake are gaining a new urgency. Grayson’s decision to give up a coveted seat in the U.S. House to tussle with U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy for the Democratic Senate nomination opens up anew a rich vein of speculation…

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