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Senate budget chief Tom Lee adds gaming bills to Appropriations Cmte. agenda

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Senate budget chair Tom Lee has added a pair of potentially momentous gaming bills to the Appropriations Committee’s agenda for its meeting next week, set for Tuesday, March 1.

SB 7072 would expand slot machines beyond South Florida and reduce the effective tax rate on the machines.

It would allow slots in six counties where voters already have approved the form of gambling in a local referendum – namely Brevard, Gadsden, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, and Washington –  but would also allow a special slots casino to open in Miami-Dade County.

SB 7074 is, of course, the Compact negotiated between Gov. Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. It must be approved by legislators before becoming the law of the land.

Both bills are now slated to be heard by the full Appropriations panel – along with a swelling docket of two dozen other bills – in Knott Building Room 412 on Tuesday.

The move comes just after an announcement that a deal was struck between the House and Senate to allow budget conferences to begin this weekend.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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