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2017 Florida House

House releases document listing state budget line items by county

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The House released a county-by-county list of budget line items Tuesday, ranging from a $26.8 million loan for a highway project in Alachua County to $64,820 in adult education money in Washington County. Speaker Richard Corcoran’s office dropped the list without comment, but it followed by four days Florida TaxWatch’s annual list of budgetary “turkeys” — line items included without sufficient public scrutiny or ranking low on the state’s priority lists. TaxWatch asked Gov. Rick Scott to veto projects totalling…

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Extension resolution pledges that House and Senate will adjourn together

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The Senate has adopted a concurrent resolution giving the Legislature itself until 11:59 p.m. Monday to pass the state budget. SCR 1850, adopted on a voice vote after 9 p.m., limits the extension to work on SB 2500, the proposed General Appropriations Act, and related legislation including a package of tax breaks. House and Senate conferees were unable to nail down a budget agreement quickly enough to adjourn on time. “Be it further resolved that all other measures in both houses are indefinitely…

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House assignment of benefits reforms move closer to final vote

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The House cleared its version of assignment of benefits reform for a final vote Tuesday, defeating an amendment that would have frozen property insurance rates and required a premiums rollback next summer. PCS/HB 1421 would tighten requirements for contractors to report claims to insurance companies and establish a graduated scale for determining whether contractors holding these agreements qualify to recover litigation expenses from carriers. “What’s important is to make sure that we don’t reward bad lawyers who are trying to abuse…

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House ‘standard operating budget’ clears Appropriations Committee

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The House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to approve an $82.1 billion “standard operating budget,” in a move Democrats complained brought Washington-style dysfunction to Tallahassee. “I can tell you, we have spent every last, legitimate effort trying to compromise before we came to this point. It wasn’t for lack of effort. It wasn’t that we just grabbed our ball and went home,” Chairman Carlos Trujillo said. But the Florida Constitution gives the Legislature 60 days to write a budget, and…

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Joe Negron says no to House’s proposed ‘continuation budget’ as talks stall

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Senate President Joe Negron has rejected a House proposal to settle some $4 billion in state budget disagreements with a “continuation budget.” Negron said in a memo to senators Monday that House negotiators made the proposal over the weekend. “Despite serving as the Appropriations chair in both the House and Senate, I had never encountered this term in state government until it began to appear in these negotiations,” Negron wrote. “I understand the concept of a ‘continuation budget’ to be…

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House approves six-year lobbying ban for former lawmakers, elected officials

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The Florida House approved tough new ethics legislation Thursday barring members of the Legislature and statewide elected officials from lobbying their former colleagues for six years after leaving office. The measure also would prevent officials from leveraging their authority to seek jobs from or going into business with lobbyists. CS/SB 7083 passed on a vote of 118-0, even though House Speaker Richard Corcoran has conceded the Senate has little interest in boosting ethics laws this year, and with the scheduled…

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House votes to repeal Florida’s PIP mandate for auto insurance

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The House voted Wednesday to replace Florida personal-injury protection insurance mandate for motorists with a requirement that they buy bodily injury protection, upending an insurance system in place since 1971. “Today, we have the ability to start thinking about personal responsibility in a different way, and shifting that paradigm in the state of Florida in how we do auto insurance,” sponsor Erin Grall said. “It’s difficult to think about doing something different after 40-plus years, but it shouldn’t keep us…

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