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2017 Florida Senate

Senate votes to override veto of public education budget as ‘insurance’

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The Senate voted Tuesday to override Gov. Rick Scott’s veto of the public schools budget — as an “insurance policy” intended to keep the schools open after July 1 if this week’s special session of the Legislature breaks down. “This is an insurance policy. We just don’t want to get to a situation where we end up without having our (education) finance program funded,” Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala said. “You know as well as I do that we’re in contentious times…

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Senate sends $82.4 billion budget bill to the House in extended session

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The Senate approved an $82.4 billion state budget during legislative overtime Monday, including a raft of conforming bills implementing House and Senate priorities on matters including public schools, colleges, and universities. The 34-0 vote sent the budget bill to the House. The final Senate vote came at about 8:30 p.m. without debate, following a day spent in extensive debate over the budget package. The chamber sent the usual implementing bill over by the same margin, then paused to give the House time…

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Florida Chamber and allies unload on Senate for skipping AOB reform this year

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The Legislature stiffed the Florida Chamber of Commerce on one of its top priorities this year — abuse of assignment of benefits agreements, or AOBs. The Chamber isn’t hiding how it feels about that. “Florida’s hardworking families should remember this – the Florida Senate chose to side with anti-consumer special interests, instead of stepping up and protecting consumers from an AOB loophole that has attracted plaintiffs’ attorneys like gold rush miners,” Chamber spokeswoman Edie Ousley said in a written statement…

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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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Senate sends Dozier school memorial bill to governor’s desk

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Legislation to erect memorials to boys who suffered abuse and death at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna was headed to the governor’s desk Friday following final approval by the Senate. The vote to adopt HB 7115 was 35-0. The measure passed the House, 117-0, on April 18. Sponsor Darryl Rouson said the measure would provide “a respectful burial to the inidentified, unclaims remains” of the victims of a 1914 dormitory fire at Boot Hill Cemetery on…

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Senate bows to minimum-mandatory sentencing for fentanyl traffickers

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The Senate changed its mind Friday and accepted mandatory-minimum prison sentences in a bill cracking down on synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and carfentanil. Senators had stripped the provision earlier in the week, but the House refused to abandon mandatory sentences and sent the bill back. Senate President Joe Negron initially ruled that Sen. Greg Steube’s motion to rescind the amendment had failed on a voice vote. But enough members insisted on a recorded vote, which went 20-18 to back down.…

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Senate sends amended version of opioid crackdown bill back to House

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The Senate approved legislation Wednesday increasing penalties for trafficking in synthetic opioids including fentanyl and carfentanil, The vote was 37-0 to send the measure back to the House. HB 477  targets fentanyl and related substances that, when administered by themselves or in combination with other drugs, can prove deadly, for tougher sentencing. For example, it would add fentanyl and derivatives to the list of Schedule I drugs and provides that trafficking in them resulting in death constitutes murder. An amendment the…

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