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Ben Wilcox

2015 redux? House committee hotly debates, passes redistricting reform

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Legislation intended as a “what if’ scenario for potential snags in future political redistricting received a fair amount of blowback from several House committee members. Nevertheless, the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee passed the bill Wednesday. HB 953, sponsored by Rep. Larry Ahern, received a thorough level of skepticism and interrogation due to a knee-jerk reaction to the proposal’s context: legislative redistricting and Congressional reapportionment. “It really just asks the courts to speed up the process as the law…

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Senate redistricting bill clears last review panel

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A bill aimed at streamlining the handling of political redistricting court cases cleared its last committee Thursday. The legislation (SB 352) was OK’d by the Senate Rules Committee on a 7-3 party-line vote. It’s now ready for the full Senate. It also “encourages” courts “to follow certain procedures to maintain public oversight when drafting a remedial redistricting plan,” the bill’s analysis says. That’s because bill sponsor Travis Hutson, an Elkton Republican, was concerned that previous redistricting cases were decided “behind…

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Broad ethics bill unanimously passes first House stop

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After a handful of amendments, an omnibus ethics bill unanimously passed the House Government Operations Subcommittee Tuesday afternoon. LobbyTools reports that HB 593 will create a host of new mandates and requirements to help fraud and waste in state government The strike-all amendment approved by the committee was similar to the original bill, only adding text contained in another anti-corruption proposal (HB 7071) sponsored by Rep. Ritch Workman. Yalaha Republican Larry Metz, who filed HB 593, agreed that he would drop that…

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Lobbying ethics bill stumbles in Senate Rules

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A lengthy debate over a lobbying ethics reform bill ended with with former Senate President Don Gaetz moving to TP his own bill. The proposal — Gaetz’s SB 1372 — would tighten many restrictions on lobbying in Florida. Most notably, it would hold Gov. Rick Scott‘s brainchild — Enterprise Florida Inc., housed within another Scott innovation in the Department of Economic Opportunity — to the same standards that other state governmental apparatuses are held to. Specifically it would require those seeking to…

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