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Big-name groups, leaders trumpet progress on legislative priorities

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A major trio of political players at the Florida Capitol are happy with progress made Thursday on big-ticket priorities in the Legislature. The H2O Coalition, a water policy consortium affiliated with Associated Industries of Florida, applauded the further progress of what it calls comprehensive water reform in the Legislature. The praise comes after the House gave final approval to SB 552 by Sen. Charlie Dean, which is identical to HB 7005 by Rep. Matt Caldwell, who led the House’s efforts to update state water policy after…

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Major players react to Senate passage of water legislation

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On Wednesday, the Senate passed a major water bill, a major priority of House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and the object of much interest on the part of environmentalist community as well. Reactions from significant groups and individuals will continue to flow in as the debate goes forward, but for now here’s a look at what some of the most influential Floridians are saying about the move. The Senate itself put out a detailed statement breaking down the legislation piece by piece. It…

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Senate passes education, water bills

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The sausage-making began in earnest Wednesday morning, as the Florida Senate teed up nine bills for final approval and passed a sweeping $95 million educational policy bill and a water protection measure desired by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli. The education bill (SB 672) was sponsored by GOP state Sen. Don Gaetz of Niceville, a former schools superintendent. Among other things, it expands scholarships for students with disabilities and awards public and charter schools $10 per K-8 student if they adopt a dress code or require…

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Andy Gardiner promises first 3 bills this Session

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On the first day of the 2016 Legislative Session, Senate President Andy Gardiner made a promise that Gov. Rick Scott would get three bills by the end of the week. Gardiner, an Orlando Republican, spoke during the Senate’s first floor session for 2016, with Scott sitting in the first row. The first measure is statewide water policy legislation (SB 552/HB 7005) championed by Republican state Sen. Charlie Dean. According to The Associated Press, it “modifies dozens of areas of Florida law including…

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3 Florida Cabinet members among big-name pols endorsing Wilton Simpson in SD 10

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In a show of force behind Sen. Wilton Simpson‘s bid for the newly redrawn SD 10, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, and CFO Jeff Atwater all came out with endorsements of Simpson on Wednesday. “We need Wilton Simpson back in the State Senate, and that is why I am enthusiastically endorsing his 2016 re-election campaign,” said Bondi. “Wilton Simpson is a true leader, and I am proud to support him,” was how Putnam put it. “I am pleased to endorse Wilton…

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Fundraising reports show Senate rivals Jack Latvala, Joe Negron close as ever

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Early committee finance numbers for Republican Sens. Jack Latvala and Joe Negron show the two rivals for Senate President are as close as ever in fundraising. Latvala’s outfit, Florida Leadership Committee, entered October with a little more than $1.6 million on-hand, and the committee should get a little boost above that mark once final reports for October are posted. FLC had taken in about $110,000 in contributions through Oct. 26 and had posted $48,452 in expenditures as of Oct. 29,…

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Associated Industries of Florida to hold water forum today

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Associated Industries of Florida, the state’s premier business lobby, will hold its sixth annual Florida Water Forum today. The forum begins 9 a.m. at the Renaissance Orlando at Sea World. “This meeting will provide participants with the most current information from Florida’s policy leaders in the Legislature and state government on issues relating to water policy,” according to a news release. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is scheduled as keynote speaker, with former Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard, now…

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