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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round. On: Luke Strickland is a new legislative assistant in the Senate Majority Office. Off: Christine DonFrancesco is no longer a legislative assistant for Wellington Democrat state Sen. Joseph Abruzzo. Off: Katie Martin is no longer a legislative assistant for Lakeland Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel. On: John Kotyk became a legislative assistant for Elkton Republican state Sen. Travis Hutson. Off: Gina Herron has…

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The latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a hat-tip to LobbyTools, here is latest on who is on and who is off the legislative staffing merry-go-round. Off: Jay Ferrin has left his position as legislative analyst for the Senate Majority Office. Off: Chase Daniels has left his position as legislative assistant for state Sen. Charlie Dean. On: Drew Aldikacti is the new legislative assistant for Sen. Dean. Off: Maria Chamorro is leaving her position as legislative assistant for state Sen. Anitere Flores. On: Tiffany Lorente is…

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Campaigns for Florida Senate’s eight term-limited seats shift into gear

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As of June, none of the 12 Florida senators running for re-election is facing much of a challenge — Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemens is the only incumbent to draw an opponent so far, but it won’t derail him from another term. District 29 looks set as well, with Democratic state Rep. Jim Waldman having a clear path to take over for outgoing state Sen. Jeremy Ring. The other open seats – Districts 1, 5, 13, 19, 23 and 31…

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Water, fracking bills die as Senate meets without House

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A House bill establishing comprehensive water policy was amended and passed by the Senate on Wednesday but was dead because the House had adjourned on Tuesday. And House bills dealing with hydraulic fracturing were not voted on in the Senate because their Senate sponsor said they lacked the two-thirds vote needed. The 2015 legislative session continued in an unusual atmosphere on Wednesday with the Senate taking up bills after the House adjourned amid a budget impasse over healthcare spending. A…

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Bills dying en masse as House adjourns Sine Die

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Former Senate Democratic leader state Sen. Chris Smith debated on the Senate floor against SB 284, a private property rights enhancement bill, telling his colleagues — coyly at first — “It’s hard to argue against a bill with so many House co-sponsors,” and later, more directly, “I mean, if we want to send a message…” It was the House that sent the first big gestural message of the day, “taking its ball and going home” in the phrase of Senate…

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Senate bill clears final committee stop despite concerns from counties, environmentalists

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A Senate water bill passed its final committee stop on Tuesday despite continuing concerns raised by counties and environmentalists. SB 918 replaces a Lake Okeechobee pollution permitting program with more reliance on water cleanup plans, sets deadlines for establishing minimum flow levels for springs, sets timelines for springs cleanup plans and creates a statewide advisory council to recommend funding for water projects. Sen. Charlie Dean, a Republican from Inverness who is bill sponsor, said SB 918 is close to matching…

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Springs bill in Senate disappoints some environmentalists

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Last year a comprehensive water bill that passed the Senate included a major focus on Florida’s springs and reducing threats from groundwater pollution and over-pumping. Florida’s springs during the past 30 years have turned green with algae because of nitrogen in groundwater from various sources including septic tanks, fertilizer and sewage treatment plants. Fixing the problems cost lots of money, and preventing further pollution requires regulations that are unpopular with rural landowners. The 2014 Senate bill, SB 1576, established springs…

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