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Everglades Foundation’s Eric Eikenberg presses case at Capitol for land buy

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Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, says the Florida residents affected by discharges from Lake Okeechobee need to let state leaders know about their concerns. Eikenberg is at the Capitol this week meeting with House and Senate leaders including House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner. He’s trying to get state leaders to buy U.S. Sugar Corp. land for a reservoir to store water for Everglades restoration. However, one Senate committee chairman, Republican Wilton Simpson of Trilby,…

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Development bill passes first stop despite opposition from cities and counties

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A bill that would eliminate a state process for reviewing large developments cleared its first committee stop on Tuesday. Meanwhile, another bill that would eliminate Florida’s 11 regional planning councils was amended to eliminate only one of them. Large developments such as shopping malls and housing projects with hundreds of homes now are classified by the state as “developments of regional impact” subject to review by state agencies and neighboring cities and counties. But developers long have complained that the…

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Dennis Baxley hauls in nearly $80k in February to kick-start Florida Senate bid

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Republican state Rep. Dennis Baxley of Ocala raised $79,500 during the month of February for his bid for the Florida Senate, according to campaign finance reports recently released by the Division of Elections. That brings his war chest to a total of $94,610 overall. “We are pleased to receive this much support this early,” said Baxley in a statement Monday. The man who proudly accepts the title of “Father of Stand Your Ground” is an inveterate campaigner, having run and won…

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Brandes-Fitzenhagen gun bill passes committees with limited opposition

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A matching pair of proposals to allow Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permitduring certain emergency situations passed committees in both legislative chambers on Wednesday. First up was Ft. Myers Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen‘s HB 493, which passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee by a vote of 9-2, with Democratic Reps. Clovis Watson and Randolph Bracy dissenting. Before the vote Fitzenhagen amended her bill to create a 48-hour time limit on the bill’s exemption to concealed-carry statutes during evacuations, with a provision that allows the governor…

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In Florida House District 45 race, flier recycles old tactic

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Jodie Tillman reports: Back in 2007, a political group called the Committee to Protect Florida hammered a state Senate candidate named Richard Corcoran. In its arsenal was a mailer that accused Corcoran of making false allegations about an opponent in a previous race. The mailer showed an image of a flashing police beacon along with a warning: “BEWARE! Richard Corcoran is back in the area looking to buy a seat in the Senate.” Corcoran dropped out of the race, citing…

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Champions and chumps of governmental transparency

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From the Tallahassee Democrat: A selection of legislators who have acted in the interest of Florida’s Sunshine Laws or who have sponsored bills that are contrary to them. Champions: •Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland. Dockery is Senate sponsor of a bill to enact the recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Open Government. She was a member of the commission. •Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, D-Sarasota. House sponsor of a bill that would open the legislative process, particularly budget negotiations. •Rep. Clay Ford, R-Gulf…

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