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Easter and Passover as brought to you by these lobbyists and political associations

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Grab your bonnet, pull out the seersucker and get ready for a good-old-fashion Easter egg hunt. Americans are expected to spend about $18.4 billion on Easter this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. That projection is 6 percent higher than last year’s record of $17.3 billion and marks an all-time high in the 14 years the national organization has conducted the survey. The increase in spending is likely due to how late the holiday falls on the…

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Blake Dowling: Apps for everything

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I think I have downloaded more apps in the past five years than anyone in the southern United States. When the kids were younger, new game? Done. Five a day, we would play incessantly, then delete. The gaming app 100 Balls took over two weeks of our life; Stack took a few weeks. Jet Pack Joy Ride might have robbed our family of actual months. Anyway, as the kids got older, it’s more about functionality these days. Although Zombie Highway…

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U.S. gives tentative OK to flights to Cuba from 10 U.S. cities

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The U.S. government on Thursday tentatively approved scheduled commercial airline service to Havana from 10 American cities, further bridging the gulf between countries as close as an hour flight but long kept at a greater distance by the Cold War. The decision is another long stride in President Barack Obama‘s effort to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations. “Reopening travel relations with Cuba is about more than just restoring the freedom to travel there for all Americans — it’s about opening Cuba to…

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Easter & Passover, as brought to you by these Florida lobbyists and political associations

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Easter – like the 2016 Legislative Session – came early this year. Feels weird to have it be all over in March, right? The moveable feast dates back to the mid-2nd century A.D. on the Christian calendar and celebrates a redemption and rebirth that Capitol-going advocates of some issues – say, Transportation Network Companies legislation or campus carry – will also hope for in 2017. The Jewish holiday Passover – of which Easter is generally considered the Gentile equivalent –  memorializes the emancipation of Israelites held…

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Jet fuel tax changes set to become law July 1, barring unlikely veto

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The future of Florida’s aviation fuel taxation regime is set for a major overhaul on July 1, if Gov. Rick Scott signs an omnibus tax bill into law as expected. For the state’s largest air carriers, that’s a good thing indeed. The bill removes exemptions to the state’s jet fuel tax, which currently apply to once-upstart carriers like Southwest Airlines and JetBlue beginning in 2018. It would also lower the overall rate for all carriers from 6.9 percent to 4.23 percent, in order to keep the change “revenue neutral,”…

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Delta joins airline ban on transporting big game hunting trophies

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The buzz surrounding the tragic beheading and skinning of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe has quieted, but the hunter who “took” the lion is probably still up there at the top of the most hated people on the Internet list. In what appears to be a reaction to outrage over American dentist Walter Palmer’s illegal killing, Delta Airlines has announced it will no longer permit transport of some big game hunt trophies including lions. “Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban…

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The latest on five legislative food fights

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Where things stand on a number of “legislative food fights” is a complicated question in today’s adversarial climate at the Capitol. The $4 billion chasm between the House and Senate budget proposals is casting a shadow on every corner of legislative business, both appropriations and policy measures. “Bill aren’t just dying; they’re being massacred,” state Rep. Frank Artiles told this reporter in line at a Shell station on Monroe Street in Tallahassee Saturday evening. Nonetheless, the show must go on in the…

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