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Dennis Baxley

Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the most recent movements — both on and off — of the legislative merry-go-round.

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50 Florida lawmakers earn A+ on AFP-FL scorecard

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Fifty legislators received top marks from Americans for Prosperity-Florida, the largest number of A+ legislators since the organization began issuing its annual legislative scorecard. The organization released its 2017 Economic Freedom Scorecard, which graded 5,500 votes on 96 issues, on Tuesday. The scorecard showed 50 legislators — 11 senators and 39 representatives — received an A+. That means legislators scoring an A+ voted with AFP-FL received a score of 100 percent or higher.

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Senate adds slot machine provision onto House bill

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The Senate on Wednesday tacked language onto a professional deregulation bill that could lead to the expansion of certain kinds of slot machines. The provision came under the guise of trying to move fantasy sports into the non-gambling realm before the end of the Legislative Session. Lawmakers failed to agree on comprehensive gambling legislation this year, ending their efforts Tuesday. Sen. Dana Young, a Tampa Republican, offered an amendment to a House bill under consideration, a “Deregulation of Professions and Occupations” measure…

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Bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana likely dead for this year

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A Senate proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana was temporarily postponed, effectively putting an end to any hopes that legislators would act on the legislation this year. Sen. Jeff Clemens, the Lake Worth Democrat sponsoring the bill (SB 1662), asked that the Senate Criminal Justice Committee temporarily postponed the measure after a 15-minute discussion Monday. While Clemens said he was thankful that Sen. Randolph Bracy, the committee’s chairman, decided to hear the bill, he said he knew…

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Auburn license plate proposal dropped in committee

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Football fans of rival Auburn University probably won’t be getting a Florida commemorative plate this year. A provision to allow for the production of Auburn license plates was dropped from state Sen. Keith Perry‘s Senate Bill 1374 through an amendment added Monday in the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee. That left the bill focusing on the intent of its title: on efforts to honor veterans in Florida with various highway designations and license plates. The bill, touted…

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Mike Huckabee’s mission: To keep the world from ‘spoiling’

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Mike Huckabee

Now that he’s dispensed with the possibility of running for political office again, former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says he just wants to be a cultural “preservative.” Huckabee – a Christian minister, former Arkansas governor and now Walton County resident – spoke to reporters before his appearance at Wednesday’s Legislative Prayer Breakfast in Tallahassee. Huckabee ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2016. His daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, now is deputy White House press secretary for President Donald Trump. Earlier…

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Tougher texting-and-driving ban sails through Senate committee

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Legislation to make texting while driving a primary offense was passed Wednesday unanimously by the Senate Transportation Committee. Miami Republican Rene Garcia sponsored the legislation (SB 144). Florida was one of the later states in the country to adopt anti-texting laws, not doing so until 2013. But the fact that it’s a secondary offense has led critics to call the law toothless. Under Garcia’s bill, police could pull over drivers for texting while driving. In the past, some lawmakers have expressed concerns…

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