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Florida Forest Service

More Florida Forest Service firefighters to head out West

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Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam Thursday said he’s sending 24 more wildland firefighters from the Florida Forest Service to help fight fires out West.

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Split appeal court upholds Rick Scott’s 2015 veto of firefighters’ $2,000 raise

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The governor’s constitutional authority to veto budget line items trumps a state law requiring him to bow to the Legislature when it resolves labor collective bargaining impasses, a divided 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The majority conceded that, under the state Labor Code, “any actions taken by the Legislature shall bind the parties” — meaning a public employee union and the governor. “Based primarily on a statute, appellant asks us to recognize a limitation on the governor’s constitutional…

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State will exhaust budget for agriculture conservation easements by year’s end

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The state would run out of money to buy agricultural conservation land easements by the end of 2017 under the budget approved by the Legislature, the head of the Florida Forest Service said Wednesday. The service asked for $50 million and got $10 for the Rural & Family Lands Protection Program, land program administrator John Browne told aides to Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. Combined with about $11 million for the current fiscal year, that would leave around $21…

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Claim bills filed for 2017 Legislative Session

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A brain-damaged Pasco County woman and a deceased Florida State football player are again the subjects of claim bills filed in the Florida Legislature. According to the Florida Senate website, 22 of the bills — also known as relief acts — were turned in on Monday. Under the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity, Florida law limits local governments and other public bodies to paying no more than $200,000 per person in damages unless lawmakers approve extra money. But in recent years, as…

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Adam Putnam launches Camp Prairie, outdoor activities for disabled veterans

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A new camp in Polk County aims to give Florida’s disabled veterans a private space to enjoy the outdoors and the company of their fellow veterans. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced the opening of Camp Prairie Wednesday as a part of his department’s “Operation Outdoor Freedom” campaign, which Putnam launched after taking office in 2011. “Our veterans have risked their own safety for our liberty, and Operation Outdoor Freedom is one way we can demonstrate our gratitude to the brave…

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Florida Forest Service’s Top 10 tips for safe July 4 fireworks

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Summer’s biggest party kicks off this weekend, with Fourth of July parties, cookouts, barbecues and – most importantly – fireworks. Nationwide, about 230 people arrive in emergency rooms every day in July, a result of injuries from personal pyrotechnics, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. But injuries are not the only potential danger with fireworks. Since January, approximately 1,800 wildfires across Florida have burned more than 38,000 acres. For July 4, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the Florida…

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