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Divided over dollars: Florida legislators split on spending

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With about a month left in the regular session, Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature is on a major collision course over spending. This past week the House and Senate released rival budgets for the coming year that reveal a wide divide between the two chambers on everything from taxes to schools to state worker pay raises. The two sides don’t even have the same bottom line: The Senate’s overall budget is more than $85 billion, or roughly $4 billion more than the…

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Franchise group tweets tone-deaf opposition to ‘Florida Small Business Act’ — using California in background

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A pro tip for anyone seeking to curry favor with the Florida Legislature: get your facts straight — or at least know which state you’re trying to lobby. A couple of months ago, state Sen. Jack Latvala and Rep. Jason Brodeur announced support for the “Protect Florida Small Business Act” (SB 750), which seeks to “promote fair business relations between franchisees and franchisors and to protect franchisees against unfair treatment by franchisors.” “I want to be sure that there is…

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Mark Wilson, Dominic Calabro: Strangling Enterprise Florida, VISIT FLORIDA costly to Sunshine State future

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Right now, jobs and the future of Florida’s economy are in jeopardy. That’s because some politicians in Tallahassee want to eliminate Florida’s economic development programs and slash the state’s tourism marketing efforts. Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA, Florida’s economic development and tourism marketing programs, are essential to the economic well-being of our state. Eliminating Florida’s targeted and proven economic development programs is not the way forward, and will slam the brakes on the amazing job creation success Florida has seen…

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Patient groups abound in formulary debate, but who funds them?

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Legislation introduced this Session – HB 95 and SB 182 – seeks to change the current drug formulary system utilized by health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers. Both bills have received significant support from “patient advocacy groups” during the course of the debate. But who are these so-called patient groups, and how are they funded? Well, a recent New England Journal of Medicine paper titled, “Conflicts of Interest for Patient-Advocacy Organizations,” which has been widely reported on, including in a…

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Florida doesn’t need an elected Secretary of State, or Agriculture Commissioner

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It would tax the imagination to come up with anything that Florida needs less than to elect a secretary of state once again. Why would the Legislature even consider that? Sen. Aaron Bean, the sponsor, explained it the other day. As reported by FloridaPolitics.com, the Fernandina Beach Republican told the Senate ethics committee that in the main he wants a fifth position on the Cabinet to avoid tie votes that require the governor to be on the prevailing side or…

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Guns, gambling and taxes: Legislators return to work

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Once the Florida Legislature kicks off its 60-day Session March 7, legislators are expected to pass, or kill, dozens of measures dealing with everything from abortion to gambling and the environment. So far, more than 2,000 bills have been filed, but in the end, legislators usually pass fewer than 300 pieces of legislation each year. Here’s a look at some of the top issues this Session: DEATH PENALTY: Florida legislators are expected to quickly pass a measure that would require…

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Combative House Speaker vows contentious Session

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The outcome of this year’s Florida Legislature session may depend largely on a 51-year-old firebrand attorney with a deep conservative streak and a love for cigars and the band U2. New House Speaker Richard Corcoran has taken on rapper Pitbull, gotten in a knock-down fight with fellow Republican Gov. Rick Scott and vowed to keep legislators in session for months if he doesn’t get his way on property taxes. He has an ambitious agenda for the 60-day session that starts…

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