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House all but declares defeat on Seminole Compact, gambling legislation

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Their lips were saying “not dead yet” but House leadership otherwise made clear that the Seminole Compact and gambling legislation were goners for this session. “I’m not ready to declare it dead yet,” said state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, the Miami Republican who shepherded the bills through the process this year. Diaz spoke after the House’s floor session. After a deep breath, he added, “…but that’s the word around town.” Diaz said he talked to his counterpart, state Sen. Rob…

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Lawmakers file 122-page amendment on Seminole Compact

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A 122-page “proposed committee substitute” that dropped Sunday night on the House’s 2016 gambling legislation would keep intact the guts of the proposed Seminole Compact, while allowing for expanded gambling opportunities throughout the state. The measure, set for consideration in the House Finance and Tax Committee Monday, makes proposed revisions to the new gambling deal (HB 7109) between the state and Seminole Tribe of Florida. Among those, the language allows slot machines in five of six counties where voters approved the gambling in…

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Andy Gardiner questions impact of changed Seminole Compact, gambling bill

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Senate President Andy Gardiner says he’s still unclear whether changes made this week to the proposed gambling deal between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida would violate an existing deal between the two. “We probably have to get some revenue estimating numbers to find out,” he told reporters after Thursday’s floor session. “There are some that will believe it affects the existing compact, and if it passes, the existing compact will go away.” The tribe already has paid Florida more than…

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Gut check: Legislative Session reaches midpoint

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With the half-way mark of the 60-day 2016 Legislative Session on Wednesday, the theme so far is like a line from a Frankie Valli song: “… so close/And yet so far.” Take the 2016-17 state budget, the only bill lawmakers are required to pass each year. The House came in at $79.9 billion with the Senate proposing $80.9 billion. Sure, that’s only a billion dollars apart, but $1 billion is still a lot of money, even in Tallahassee. Lawmakers are set to…

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Emails show state’s about-face on card games enforcement

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The same state agency now calling designated-player card games illegal was calling them “in compliance” with state gambling law as recently as last July, records show. What’s not clear is what caused the about-face. The enforcement is happening at the same time that lawmakers are considering whether to approve a new “compact” with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, whose casinos compete with tracks in South Florida and elsewhere that also offer cards and slots. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which regulates gambling,…

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House gaming legislation to be workshopped March 26

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Reports of the death of Dana Young‘s new gaming legislation are greatly exaggerated, according to the House Majority Leader — despite speculation that she may alter or even withdraw her ambitious plan from consideration, Young tells SaintPetersBlog that her proposal will be workshopped at a meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, March 26. Young’s plan — consisting of three linked House bills, HB 1233, HB 1235 and HB 1237 —   has been labeled by opponents as a straight expansion…

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Florida restaurant and hotel lobby blasts Dana Young’s new gaming bill

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The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association — a group with outsized importance in our state’s tourism-centric economy — issued a statement Tuesday excoriating the proposal released yesterday by House Majority Leader Dana Young. “We will continue to fight this legislation, along with any other measure that seeks to expand gambling under the false pretense that it will bring additional jobs, attract more tourists, and increase Florida’s tax base,” said FRLA President and CEO Carol Dover. “Florida currently enjoys record number of tourists,…

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