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Email insights: Opponents look to rally against guns on campuses bill

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Florida’s controversial gun bill that would allow guns on college campuses has already passed one committee and will be heard in another next week. The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus is asking for help defeating the measure. “The vast majority of Florida’s students and faculty don’t want guns in their classrooms or other buildings on campus,” wrote state director Kathryn Grant in an email. “We can defeat S.B. 176, but will need your help to fight the powerful and…

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Mitch Perry Report for 3.11.15 — Film incentives bill takes first step in Tally

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Like it or not, Hollywood productions, like sports owners, have been able to play cities and states against each other for years to get the best deal for themselves. Folks in Tampa Bay are all too familiar with getting burned by giving welfare to rich folks. You don’t have to have lived in the area to know how searing the 1996 CIT was. That was the tax that went to fund schools, cultural amenities like Lowry Park Zoo and the…

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Kratom ban moves through Senate panel after close vote

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The Senate Criminal Justice Committee approved a bill that adds kratom to the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances. Before the committee passed SB 764 early Tuesday morning it tagged on an amendment that lessens the criminal penalties in the initial bill from a felony to a misdemeanor. The amendment was offered by state Sen. Jeff Clemens, who said he had concerns with the stiff penalty laid out in the original bill. Clemens said he also had concerns that the…

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School gun bill gets first House committee hearing Wednesday

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A House panel will take up a controversial bill that could allow selected employees and volunteers to carry guns at public schools. HB 19 gets its first hearing with the K-12 Subcommittee on Wednesday. Supporters of the bill, filed by Sarasota Republican state Rep. Greg Steube, say it improves school safety. If passed, the measure would allow school superintendents, after county school board approval, to authorize a “school safety designee” who will be permitted to carry a concealed weapon on school…

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The day that was in Florida politics — March 10

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No movement Tuesday in clearing up confusion over next year’s state budget. While state economists counted up how much money Florida will have to spend for the year beginning July 1, the stances of the players involved seemed to harden.  The Revenue Estimating Conference met but by sunset had yet to release the report lawmakers will use to build next year’s spending plan. Projections through December had a billion dollars more in the general revenue fund than there was last…

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Tampa Bay Times finally arrives at the kratom party

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Somebody has to be first, right? Last month, Florida Politics reported on the surge of kratom, a plant-based product used as a homeopathic medicine that has begun to concern Florida authorities. Traditionally, kratom leaves — an herb indigenous to Thailand and Malaysia — are chewed to treat a variety of ailments: reducing pain, an anti-diarrhea agent, and to reduce dependence on opiates. Kratom is also thought to give users energy and decrease symptoms of opiate withdrawal, as well as (allegedly) extending…

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