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Lawmakers vow to “smash the home tax”

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A gaggle of Republican House members gathered outside the Capitol Monday morning to register their opposition to a bill they call the “home tax” – and to smash it in effigy. “Any time you are taking money from homeowners, it’s a tax hike,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley. “We always have to be vigilant because increased costs to homeowners can come coded in other language. It’s still a tax!” The bill in question is HB 203, which would shift the burden when…

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Jack Latvala rolls out proposal to aid stricken firefighters

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A trio of Republican lawmakers — and one Democrat — are pursuing a measure in 2016 to boost the legal standing of firefighters who contract cancer while serving the public. State Sen. Jack Latvala‘s SB 456 would create a presumption in statute that firefighters employed by the state or local governments who become ill with cancer did so in the line of duty at great personal expense, and potentially depriving them of treatment. Many firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics must fight for years with…

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to Legislative IQ powered by LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round. Off: Shirley Proctor is no longer administrative assistant to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. On: Joyce Butler has become the new administrative assistant for Judiciary. Off & On: Ned Luczynski has become policy chief for the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee after leaving his role as policy chief for the House Business & Professions Subcommittee. Off: Tom Cooper is no longer policy chief…

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House healthcare bills roll to third reading

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After a regular session where the House presented no healthcare plan or alternative to the headline-grabbing Senate FHIX proposal, the House on Thursday rolled to third reading a number of bills that will comprise its package. House Democrats peppered state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen with questions before the House rolled to third reading a bill that authorizes in statutes recovery care centers and also allows ambulatory surgical centers to operate for 24 hours. HB 33 A is one of a number…

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Rick Scott signs new 24-hour barrier to abortions into law

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Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed into law HB 633, which creates a new 24-hour waiting period after a woman requests an abortion from a medical provider before the procedure can be administered. There was some controversy over whether or not Scott would approve the law, as well as an organized effort to defeat it in the legislative process. The bill drew 41 “No” votes when it came before the House floor in April, mostly from Democrats, though Republican state Reps. Heather…

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Guns during states of emergency bill signed into law by Rick Scott

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Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed into law a bill that allows evacuees to carry concealed weapons or firearms on their body or in the car during states of emergency without a permit to do so. SB 290 would allow concealed weapons “while in the act of complying” with a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the governor or by local authorities. State Sen. Jeff Brandes‘  bill defines “in the act of complying” as the…

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Bill to allow people to carry concealed weapons during emergencies going to governor

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Legislation that would allow Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit during certain emergency situations passed in the Florida House today, and will soon go to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk for him to sign. Sponsored by Fort Myers Republican Heather Fitzenhagan, HB 290 is similar but with some tweaks from the bill sponsored last year by St. Petersburg Republican Jeff Brandes, which faced opposition from the Florida Sheriffs Association and moderate Republicans like Jack Latvala. But this year both Latvala and the…

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