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Joe Abruzzo

Bill would require city officials to file state financial disclosures

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A bill that would require elected city officials to file detailed financial disclosures got thumbs up Wednesday morning from the Florida House Government Accountability Committee. House Bill 7021, introduced by Republican state Rep. Larry Metz of Groveland, would require mayors, city council members and other municipal elected officials in perhaps half of Florida’s cities to file full and public disclosure of their public interests on the same forms now used by state and county elected officials. The bill, which the…

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Bill to eliminate sanctuary cities in Florida moves through another House committee

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Legislation banning sanctuary city policies moved through another Florida House committee Tuesday. Yalaha Republican Rep. Larry Metz‘s bill (HB 697) would force any “sanctuary city” or county in Florida to remove all formal or informal policies shielding undocumented immigrants from federal custody. It passed the House Subcommittee on Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs on a 9-5 vote on Tuesday. The legislation would fine local governments that don’t comply with immigration officers between $1,000 to $5,000 a day. It requires local officials to report violations, but exempts…

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Red-light camera ban clears green-lighted by House committee

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A House bill to ban red-light cameras cleared its final committee Tuesday and is ready for a floor vote when the 2017 Legislative Session kicks off next month. The House Government Accountability Committee approved HB 6007 with a 13-3 vote; the only no votes came from Democratic Reps. Joe Abruzzo, Carlos Guillermo Smith and Clovis Watson. Last month, the bill had made it through the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the House Appropriations Committee with similarly lopsided votes. The bill would…

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Kevin Rader, Joe Abruzzo forgo re-election, look to trade places

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The latest bout of redistricting drama has Democratic Rep. Kevin Rader and Sen. Joe Abruzzo looking to trade places in the fall. Rader, who is in his second term in House District 81, announced Wednesday he will forgo re-election and instead run in the newly redrawn Senate District 29 with Abruzzo’s blessing. “Joe Abruzzo is an incredible state senator. He has been a champion for our public schools, for seniors, and for all of Palm Beach,” Rader said. “It is…

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Tax cut package clears Legislature

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It was among the last on the list Friday, but the Legislature passed a tax-cut package worth $129 million. The Senate vote was 35-4, with four Democrats opposed: Dwight Bullard of Miami, Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, Arthenia Joyner of Tampa and Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens. That sent it back to the House, which passed it after some debate by 105-9. In the Senate, Clemens debated against the legislation, rattling off a list of Florida economic statistics that showed the state ranked poorly…

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Dead again: Senators kill anti-LGBT discrimination bill

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A motion to reconsider a contentious bill banning discrimination against LGBT people failed in a Senate panel Tuesday, signaling its virtual demise for the 2016 Legislative Session. On a voice vote, the Judiciary Committee deadlocked again on a procedural move to bring the bill (SB 120) back, one day after the bill died on a 5-5 vote. Sens. Aaron Bean, Lizbeth Benacquisto, Jeff Brandes, Wilton Simpson and Kelli Stargel, all Republicans, still opposed the bill. In favor were committee Chairman Miguel Diaz de…

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LGBT anti-discrimination bill on life support after contentious vote

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A bill to prohibit gender- and sexuality-based workplace discrimination died momentarily in a Senate panel on judicial affairs, before being brought back to life by legislative maneuvering. Monday afternoon’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee was likely the most controversial of 2016, in both form and in substance. Senators took up SB 120, a bill supporters are calling the “Competitive Workforce Act,” which aims to amend the state’s Civil Rights Act to prohibit employment, retail and other discrimination against people because of…

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