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Bill to reform public utilities advances in House committee

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Legislation that would bring new measures of accountability to Florida’s Public Service Commission passed a House Committee on Tuesday. Pinellas Republican Kathleen Peters’s bill (HB 7071) would create performance-based incentives for utilities by rating their reliability, customer service, power plant performance and costs. It also would bar lawmakers from serving on the commission within six years of leaving the Legislature. The five commissioners, who are appointed by the governor, would represent different regions of the state and be limited to two four-year…

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements — both on and off — of the legislative merry-go-round. Off: Mary Kassabaum is no longer legislative assistant for Trilby Republican state Sen. Wilton Simpson. Off: Caroline Crow is no longer district secretary for Rockledge Republican state Sen. Thad Altman. On: Matthew Hunter is returning as legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto. Off: Sean Nixon is no longer legislative assistant for Cutler Bay Democratic state Sen. Dwight Bullard. Off: Kyle Langan is no longer…

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Endorsement Watch: Florida Medical Association, Florida Retail Federation, SEIU Florida and others issue endorsements

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There are just a few weeks until the election, and organizations across the state are rolling out endorsements for state and federal candidates. Several organizations — the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Retail Federation, and the Service Employees International Union Florida — issued endorsements. — Rebecca Negron has received the backing of James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and Family Talk. “It is my pleasure to be among the many solid conservatives who are supporting Rebecca Negron’s…

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round. Off and on: Randy Havlicak is no longer staff director of the House Judiciary Committee; he is replacing Joe Gillespie as senior staff director for the House Bill Drafting Service. On: Don Rubottom is the new interim staff director for Judiciary. On and Off: Clay White and Caleb Helpling have switched roles, where White is the new senior legislative analyst for the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations…

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Florida Democrats call for special legislation to ban terror suspects from buying guns

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After the Pulse nightclub shooting last weekend, Florida Democratic lawmakers made it public Wednesday morning: they’re calling on Gov. Rick Scott and Senate President Andy Gardiner for a special legislative session to try and pass forward laws to ban suspected terror suspects from buying guns. Sen. Darren Soto, Rep. John Cortes, Sen. Geraldine Thompson and others gathered in front of the Orange County Courthouse on Orange Avenue and made their statement unified: it’s time to act on guns. Soto’s reason for the…

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2016 House field continues to shape up in central Florida, Tallahassee

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It’s more than a year out from 2016 legislative elections, normally a quiet time when warring factions retreat to their camps and use the odd-numbered year to strategize and keep their powder dry. But with recent drama surrounding the race for the 2021-22 speakership, state party infighting involving sitting House Rep./RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia and an imminent Senate map redraw likely to pit incumbents against one another as they vie to ascend to the upper chamber, things in the House are very much “on” in…

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House Democrats say “equality issues” aren’t moving in the Legislature

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A quartet of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday held a press conference to discuss issues  they say will help women in the workforce. However, they are having a hard time getting those “equality” bills heard. For five years, Rep. Janet Cruz has filed an equal pay for equal work bill. Dubbed the Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Protection Act after a long-serving Tampa senator, Cruz said she has been unable to get HB 25 heard in one committee this year. “This…

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