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Bill to exempt use of public space from lobbyist gift ban passes subcommittee

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A House bill that would change the state-lobbyist gift ban to allow specifically local governments to offer meeting space to legislators passed its first committee stop on Tuesday. The Legislature in 2005 cracked down on lobbyist gifts after news reports of lobbyists hosting lavish dinners with legislators to discuss pending bills. The law prohibits lobbyists and the organizations they work for from offering, and a member of the Legislature from accepting, any direct or indirect “expenditure,” according to a Florida Commission on Ethics…

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Poll: Floridians oppose converting dog tracks into casinos

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A Mason-Dixon poll publicized by the Florida Greyhound Association finds that nearly seven out of 10 Floridians are opposed to turning increasingly out-of-fashion dog racing tracks into casinos — at least without a referendum. “Floridians are sending a loud message to the Legislature; don’t turn greyhound tracks into casinos on your own,” said Jim Blanchard, president of the greyhound welfare group. “So-called ‘decoupling’ would not only subvert the will of voters who have repeatedly rejected casino gaming but would also cost 3,000 Florida…

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Bill to move back presidential primaries passes state House

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A bill moving back Florida’s presidential primaries from March 1 to March 15 — the Ides of March — passed the Florida House this afternoon by a 114-0 vote. The move, sponsored by Speaker Pro Tem Ritch Workman, allows Florida Republicans to take advantage of new national party rules that lets states that hold primaries after March 14 to award all primary delegates to the winner of that state’s primary, as opposed to apportioning them according to percentage of vote-share earned.…

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