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Legislative Session

Blake Dowling: Looking back …

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Legislative Session is winding down – gaming, dope, infrastructure, assistive tech. It has been an exciting journey, with losers and winners, fights, name calling at the Capitol and at the Governors Club. Hopefully, when the dust settles, those in the trenches can regain some commonality and remember we are all on the same team as both Floridians and Americans (minus the UF-FSU rivalry, we will never be on the same team there). Besides that, it’s time for summer. Time to…

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Senate’s proposed hospital budget cuts, unlike House, spreads pain equally

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With the end of the Legislative Session mercifully (hopefully?) in sight, the discrepancies between Senate and House budgets on various issues are becoming more heightened. At times like these, the two sides need to learn how to swallow their pride when it’s clear one chamber has the better plan. This lesson would serve them — and the people of Florida, the ones they are supposed to be serving — when the subject turns to funding of our state’s hospitals. The…

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PSTA sets its legislative wish list

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

It’s the time of year when everyone seems to be making a list, from shopping lists to wish lists. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is no different. Members unanimously adopted their four-item wish list at Wednesday’s meeting. But, in this case, they want the State Legislature to be generous. No. 1 on their wish list for the upcoming state Legislative Session: A letter of support from legislators to the Florida Department of Transportation asking that the state agency include funding…

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Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, I-4, Sanford Burnham, water quality, Pulse, on Central Florida lawmakers’ minds

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As they prepare for the 2017 Legislative Session, Central Florida lawmakers are looking out for help for the emerging Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Osceola County, the demise of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in Lake Nona, and I-4 throughout the region. Those are things almost everyone in Central Florida’s delegation is examining. The Democrats add, don’t forget about Pulse, and the economic fairness and mental health issues everyone spoke of during the election campaigns this year. But…

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Florida Open Carry advocates, take careful notes on Texas’ new gun-toting law

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With Florida’s Legislative Session only days away, one of the hottest issues to face lawmakers this year is Open Carry. Two bills (SB 300/HB 163) filed by the Republican father-son tag team of State Sen. Don Gaetz of Niceville and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach, would allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry a gun “any place that a person has the right to be, subject only to exceptionally and narrowly tailored restrictions that employ the least possible restriction on the right” to bear…

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Jeff Brandes leaves Tallahassee with impressive bill record

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Florida state Sen. Jeff Brandes is home from Tallahassee with a list of accomplishments this session. Of bills he proposed, at least nine are on their way to the governor for a signature. One of the bills Brandes is most excited to see make its way to Rick Scott’s desk is the Local Government Pension Reform bill. Senate Bill 242 is what Brandes says “looks like a minor bill, but will have a huge impact.” If the House version of the bill, HB 1309,…

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Get ready for the return of TallyMadness!

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

A potential multibillion-dollar state budget gap. A controversial effort to expand Medicaid. How to implement Amendment 1. These are but three of the dozens of earth-shattering important issues being debated during the 2015 legislation session. Who cares? The legislative session is also about the the tangential and the trivial, but it’s the tangential and trivial that drives the state capital. That’s why is excited to announce the return of TallyMadness — an online voting competition to determine who is the “best” lobbyist in Florida. Just like…

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