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Dan Coats says Donald Trump hasn’t made up his mind on VP

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The Latest on the 2016 presidential campaign ahead of the Republican and Democratic national conventions (all times EDT): 1:30 p.m. Indiana Sen. Dan Coats says Donald Trump hasn’t made up his mind about who to select as his running mate. Coats told The Associated Press Wednesday that he spoke with Gov. Mike Pence late Tuesday — one of the names on Trump’s shortlist of potential running mates — and Pence told him there’s still no decision. “I think he’s the…

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Health care bills advance in legislature

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A variety of healthcare-related bills made way through the Legislature on the penultimate day of the 2016 Regular Session. LobbyTools reports that the House passed HB 1241, which allows advanced nurses and physician assistants to order medications for patients at health facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. Another amended bill (HB 977), which seeks to alleviate Florida’s behavioral health care workforce, passed the Senate and went to the House, concurring with upper chamber’s changes the same day. HB 977…

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Gambling, guns, tax cuts and more facing Florida lawmakers

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The Legislature will begin its annual session early this year with the hopes of avoiding the chaos and dysfunction that marked the 2015 Session and three special sessions that followed. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner say the past is the past and there’s no lingering animosity after the two chambers found it difficult to agree on much last year. “What you’re seeing is a real desire to get some things done. While a lot of people…

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The 12 Days of Christmas, as brought to you by these Florida lobbyists and politicos

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‘Tis the season, and the Legislature’s dubious Christmas present this year was moving up the 2016 Legislative Session two months from its usual March start date.  We will no doubt have many gifts in store, besides the inevitable policy food fights, such as perhaps seeing some lawmakers in their ugly holiday sweaters (the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts “T-storms, then sunny, cold” for the first day of session). Of course, there’s the Gay Pride Festivus pole, rainbow-colored with a disco ball on top, but that should be…

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Florida GDP outpacing all other large U.S. states, Rick Scott says

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Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday that the Sunshine State’s economic output grew faster than all other large states and even outpaced the national average in the second quarter of 2015.  “Florida’s GDP outpacing all other large states, and the nation as a whole, is another indicator that our economy continues to grow,” Scott said in a news release. “We have added over 1 million new jobs in the last five years and we are seeing the positive effects of this…

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What will Rick Scott do with the base budget he’s developing?

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Gov. Rick Scott sent a memo to his agencies on Thursday asking them to compile a list of services people cannot lose and identifying what would be funded in a pared back budget he’s developing for the upcoming year. Scott has refused to directly answer, though, whether he’ll be submitting the information he compiles with the Florida Legislature for consideration when it goes into a special budget session, now tentatively scheduled for  June 1-20. “The Legislature drafts the budget, but this…

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Gary Mendell: Life-saving measure passes Florida Legislature to combat drug overdoses

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Florida lawmakers passed a life-saving measure which now heads to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature. The newly passed legislation will drastically diminish a tragic and far-too-common occurrence – death resulting from a drug overdose. This public health crisis has, up until now, burdened the citizens and communities of Florida. My organization, Shatterproof, would like to applaud this momentous achievement and urge Florida’s continued progress toward policies aimed at mitigating addiction. Thousands of lives will be saved next year because…

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