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Beekeepers, stung by 2014 veto, try again for research site

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Florida’s beekeepers say honey bees play a sweet role in agriculture and the economy but they need help — and state funding — to maintain a healthy population. The Florida State Beekeepers Association is requesting $3.5 million for an apiary research center at the University of Florida. Florida is the third largest honey-producing state, with a reported crop value of $22.7 million in 2013, according to the university. The state has about 3,500 beekeepers now compared with 1,200 a decade…

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Diane Roberts: Welcome to Tallahassee’s Festival of Bad Ideas

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OCCUPIED TALLAHASSEE – Some Florida towns have a strawberry festival; some have a seafood festival or a jazz festival or even a frog leg festival. Here in Florida’s capital, we put on an annual Festival of Bad Ideas. Its other name is the Legislative session. Come spring, legislators swarm, careening madly down our narrow, pretty streets like palmetto bugs lit up with a big dose of Raid. They land first at the Motherhive on Adams Street: that is to say,…

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Dan Gelber: The State of the State Floridians should hear

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Here is the State of the State that Gov. Rick Scott ought to deliver and, more importantly, that Floridians deserve to hear. Thank you Mr. Speaker. It is traditional for the governor to begin this speech with an unequivocal declaration that the state of our state is strong. The state of our state is strong, but mostly for a select few. For the one in four Florida children living in poverty today, the state of our state is fragile. Nor…

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Dan Gelber, Keith Fitzgerald and Rick Kriseman urge Charlie Crist to call Summer Special Session

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State Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) and state Reps. Keith Fitzgerald (D-Sarasota) and Rick Kriseman (D-St. Petersburg) today sent a letter to Governor Charlie Crist urging him to convene the legislature in a summer special session to address the complex challenges from the BP oil spill. In their letter, the trio present five areas on which legislative leaders should focus their attention during the special session. “I renew my call for Governor Crist to summon the legislature back into a…

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Legislature sends Charlie Crist infamous HB 1143 requiring an ultrasound before an abortion

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Florida’s Republican legislative leaders sent Gov. Charlie Crist a measure Monday that wouild require women with first-trimester pregancies pay for an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion, starting the 15-day window for the governor to act on the bill. Crist has said repeatedly he has “concerns” about the bill, HB1143, passed on the final day of the spring lawmaking session, and supporters have been mounting a campaign to pressure him to sign it. Crist will have until June 22 to sign…

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Charlie Crist ready to take on Legislature, although special session is out for now; insurance bill veto appears likely

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From the Florida Tribune: Gov. Charlie Crist’s running battle with the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature appears unlikely to end anytime soon — although the governor is now backing off plans to call lawmakers back to town in the next month. Crist, who was in Panama City on Monday to celebrate Memorial Day, told the Florida Tribune that he doesn’t anticipate calling lawmakers back to Tallahassee during the month of June. Crist wants legislators to put on the November ballot a proposed…

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Charlie Crist signs bill classifying homeless attacks as hate crimes

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Attacks on homeless people will soon be classified as a hate crime in Florida, which has ranked first in the nation for such attacks the past 11 years. The bill passed by the Legislature this past session and signed by Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday amends the state’s hate crime statute to include offenses where there is evidence of prejudice based on the victim being homeless. The law, which goes into effect Oct. 1, increases the maximum sentence a judge…

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