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Darryl Rouson urges Florida to become a ‘Tobacco 21’ state

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Two Florida lawmakers want to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco in the Sunshine State. Sen. Darrly Rouson and Rep. Lori Berman held a press conference Thursday to tout legislation they filed to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21. The proposals (SB 1138 and HB 1093), lawmakers said, would help lower the number of young adults who become addicted to tobacco and cut down on the state’s leading cause of preventable death. “I’ve seen many struggles with…

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House panel approves changes to state employee health insurance program

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A House panel OK’d a proposed committee bill Tuesday aimed at tweaking the state-employee health insurance program. The House Health & Human Services Committee approved the bill (PCB HHS 17-01), which, among other things, would lead to the state plan offering four different levels by 2020. The idea, said Rep. Jason Brodeur, is similar to one that has been heard at some point over the seven different legislative sessions. “It’s a way to return some consumerism to health care, which…

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Florida Democrats to propose “The Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Act” aimed at closing gender pay gap

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House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz and two of her colleagues have filed the Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Act, aimed at closing the gender pay gap in Florida. Lantana Democrat Lori Berman is co-filing the legislation with Cruz in the House (HB 319), and Orlando Democrat Linda Stewart is filing the bill in the Senate (SB 410). “It is unconscionable that in America today women continue to be paid less for the same amount of work as men,” declared Cruz in a statement issued on Friday. “Our nation was…

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Jeff Brandes files Amendment 4 implementing bill

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Sen. Jeff Brandes has filed legislation to implement a constitutional amendment to give tax breaks to companies that buy and install solar devices and equipment. The St. Petersburg Republican filed Senate Bill 90, the Amendment 4 implementing bill Thursday. “The voters of Florida spoke loud and clear that they expect the sunshine state to make the expansion of solar and renewable energy a priority,” said Brandes in a statement Thursday. “I have been committed to diversifying our energy portfolio, and…

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Janet Cruz OK with new House rules, but shot down one proposal

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Democratic Leader Janet Cruz is generally supportive of the ambitious new rules proposed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran that were unanimously approved by the entire Florida House last week. The changes are largely aimed at creating additional budget transparency and reducing the influence that lobbyists have on the political process in Tallahassee. But she and other Democrats did draw the line on a provision that would have allowed members to bring guns to committee hearings and on the House floor. “We fought against that, and a…

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Advocates extoll the virtues of Amendment 4 in roundtable discussion at USFSP campus

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Supporters of expanding the use of solar power in Florida held a roundtable discussion on the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg campus on Tuesday to discuss how the passage of Amendment 4 next week could crack open resistance to alternative energy sources in the Sunshine State. Amendment 4 exempts solar devices and equipment from being subject to the personal tangible property tax. A business that currently has solar panels is currently being taxed on the panels or devices in addition to their…

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Jeff Brandes disagrees with Al Sharpton’s critique of Amendment 4

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Unlike that other solar power constitutional amendment that Floridians will decide on in the fall, seemingly everyone supports Amendment Four, the only ballot measure on this month’s primary ballot. Virtually everyone that is, except Al Sharpton. The New York City-based activist and MSNBC host bashed the measure while making an appearance last week in Opa-Locka. Amendment Four would create a tax exemption for businesses who use solar power, the same type of exemption that homeowners have enjoyed when using solar for the…

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