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Marlene O’Toole

Two Florida lawmakers propose “Blue Lives Matter” legislation

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Following the killing of five officers and wounding of seven others at a protest in Dallas Thursday night against police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, two Florida House Republicans running for office this fall proposed “Blue Lives Matter” legislation on Friday that would alter the state’s definition of a hate crime to include law enforcement officers and firefighters. The proposal was announced separately by Ocala House Republican Dennis Baxley, who is running for the state Senate in District 12, and Polk City House…

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Endorsement Watch: Florida Retail Federation, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Medical Association, and others issue endorsements

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Don Hahnfeldt received the backing of the Florida Medical Association in his bid for House District 33. The FMA PAC, the political arm of the Florida Medical Association, made the endorsement. “The FMA PAC is proud to endorse Commissioner Don Hahnfeldt for the Florida House. As a commissioner in Sumter County representing The Villages, he has a unique understanding of the health care needs of many retired Floridians,” said Dr. Chris Pittman, president of the FMA PAC, in a statement. “The FMA looks forward to…

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Dennis Baxley outshines GOP rivals in fundraising for SD 12 race

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Ocala Rep. Dennis Baxley outraised the other two Republicans vying for the open Senate District 12 seat with $27,030 in May contributions. With another month in the books Baxley, who currently represents House District 23, has brought in more than $500,000 in donations since he started campaigning in earnest back in July 2014. His May contributions, however, were outshined by his expenditures, which totaled $57,154. Baxley’s May report showed 22 checks for the campaign maximum of $1,000, including contributions from…

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Dennis Baxley to post another six-figure haul in SD 12 for April, campaign says

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Senate District 12 candidate and current Ocala Republican Rep. Dennis Baxley will post another six-figure haul when he sends in his April campaign finance report, his campaign announced Tuesday. “We are very grateful for the tremendous support that we are receiving,” Baxley said. “I can’t wait to keep fighting in Tallahassee for our conservative values of freedom, family, and faith, and I look forward to getting that message out to more and more voters across District 12.” Baxley’s campaign said…

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Marlene O’Toole outpaces fundraising, but Dennis Baxley loans $100K to keep lead in SD 12

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Lady Lake Republican Rep. Marlene O’Toole was able to bring in more contributions than Rep. Dennis Baxley last month, but the Ocala Republican threw in $100,000 of his own money to further increase his lead in the Senate District 12 race. O’Toole, who filed for the seat March 2, brought in $11,150 in her first month and spent nothing, leaving her with a five-figure campaign account at month’s end. Nearly all of her contributions came from subsidiaries of Central Florida…

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Volunteer Florida awards Gwen Margolis, Marlene O’Toole with Champion of Service honors

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Volunteer Florida, the governor’s commission on volunteerism and community service, gave its official Champions of Service award to two lawmakers Thursday. Sen. Gwen Margolis of Miami and Rep. Marlene O’Toole of The Villages were honored with the award in a ceremony in the state capitol. “It is an honor to recognize members of the Florida Legislature who have demonstrated a true commitment to volunteerism and service,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman. “Sen. Margolis and Rep. O’Toole are passionate about volunteering and serving with non-profit organizations in…

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Florida legislators push bills tied to their private jobs

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During the recently-concluded legislative session, Senate President Andy Gardiner constantly warned about the threat to the state’s hospitals if they were to lose more than $1 billion that now comes from the federal government. There’s a good reason Gardiner understands hospitals: he works for one. Gardiner’s employment is legal, but it highlights a common practice in the Florida Legislature. Many legislators have places where their professional lives and legislative work overlap. The Florida Legislature is a “part-time” job that pays…

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