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Bevy of big cases awaits state Supreme Court

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A plethora of high-profile matters is scheduled for argument before the Florida Supreme Court next week. The state’s justices will consider questions related to gambling, guns, capital punishment and medical malpractice. Another case involves claim bills, passed by lawmakers to pay people for injuries suffered at the hands of government or a public entity. Still two others involve attorneys fighting to keep their law licenses following accusations they set up an opposing lawyer to be arrested on a drunk-driving charge. First up on June…

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Today on Context Florida: Valentine’s Day advice, open carry legislation, oil and gas regulation, Martin County and Hillary Clinton

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Today on Context Florida: Catherine Durkin Robinson imparts some Valentine’s Day guidance for kids – who won’t listen anyway. Despite the appearance that (on some level) she appears to know what she’s doing, Robinson insists she does not like to give advice, but she gives it a shot anyway. Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary election revealed the mood of the small state’s electorate. Polls show that in many of the remaining primary and caucus states, voters in both parties are unhappy…

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Chris Smith to appear with Debbie Wasserman Schultz to address state gun measures

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U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz will speak to reporters and the public about a pair of controversial gun bills circulating in the Legislature at her old state Capitol stamping grounds Thursday. Broward Sen. Chris Smith will join the Democratic National Committee chairwoman in Tallahassee to oppose legislative proposals to allow Floridians to openly carry firearms and to strike the state prohibition against guns on college campuses. Public visits to the statehouse have been rare in recent years for Wasserman Schultz, who served in…

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

in Peter/Top Headlines by

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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Tampa Bay support for open carry a mixed bag

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Nearly half of Tampa Bay area residents don’t support open carry of firearms. Of 605 residents surveyed by WTSP and the Tampa Bay Times 49 percent don’t support legislation that would allow open carry. The same percentage indicated they would feel less safe if they saw someone open carrying a firearm. Of those polled, 33 percent supported open carry if the person had a concealed weapon permit while 16 percent supported open carry for all legal gun owners — meaning…

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Professional protester only “regular guy” to testify in support of NRA’s open carry bill

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

What exactly is a “regular guy?” In the Florida Legislature, there’s an implicit rule: Speakers who provide testimony should accurately describe their motives and agenda when speaking in front of committees. That said, it’s not unusual for paid consultants to speak on an issue, as it is equally common for concerned citizens to travel to Tallahassee to express heartfelt opinions on a matter. Often, legislators will give more weight to those “regular folks,” as their testimony comes from deeply held,…

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House panel pulls trigger on open carry

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A House panel Tuesday morning advanced a bill to allow concealed weapons licensees to carry their guns openly in Florida. Or as sponsor state Rep. Matt Gaetz put it, restore a right “granted not by government, but by God.” Despite an admonishment from Chairman Carlos Trujillo to keep questions to the text of the bill itself and avoid “philosophical” discussion, the Federalist Papers, constitutional jurisprudence, and the very notion of civilization all shot through an hour-long debate on the measure, which saw testimony from…

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