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SB 1118

George Gainer, Jeff Brandes reverse positions on Tri-Rail, push bill to let controversial contract stand

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Tri-Rail’s controversial, one-source, half-billion, operations contract could go forward under an amended bill pushed Thursday by the Gov. Rick Scott administration and state Sens. George Gainer and Jeff Brandes. Just a few weeks ago, both Gainer and Brandes were hostile critics of the contract and Tri-Rail. Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican, sponsored an amendment Thursday that strips away language that he and Scott had pushed for earlier that would have forced Tri-Rail to rebid the $511 million, 10-year contract. Tri-Rail’s operating…

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Jeff Brandes’ renewable bills pass first stop, group opposes solar amendment

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A bill that would place a renewable energy tax exemption amendment on the ballot in 2016 passed their its committee stop on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity-Florida held a press conference to its opposition to a different proposed amendment dealing with solar energy. SB 400, from St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, would extend a residential property tax exemption for renewable energy devices, as already is provided in the state Constitution, to commercial property. Similar bills last year died in Senate…

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With environmental issues looming, Alan Hays won’t haggle over Amendment 1 spending

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With industry and environmental groups sparring over what qualifies for spending under Amendment 1, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees environmental spending says he won’t haggle over the issue. Amendment 1, the water and land conservation funding initiative approved by voters in November, will be a focus of the 2015 legislative session starting Tuesday. The initiative will provide an estimated $757 million toward eligible programs in fiscal year 2015-16. It’s just one issue in what is shaping up…

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