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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

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With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round. Off: John Hinchee has stepped down as legislative assistant for Longwood Republican Rep. Scott Plakon. On: Jervonte Edmonds will be Plakon’s new assistant. Off: Bryan Roberts is no longer district secretary for Opa Locka Democratic Rep. Cynthia Stafford. On: Dalie Sejour will be Stafford’s new secretary. Off: Kamia Brown has stepped down as legislative assistant for Orlando Democratic…

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Florida’s Pastor Protection Act doesn’t go as far as Georgia’s — and that’s a good thing for NFL fans

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After the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, more than 20 state legislatures reacted by passing religious freedom laws to protect clergy. This month, Florida became the latest state to do so after Gov. Rick Scott signed the Pastor Protection Act. The new law shields religious entities and individuals from any lawsuit if they refuse to administer same-sex weddings. Meanwhile in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal says he’ll decide by next month whether…

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Rick Scott signs the ‘Pastor Protection’ bill into law

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A controversial bill that shields clergy members who refuse to perform gay marriages is now law. The so-called pastor protection act was one of more than two dozen bills Gov. Rick Scott signed into law Thursday. Rep. Scott Plakon, the House sponsor, said earlier this month the proposal offered protections to pastors that have concerns about gay marriage. The law protects clergy, churches and religious organizations and their employees from civil action for refusing to perform gay marriages. Plakon has…

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Florida House votes 82-37 to approve “Pastor Protection” Act

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The Florida House voted 82-37 to approve a bill that allows members of the clergy to refuse to perform gay marriages. The passage came after more than an hour of passionate debate. Opponents questioned why the bill (HB 43) was needed, with some calling it an insult to the state’s gay community. “This bill is about discriminating in the name of religion, sadly,” said Rep. David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat and the only openly gay member of the Florida…

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Florida House takes up “Pastor Protection” Act.

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The Florida House of Representatives on Tuesday began its consideration of legislation to ensure clergy members, ministers and other “religious organization” employees could legally refuse to perform gay marriages. The bill (HB 43), which has been called the “Pastor Protection Act,” is being billed as a “conscience protection” measure by its sponsor, state Rep. Scott Plakon.  The bill was on “special order” Tuesday, meaning members could ask questions of Plakon and offer amendments. Debate and a final vote of the chamber on…

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5 questions for Fantasy Sports Trade Association after DFS bill first committee stop

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One of the hottest issues facing lawmakers in the 2016 Legislative Session is the regulation of the daily fantasy sports industry. Moving toward that goal is HB 707: Fantasy Contests, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Gaetz, has recently move out the Business & Professions Subcommittee, its first stop in the Florida House. What the bill seeks to do is create a series of consumer protections and oversight for DFS operators. Highlights of the proposal include: fantasy sports operator employees and…

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Scott Plakon: Fantasy sports play legal “under current law”

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One of the Legislature’s most stalwart opponents to gambling and its expansion in the Sunshine State nonetheless voted for a House bill that would explicitly legalize fantasy sports play in Florida. State Rep. Scott Plakon, a Longwood Republican, sits on the House Business and Professions Subcommittee that OK’d the bill (HB 707) by a 10-3 vote earlier this week. Does that mean Plakon, who led the drive to shut down Internet gambling cafes in 2013, thinks online fantasy sports is not gambling? He…

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