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Senate Appropriations

Pinellas Young Republicans to host annual convention in St. Pete this weekend

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A host of top GOP leaders, including a couple of statewide candidates for 2018, will speak to a group of up and coming Party members this weekend at the annual Florida Federation of Young Republicans Convention. Presented by the Pinellas County Young Republicans, the convention is June 9-10 at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. Among the weekend’s speakers are state Sens. Jack Latvala and Denise Grimsley, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, as well as presentations from Grow PAC and Innovate Florida. Putnam…

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Appropriations Committee sends its medical marijuana bill to Senate floor

in 2017 by

A Senate panel cleared its version of the medical marijuana implementing bill, sending it to the floor and setting House and Senate up for negotiations over the two different proposals in the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill (SB 406) that would implement the 2016 medical marijuana constitutional amendment. Sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, the bill is generally favored by medical marijuana advocates; but several expressed concerns about access during the final…

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Senate panel OK’s amendment to limit number of retail locations allowed to dispense medical marijuana

in 2017 by

A medical marijuana bill advanced through a key Senate panel Tuesday, picking up an amendment that would limit the number of retail locations allowed to dispense medical marijuana. The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee approved a bill (SB 406) by Sen. Rob Bradley to implement the 2016 medical marijuana constitutional amendment. The proposal, among other things, calls on the Department of Health to issue five new licenses —at least one of which must be a black farmer —…

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In rush to Sine Die, an unfair tax increase somehow sneaks into Florida’s “tax cut” budget

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

As the 2016 Legislative Session enters its final week, lawmakers in both the House and Senate have scrambled to hammer out details the state’s $80 billion-plus budget. Needless to say, things get more than a little hectic before Friday’s anticipated Sine Die. And when things get busy, things get overlooked. For example, nestled within this year’s proposal – something heavily endorsed as a “tax cut” budget – lies a proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothes, a Trojan horse of a tax increase…

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Senate panel rejects proposal to regulate fracking in Florida

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A bill to regulate fracking in Florida is on life support after a Senate panel voted to reject the controversial proposal. The Senate Appropriations Committee narrowly rejected the proposal (SB 318). However, lawmakers used a parliamentary maneuver — in this case, a motion to reconsider — to keep the proposal, sponsored by Sen. Garrett Richter, alive. The motion to reconsider gives lawmakers the option of bringing it up for another hearing in the waning days of the 2016 session. “As…

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Andy Gardiner lays out Senate schedule for remainder of session

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Senate President Andy Gardiner announced a few programming notes following a more or less pro forma floor session late Wednesday morning. Among them: The 6 o’clock rule — which has been broken a handful of times this conference season, including an 8:45 meeting of the Education budget panel — remains in effect whether budget chiefs Richard Corcoran and Tom Lee come to agreement today or not. Gardiner’s final offers were more likely to emerge tomorrow. There will be a brief 9 a.m. floor session, in order to…

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The hypocrisy of Tom Lee: Senator fundraised before Special Session, counter to what he suggested

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

This week, the Florida Legislature reconvenes to complete its only constitutionally mandated job: close a multibillion-dollar budget gap. But that is not the only business politicians have on their agenda. Under Florida law, legislators can schedule and hold political fundraisers up to the June 1 Special Session, when they (hopefully) approve a nearly $80 billion budget – and fend off a possible government shutdown. As the state faces dire fiscal woes, it raises the question — should state lawmakers be…

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