Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

The day that was at the Florida Capitol — March 24

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

State Rep. Matt Gaetz proclaimed last month that “no tax is safe” and Tuesday he released a $690 million tax cutting plan moving the House budget plan farther away from the one the Senate is working on.

Gaetz wants to enact two tax cuts, create four tax credits, implement 10 sales tax exemptions and schedule a back-to-school tax holiday. The Senate will not consider any tax cuts until problems related to the end of federal hospital reimbursement program is resolved. There are a little more than four weeks left for the disputes between Washington and Tallahassee and the House and Senate to be worked out.

And here’s the position from where Gaetz, the House Finance and Tax chairman, is starting: Rep. Gaetz noted that Floridians pay less in taxes than the residents of any other state and that “We can do even better.”

The Senate approved Jeff Brandes’ concealed-carry during an evacuation proposal Tuesday on a 29-10 vote. Opponents argued it creates a public safety risk by allowing guns in shelters during an intensely stressful period — an emergency evacuation.

“I do have issues,” said state Sen. Audrey Gibson. “When people are displaced, when children are involved, when families are involved and people are living in close quarters.”

“This bill simply says while you are in the process of evacuating during those incredibly rare instances where we are forced to have a mandatory evacuation where there has been a declared state of emergency for 48 hours only after that evacuation is declared you can flee your home, you can grab your kids, you can grab your dogs, you can put everybody in the car and you can get out of town and you can take with you your valuables, which may include your firearms,” said Brandes.

A proposed gun restriction didn’t survive its first House committee stop.

A House subcommittee shot down a proposal banning shooting guns on residential property. A St. Petersburg man who had set up a shooting range in his back yard prompted state Rep. Darryl Rouson to sponsor the ban. He quoted George Washington’s first address to Congress about free people needing to be armed and disciplined and then said his proposal was about discipline, not an infringement on gun ownership. State Rep. Gayle Harrell noted that current law addresses the problem Rouson identified. Committee members thanked him for his work and voted down the measure 9-5.

Another House committee wants to revise the lobbyist gift ban. It cleared a proposal to allow local governments to offer “meeting space” to lawmakers — local governments employ lobbyists. The story is here.

The Department of Economic Opportunity is taking a Lake County city to court. It filed a legal challenge against the City of Mascotte. It had annexed 500 acres of the Green Swamp Area of Critical Concern and doubled the number of homes allowed. DEO found the land-use changes not in compliance with state law. It is the first challenge DEO has filed since growth management laws were changed in 2011. The story is here.

And according to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee Florida is preparing to take “baby steps” in authorizing a legal marijuana industry. State Sen. Rob Bradley unveiled his Charlotte’s Web glitch bill Tuesday at a Regulated Industries Committee meeting. Lobbyists, patients, and patient advocates urged senators to increase the amount of THC authorized in medicinal cannabis in order to treat more illnesses. Senators said they wanted to proceed slowly since the research on medicinal marijuana is incomplete. There is more here.

Latest from Statewide

Go to Top