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LOBBYIST FILE - DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, FEBRUARY 27, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
GEORGE OSCAR ANDERSON has registered to lobby for Pioneer Technology Group... Story

EX-REGULATOR EDGAR EXITS STATE PARKS JOB
JIM TURNER |
Former utility regulator Lisa Edgar has left her position as director of the Florida Park Service two months after being appointed to the job... Story


WEEKLY ROUNDUP: THEY'LL BE BACK
BRANDON LARRABEE |
It's time for denizens of Tallahassee to get their last week of rest and recreation --- or at least sanity --- before the whirlwind of activity begins... Read the Roundup

JUSTICES TURN DOWN FPL IN POWER LINE DISPUTE
JIM SAUNDERS |
The state Supreme Court on Friday turned down an appeal by Florida Power & Light in a case about whether the utility could be required to install underground transmission lines as part of a nuclear-power project in Miami-Dade County... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF FEBRUARY 26, 2017
STAFF |
With the legislative session poised to start March 7, state government will be relatively quiet during the coming week... Read the Advances


LOTTERY DEFENDS TICKET SALES CONTRACT
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The Florida Lottery defended a long-term contract for ticket sales in a Tallahassee courtroom Thursday, pushing back at a House lawsuit contending the agency had overstepped its authority... Story

HOUSE, SENATE AT ODDS ON GAMBLING PLANS
DARA KAM |
In opening salvos fired Thursday, lawmakers gave preliminary approval to diametrically opposed proposals that would either vastly expand the state's gambling footprint with a Senate-backed plan or essentially maintain the status quo with a measure endorsed by House leaders... Story

HIGHER-ED PACKAGE HEADED TO SENATE FLOOR
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
The Florida Senate is poised to approve a major higher-education package that would expand the use of Bright Futures scholarships and tighten graduation standards for universities and state colleges... Story

HOUSE COOL TO NEGRON WATER PLAN
JIM TURNER |
It appears doubtful the House will take up, as written, a $2.4 billion proposal by Senate President Joe Negron to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee to ease the impacts of polluted water releases into estuaries on the east and west coasts... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE? MAYBE NOT
DARA KAM AND JIM SAUNDERS |
President Donald Trump created a firestorm Friday when, in a tweet, he branded the news media "the enemy of the American people.".. Read the Briefing


HOUSE TAKES AIM AT LOCAL REGULATIONS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Legislation that would bar city and county governments from regulating businesses, unless state laws specifically allowed them to do so, cleared its first House panel Wednesday over objections that it would unwind local control... Story

LAWMAKERS EYE HIGHER EDUCATION PROJECTS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
From robotics competitions to Alzheimer's research to new state college buildings, higher-education advocates on Wednesday made their pitches to Senate and House committees for funding in the next state budget... Story

HOUSE PANEL BACKS 'STAND YOUR GROUND' SHIFT
JIM TURNER |
A move to shift the burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases is off to a fast start in the House, where the controversial proposal died a year ago... Story

JUDGES LOOK AT SUNSHINE LAW IN WORKERS' COMP CASE
JIM SAUNDERS |
An appeals court weighed arguments Wednesday about whether Florida's Sunshine Law was violated before regulators last year approved a 14.5 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates... Story


JUDICIAL TERM LIMITS MOVE AHEAD AMID SENATE DOUBTS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Legislation that would limit Florida appellate judges to two consecutive terms in office was sent to the House floor Tuesday, as prominent senators have begun voicing concerns about the proposal... Story

HOUSE BACKS UNANIMOUS JURIES IN DEATH CASES
DARA KAM |
Juries would have to unanimously decide that defendants should be condemned to death, under a fast-tracked proposal aimed at fixing the state's death-penalty sentencing system after a series of court rulings have put executions on hold in Florida for more than a year... Story

HOUSE, SCOTT CONTINUE CLASH ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
JIM TURNER |
A proposal fiercely opposed by Gov. Rick Scott to cut tourism-marketing money and to eliminate Florida's business-recruitment agency is ready to be heard by the House when the annual legislative session begins... Story

SENATORS SEEK SOLUTION ON SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Half of a two-part effort to bridge differences between charter schools and traditional public schools over construction funding was approved Tuesday by a Senate committee --- but the other measure was left to an uncertain future... Story

COURT DELIVERS WIN TO FLORIDA IN FLOWER TAX FIGHT
JIM SAUNDERS |
The U. S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to take up a constitutional challenge to Florida collecting sales taxes on flowers that are ordered online from a Palm Beach County company but are delivered out of state... Story

PERSONNEL FILE - PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, FEBRUARY 21, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
BRIAN SWENSEN has been named senior vice president with the public-strategy firm Mercury... Read the Personnel File


NELSON TO TRY LEGISLATIVE ROUTE IN 'WATER WAR'
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
U. S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday he will file legislation aimed at forcing the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to divert more freshwater into Northwest Florida's Apalachicola Bay system... Story

SPEAKER OFFERS MONEY FOR VISIT FLORIDA --- WITH CONDITIONS
JIM TURNER |
House Speaker Richard Corcoran is willing to allow Visit Florida to remain alive, at one-third the funding sought by Gov. Rick Scott and with a list of conditions attached... Story

DEATH PENALTY CASES ALLOWED TO MOVE FORWARD
DARA KAM |
In what was described as an "about-face" after a previous ruling, the Florida Supreme Court on Monday ordered that death penalty cases can proceed, even with an unconstitutional law still on the books... Story

NURSING HOMES FIGHT REPEAL OF KEY REGULATIONS
JIM SAUNDERS |
For the past two years, Florida lawmakers have debated eliminating controversial regulations on building or expanding hospitals... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


DELANEY TO STEP DOWN AS UNF PRESIDENT

John Delaney announced Monday that he will step down as president of the University of North Florida in May 2018 when his current contract ends...

BROWN READY TO RUN AGAIN IN CENTRAL FLORIDA DISTRICT

After getting elected to an Orlando-area House seat in November, Democrat Kamia Brown is preparing to run again in 2018...

FLORIDA GULF COAST GETS RECORD GIFT

Florida Gulf Coast University has received the largest gift in the institution's history, as Elaine Nicpon Marieb has agreed to donate $10 million to the school's college of health professions and social work...


BILLS WOULD ALLOW INVESTMENTS IN NATURAL GAS RESERVES

Florida electric utilities would be able to invest in natural-gas reserves and recoup the money from customers, under bills filed Friday by two Republican lawmakers...

SENATE SEEKS TO CUT COMMUNICATIONS TAX, END INSURER TAX CREDIT

Taxes that Floridians pay on cell-phone and pay-TV services would be trimmed in exchange for the elimination of a decades-old insurance industry tax credit, under a bill filed Friday in the Senate...

GOP GOVERNORS CHOOSE SCOTT FOR LEADERSHIP POST

Gov. Rick Scott has been elected as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, the group announced Friday...

APPEALS COURT TOSSES OUT MAJOR TOBACCO VERDICT

In a sharply worded ruling, a state appeals court Friday ordered a new trial in the death of a smoker whose estate initially won a more than $23 billion verdict against R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company...

REPORT: CRIST, WIFE TO GET DIVORCE

After eight years of marriage, U. S. Rep. Charlie Crist is getting divorced from his wife, Carole, whom he married while he was governor in 2008, the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday...

VETERANS COULD GET HOLIDAY TAX BREAK

Sales taxes on certain clothes and footwear would be lifted for honorably discharged military veterans on Veterans Day, under a measure filed Friday by Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee...


BILL WOULD ALLOW OPTOMETRISTS TO PERFORM SURGERY

A powerful senator Thursday proposed a bill that would allow optometrists to perform surgical procedures, rekindling a long-running political battle between optometrists and ophthalmologists...

PLAN WOULD ALLOW OFFICERS TO LOOK AT CAMERA FOOTAGE

Law enforcement officers could view footage on their body cameras before writing reports of incidents, under legislation moving in the Florida House...

CHANGES WEIGHED FOR DEEPWATER HORIZON PLAN

Money from the Deepwater Horizon disaster settlement may be used to market Northwest Florida and for broad economic development projects, under changes to a pair of bills before the House Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast...

LAWMAKERS BACK HIGHER THRESHOLD FOR BALLOT INITIATIVES

A House panel Thursday approved a proposal that would make it harder for voters to change the Florida Constitution...

LAWMAKERS PITCH ROLE FOR PUBLIC COUNSEL IN LOCAL CASES

Two Republican lawmakers this week proposed allowing the state Office of Public Counsel to represent some customers of municipal utilities in rate cases...

SESSION OPENING DAY SCHEDULE SET

With Gov. Rick Scott expected to give the traditional "State of the State" address, lawmakers will gather at 11 a. m. March 7 to formally start the 2017 legislative session...


HOUSE PLAN WOULD BOLSTER SCHOOL CHOICE PROGRAMS

A wide-ranging House bill filed Wednesday would increase the amount of money given to students under the state's de facto school-voucher program and make more children eligible for scholarships aimed at students with disabilities...

DEATH PENALTY SENTENCING FIX READY FOR FULL SENATE

The Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday approved a bill (SB 280) that would require unanimous jury recommendations before defendants could be sentenced to death, setting the stage for the full Senate to act quickly on the issue next month...

HOUSE PANEL BACKS LAWSUITS OVER ABORTION INJURIES

As a similar proposal emerged in the Senate, a House panel Wednesday supported a controversial bill that could help clear the way for women to file lawsuits against doctors who perform abortions...

SENATE LOOKS TO SPEED UP REDISTRICTING CASES

Senators have started moving forward with a proposal that would speed up redistricting court cases and set new guidelines for elections when redistricting challenges are ongoing...

GAMBLING WARNING PROPOSED FOR LOTTERY

The Florida Lottery, facing a lawsuit from the House for signing a long-term contract regarding ticket sales, may be required to have a warning about gambling on each ticket...

'HEROES' BILL STARTS MOVING IN HOUSE

A proposal that would make it a third-degree felony for defacing a statue or memorial that represents a Continental or U. S. Army soldier, a NASA astronaut or a first responder got its first vote of support Wednesday in the House...


SENATE PANEL BACKS MONEY FOR ST. JOHNS RIVER

Looking to tap conservation money approved by voters in 2014, a Senate committee Tuesday approved a plan that would earmark $35 million a year for projects related to the St. Johns River or the Keystone Heights lake region in North Florida...

DUNN PLAN TARGETS 'URGENT' APALACHICOLA PROBLEM

With backing from a dozen other members of Florida's U. S. House delegation, Congressman Neal Dunn announced Tuesday he has filed a resolution seeking to block the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers from using a water-control plan impacting the Apalachicola Bay region...

HEALTH PLANS FACE POSSIBILITY OF MORE LAWSUITS

Despite objections from the managed-care industry, a Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that could open HMOs to more lawsuits by patients...

DIRECT PRIMARY CARE GETS SENATE BACKING

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a measure that would clear the way for "direct primary care" agreements between doctors and patients --- and raised the possibility of using such agreements in the Medicaid program...

LAWMAKERS LOOK TO CARRY OUT SOLAR AMENDMENT

A proposal to carry out a renewable-energy tax break that voters approved in the August primary election continued moving through the Senate on Tuesday...

RIDESHARING BILL HEADED TO HOUSE FLOOR

A controversial proposal that would set statewide regulations for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft is ready to go to the full House after the annual legislative session starts March 7...

RED-LIGHT CAMERA BAN STAYS IN HOUSE FAST LANE

A House committee drove forward Tuesday with a proposal to ban red-light cameras in Florida, two weeks after a similar measure stalled in the Senate...

FLORIDA, GEORGIA TO SPLIT TAB FOR SPECIAL MASTER

Florida got hit Tuesday with the latest bill in its "water war" legal battle with Georgia...

SENATORS BACK TAX EXEMPTION FOR DIAPERS

A measure that would eliminate sales taxes on diapers for children and adults got support Tuesday in the Senate...

RUSSELL NAMED NAACP BOARD CHAIRMAN

Longtime Florida civil-rights leader Leon W. Russell has been elected chairman of the board of directors of the NAACP...


BALLOT INITIATIVES WILL NEED 766,000 SIGNATURES

It will take more signature-gathering --- and money --- to get proposed constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot...

LATVALA POLITICAL COMMITTEE RAKES IN CASH

A political committee linked to Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala has collected more than $400,000 in February, amid talk that Latvala could run for governor in 2018...

GRUTERS PITCHES REFORMS FOR EMBATTLED AGENCIES

State Rep. Joe Gruters, the only Republican who voted this month against a House proposal that would abolish Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, introduced a bill Monday aimed at reforming the agencies...

PROPOSED ABORTION RULE DRAWS CRITICISM

Opponents of a controversial 2016 abortion law have blasted a proposed rule that the state contends would clarify a key issue in a pending federal lawsuit...

PUTNAM COMMITTEE CONTINUES PILING UP CASH

A political committee tied to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has raised more than $500,000 this month, as it continues to pile up cash ahead of what is expected to be a run for the governor's mansion...


FORMER CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATOR ARRESTED

A former Department of Children and Families child protective investigator was arrested Thursday on two counts of falsifying records, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced...

HOUSE SEEKS ONLINE ANIMAL-ABUSE REGISTRY

Names and mug shots of individuals convicted of animal abuse would have their names published online by the state, under a proposal filed Friday in the Florida House...

TRUMBULL, CHALLENGER GEAR UP FOR 2018 HOUSE RACE

State Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, and a Democratic challenger have opened campaign accounts to run in 2018 for Trumbull's Bay County House seat, according to the state Division of Elections website...

TRUMP TO RALLY SUPPORT IN MELBOURNE

President Donald Trump will hold a rally Saturday in Brevard County, returning to the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport where he held a campaign event last year...

HOUSE MEMBER LOOKS TO SCUTTLE STADIUM MONEY

State Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, has filed a proposal intended to eliminate an unused pool of money for professional stadium upgrades...


FOUR FINALISTS NAMED FOR FLORIDA GULF COAST PRESIDENCY

Former state Rep. Tom Grady did not make a list of finalists for the presidency of Florida Gulf Coast University, as a search committee Thursday opted for four veteran academics...

COURT SIDES WITH HOSPITAL IN 'PIP' DISPUTE

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday sided with a Jacksonville hospital in a battle with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company about how much information the hospital should be required to provide about its charges...

PLAN CALLS FOR CHARTER SCHOOL IN TROUBLED DISTRICT

The State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to approve a plan calling for the operation of public education in Jefferson County to be turned over to a charter school...

SUPREME COURT BLOCKS ABORTION WAITING PERIOD

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a 2015 law that would have required women to wait 24 hours before having abortions...

VOTE-BY-MAIL FIX APPROVED IN HOUSE

After a court ruling last year, a House subcommittee Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would deal with situations in which vote-by-mail ballots are rejected because signatures do not match the signatures on file with supervisors of elections...

INDIAN RIVER LAGOON MONEY PROPOSED

Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has filed a proposal that would provide voter-approved money for restoration work along the Indian River Lagoon system...

MARINO FOUNDATION LICENSE PLATE PROPOSED

The image of former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino could be affixed to the back of cars in the latest proposed specialty license plate...


HOUSE EMPLOYEE CHARGED WITH SOLICITING A MINOR

A former Florida House of Representatives employee who oversaw the chamber’s page and messenger program has been arrested and charged with two counts of using a computer to solicit a minor for sex...

PUBLIC MEETINGS EXEMPTION SOUGHT FOR ONE-ON-ONE TALKS

A House Republican on Wednesday proposed a bill that would allow members of state and local boards and commissions to hold one-on-one meetings in private...

COURT SIDES WITH THURSTON IN MATCHING FUNDS DISPUTE

An appeals court Wednesday sided with state Sen. Perry Thurston in a dispute about whether he was entitled to receive matching funds for his unsuccessful 2014 campaign for attorney general...

 
 
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