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NSF MONTHLY DIGEST FOR MAY 2017

LOBBYIST FILE - DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, MAY 1, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
ERIN DALY BALLAS has registered to lobby for CR833 LLC. BECKER & POLIAKOFF lobbyists Jose Bermudez and Nicholas Matthews have registered to lobby for The Society for Clinical and Medical Hair Removal... Story

CALDWELL TO RUN FOR AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER
JIM SAUNDERS |
Setting up a primary battle against fellow lawmaker Denise Grimsley, state Rep. Matt Caldwell announced Monday he will run for agriculture commissioner next year... Story

STATE WORKERS TO SEE PAY RAISE, PENSION CHANGES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
State workers will be in line for pay raises, although the plan is coupled with major changes in the state pension fund and employee health insurance, under a bill approved Monday by the Senate Appropriations Committee... Story

TAX CUTS MOVE FORWARD IN SENATE
JIM TURNER |
A proposed property-tax break that would go before voters next year and a slimmed-down tax cut package, both tied to ongoing budget negotiations, got key approvals Monday in the Republican-dominated Senate... Story

SENATE SESSION, MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 1 p. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

SENATE APPROVES PLAN FOR DEEPWATER HORIZON MONEY
JIM TURNER |
Money from the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill settlement will be available for tourism marketing as part of a legislative deal designed to get the first payment to Northwest Florida counties most impacted by the 2010 disaster... Story

PUTNAM, GRAHAM GEAR UP FOR GOVERNOR'S RACE
DARA KAM AND LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Ending months of speculation, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam filed papers Monday to run for governor in 2018... Story

BUDGET TALKS CONTINUE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Negotiations over a roughly $83 billion budget continued behind the scenes Monday, as other parts of the complicated maneuvering to successfully end the 2017 legislative session began to lock into place... Story

TUESDAY, MAY 02, 2017

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, MAY 2, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
SALLY BOYNTON BROWN has been named president of the Florida Democratic Party... Read the Personnel File

DEADLY FENTANYL TOUCHES OFF SENATE DEBATE
JIM SAUNDERS |
Grappling with a deadly drug scourge across the state, Florida senators Tuesday had an impassioned debate about whether the state should require mandatory-minimum prison sentences for fentanyl trafficking... Story

SENATE SESSION, TUESDAY MORNING, MAY 2, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 10 a. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

GRAHAM LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN, CALLS FOR SCHOOL CHANGES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Former U. S. Rep. Gwen Graham entered the 2018 governor's race on Tuesday, joining a field of Democrats who hope to reclaim an office their party hasn't held in nearly two decades... Story

LAWMAKERS FOLD ON REACHING GAMBLING DEAL
DARA KAM |
Unable to overcome an impasse on slot machines, House and Senate leaders Tuesday called off negotiations on a sweeping gambling measure, acknowledging that the effort is dead for the 2017 legislative session... Story

NEGRON WATER PRIORITY GOING TO GOVERNOR
JIM TURNER |
Florida could bond up to $800 million --- two-thirds the amount previously sought by the Senate --- to speed construction of a reservoir intended to help clean South Florida waterways, under a compromise measure heading to Gov. Rick Scott... Story

BREAKING NEWS: BUDGET WILL NEED MORE TIME
STAFF |
Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, confirmed Tuesday evening that lawmakers will not be able to pass a budget before Friday's scheduled end of the legislative session. House and Senate leaders needed to finish a spending plan by Tuesday night because of a constitutionally require 72-hour “cooling off period.” It was not immediately clear whether the session would be extended or whether a special session would be needed. “You know the timetable as well as I do, with the 72-hour requirement,” Negron told reporters. “We will definitely not complete the budget work prior to the end of Friday.” The News Service will have a full story Tuesday night. --END-- 5/2/2017 © 2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited. You can view the Terms of Use on our website. Independent and Indispensable http://www.newsserviceflorida.com

HOUSE APPROVES MEDICAL POT BILL
DARA KAM |
The state would have more than a dozen pot operators --- with unlimited retail locations --- under a proposal overwhelmingly approved by the Florida House on Tuesday... Story

HOUSE SESSION, TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 10:30 a. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

LAWMAKERS HEADED TO OVERTIME FOR BUDGET
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The Republican-dominated Legislature will need extra time to finish work on the state budget for the second time in three years, as lawmakers ended Tuesday with no agreement on an $83 billion spending plan for the year beginning July 1... Story

SENATE SESSION, TUESDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 2, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate reconvened at 3 p. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

WEDNESDAY, MAY 03, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: BUDGET DEAL REACHED, SESSION EXTENDED
STAFF |
Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said Wednesday morning the House and Senate have reached agreement on a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, said they will extend the legislative session to Monday. Negron said the extension will only apply to the budget and budget-related bills. Details of the budget deal were not immediately available. The extension is needed because House and Senate leaders could not reach agreement on a budget by Tuesday night. The session had been scheduled to end Friday, but the budget needed to be finished Tuesday because of a constitutionally required 72-hour “cooling off” period. The News Service will have a full story later Wednesday. May 3, 2017 2 www.statehousenews.com Serving the working press since 1910 Serving the working press since 1910 --END-- 5/3/2017 © 2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited. You can view the Terms of Use on our website. Independent and Indispensable http://www.newsserviceflorida.com

SENATE SESSION, WEDNESDAY MORNING, MAY 3, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 10 a. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

HOUSE SESSION, WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 10:31 a. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

SCOTT DECLARES OPIOID `EMERGENCY' IN FLORIDA
JIM SAUNDERS |
Pointing to thousands of overdose deaths, Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Wednesday that said an opioid epidemic has created a “state of emergency” in Florida... Story

FAILURE OF GAMBLING BILLS LEAVES INDUSTRY IN LIMBO
DARA KAM |
Thousands of gray-market slot machines could pop up in sports bars and strip malls, full-scale slot machines might launch in at least eight counties and several new cardrooms could open in South Florida, thanks to lawmakers' failure to pass gambling legislation this session... Story

BUDGET ON TRACK FOR MONDAY APPROVAL
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Lawmakers closed in on an elusive budget deal Wednesday, even as Gov. Rick Scott ramped up criticism of the spending plan as he toured the state... Story

LAWMAKERS STEER $500 MILLION TO SCHOOLS FOR CONSTRUCTION
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Florida lawmakers on Wednesday approved a $500 million list of school construction and maintenance projects, including $207 million for state universities and $115 million for state colleges... Story

LAWMAKERS POISED TO CARRY OUT SOLAR AMENDMENT
JIM TURNER |
Solar energy backers are supporting a “good enough” measure that would carry out a decision by voters to expand a renewable-energy tax break... Story

SENATE SESSION, WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 3, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: After a recess, the Senate reconvened at 2:30 p. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

THURSDAY, MAY 04, 2017

SENATE SESSION, THURSDAY MORNING, MAY 4, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 10 a. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

BACKROOM BRIEFING: VETOING BUDGET A RARELY USED `OPTION'
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER AND DARA KAM |
An incensed Gov. Rick Scott this week raised the specter of vetoing the state budget, but history shows Florida governors rarely exercise their executive power to red-line the entire spending plan... Read the Briefing

HOUSE SESSION, THURSDAY, MAY 4, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 1 p. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

`STAND YOUR GROUND' DISPUTE GOES DOWN TO LAST DAY
JIM TURNER |
The Florida Senate stuck to its guns Thursday in a dispute with the House about a change to the state's “stand your ground” self-defense law... Story

HOUSE, SENATE DOWN TO WIRE ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA
DARA KAM |
With just one day left to pass a bill, House and Senate Republican leaders are still struggling to strike a deal on the rollout of a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with debilitating conditions... Story

NEGOTIATORS NAIL DOWN $83 BILLION STATE BUDGET
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Behind schedule and late in the evening, House and Senate negotiators agreed Thursday to an $83 billion spending plan for the year that begins July 1, setting up a delayed end to the legislative session... Story

SENATE SESSION, THURSDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 4, 2017
STAFF |
RECONVENED: After a recess, the Senate reconvened at 1:30 p. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

QUESTIONS REMAIN AS SENATE TARGETS TESTING
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday aimed at limiting the amount of time public school students spend on standardized tests and ensuring that elementary students get recess, amid speculation that some of the changes might be undone... Story

FRIDAY, MAY 05, 2017

FENTANYL CRACKDOWN GOES TO GOVERNOR
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
After an impassioned debate over minimum-mandatory sentences, the Florida Senate voted Friday to send a bill to the governor that would impose tough penalties on people convicted of trafficking in fentanyl and related opioid drugs... Story

HOUSE SESSION, FRIDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 5, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 1:01 p. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MAY 7, 2017
STAFF |
Florida lawmakers are expected Monday to approve a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and conclude the annual legislative session... Read the Advances

LAWMAKERS REACH DEAL ON HIGHER ED FOUNDATIONS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
University and state college foundations would be prohibited from using public funds to pay for their employees beginning in 2022 and would face more disclosure requirements under an agreement reached Friday by legislative leaders... Story

BUDGET DEAL SEALED AHEAD OF MONDAY VOTE
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Florida legislative leaders put the finishing touches Friday on a package of budget-related bills, as the new spending plan weighing in at roughly $83 billion was released to lawmakers and the public... Story

LAWMAKERS FAIL TO REACH DEAL ON WORKERS' COMP
JIM SAUNDERS |
Tangled in a battle about attorney fees, Florida lawmakers could not reach agreement Friday on a bill aimed at holding down workers' compensation insurance rates... Story

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DEAL GOES UP IN SMOKE
DARA KAM |
Unable to bridge a gap over how many marijuana dispensaries the state should have, Florida lawmakers Friday failed to pass legislation that would have created a framework to carry out a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana for wide variety of patients... Story

SENATE SESSION, FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 10 a. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

`STAND YOUR GROUND' CHANGE HEADING TO SCOTT
JIM TURNER |
A change to the state's “stand your ground” self-defense law is heading to Gov. Rick Scott after the Senate agreed late Friday to go along with a House proposal... Story

MAJOR EDUCATION BILL MAKES LATE APPEARANCE
BRANDON LARRABEE |
A sprawling, 278-page education package affecting everything from charter schools to school uniforms emerged from the budget process Friday, raising new questions about transparency in the final days of the legislative session... Story

HOUSE SESSION, FRIDAY EVENING, MAY 5, 2017
STAFF |
RECONVENED: The House reconvened at 6:04 p. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

SATURDAY, MAY 06, 2017

TEN BIG ISSUES OF THE 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
JIM SAUNDERS |
Florida lawmakers will gather Monday at the Capitol to pass a new state budget... Story

SESSION ROUNDUP: ALL OVER BUT THE BUDGET
BRANDON LARRABEE |
To the extent that any legislative session is remembered, the 2017 edition might be remembered as much for what lawmakers didn't do as for what they did... Story

MONDAY, MAY 08, 2017

LOBBYIST FILE --- DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, MAY 8, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
BALLARD PARTNERS lobbyists Brian Ballard and Ana Cruz have registered to lobby for BioSpine Institute... Story

LEADERS SPAR OVER MARIJUANA BILL FAILURE
DARA KAM |
With its fate now in the hands of state health officials, Republican legislative leaders are blaming each other for failing to create a framework for carrying out a voter-approved constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana... Story

UNIVERSITIES GET BOOST AMID USF UPROAR
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Florida lawmakers on Monday approved a budget that will dramatically increase university funding and student financial aid, while leaders defended a performance standard that could impact the University of South Florida... Story

SENATE SESSION, MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 1 p. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

LAWMAKERS APPROVE TAX CUTS AS SESSION CLOSES
JIM TURNER |
Floridians are in line for a pair of three-day sales tax “holidays” --- for the hurricane season and for back-to-school shopping --- and will no longer pay the “tampon tax,” under a measure approved by lawmakers Monday night... Story

HOUSE SESSION, MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 1 p. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

BUDGET, SCHOOL CHANGES PASS AS LAWMAKERS HEAD HOME
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The Florida Legislature overwhelmingly approved a state budget and ended the annual session Monday, after narrowly avoiding a meltdown over a controversial measure that makes sweeping changes to the state's education system... Story

TUESDAY, MAY 09, 2017

APPEALS COURT BACKS WORKERS' COMP RATE HIKE
JIM SAUNDERS |
Rejecting arguments that Florida's Sunshine Law was violated, an appeals court Tuesday upheld a 14.5 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates that began to hit businesses in December... Story

FANT FIRST IN LINE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Promising to fight “big government,” state Rep. Jay Fant on Tuesday launched a campaign to become Florida's next attorney general... Story

SCOTT: FLORIDA OUT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GAME
JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday that Florida won't be in the “game for economic development” after lawmakers rejected his proposals for spending on business incentives and tourism marketing... Story

OPEN MIAMI-DADE SEATS CAUSE POLITICAL SCRAMBLE
DARA KAM |
Florida Democrats hope to make gains in the state Senate and Congress in two high-profile races that will almost certainly be a litmus test of President Donald Trump's popularity in the bare-knuckles political arena of Miami-Dade County... Story

CRITICS CALL FOR VETO OF MASSIVE EDUCATION BILL
BRANDON LARRABEE |
After lawmakers ignored their calls to vote down a sprawling education bill, opponents of the wide-ranging measure have turned to Gov. Rick Scott as their last hope to stop the proposal from becoming law... Story

WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 2017

LOBBYIST FILE --- DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, MAY 10, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
OSCAR ANDERSON has registered to lobby for the National Rental Home Council... Story

BUDGET TIDBITS GO FROM ALLIGATORS TO ZOOS
JIM TURNER |
The more than 400-page state budget approved this week by Florida lawmakers goes beyond spending on high-profile issues such as education, prisons and health care... Story

SMOKABLE POT BEING SOLD, DESPITE LAWMAKERS' OBJECTIONS
DARA KAM |
Even while Florida lawmakers have insisted they do not want patients to smoke pot, one of the state's seven licensed medical-marijuana vendors on Tuesday began selling whole-flower cannabis... Story

PUTNAM RETURNS TO ROOTS TO START GOVERNOR'S RACE
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Standing in front of a huge Florida flag covering the stately pillars of a century-old county courthouse with orange crates on the steps, Republican Adam Putnam on Wednesday used a combination of small-town nostalgia, conservative politics and a deep knowledge of his home state to launch his gubernatorial campaign... Story

THURSDAY, MAY 11, 2017

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, MAY 11, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
CARLOS LOPEZ-CANTERA has been named chairman of Florida's Federal Judicial Nominating Commission... Read the Personnel File

JUSTICES REJECT VIDEO HEARINGS IN `BAKER ACT' CASES
JIM SAUNDERS |
Pointing to the needs of “vulnerable citizens,” the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected judges holding videoconference hearings in cases about whether mentally ill people should be involuntarily committed to treatment facilities... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: POLK COUNTY POWER
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER AND JIM TURNER |
If Adam Putnam is successful in his bid for governor next year, he will become the fourth governor who can claim Polk County as his home... Read the Briefing

NEGRON SEEKS INPUT AMID SPECIAL SESSION CLAMOR
DARA KAM |
Amid growing demands for a special session on medical marijuana and harsh criticism of lawmakers' failure to reach agreement on the issue, Senate President Joe Negron sent a memo to his members Thursday seeking input on the possibility of sealing a deal with the House... Story

FIELD NARROWING FOR TRANSPORTATION CHIEF
JIM TURNER |
Florida's next transportation secretary could come from the panel making recommendations... Story

EX-CONGRESSWOMAN BROWN CONVICTED IN CHARITY SCAM
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Former Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown was found guilty Thursday on 18 counts in a federal corruption trial, the latest chapter in a stunning fall for a longtime Jacksonville political institution... Story

FRIDAY, MAY 12, 2017

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MAY 14, 2017
STAFF |
With the 2017 legislative session finished, much of the action in state government and politics will shift out of the Capitol during the coming week... Read the Advances

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: A RETURN TICKET?
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Almost from the moment the gavel fell on the regular legislative session Monday night, there were already calls for a special session... Read the Roundup

MONDAY, MAY 15, 2017

SCOTT BLASTS BUDGET AS TOURISM NUMBERS RISE
JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott continued Monday to criticize legislative budget-slashing of the state's tourism marketing as he announced a record-setting quarter of visitors to Florida... Story

`CHRISTMAS IN MAY' FOR MANY COLLEGE STUDENTS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Despite broader political turmoil in Washington, D. C. , and Tallahassee, federal and state lawmakers have agreed to dramatically increase financial aid to the neediest college and university students... Story

SCOTT CHIEF OF STAFF TO STEP DOWN
DARA KAM |
A week after the Legislature crushed his highest priorities, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announced the departure of his chief staff, Kim McDougal, a veteran policy wonk respected by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle... Story

LAWMAKERS TIE POLICY CHANGES TO BUDGET
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Florida legislative leaders stirred a controversy in the closing days of the annual legislative session when they released a budget-related education bill that covered policy issues ranging from recess and sunscreen to charter schools and teacher bonuses... Story

HEALTH OFFICIALS LOOK TO HALT SMOKABLE MARIJUANA
DARA KAM |
The Florida Department of Health on Monday ordered a medical-marijuana operator to stop selling a “whole flower” product sold for use in vaporizers but which can easily be smoked, saying the product is not permitted... Story

TUESDAY, MAY 16, 2017

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, MAY 16, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
JODI MARSHALL has been named president and CEO of Florida Virtual School... Read the Personnel File

SCOTT NAMES LONGTIME AIDE AS CHIEF OF STAFF
JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday named communications director Jackie Schutz Zeckman, who has worked with him since his first year in office, as his next chief of staff... Story

LAWMAKERS BACK PAYMENTS IN DEATH, INJURY CASES
JIM SAUNDERS |
Saying the Florida Department of Children and Families didn't do its job, state lawmakers last month approved paying $3.75 million in a 2011 child-abuse case that drew national headlines... Story

STATE COLLEGES DISAPPOINTED IN FUNDING CUT
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
State colleges were dismayed by a legislative session that resulted in a major funding increase for state universities while colleges had their budgets slashed by $30 million, a college president told the Florida Board of Education on Tuesday... Story

SCOTT FACES INCREASING PRESSURE ON SCHOOL FUNDING
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The chorus of voices calling for Gov. Rick Scott to veto a controversial education bill --- and perhaps part of the state budget for public schools --- grew Tuesday, even as supporters tried to push back... Story

WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2017

LOBBYIST FILE --- DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, MAY 17, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
EVA ARMSTRONG has registered to lobby for PuntaLlana, LLC. SLATER BAYLISS has registered to lobby for Trafelet Brokaw & Co. , LLC. DAVID CHILDS has registered to lobby for Farmland Reserve, Inc. REBECCA EVERS has registered to lobby for the Department of Revenue... Story

VALENSTEIN EMERGES FOR DEP SECRETARY JOB
JIM TURNER |
Noah Valenstein, an architect of Gov. Rick Scott's conservation platform during the 2014 election, will be the only applicant who will be interviewed next week to become the state's environmental secretary... Story

GREYHOUND INDUSTRY FIGHTS LOCAL REGULATIONS
DARA KAM |
In an effort to prevent similar efforts elsewhere, greyhound owners and breeders are suing Seminole County over an ordinance requiring trainers to report racing dog injuries... Story

FORMER SCOTT AIDE A FINALIST FOR TRANSPORTATION CHIEF
JIM TURNER |
Michael Dew, a former aide to Gov. Rick Scott, was added Wednesday to a short list of candidates to become the state's next transportation secretary... Story

CONSTITUTION PANEL WRESTLES WITH SUNSHINE LAW
BRANDON LARRABEE |
A panel of the state Constitution Revision Commission deferred a decision Wednesday on how to follow open-government laws as commissioners undertake the once-every-20-years process of recommending changes to the Florida Constitution... Story

THURSDAY, MAY 18, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST SLOT MACHINES
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
In a ruling that likely has implications across the state, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a small pari-mutuel facility in Gadsden County from offering slot machines. The Supreme Court upheld a decision by gambling regulators to deny a permit for slot machines at Gretna Racing. Gadsden County voters had approved a referendum to allow the machines. The case has been closely watched because voters in seven other counties --- Brevard, Duval, Hamilton, Lee, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Washington --- also have approved slot machines in referendums. The News Service will have a full story later Thursday. --END-- 5/18/2017 © 2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited. You can view the Terms of Use on our website. Independent and Indispensable http://www.newsserviceflorida.com

HIGH COURT SAYS NO TO SLOT MACHINES
DARA KAM |
In a highly anticipated decision, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday squashed a broad expansion of slot machines in at least eight counties, saying the decision to allow pari-mutuels to add the lucrative games rests with the Legislature, not voters... Story

UNIVERSITIES GET MONEY FOR FACULTY, GRAD PROGRAMS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
All 12 Florida universities will benefit from $121 million in two new programs designed to help the schools attract top-level professors and reward high-performing graduate schools... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: DIFFERENT MAPS, SAME DESTINATION
BRANDON LARRABEE AND JIM TURNER |
Over the past seven years, Democrats and voting-rights groups helped fight for constitutional amendments barring political gerrymandering, waged a legal battle against maps approved by the Republican-dominated Legislature and finally got a court order overhauling the districts drawn by lawmakers... Read the Briefing

FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2017

RURAL LANDS PROGRAM COULD RUN SHORT OF CASH
JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet could spend about $8.5 million next week to conserve thousands of acres of land owned for decades by two ranching families... Story

APPEALS COURT DEALS BLOW TO TOBACCO COMPANIES
JIM SAUNDERS |
More than a decade after the Florida Supreme Court opened the floodgates for lawsuits against tobacco companies, an Atlanta-based appeals court this week rejected arguments that could have helped shield cigarette makers in legal battles about smoking-related illnesses and deaths... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MAY 21, 2017
STAFF |
Gov. Rick Scott and state Cabinet members will meet Tuesday and appear poised to name Noah Valenstein as secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection... Read the Advances

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: DECISIONS, DECISIONS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The weeks after the legislative session are typically a decision season for the governor, who has to plow through dozens of bills and hundreds of spending items sent to him by lawmakers and pick which ones become law and which ones don't... Read the Roundup

MONDAY, MAY 22, 2017

SCOTT FACES DECISION ON `LIQUOR WALL'
JIM TURNER |
Opponents have mobilized to try to convince Gov. Rick Scott to veto a bill that would a repeal a decades-old law requiring hard spirits to be sold in separate facilities from groceries and other goods --- an issue that has become known as the “liquor wall... Story

JUSTICES WON'T HEAR DEATH PENALTY UNANIMITY CASE
DARA KAM |
Bolstering a state law requiring unanimous jury recommendations in death penalty cases, the U. S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider an appeal by Attorney General Pam Bondi on the issue... Story

TEMPORARY PROTECTIONS EXTENDED FOR HAITIANS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Temporary “protected status” has been extended for another six months for thousands of Haitians who fled to the United States after their island was ravaged by an earthquake in 2010... Story

FPL SEEKS APPROVAL OF PLAN TO SHUT DOWN COAL PLANT
JIM SAUNDERS |
Florida Power & Light on Monday asked state regulators to give approval by Dec. 1 of a plan to shut down a jointly owned coal-fired power plant in Jacksonville... Story

TUESDAY, MAY 23, 2017

VALENSTEIN CHOSEN AS STATE ENVIRONMENTAL CHIEF
JIM TURNER |
With Gov. Rick Scott describing him as “passionate about the environment,” Noah Valenstein was named Tuesday as Florida's next environmental secretary after a short interview with Scott and members of the state Cabinet... Story

`CAT FUND' HEALTHY HEADING INTO HURRICANE SEASON
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is in its strongest financial position ever as the state heads into the annual storm season next month... Story

STATE HMO CONTRACTS SPUR CHALLENGES
JIM SAUNDERS |
An administrative law judge will hear arguments next month as three health insurers challenge the way state officials want to divvy up contracts for HMO coverage for state employees... Story

JUDGE BACKS TWO MORE MARIJUANA LICENSES
DARA KAM |
In a long-awaited decision, an administrative law judge Tuesday called for the state to issue two new licenses to medical marijuana operators, saying competing businesses --- which lost out to another operator selected by Florida health officials in 2015 --- were virtually tied... Story

WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2017

LOBBYIST FILE --- DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, MAY 24, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
RALPH ARZA has registered to lobby for Lincoln Marti Community Agency... Story

MANAGEMENT OF MARIJUANA OPERATION CHANGES HANDS
DARA KAM |
A Canadian-backed firm will take over management of Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, one of Florida's seven medical marijuana operators, the companies announced Wednesday... Story

USF LOOKS TO ADD FACULTY, BOOST STANDING
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
With the goal of becoming one of the top public-research institutions in the country, the University of South Florida is being guided by a plan to hire 300 new faculty members over the next five years... Story

SCOTT VETOES BILL TO TEAR DOWN `LIQUOR WALL'
JIM TURNER |
Pointing to concerns about preserving small-business jobs, Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday vetoed a heavily debated and lobbied measure that supporters said would repeal a relic of the nation's emergence from Prohibition... Story

THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2017

SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH COUNTY IN PROPERTY DISPUTE
JIM SAUNDERS |
The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments that a property owner should receive $38 million in compensation because of a county land-use decision that allowed a phosphate mine to operate near a neurological-rehabilitation center... Story

SCOTT SIGNS PACKAGE OF TAX BREAKS
JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott signed a tax-cut package Thursday that --- while vastly scaled back from what he wanted --- eliminates the so-called “tampon tax” and offers tax holidays for back-to-school shoppers and Floridians preparing for hurricane season... Story

NEW COLLEGE AWARDS FIRST GRADUATE DEGREES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
For the first time in its 57-year history, New College of Florida will award graduate degrees to students on Friday... Story

HEALTH OFFICIALS MOVE AHEAD WITH POT PROCESS
DARA KAM |
After state lawmakers failed to act, health officials on Thursday laid out a framework for adopting regulations required by a voter-approved constitutional amendment that could make Florida one of the nation's largest medical-marijuana markets... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: FROM RUSSIA WITH TURNOUT FIGURES
BRANDON LARRABEE AND JIM TURNER |
Floridians are used to news stories that might have a connection to St. Petersburg... Read the Briefing

FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2017

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, MAY 26, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
JOHN TUPPS has been named communications director for Gov. Rick Scott... Read the Personnel File

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MAY 28, 2017
STAFF |
Florida's luck ran out last year, when it got hit by a hurricane for the first time in more than decade... Read the Advances

STATE COLLEGE CUTS SPUR CALLS FOR BUDGET VETO
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Upset over a $30 million cut in remedial education funding, state-college advocates are asking Gov. Rick Scott to veto a $1.2 billion portion of the state budget, forcing lawmakers to revamp the spending plan for the 28 colleges... Story

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: RIPPLE EFFECT
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The end of the legislative session each spring is rarely the end of the story... Read the Roundup

TAXWATCH TARGETS HIGHER ED `TURKEYS'
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Polk State College had been trying since 2005 to get state funding to fix its Winter Haven campus chiller system with no luck... Story

TAXWATCH: FEWER TURKEYS, LESS TRANSPARENCY
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Reforms to the way the Legislature puts its budget together lowered the number of "turkeys" wedged into the spending plan, but there are still some items Gov. Rick Scott should consider vetoing, a Tallahassee-based think tank said Friday... Story

 

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