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NSF MONTHLY DIGEST FOR MARCH 2017

LOBBYIST FILE - DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, MARCH 1, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
ALBERT BALIDO has registered to lobby for National Council of La Raza... Story

GILLUM LAUNCHES BID FOR GOVERNOR
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum became the first prominent candidate to jump into the 2018 governor's race Wednesday, beginning a 17-month march to what could be a crowded primary for the nomination of the state's struggling Democratic Party... Story

NEGRON PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON HIGHER ED SYSTEM
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Although he has three degrees, including a law degree from Emory University and a master's from Harvard, Senate President Joe Negron went back to college last spring... Story

SCOTT ALLY BERUFF TO LEAD CONSTITUTION PANEL
DARA KAM |
Gov. Rick Scott has tapped Bradenton home builder Carlos Beruff to chair the Constitution Revision Commission, a powerful post for the governor's political ally who last year lost a Republican primary bid for the U. S. Senate to incumbent Marco Rubio... Story

SCOTT KEEPS PRESSURE ON HOUSE MEMBERS
JIM TURNER |
Following an extended weekend in Washington, D. C. , Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday resumed pushing back against Florida House members who have opposed the state's business-recruitment and tourism-marketing agencies... Story

THURSDAY, MARCH 02, 2017

JUSTICES UPHOLD BAN ON OPENLY CARRYING GUNS
JIM SAUNDERS |
Rejecting arguments by Second Amendment supporters, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a longstanding state ban on people openly carrying firearms in public... Story

NORTH FLORIDA JUDGE HIT WITH SIX-MONTH SUSPENSION
DARA KAM |
The state Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a six-month suspension and other penalties for a North Florida judge who has been the focus of potential impeachment proceedings launched by House Speaker Richard Corcoran... Story

NEGRON TRIES TO BOLSTER CASE FOR WATER PROPOSAL
JIM TURNER |
It is "highly unlikely" Florida will get federal officials to turn over control of water releases from Lake Okeechobee, and the state will not get repaid if it advances money to fix the lake's Herbert Hoover Dike, Senate President Joe Negron advised senators on Thursday... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: CAPITOL FAMILY FEUDS GO WAY BACK
DARA KAM AND JIM TURNER |
The ongoing flame war between Gov. Rick Scott and House Speaker Richard Corcoran isn't the first time a governor and legislative leaders of the same party have engaged in nasty name-calling... Read the Briefing

ENGINEERING COLLEGE LOOKS TO IMPROVE 'GRAND EXPERIMENT'
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Three years after lawmakers debated splitting up the engineering college jointly run by Florida A&M University and Florida State University, the school is at a critical juncture... Story

FRIDAY, MARCH 03, 2017

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: STRANGE DAYS INDEED
BRANDON LARRABEE |
A strange legislative off-season came to a close this week, as Gov. Rick Scott continued turning up the heat on fellow Republicans while the political jockeying to succeed him started fitfully moving out of the abstract... Read the Roundup

SCOTT PICKS POLITICAL ALLIES FOR CONSTITUTION PANEL
DARA KAM |
Gov. Rick Scott on Friday named 14 people --- nearly all of them loyalists who have served the governor or been appointed by him in other capacities --- to the state Constitution Revision Commission... Story

PERSONNEL FILE - PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, MARCH 3, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
MEGAN FAY has been appointed as Gov. Rick Scott's director of policy... Read the Personnel File

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MARCH 5, 2017
STAFF |
With Gov. Rick Scott giving his "State of the State" address, the 2017 legislative session will start Tuesday... Read the Advances

MONDAY, MARCH 06, 2017

LAWMAKERS SEEK MORE MONEY FOR BEACH PROJECTS
JIM TURNER |
Beach restoration is the latest area targeted for a slice of the money voters set aside a little over two years ago for environmental preservation... Story

FELONS LOOK TO BALLOT MEASURE TO HAVE 'VOICE HEARD'
DARA KAM |
For some, Desmond Meade is the epitome of convicted felons who've turned their lives around... Story

LEADER DEPARTS AS ENTERPRISE FLORDA REMAINS UNDER FIRE
JIM TURNER |
A proposal to abolish Enterprise Florida was readied Monday to go to the House floor, as the state's business-recruitment agency suddenly found itself without a leader... Story

SCOTT WILL PLEDGE TO FIGHT IN 'STATE OF STATE'
BRANDON LARRABEE |
With lawmakers increasingly willing to challenge his priorities midway through his second term, Gov. Rick Scott is set to pledge during Tuesday's opening of the annual legislative session that he will fight for his policies... Story

CORCORAN NAMES LAWMAKERS TO CONSTITUTION PANEL
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
The makeup of Florida's Constitution Revision Commission was completed Monday, when House Speaker Richard Corcoran named the final nine members of the panel, including five state lawmakers... Story

JUDGE WEIGHS CHALLENGE TO LOTTERY CONTRACT
BRANDON LARRABEE |
On the eve of a legislative session expected to be marked by conflict between top Republicans, a Leon County judge heard arguments Monday in a dispute between House Speaker Richard Corcoran and one of Gov. Rick Scott's agencies... Story

TUESDAY, MARCH 07, 2017

CORCORAN OPENING DAY REMARKS, MARCH 7, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
Here are House Speaker Richard Corcoran's remarks, as prepared, to open the 2017 legislative session: We began this journey together a little over 100 days ago guided by a singular vision: That we would govern as we campaigned... Story

HOUSE SESSION, TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 10:01 a. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

SENATE SESSION, TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 9:30 a. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

SCOTT STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS, MARCH 7, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
Here is Gov. Rick Scott's "State of the State" address, as prepared for delivery: Good morning President Negron, Speaker Corcoran, and members of the Florida Legislature... Story

JOINT SESSION, TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 11:01 a. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Story

EMBATTLED ENTERPRISE FLORIDA NAMES INTERIM CHIEF
JIM TURNER |
Florida's embattled business-recruitment agency Tuesday named its executive vice president as interim CEO --- a day after the top position was abruptly vacated by Chris Hart... Story

SCOTT DEFENDS INCENTIVES AS SESSION OPENS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Gov. Rick Scott took his fight for business incentives directly to critics Tuesday, using his "State of the State" address to defend requests for tens of millions of dollars to lure companies to Florida and to market the state's tourism industry... Story

PROGRESSIVES PUSH BACK AFTER SCOTT SPEECH
RYAN RAY |
In his annual "State of the State" address Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott promised to fight for economic-incentive money, business tax cuts and conservative education reforms... Story

CORCORAN VOWS TO KEEP TRYING TO 'SHAKE UP' SYSTEM
DARA KAM |
Striking a combative note to kick off the 2017 legislative session, House Speaker Richard Corcoran lashed out Tuesday against the judiciary, state spending and one of Gov. Rick Scott's top priorities while vowing to keep up his crusade to upset the status quo inside the marbled halls of the Capitol... Story

NEGRON KEEPS FOCUS ON SENATE PRIORITIES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
As House leaders and Gov. Rick Scott opened the annual legislative session Tuesday by clashing over economic-development programs, Senate President Joe Negron struck a professorial tone as he outlined the Senate's agenda... Story

COURT REJECTS 'OPT-OUT' TESTING ARGUMENTS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
In a sharply worded opinion, an appeals court Tuesday overturned a Leon County judge's 2016 decision that seemed to support the "opt-out" movement that encourages parents to defy standardized testing requirements... Story

HOUSE GETS WIN IN LOTTERY CONTRACT FIGHT
BRANDON LARRABEE |
A Leon County judge handed House Speaker Richard Corcoran a major victory on the first day of the 2017 legislative session, saying a ticket-sales contract signed by the Florida Lottery violated state law... Story

GUN BILLS COULD AGAIN STRUGGLE IN SENATE
JIM TURNER |
A proposal that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to store firearms with security officers at courthouses narrowly advanced Tuesday through the Senate Judiciary Committee --- a panel where high-profile Second Amendment measures stalled last year... Story

NEGRON OPENING DAY REMARKS, MARCH 7, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
Here are Senate President Joe Negron's remarks to open the 2017 legislative session, as transcribed for the Senate Journal: I'd like to give an update on some of the issues that I talked about... Story

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 08, 2017

HOUSE TARGETS CHANGES IN UTILITY REGULATION
JIM SAUNDERS |
With a key lawmaker pointing to a need for "fresh thinking," a House panel Wednesday approved a proposal that would revamp regulation of Florida's electric utilities... Story

NEGRON WATER PLAN PICKS UP OTHER PROJECTS
JIM TURNER |
A controversial plan to speed construction of a 60,000-acre reservoir on farmland south of Lake Okeechobee --- to reduce the risk of more "guacamole-thick" water appearing in Treasure Coast communities --- was expanded Wednesday to include water projects in other parts of the state... Story

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

SENATE READY TO SHIFT UNIVERSITIES TO 'BLOCK' TUITION
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
State universities would have to move forward with "block" tuition programs by the fall of 2018 under a higher-education initiative that the Florida Senate is poised to approve on Thursday... Story

HOUSE LOOKS TO CLAMP DOWN ON LOCAL TAXES
BRANDON LARRABEE |
A wide-ranging bill that would rein in local governments' ability to increase taxes narrowly passed the House Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday... Story

HOUSE RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT UNIVERSITY FUNDING
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Laying the groundwork for a more austere higher-education budget, the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday heard more than three hours of testimony on university spending and the use of foundations by the schools... Story

THURSDAY, MARCH 09, 2017

TAMPA MAYOR WON'T RUN FOR GOVERNOR
JIM SAUNDERS |
Pointing to his family and a "job that I love," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced Thursday he will not seek the Democratic nomination for governor next year... Story

EX-LAWMAKER TAYLOR INDICTED ON MISUSE OF FUNDS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
For the second time in a year, a former Democratic state lawmaker is facing a federal indictment for allegedly using campaign funds to cover personal expenses... Story

SENATE BACKS UNANIMOUS JURIES IN DEATH SENTENCES
DARA KAM |
Moving closer to getting Florida's death penalty back on track, the Florida Senate on Thursday approved a measure that would require unanimous jury recommendations for death sentences to be imposed... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: GUN RIGHTS GROUPS FIRE BACK
JIM TURNER AND BRANDON LARRABEE |
National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer said it's too early to declare gun-related bills dead after an influential Miami senator this week appeared to shoot down a number of high-profile proposals... Read the Briefing

SENATE ADVANCES HIGHER-ED INITIATIVE AMID BUDGET UNCERTAINTY
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
With House leaders raising questions about university spending, the Florida Senate on Thursday passed a major higher-education initiative that seeks to boost funding for Bright Futures scholarships, faculty recruitment and support for outstanding graduate programs... Read the Advances

HOUSE POISED TO BACK ELIMINATING ENTERPRISE FLORIDA
JIM TURNER |
Proposals to kill the business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida and revamp tourism-marketer Visit Florida are poised to pass the House on Friday... Story

SENATE SUMMARY, THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 1 p. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Story

VOTE-BY-MAIL FIX READY FOR FULL HOUSE
RYAN RAY |
A legislative fix to a state election law struck down in federal court was unanimously approved Thursday by the House Government Accountability Committee and now moves to the full House... Story

HOUSE SESSION, THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 1 p. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2017

PERSONNEL FILE - PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, MARCH 10, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
KIM BERFIELD has been named vice president of government and community affairs for Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital... Read the Personnel File

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

LAWMAKERS QUICKLY PASS DEATH PENALTY FIX
DARA KAM |
Florida juries would have to unanimously decide that defendants convicted of capital crimes should be put to death for the sentence to be imposed, under a measure that lawmakers rushed to pass during the first week of the annual legislative session... Story

HOUSE BACKS ABOLISHING ENTERPRISE FLORIDA
JIM TURNER |
Locked in a battle with Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Friday got what he believes are more than symbolic votes to kill the business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida and revamp tourism-marketer Visit Florida... Story

COLLEGES BALK AT BUDGET CUTS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
State college presidents on Friday expressed dismay that the 28-school system is being targeted for three-quarters of the cuts in the Florida Senate's initial plan to trim $131 million in higher-education spending... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MARCH 12, 2017
STAFF |
Florida lawmakers are ready to move into the second week of the annual legislative session, with committees taking up dozens of bills... Read the Advances

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: ON WITH THE SHOW
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Like a movie sequel of questionable entertainment value that everyone feels compelled to go see regardless, the 2017 legislative session rolled into Tallahassee this week, mixing the usual pomp and circumstance with interparty acrimony... Read the Roundup

MONDAY, MARCH 13, 2017

LOBBYIST FILE - DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, MARCH 13, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
JASON ALLISON has registered to lobby for Grant Thornton, LLP; National Strategies, LLC; Title Technologies, Inc. ; Verizon; and Xerox Corporation... Story

ELECTED SECRETARY OF STATE GETS BACKING
RYAN RAY |
A House panel approved a proposed constitutional amendment Monday that could shift power in Florida's executive branch... Story

BILL WOULD SHIELD UNIVERSITY SEARCH INFORMATION
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Information about applicants vying to become presidents, provosts or deans at Florida universities or state colleges would be kept secret unless they become finalists for the jobs under a bill approved Monday by a House subcommittee... Story

STADIUM FUNDING REPEAL HUNG UP IN SENATE
JIM TURNER |
A proposal to discard an unused pool of state sales tax dollars that could be used to build and upgrade professional sports stadiums was put in limbo Monday just before it was scheduled to go before a Senate committee... Story

SCOTT QUICKLY SIGNS DEATH PENALTY SENTENCING BILL
DARA KAM |
After more than a year of uncertainty, Florida is again poised to begin executions and prosecute death penalty cases after Gov. Rick Scott signed a law Monday aimed at fixing flaws in the state's capital sentencing procedure... Story

SCOTT KEEPS UP PRESSURE ON HOUSE GOP
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Gov. Rick Scott on Monday continued his campaign against House Republicans who oppose economic- development spending, telling a business roundtable in Tallahassee that bills approved last week would cause some families to lose their jobs... Story

LAWSUIT CHALLENGES STATE ON FELON VOTING RIGHTS
DARA KAM |
Lawyers for convicted felons filed a class-action lawsuit Monday against Florida officials, alleging that the state's process for restoring voting rights to people who have completed their sentences is arbitrary... Story

TUESDAY, MARCH 14, 2017

RIDESHARING BILL ON THE MOVE IN SENATE
JIM SAUNDERS |
After the issue stalled the past two years in the Senate, a proposal that would create statewide regulations for ridesharing companies got a boost Tuesday from a Senate committee... Story

HOUSE KEEPS CHIPPING AWAY AT 'LIQUOR WALL'
JIM TURNER |
A heavily lobbied measure intended to knock down a decades-old prohibition on selling liquor in grocery and large retail stores narrowly continued to advance in the House on Tuesday... Story

BONDI HOLDS OUT HOPE IN 'WATER WARS'
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
With the U. S. Supreme Court expected later this week to review a recommendation that would deny Florida relief in its decades-old water dispute with Georgia, Attorney General Pam Bondi said Tuesday the case is not over yet... Story

LAWMAKERS COULD SHORT-CIRCUIT FPL COURT RULINGS
DARA KAM |
The state's largest electric utility is pushing two proposals --- put on the fast track by Republican leaders --- that amount to end-runs around recent court rulings, drawing outrage from consumer groups and large utility customers... Story

BILL COULD PUT BRAKES ON RAIL PLANS
JIM TURNER |
A legislative proposal that would place regulations on passenger rail service could derail plans to link Orlando and Miami, a representative for All Aboard Florida's Brightline service warned as a Senate committee approved the measure Tuesday... Story

EDUCATION BILLS ADVANCE IN HOUSE AMID DIFFERENCES WITH SENATE
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Two bills on high-profile education issues that could set up conflicts with the Senate unanimously passed a House panel Tuesday... Story

WORKERS' COMP BILL PASSES FIRST HOUSE TEST
JIM SAUNDERS |
After a fierce debate about attorney fees, a House panel Tuesday moved forward with a proposal that would make key changes in the workers' compensation insurance system... Story

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2017

SENATE SESSION, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 1 p. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

'EYEBALL WARS' FLARE AGAIN IN CAPITOL
DARA KAM |
Four years ago, House and Senate leaders thought they had finally settled a decade-old turf battle between the state's optometrists and ophthalmologists... Story

'STAND YOUR GROUND' SHIFT GETS SENATE APPROVAL
JIM TURNER |
A move to shift a key burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases was approved Wednesday by the Senate, as other key bills backed by Second Amendment advocates remain jammed in the Legislature's upper chamber... Story

HOUSE PONDERS POTENTIAL BUDGET CUTS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Ahead of a Friday meeting to determine how much money lawmakers will have to spend in the fiscal year that begins July 1, the House budget-writing committee heard recommendations Wednesday for potential cuts across state government... Story

SENATE MOVES FORWARD WITH STATE COLLEGE CHANGES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
A bill that would create a new board to oversee the state college system, place limits on students enrolled in baccalaureate-degree programs and revamp the approval process for four-year degrees at state colleges advanced Wednesday in the Senate... Story

THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017

BACKROOM BRIEFING: TOP NOTCH AND RIPE FOR REFORM
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER AND JIM TURNER |
Award winning or in need of reform?.. Read the Briefing

REGULATORS READY TO GRAPPLE WITH GULF POWER RATES
JIM SAUNDERS |
State regulators are poised to hear arguments about a request from Gulf Power to raise base electric rates for hundreds of thousands of customers in Northwest Florida, amid opposition from consumer, business and environmental groups... Story

PROSECUTOR'S STANCE ROILS DEATH PENALTY DEBATE
DARA KAM |
Days after Gov. Rick Scott signed a law effectively putting the state's death penalty back on track, a newly elected Central Florida prosecutor stunned legislators Thursday by announcing she will not pursue death sentences for any capital cases during her time in office... Story

HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ADVANCES BP SETTLEMENT SPENDING PROPOSAL
JIM TURNER |
Efforts by Panhandle lawmakers to steer BP settlement money toward counties most impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill aren't out of the legislative mire yet... Read the Advances

FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2017

JUDGE SIDES WITH HCA IN HOSPITAL INDUSTRY FIGHT
JIM SAUNDERS |
As Florida lawmakers look at eliminating controversial regulations on building hospitals, a judge has sided with the HCA health-care chain in an industry battle about adding a hospital in Miami-Dade County... Story

PROSECUTORS VOW TO KEEP SEEKING DEATH SENTENCES
DARA KAM |
A day after a newly elected prosecutor said she would not seek the death penalty in capital cases, the remainder of Florida's 20 state attorneys affirmed Friday they intend to pursue death sentences when appropriate... Story

NEW FORECAST CONTINUES CLOUDY BUDGET PICTURE
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Another slight change Friday to the state's estimated future tax revenues did little to alter the situation facing legislative budget-writers: a tight fit for the upcoming fiscal year and sizable shortfalls after that... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MARCH 19, 2017
STAFF |
Florida lawmakers are ready to move into the legislative session's third week, which will include discussions of hot-button issues such as red-light cameras and school accountability... Read the Advances

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: THE REAL WORLD INTRUDES
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Every once in a while, the generally abstract issues discussed during the legislative session intersect with something out of real-life, something more visceral than a bill full of clauses and subsections... Read the Roundup

MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2017

BONDING QUESTION HOVERS OVER EDUCATION PROJECTS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
If Florida lawmakers don't agree to borrow money to pay for school construction and maintenance projects, they will come up about $36 million short of what state education officials have requested for a key program next year... Story

COURT BACKS STATE FARM ON POLICY INFORMATION
JIM SAUNDERS |
An appeals court Monday sided with State Farm Florida in a dispute about whether policy information submitted to state regulators is a "trade secret" and should be shielded from public disclosure... Story

WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY SPARKS LEGISLATIVE DEBATE
JIM TURNER |
A debate about how to move forward with 5G wireless, the next generation of high-speed technology, is making big waves in the Legislature... Story

GULF POWER REACHES RATE SETTLEMENT
JIM TURNER |
A rate hike on the horizon for hundreds of thousands of Gulf Power customers might not be as big as initially proposed... Story

CONSTITUTION REVISION PANEL STARTS WORK
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The once-every-20-years process of updating Florida's basic law began Monday, as the Constitution Revision Commission held its opening meeting in Tallahassee... Story

COURT RULES AGAINST STATE ON SKIM MILK LABELING
JIM SAUNDERS |
Most shoppers in the dairy aisle probably never give it a lot of thought... Story

HOUSE STARTS MOVING ON HIGHER ED OVERHAUL
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
A Florida House committee on Monday endorsed its version of a higher-education reform bill, including expanding Bright Futures scholarships and requiring state universities to begin using "block" tuition... Story

PROSECUTOR CHALLENGES SCOTT OVER REMOVAL FROM CASE
DARA KAM |
A Central Florida state attorney who created a firestorm by deciding not to seek the death penalty for alleged cop-killer Markeith Loyd --- or in any other capital case --- is accusing Gov. Rick Scott of abusing his authority by ousting her as prosecutor in the Loyd case... Story

TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017

PERSONNEL FILE - PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, MARCH 21, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
JOHANNA CERVONE has been named deputy communications director and Hispanic press secretary for the Florida Democratic Party... Read the Personnel File

SENATE SESSION, TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 11 a. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

SENATE MOVES TO END INSURANCE INDUSTRY TAX BREAK
JIM TURNER |
Insurance-industry officials remained adamant Tuesday that a proposal to eliminate a decades-old tax credit will cost jobs and hike premiums as the measure moved forward in the Senate with a significant change... Story

FAMU PROGRAM BLENDS TRADITIONAL, ONLINE LEARNING
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Florida A&M University officials on Tuesday showcased a project aimed at bringing "blended" teaching to K-12 schools where students can learn through traditional classrooms and online resources... Story

HOUSE REPUBLICANS TARGET 'SANCTUARY CITIES'
RYAN RAY |
Amid heated debate over illegal immigration and the rights of undocumented immigrants, a House panel approved a measure Tuesday to crack down on so-called "sanctuary cities.".. Story

HOUSE GAMBLING BILL GETS OK AS QUESTIONS REMAIN
DARA KAM |
A key House committee Tuesday approved a gambling measure aimed at creating a new agreement with the Seminole Tribe, though a tribe representative recently called the proposal a "non-starter" and major differences remain with the Senate... Story

SENATORS PONDER DIRECTION ON SCHOOL TESTING
BRANDON LARRABEE |
A Senate Education Committee meeting Tuesday on the state's accountability system turned into a show of strength by people who want to scale back standardized testing, as lawmakers consider the next move... Story

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017

PLAN WOULD LET GOVERNOR PICK ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGES
DARA KAM |
One case involved a tiny horse track where an employee waved a red rag to start a "race" between two aging nags... Story

HOUSE SOLAR BILL DRAWING HEAT
JIM TURNER |
Some backers of a renewable-energy tax break that voters approved in August contend a House proposal to carry out the constitutional amendment could slow the growth of solar energy in Florida... Story

'LIQUOR WALL' CLOSER TO GETTING TORN DOWN
JIM TURNER |
A decades-old prohibition on liquor being sold alongside groceries and other retail goods moved closer to repeal Wednesday as a massive lobbying battle continued... Story

HOUSE SESSION, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 1:30 p. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

SENATE MOVES FORWARD WITH APOLOGY TO `GROVELAND FOUR'
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Before it was a land of retirees and tourism, Florida was a Southern state... Story

SENATE LOOKS TO PUT TOGETHER MARIJUANA PLAN
DARA KAM |
More growers, access to treatment for snowbirds and greater flexibility in the relationship between patients and doctors are among the items likely to be included in a Senate proposal to carry out a constitutional amendment approved by voters in November to broadly legalize medical marijuana... Story

THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017

SENATE SESSION, THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The Senate convened at 10:01 a. m. , President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, presiding... Read the Session Summary

DIVIDED SENATE BACKS ENDING 'LIQUOR WALL'
JIM TURNER |
A heavily lobbied proposal to knock down a Depression-era ban on liquor being sold alongside groceries narrowly survived the Senate on Thursday, after a passionate debate that included some opponents warning the change could make alcohol more accessible to --- or even "kill" --- children... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: BLACK LAWMAKERS BACK PROSECUTOR
DARA KAM AND JIM TURNER |
The controversy over Gov. Rick Scott's decision to yank Orange-Osceola prosecutor Aramis Ayala from the high-profile case of accused cop-killer Markeith Loyd continued to escalate Thursday when black lawmakers demanded that the governor rescind his order... Read the Briefing

DEATH CERTIFICATES ORDERED IN GAY MARRIAGES
DARA KAM |
Florida widows and widowers whose spouses died before the U. S. Supreme Court declared state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional can have the death certificates of their loved ones changed without having to go to court, a federal judge ruled Thursday... Story

RELIGIOUS 'FREEDOM' BILLS MOVE FORWARD
BRANDON LARRABEE |
A bill aimed at protecting displays of religious faith in public schools passed the Senate on nearly party-line vote Thursday, while a more-limited version moved toward the House floor... Story

STATE UNIVERSITIES SEEING MORE ONLINE LEARNING
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
One of the benefits of an expansion of online classes in Florida universities is that it gives students more flexibility in balancing their academic loads with extracurricular activities like jobs, student government or clubs... Story

HOUSE SESSION, THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 1:30 p. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017

STATE LAWMAKER PIGMAN CHARGED WITH DUI
JIM TURNER |
With a blood-alcohol level nearly double the legal limit, state Rep. Cary Pigman was charged with drunken driving after a traffic stop on Florida's Turnpike several hours after a House session Thursday, according to a police report... Story

UNIVERSITIES SHORT ON MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELORS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Eight of the 12 state universities fall below minimum staffing levels for mental-health counselors as the need for counseling services grows on campuses, a new report shows... Story

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: A THIRD OF THE WAY THERE (MAYBE)
BRANDON LARRABEE |
One-third of the way through this year's legislative session --- assuming that it wraps up on time --- some of the debates that will define the next six weeks are beginning to take shape... Read the Roundup

ADVANCES: WEEK OF MARCH 26, 2017
STAFF |
Florida lawmakers will take up numerous high-profile issues during the coming week, including term limits for appellate judges, elimination of a Depression-era law known as the "liquor wall" and statewide regulations for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft... Read the Advances

 

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