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Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

Fresh Squeezed

A Florida Politics Blog

Made fresh, never frozen, here's the juice on local and state politics from the staff of The Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Tribune and the Tribune/Scripps Capital Bureau.

As Fla. House rejects Jamie Grant, turmoil surrounding Tampa seat continues

Published:   |   Updated: November 18, 2014 at 04:14 PM
Tribune staff

♦ Updated 2:45 p.m. -- Lesser replied, “The Secretary will collaborate with the Supervisors of Elections to determine Special Election dates.”

♦ Updated 2:25 p.m. -- The Governor’s Office referred questions about a possible special election to Department of State spokeswoman Brittany Lesser. Tribune/Scripps left a message; we’ll update when we get a response.

Original post below:

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Gardiner wants “open dialogue” on Amendment 1

Published:   |   Updated: November 18, 2014 at 02:13 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, spoke to reporters after the conclusion of the post-election organization session on Tuesday.

Among other subjects, he was asked about the recent passage of Amendment 1, the state constitutional amendment that now requires a one-third set aside of documentary stamp revenue for conservation.

Documentary stamp revenue is derived from real estate sales.

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With campaign fights behind them, lawmakers meet to organize for session

Published:
Matt Dixon in Tallahassee

On the heels of a brutal election cycle that saw the Republicans rout Democrats, lawmakers gathered Tuesday in the Capitol to organize and transition from the campaign trail to the policy arena.

The state’s legislative session technically will not begin until March, but lawmakers will start their work after the holidays, with six weeks of committee meetings scheduled in January and February.

New Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said that this year’s session will get off to a quick start, as lawmakers will quickly begin developing major pieces of legislation in January.

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Negron on renewing Medicaid expansion battle in 2015: “No”

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

After a challenge from the Florida Senate’s new Democratic leader, Sen. Joe Negron Tuesday said he won’t revive his plan to expand health insurance for more than 1 million people in the state.

On Monday, new Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner of Tampa suggested Negron might lead another effort toward some kind of Medicaid expansion for the 2015 legislative session.

When asked directly Tuesday morning, Negron had a direct answer: “No.”

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Senate Democrats plan to tilt at Medicaid-expansion windmill

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Senate Democrats sound like they’ll be using a variation of the old line from President Clinton’s first campaign: “It’s Medicaid expansion, stupid.”

As expected, the 14-member Florida Senate Democratic Caucus on Monday elected Sen. Arthenia Joyner of Tampa to lead them through the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions.

Joyner came out swinging in her opening remarks, taking her Republican colleagues to task for not expanding health insurance for more than 1 million people in the state.

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Scott announces new chief of staff, communications director

Published:
Matt Dixon in Tallahassee

Melissa Sellers will take over as Gov. Rick Scott’s new chief of staff starting Dec. 1.

She had served as his campaign manager and was previously his office’s communications director.

She replaces Adam Hollingsworth, who has been Scott’s top staffer since 2012.

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Tampa Bay may be down one state lawmaker next week

Published:   |   Updated: November 14, 2014 at 05:48 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

When lawmakers enter the Capitol on Tuesday to organize themselves for next year’s legislative session, state Rep. Jamie Grant may not be among them.

Grant, a Republican, has represented House District 64 since 2010. It includes part of eastern Pinellas County and the northwest corner of Hillsborough County.

Lawmakers will be in Tallahassee for the constitutionally-mandated meeting held 14 days after a general election “for the exclusive purpose of organization and selection of officers.”

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Jeb! for governor again? Some in Collier County say yes

Published:   |   Updated: November 14, 2014 at 03:59 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Come back, Governor “BHAG.”

That was the message on Election Day from an anonymous band of diehards – Collier County voters.

There wasn’t a precise total, but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush received “a fair number” of write-in votes for governor this election in Collier.

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Court denies latest motion in state House write-in candidate case

Published:   |   Updated: November 7, 2014 at 05:48 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

An appellate court says it won’t reconsider its decision to allow a write-in candidate to run for a Tampa-area state House seat.

The 1st District Court of Appeal this week turned down a request for the entire 15-judge court to rehear the case, according to case dockets reviewed Friday.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court last month had reinstated write-in candidate Daniel Matthews after a lower court disqualified him.

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Democrats seek to extend Broward voting time

Published:   |   Updated: November 4, 2014 at 08:18 PM
The News Service of Florida

Updated 8:18 p.m.: The Associated Press is reporting that election officials say a judge has denied the motion to extend voting by 2 hours in Broward County.

Original post below:

Shortly before the polls were scheduled to close Tuesday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s campaign said it was filing an emergency motion in circuit court seeking to extend voting hours in Broward County.

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