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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

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.

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Political podcast: Hear twitter duelers Stipanovich, Steele

Published:
Tribune staff

This week’s episode of the Tribune/Scripps political podcast is out. (Subscribe on iTunes)

The show features GOP ad man Rick Wilson talking both politics and getting into detail about a personal battle he recently had with a con artist.

We also do a joint interview longtime Republican lobbyist and consultant Mac Stipanovich and Max Steele, the Florida Democratic Party’s press secretary. The two have developed reputation for epic Twitter battles, but had never met until we brought them together.

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Bill will provide money for school uniforms

Published:
Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster in Tallahassee

Parents, rejoice!

A proposal making its way through the state Legislature could put an end to early morning battles over what to wear to school.

The measure (HB 7043), dubbed the Students Attired for Education (SAFE) Act, encourages school districts to create a uniform policy in at least kindergarten through eighth grade.

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Guns-during-evacuations bill passes in Senate

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The Florida Senate has passed a bill that would allow people to carry lawfully-owned guns during a state-ordered evacuation, such as before a hurricane.

The measure (SB 290) was approved Tuesday on a 29-10 vote, with Democrats in opposition.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, tried but failed to get the bill passed last year after objections by county sheriffs.

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Florida’s liquor separation ‘wall’ may stand after all

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

State lawmakers look more likely to keep a wall between whiskey and Wheaties, though one that has an “aperture” in it.

An omnibus House bill (HB 107) dealing with alcoholic beverages was approved Tuesday at its latest stop, the House Government Operations Appropriations subcommittee.

That bill originally had language repealing the state’s 80-year-old requirement that retailers sell hard liquor in a separate store away from groceries and other goods.

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Fla. Senate votes to stand ‘solid’ against Cuban diplomacy

Published:
The News Service of Florida

After sometimes emotional discussion, the Florida Senate went on the record Tuesday opposing President Obama’s decision to open diplomatic relations with Cuba.

In a voice vote, senators approved a “memorial” (SM 866), which does not have legal power but expresses the view of the Senate.

The effort to pass the measure was led by three Cuban-American lawmakers: Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami.

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Capitol Roundup for Monday

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Amendments filed Monday would change two noteworthy bills moving through the Legislature this session:

• A state representative with a history of advocating for traditional family values wants to keep the wall between whiskey and Wheaties.

Rep. Charles Van Zant, a Keystone Heights Republican, filed an amendment to an omnibus House bill (HB 107) dealing with alcoholic beverages.

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‘No damages’ means charge dropped in Satanic Temple display kerfuffle

Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2015 at 09:31 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Prosecutors have dropped a criminal case against the woman charged with trying to remove the Satanic Temple’s holiday diorama from the Florida Capitol.

Assistant State Attorney Jeremy Mutz, based in Tallahassee, on Friday withdrew a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief against 55-year-old Susan Hemeryck, court records show.

The timing was curious: Jury selection was set for that same day, with a trial scheduled for next week, said Michael Bauer, Hemeryck’s lawyer.

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Does Galvano have enough clout to deliver ‘whiskey and Wheaties’ in Senate?

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

A legislative effort to put together whiskey and Wheaties – a proposal backed by a future Senate president – may be fading.

Last year, state Sen. Bill Galvano filed a bill to repeal the law that forces Walmart, Publix and other retailers to sell hard liquor in a separate store apart from groceries and other goods.

Galvano’s bill died last year, and he now is the Senate’s Republican leader and isn’t sponsoring individual bills.

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Fla. House will dive into gambling bill next week

Published:
The News Service of Florida

A House panel has scheduled a four-hour workshop next week to delve into major issues in Florida’s gambling industry, including the future of a deal with the Seminole Tribe.

The Regulatory Affairs Committee will hold the workshop Thursday.

House Republican Leader Dana Young of Tampa earlier this month released a wide-ranging gambling proposal.

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College-related secrecy bill put on pause

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

A bill that would make secret all searches for public college and university presidents was pulled from consideration Thursday even as a Senate panel was discussing it.

Senate Republican Leader Bill Galvano of Bradenton moved to “temporarily postpone” the bill (SB 182) after he chatted with several other members of the Rules committee on the dais, then pulled bill sponsor Alan Hays aside.

“I was taking the temperature of the committee and there were some concerns raised,” Galvano said after the meeting.

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