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Tuesday, Apr 21, 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 and The St. Petersburg Tribune.

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Special election for Tampa-area House seat is Tuesday

Published:
Tribune staff

Assuming history holds true, Republican Jamie Grant is expected to be sworn in Wednesday morning after Tuesday’s special election for his former state House seat.

The special election for the House District 64 seat is 7 a.m.-7 p.m. The district covers northwest Hillsborough County and eastern Pinellas County.

Grant, a lawyer and tech entrepreneur, faces only a write-in candidate; no write-in has ever won legislative office in the state.

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Future unclear for gay adoption-related bill in Senate

Published:
Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster in Tallahassee

A Senate panel did not vote on a contentious House bill allowing private agencies to deny gay adoptions by claiming religious or moral convictions, but the committee’s chairman said it was premature to say the measure was dead.

“I think it would be premature to say that,” said Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, the chairman of the rules committee. “I think that this is an important issue. This is the first committee that the bill has come before. It’s critically important that everyone who came from all over the state would be able to discuss it.”

The Senate Rules committee spent about two hours hearing testimony from Floridians about a House measure (HB 7111) that would give private adoption agencies to turn away families looking to adopt by claiming religious or moral convictions.

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Senate version of booze bill being withdrawn

Published:   |   Updated: April 15, 2015 at 04:38 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

If ever there was a time for opponents of the “whiskey and Wheaties” bill to drop the mic, as it were, that moment came Wednesday.

That’s when a notice came out about the Senate version (SB 468), carried by Sebring Republican Denise Grimsley, that it was “pending withdrawal.”

On Tuesday, the House bill (HB 107) died in the House Regulatory Affairs committee with 10 votes against and six votes for.

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House panel kills ‘whiskey and Wheaties’ bill

Published:   |   Updated: April 14, 2015 at 07:31 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

In a bipartisan vote, a House panel has killed what came to be known as the “whiskey and Wheaties” bill, dealing a blow to big-box stores Walmart and Target.

The House Regulatory Affairs committee on Tuesday voted down the alcoholic beverages bill (HB 107) on a 10-6 vote.

But committee chair Jose Felix Diaz, a Miami Republican, said not to assume the measure is out for the count.

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Pasco insurance agent resigns from county’s charter government board

Published:
By Laura Kinsler

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County’s charter advisory board won’t hold its first meeting until next month but it’s already lost a second member.

Tim Holladay resigned Monday morning after a Wesley Chapel resident filed a grievance with the county concerning his eligibility to serve. Anthony Perugini said he is vetting all 15 members of the committee, which has a year to recommend a charter government to the Board of County Commissioners. That’s when he learned Holladay filed for homestead exemption on a beachfront condominium he had purchased in Pinellas County last September.

The only criteria commissioners set for members of the advisory committee was that they lived in Pasco County for the last five years and be registered to vote. But Perugini said the appointments epitomized “good old boy politics” that rule Pasco County. “I just don’t like the system here,” he said.

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‘Whiskey and wheaties’ bill lives, sponsor says

Published:   |   Updated: April 10, 2015 at 07:10 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

The “whiskey and Wheaties” bill was abruptly yanked off its latest committee’s agenda Thursday, but its sponsor says it will be back next week.

The bill (HB 107) was slated to be heard by the House Regulatory Affairs committee, but was “temporarily postponed,” in legislative parlance.

The wide-ranging alcoholic beverages measure 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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Early voting begins in special election for House seat

Published:   |   Updated: April 10, 2015 at 12:58 PM
Tribune staff

Early voting begins Saturday in the special election for the House District 64 seat, formerly held by Republican Jamie Grant.

Early voting in Hillsborough County runs through April 18, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at any of the following locations:

♦ Fred B. Karl County Center, 16th Floor, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

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Guns-during-evacuations bill headed to governor

Published:
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

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

The House approved the Senate’s bill (SB 290) Thursday on an 86-26 vote over Democratic opposition. It now heads to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk.

Tampa Democrat Ed Narain said he feared the “unintended consequences” of the measure, using the example of a Good Samaritan getting shot during an emergency because the other person incorrectly perceived a threat.

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AG Bondi files suit against Pan Am reunion organizers

Published:   |   Updated: April 9, 2015 at 02:21 PM
James L. Rosica in Tallahassee

Pan Amigo is no friend to former Pan Am airlines employees, according to Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Her office filed suit earlier this month against Pan Amigo, a group for those who worked for the now-defunct Pan American World Airways, which operated 1927-1991.

The complaint, filed in Leon County, says that the Miami-based Pan Amigo had advertised and organized a reunion for former employees.

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Political podcast: House/Senate food fights

Published:
Tribune staff

This week’s episode of the Tribune/Naples Daily News podcast uses the health care funding fight to delve into the rhetoric of House/Senate food fights.

We also touch on a bill you may have missed. Can you say “melon haulers?”

And in case you forgot, amid the LIP and health-care expansion talk, there is still a Senate president’s race going on. We dive into the logistics of a leadership race with Gus Corbella, former chief-of-staff for late Senate President Jim King.

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