FAC News Clips - April 25, 2017 -


FAC News Clips – April 25, 2017


Local News


FOX 35

Lake County animal shelter works to maintain "no-kill" status

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - For months, a mutt with a swollen eye and salted beard, has been displayed at many adoption events. The old hound, named Trevor, has been housed at the Lake County Animal Shelter since early 2017 after being lost during a hunting trip.  In shelters all over, finding homes for animals has unfortunately become less of a priority. Lake County, thanks to the shelter's adopted efforts spearheaded by volunteers, is thankfully moving away from this path.


Health Care / Low Income Pool


News Service of Florida

AHCA chief says talks continue on 'LIP' money

Facing questions from senators Monday during a confirmation hearing, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Justin Senior said state officials are continuing to negotiate with the federal government about money in the Low Income Pool program. Gov. Rick Scott announced this month that $1.5 billion would be available during the coming year for the program, which provides additional money to hospitals that care for large numbers of poor and uninsured patients.


Home Rule: Cell Phone Towers



Cell Antenna Measure Heads For House Floor

A measure aimed at making it easier for cellular companies to add hardware to telephone poles is heading to the house floor.  Supporters say the move is necessary to meet growing demands on bandwidth, but opponents call it an industry handout. Rep. Mike LaRosa’s (R-St. Cloud) proposal completed its short path to the House floor Monday. “Small cell technology will benefit Floridians today, and into the future,” LaRosa says.  “Small cells will help deliver increased data capacity faster connectivity speeds and overall better wireless experience.”


Home Rule: Vacation Rentals



Not Dead Yet: Vacation-Rental Bill Flagler Opposes Clears Last House Committee , 17-11

Today’s vote was another reversal for Flagler County government and its attorney, Al Hadeed, who’s argued the county’s position at five successive legislative hearings. He argued before the House Commerce Committee today. Last week around this time Flagler County government officials were exchanging long-distance high-fives, from Tallahassee to Bunnell, as the Senate version of a short-term vacation rental bill Flagler government opposes changed beyond recognition.


Homestead Exemption


Tampa Bay Times

Editorial: Don't increase homestead exemption

Here's another bad idea that should die quietly during these last two weeks of the legislative session. The House is poised to vote to put a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would raise the standard homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000, knocking a couple of hundred dollars off the typical homeowner's bill. That would exacerbate the inequities in Florida's tax code and cost millions that local governments need for basic services such as parks, libraries and public safety.


Medical Marijuana


Tampa Bay Times

Pinellas County to consider rules for medical marijuana

CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Commission is slated to vote Tuesday on an ordinance to establish rules for growing, processing and selling medical pot in unincorporated areas of the county. But before the vote, commissioners could hear passionate pleas from critics and supporters of medical marijuana during a 6 p.m. public hearing. Under the current proposal, medical marijuana dispensaries would not be able to operate within 500 feet of schools, parks, libraries and religious facilities, but they could operate within 1,000 feet of another marijuana facility.


South Florida Sun-Sentinel

House panel adds restrictions to medical marijuana bill

A plan to implement the state’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment is on its way to the Florida House floor for a vote. The bill, criticized as too restrictive by medical marijuana activists, became even more restrictive in its last committee stop on Monday. Legislators, voting 14-4, kept a limited number of grower/dispensers and a ban on smoking, vaping and edibles. The proposal also: Bans telemedicine, so doctors must make an in-person diagnosis before recommending marijuana.


News Service of Florida

Medical marijuana bill headed to full House

A House medical-marijuana plan sponsored by Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues is ready for a floor vote after a key committee approved the proposal (HB 1397) late Monday afternoon. The legislation is aimed at carrying out a constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana for a broad swath of patients with debilitating conditions. The amendment was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.


Associated Press

Florida House’s medical marijuana bill passes final committee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida House of Representatives bill to implement the state’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment is headed to the floor after passing its final committee. Rep. Ray Rodrigues’ bill (HB 1397) passed the House’s Health & Human Services Committee on Monday. The bill still has language maintaining a 90-day waiting period before patients can receive cannabis and banning smoking, vaping and edibles.


Miami Herald

Joe Negron calls Richard Corcoran's budget talk 'ineffectual'

Senate President Joe Negron sent a memo to fellow senators on Monday on the collapse of budget negotiations with the House. Talks were making progress as recently as Friday, but reached a stalemate over the weekend, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran said the House would instead offer a "continuation budget" for the fiscal year that starts July 1.  "Our constituents deserve and expect more," Negron said in dismissing the idea. But House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, told the Herald/Times that he would offer a continuation budget at a legislative meeting on Tuesday.


Public Notices


News Service of Florida

House panel approves bill to allow private meetings between elected officials

In what would be a substantial change to the state’s Sunshine Law, a House committee Monday approved a bill that would allow private one-on-one meetings of local elected officials. Currently, members of city commissions, county commissions and other local boards are barred from holding discussions without providing public notice of the meetings. But the House Government Accountability Committee on Monday approved a bill (HB 843) that would allow two members of boards to meet privately and discuss policy issues, though they could not take formal actions or discuss issues such as contracts with private vendors.


State Budget


News Service of Florida

State budget prospects dim as House, Senate leaders feud

TALLAHASSEE — The legislative session appeared to careen off course Monday, as the House prepared to pass its second budget of the year — a plan Senate leaders have already ruled out as “ineffectual.” The showdown between the two chambers came with just eight days to go until lawmakers would be forced to call an extended or special session to resolve the budget impasse, making it seem unlikely that lawmakers would get their work done on time.


Times / Herald

As budget talks crash, Corcoran wants 'continuation' budget, no new spending

TALLAHASSEE — A bitter stalemate over spending forced the Legislature to suspend work on a budget Monday, stirring more bad blood among Republicans and putting an on-time adjournment in doubt. Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, bargained privately by phone through last Friday and were making progress on issues such as public school spending and raises for state workers. But problems began cropping up on the size of a cash



Weekend Breakdown Casts Doubt On Whether Lawmakers Can Reach A Budget Deal

There’s no such thing as a continuation budget says Senate President Joe Negron. Talks stalled over the weekend between the two chambers after the House floated the idea of a continuation budget. The two sides can’t seem to agree on how to bridge a $4 billion  spending gap. In a memo to the Senate, Negron called the continuation proposal by the House "a Washington creation where Congress is habitually unable to pass a budget and then simply carries forward the current budget for years at a time, with additional spending. I have no interest in adopting this ineffectual practice."


Associated Press

Florida Legislature at stalemate over new state budget

TALLAHASSEE (AP) — With time running out in their regular session, Florida’s legislative leaders are at a stalemate over a new state budget and are starting to lash out at one another over the breakdown. The first, crucial round of negotiations between the House and Senate fell apart on Sunday. The session is scheduled to end on May 5, but state law requires that all work on the budget be finished 72 hours ahead of a final vote. The growing divide prompted Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran to deride fellow Republicans in the Senate, comparing them to national Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders.


Miami Herald

Carlos Trujillo defends House 'take it or leave it' budget; Democrats caucusing

House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo has called an emergency meeting of his committee Tuesday to pass a continuation budget, a step that will formalize a total breakdown in budget talks -- and increase the likelihood of a special session. Disgusted by what they claim is a "liberal" Senate's free-spending ways, House leaders want to extend the current budget for another year and go home, meaning no new initiatives and no hometown projects for anybody.



Talks stalled, House schedules committee review of continuation budget

The House Appropriations Committee will meet Tuesday morning to consider a “standard operating budget,” pending progress in negotiations with the Senate over spending priorities for the fiscal year that begins July 1. House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced the move in a note to House members Monday evening. He acted after Senate President Joe Negron rejected a House proposal to enact a “continuation budget” maintaining spending more or less at existing levels.


Tampa Bay Times

'The House is prepared to walk away,' K-12 education budget chairman says

If House Republicans follow through this week on plans to vote on a budget for 2017-18 that simply mirrors this year's, they will have to scrap a slew of top education priorities they had sought this year and worked for months to craft -- including their $200 million "schools of hope" plan to provide incentives for specialized, high-performing charter schools to set up in predominantly low-income areas. "Our responsibility, constitutionally, is to pass a budget, so if it means that's what we have to do and walk away, then that's what we have to do,"


TNCs (Uber / Lyft)



Rick Scott says he will sign ‘Uber bill’

Gov. Rick Scott tweeted on Monday that he will sign into law a bill creating statewide regulations for ride-booking companies like Uber and Lyft. “I look forward to signing the @Uber/ @lyft bill,” Scott tweeted from his official account, @FLGovScott. The governor is in Argentina on a trade mission. Colin Tooze, Uber’s director of public affairs, tweeted back, “Many thanks for your leadership, @FLGovScott ! All of us at @Uber are excited to have a permanent home in the Sunshine State.”




News Service of Florida

House Forever Florida bill could undo Negron Everglades reservoir plan

More money would be set aside for land conservation under a House bill rolled out Monday, with some environmentalists contending the proposal could hinder Senate President Joe Negron’s push to speed construction of a water-cleaning reservoir in the Everglades. House Government Accountability Chairman Matt Caldwell, whose committee unanimously approved the measure (PCB GAC 17-06), rejected the notion that the proposed changes to the state’s Florida Forever land-conservation program are tied to the Senate’s proposed $1.5 billion reservoir project (SB 10).