Posts Tagged ‘David Richardson’

House committee advances lobbying ban; impeachment power for attorneys, public defenders

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Florida lawmakers advanced two key pieces of legislation through the House Thursday, including one to lengthen the period before elected officials could begin lobbying after their time in office.
The other bill would make state attorneys and public defenders in each judicial district eligible for impeachment under the governor’s power.
In an overwhelming vote, the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee passed PCB PIE 17-01 and HJR 999, though there was thorough debate by both the public and committee members on each measure.
PCB PIE 17-01, which has yet to be given a bill number and was introduced by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, vice chair of the committee, leaps forward from two years to six years before a former Florida lawmaker can be compensated for through connections and inherent benefits legislators reap while employed in such positions.
The intention, Sullivan said, was to hedge off corruption while re-establishing integrity in elected officials. By waiting six years, those supposed connections in the Statehouse may no longer be there, she said.
“I think it’s really important that we instill trust in this process again,” she told the committee in closing the measure after debate. “I think we owe that to the (constituents).”
For years, corruption scandals have plagued Florida lawmakers, bringing about wide skepticism among the voters of the Sunshine State.
Rep. Chuck Clemons, Sr., agreed with the amendment in debate, referencing the widespread practice of lawmakers becoming lobbyists on behalf of special interest groups due to the close connections they typically still have after leaving office.
“How do you stop the revolving door unless you stop the revolving door,” he said. “This is the ‘kill the certain perks’ bill. This is the ‘no longer fresh’ bill. You’re serving because you believe in the rock bottom idea that you are serving to serve, not to gain anything.”
But Rep. David Richardson, while in favor of the measure, had concerns it

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Does splitting bill in two edge Enterprise Florida closer to chopping block?

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Democratic lawmaker David Richardson appears to be getting his Enterprise Florida wish from his conservative House colleagues.
The Miami Beach state rep won’t be getting a grant from the taxpayer-supported economic incentive organization; rather he’ll soon have a chance to help abolish it.
House leadership, headed by Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, will be splitting a bill aimed at eliminating Enterprise Florida and reducing Visit Florida’s taxpayer-funded tourism marketing budget by 67 percent into two bills, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The move incorporates feedback from a House Appropriations Committee last week.
“I have very little good to say about Enterprise Florida and the way it has been conducted in the past,” Richardson said during the committee meeting, echoing sentiments from the organization’s toughest critics.
But after recounting several issues, such as the public-private partnership’s 90-10 taxpayer-to-private funding ratio, poor performance and a cash “slush fund” used to purchase furniture and pay for travel, Richardson voted against cutting Enterprise Florida.
He disagreed with the proposed funding reduction on Visit Florida, so said he had no other choice but to cast a dissenting vote because the two organizations were packaged together.
“But if you pull out Enterprise Florida … I’d be happy to kill it for you,” he said.
Splitting the bill in two also honors Rep. Paul Renner’s, R-Palm Coast, commitment to Democratic Minority Leader Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, to allow for further debate on Visit Florida funding. With that promise, Cruz, the highest-ranking House Democrat, voted to eliminate Enterprise Florida last week.
Richardson, Cruz and other Democrats will have an opportunity to vote with their GOP counterparts, perhaps by late next week.
HB 7005 is scheduled to be split Monday in the House Rules and Policy Committee. All references to Visit Florida will be moved to a new bill, HB 9, and the remaining language would eliminate Enterprise Florida, as well

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Bill to kill business incentives, Enterprise Florida cleared for House floor

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

A House bill that would abolish the Enterprise Florida economic development organization, eliminate a throng of business incentive programs, and strip the VISIT FLORIDA tourism marketing agency down to a barebones $25 million budget cleared its second and final panel Tuesday.
That means the measure (HB 7005), OK’d by the House Appropriations Committee on an 18-12 vote, is ready to be considered by the full House when the 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7. 
The vote was another hit to Gov. Rick Scott, an advocate of both agencies and economic incentives, which he says create jobs for Floridians. In a statement, he again responded to the House with the “P” word.
“Today’s vote by politicians in the Florida House is a job killer,” the governor said. “I know some politicians … say they don’t necessarily want to abolish these programs but instead want to advance a ‘conversation.’
“This is completely hypocritical and the kind of games I came to Tallahassee to change,” he added. “Perhaps if these politicians would listen to their constituents, instead of playing politics, they would understand how hurtful this legislation will be to Florida families.”
Even if the House passes its bill as currently is, however, it could well be dead on arrival in the Senate. The House originally aimed to kill VISIT FLORIDA, then offered to keep it but with far less money.
State Sen. Jeff Brandes, the St. Petersburg Republican who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development, on Tuesday filed his own economic development legislation. It would leave VISIT FLORIDA alone, and overhaul but not get rid of Enterprise Florida and incentive programs.
“The focus of economic development should be on Florida’s small businesses,” Brandes said. “Fostering a start-up culture in our state and encouraging small business development will create a better ecosystem where opportunity can thrive.”
But the House legislation is the star

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Lawmakers push to create registry of those convicted of animal cruelty

Monday, February 20th, 2017

A bipartisan bill that would prevent animals from being sold to or adopted by people who have been convicted of animal abuse has been filed in the Florida House of Representatives.
The bill (HB 871) is sponsored by South Florida Democrat Jared Moskowitz and David Richardson and Spring Hill Republican Blaise Ingoglia. It would create a publicly accessible animal abuse registry listing those convicted of felony crimes relating to animal cruelty. Under the legislation, pet dealers, animal shelters, and humane organizations would not be allowed to sell or allow animals to be adopted until they have verified that the person acquiring the animal is not on the animal abuse offender list.
Last year, Tennessee became the first state to adopt a state-wide animal abuser registry. According to the National Anti-Vivisection Society, nine other states are contemplating similar legislation in 2017.
“People who have been convicted of animal abuse shouldn’t be sold more animals,”said Moskowitz. “Making this data available as a resource to pet dealers is a commonsense and transparent solution that ensures the safety of Florida’s animals.”
“Today, Representative Moskowitz, Representative Richardson, and I are pleased to file HB 871 in an effort to reduce the sales of pets to individuals who have been convicted of animal abuse,” said Ingoglia. “The creation of an animal abuse registry will work similar to the sexual offender registry in that it will empower pet dealers and adoption agencies in knowing their customer.”
“We look forward to widespread bipartisan support for legislation that will reduce the level of cruelty and abuse of animals in the state of Florida,” declared Richardson. “After speaking with many constituents about these issues we recognize the significant value of moving forward with reforms. I look forward to working on this legislation with my colleagues.”
The post Lawmakers push to create registry of those convicted of animal cruelty appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.
On and off: Tiffany Harrington has replaced Heather Williamson as House staff director of the Joint Select Committee on Collective Bargaining.
On: Natron Curtis is the new district secretary for Gainesville Democratic Rep. Clovis Watson.
Off: Melissa Ullery is no longer legislative assistant for Panama City Republican Sen. George Gainer.
Off and on: George Fossett is the new legislative assistant for Miami Gardens Democratic Sen. Oscar Braynon. Previously, Fossett served as district secretary for sunrise Democratic Rep. Katie Edwards.
Off and on: Patrick Steele replaced Riley Baldree as legislative assistant for Melbourne Republican Sen. Debbie Mayfield.
On: Marilyn Barnes returned from retirement to become legislative assistant for Tallahassee Democratic Sen. Bill Montford.
On: Debra Booth is the new legislative assistant for Kissimmee Democratic Sen. Victor Torres.
On: Paula Rigoli is now district secretary for Delray Beach Democratic Rep. Emily Slosberg.
On: Luis Callejas, previously district secretary, is now legislative assistant for Miami Democratic Rep. David Richardson.
On: Lindsay Graham is now district secretary for Orlando Republican Rep. Mike Miller.
On: Sharon Stewart is the new district secretary for Vero Beach Republican Rep. Erin Grall.
On: Nadie Charles is now legislative assistant and Elizabeth Casimir is district secretary for Fort Lauderdale Democratic Rep. Patricia Williams.
On and on: Rebecca McLaughlin is legislative assistant and Kathy Johnson, who was previously district secretary, is now legislative assistant for Orlando Republican Rep. Eric Eisnaugle.
Off and on: Charles Smith, who was previously district secretary, is now legislative assistant for Fort Lauderdale Republican Rep. George Moraitis.
On: Dennis Ragosta is the new district secretary for Ocala Republican Rep. Charlie Stone.
On: Mikhail Scott is now legislative assistant for Cutler Bay Democratic Rep. Kionne McGhee.
On: Nancy Bowers is the new district secretary for The Villages Republican Rep. Don Hahnfeldt.
On: Rebecca Zizzo is district secretary for House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
On: Jack Harrington is legislative assistant for Miami Republican Rep. Michael Bileca.
Off: Janine Kiray is no longer legislative assistant to Clearwater Republican Rep. Chris Latvala.
Off: Constance Baker is no longer

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House panel OK’s lobbying ban extensions, won’t impeach judge

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

A new House ethics panel on Tuesday unanimously approved two measures as part of Speaker Richard Corcoran’s new “culture of transparency.”
One (PIE 17-01) would increase the ban on former lawmakers and statewide elected officers lobbying their colleagues after leaving office from two years to six years by way of a constitutional amendment.
The other (PIE 17-02) “extend(s) the prohibition on legislators lobbying the executive branch” from two to six years after leaving office.
Also Tuesday, Larry Metz—who chairs the Public Integrity and Ethics Committee—told members he had been quietly looking into articles of impeachment against a Jacksonville judge.
The news seemed to confirm rumors this week that Circuit Judge Mark Hulsey III had gotten wind of the House’s investigation; he resigned Monday, mooting any impeachment.
Only vice-chair Jennifer Sullivan and Democratic ranking member David Richardson knew about the preparations, Metz said.
Hulsey had been charged, among other things, with referring to a woman attorney by using a vulgar term for female genitalia, mistreating courthouse staff attorneys and judicial assistants, and saying that African Americans “should go get back on a ship and go back to Africa,” according to a JQC report. Hulsey denied the allegations.
Though judicial misconduct cases normally are handled by the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC), the state constitution empowers the House to impeach the “governor, lieutenant governor, members of the cabinet, justices of the supreme court, judges of district courts of appeal, judges of circuit courts, and judges of county courts” for any “misdemeanor in office.”
Metz said it was his idea to pursue impeaching Hulsey, for which Corcoran gave his OK. An impeachment would have had to be tried in the Senate.
“The speaker, I think, deserves a lot of credit for leading us in this direction and having higher standards of conduct and not allowing credible

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Bill banning ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBT teens returns to the Florida House

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

A bill banning “conversion therapy” for LGBT teens was filed Tuesday in the Florida House, surfacing for the second consecutive year.
HB 273, filed by Miami Beach Democrat David Richardson, defines “conversion therapy,” and prohibits such therapy for minors.
The bill defines conversion therapy as a “practice or treatment” designed to change a person’s sexual orientation — a phrase that includes gender identity and gender expression in this context.
Richardson’s measure does include a qualifier — counseling as part of gender transition is not considered to be conversion therapy.
It also includes a broad spectrum of disciplines barred from this practice with minors: “medical practitioners, osteopathic practitioners, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and licensed counselors, may not engage in conversion therapy with a person younger than 18 years of age.”
It would be up to the regulatory boards of these practitioners’ disciplines to impose sanctions.
The bill faces an uphill battle in the Florida House.
In 2016, Richardson’s bill died in a House subcommittee.
Five states and six Florida cities have banned conversion therapy for minors already, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
However, most of those Florida cities are in South Florida, which augurs poorly for support of this measure in other regions of the state.

The post Bill banning ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBT teens returns to the Florida House appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Ban the bag, South Florida lawmaker says

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

A South Florida lawmaker is trying again to establish pilot programs in coastal communities to outlaw plastic shopping bags.

State Rep. David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat, filed his bill (HB 93) on Tuesday. Similar legislation has been filed in recent years.
Richardson’s bill would let municipalities with pilot programs “enact an ordinance for the regulation or ban of disposable plastic bags.”
Such regulations or bans would be short-lived, however, taking effect “no earlier than January 1, 2018, and expires no later than June 30, 2020.”
Such an ordinance “may not include any new taxes or fees,” the bill says. One previous version of the bill imposed a 10-cent surcharge for each plastic bag.
Environmentalists have long complained that disposable plastic bags often wind up in the water and on beaches, putting fish and marine animals in jeopardy.
Sea turtles, for instance, think the bags are jellyfish, eat them and wind up with intestinal blockages.
The Legislature authorized the Department of Environmental Protection in 2010 to produce a one-time “Retail Bags Report.”
“Plastic and paper bags are not inherently bad but they have terrible consequences in a throwaway society – and there are simple, readily available ways to reduce our dependency and properly reuse, recycle or dispose of them,” the report said.
“Bans produce the fastest results in reducing plastic bag use; fees or taxes follow closely behind,” it added.
California was the first state to enact an outright ban on all “single-use plastic bags” at large retail stores statewide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). That ban took effect last July.
“In addition to California, a de facto statewide ban exists in Hawaii as all of the most populous counties in the state prohibit non-biodegradable plastic bags at checkout,” the organization’s website says.
And in 2009, the District of Columbia passed a law to ban distributing plastic carry-out bags. It also set a fee of 5 cents for all other disposable bags, according to the NCSL.

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There oughta be a T-shirt for the David Richardson Tour

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

State Representative — and glutton for punishment — David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) brought his lonely crusade for improved prison infrastructure to the Columbia Correctional Institution on Thanksgiving Eve, giving inmates and guards the rare gift of something to be grateful for.
Florida’s correctional facilities have been decaying for decades, out of sight and out of mind except when there’s a riot, or bad publicity, or bad publicity caused by a riot.
Self-styled “one-man band” Richardson has taken it upon himself to change the public attention paradigm with a series of surprise visits to the decrepit, dangerous Big Houses located in places few Floridians can locate on a map. He’s shown up unannounced at 60 facilities and spoken with more than 225 inmates. It’s a tour without a T-shirt, but the Miami Herald has covered Richardson like Rolling Stone covers The Rolling Stones, making it impossible for the Department of Corrections (DOC) to ignore him, even if he is a Democrat.
The punch list at Columbia is a familiar one. Unflushable toilets. Unworkable showers. Cold water in hot water faucets. Heating systems that don’t work on freezing winter nights. Cell windows jammed shut on broiling summer days. “Head-splitting” noise from out-of-control exhaust fans.
“The conditions were horrific — unfit for human habitation,” Richardson told the Herald.
To her credit, DOC Secretary Julie Jones did not try to deny Richardson’s findings or lie her way out of the Herald’s questions. Basic maintenance has been neglected for so long that Jones couldn’t get half of Florida’s prisons fixed if she had Enterprise Florida’s slush funds to work with.
Forced to function like a triage nurse in an overwhelmed emergency room, Jones has no choice but to give the leaking roofs a “priority over hot water” and to rely on corrections staff to bring their own wrenches and squeeze in tasks

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Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.
Off: Mary Kassabaum is no longer legislative assistant for Trilby Republican state Sen. Wilton Simpson.
Off: Caroline Crow is no longer district secretary for Rockledge Republican state Sen. Thad Altman.
On: Matthew Hunter is returning as legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto.
Off: Sean Nixon is no longer legislative assistant for Cutler Bay Democratic state Sen. Dwight Bullard.
Off: Kyle Langan is no longer legislative assistant for Inverness Republican state Sen. Charlie Dean.
Off and on: Allison Hess Sitte is no longer legislative assistant for Niceville Republican state Sen. Don Gaetz. Sitte has moved to the president’s office to serve as director of scheduling for Senate President-designate Joe Negron, a Republican from Stuart.
Off: Nanci Cornwell and Anne-Marie Norman are no longer legislative assistants for Umatilla Republican state Sen. Alan Hays.
Off: Karol Molinares is no longer legislative assistant for North Miami Democratic state Sen. Gwen Margolis.
Off: Carolina Castillo and Alexandra Rueckner are no longer district secretaries for Miami Republican state Rep. Frank Artiles.
Off: Gabe Peters is no longer legislative assistant for Hialeah Republican state Rep. Bryan Avila.
Off and on: Lance Clemons is no longer district secretary for Monticello Republican state Rep. Halsey Beshears. He was replaced by Chris Kingry.
Off: Andrea Knowles is no longer legislative assistant for Deerfield Beach Democratic state Rep. Gwyndolen “Gwyn” Clarke-Reed.
On: Evelyn Haas is the new district secretary for Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran.
On: Beatriz Marte became district secretary for Kissimmee Democratic state Rep. John Cortes.
Off: Ashley Guinn is no longer legislative assistant for Speaker Steve Crisafulli.
Off: Christian Schultze is no longer district secretary for Tampa Democratic state Rep. Janet Cruz.
Off and on: Allison Hopkins is no longer district secretary for Eucheeanna Republican state Rep. Brad Drake. Ann McGraw, formerly with Baker Republican state Sen. Greg Evers, joins Rhonda Thomas as Drake’s legislative assistant.
On: Nathan Klein is a new district secretary for Cape Coral Republican state Rep. Dane Eagle.
On: Edward Metzger is a new legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen.
Off and on:

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