Posts Tagged ‘Travis Hutson’

Senate panel OKs beer bill — that beer companies hate

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

A bill that—as one beer-company insider put it—could allow theme parks to “extort” advertising dollars out of them cleared a Senate panel this week.
The legislation (SB 388), which allows beer companies to advertise in theme parks, was OK’d unanimously by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee with scant attention.
It chips away at the state’s “tied house evil” law by allowing ads, which could include a beer company sponsoring a concert or festival within a park. And ironically, the companies don’t want the law changed.
Moreover, a previous version of the bill theoretically could have allowed beer makers to stock the inside of any Florida bar or tavern with ads because it covered any “vendor licensed under the Beverage Law.”
Bill sponsor Travis Hutson, the Elkton Republican who chairs the committee, amended the bill so it only covered the parks.
“This is a holdover from Prohibition-era laws,” Hutson told the committee Wednesday. He couldn’t be reached Thursday.
As the Tampa Tribune once explained, “Florida and other states passed ‘tied house’ laws, which prohibited taverns and bars from being owned by, or ‘tied’ to, alcoholic beverage manufacturers. Tied houses, common in England, were thought to encourage overconsumption.”
“The federal government … has left this authority up to the states,” Hutson added. If signed into law, Florida would be the fifth state to allow beer ads in its theme parks, he added.
But the strike-all’s language is rather specific: “… a theme park complex comprised of at least 25 contiguous acres owned and controlled by the same business entity and which contains permanent exhibitions and a variety of recreational activities and has a minimum of 1 million visitors annually.”
Representatives for SeaWorld and Universal Orlando said they supported the measure.
Lobbyists for MillerCoors; the Beer Industry of Florida, the association of Florida’s MillerCoors distributors; and the Florida Beer Wholesalers Association, which represents Anheuser-Busch distributors; all opposed it.
One critic of the legislation, who

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Travis Hutson’s redistricting bill moves to Senate 3rd reading calendar

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

SB 352, a Travis Hutson bill intended to streamline the handling of redistricting cases in state courts, moved from the special order calendar to third reading Wednesday.
The bill is intended to encourage judges to conduct redistricting actions in the sunshine, including public hearings involving potential district maps, keeping minutes of closed-door meetings on the plan, facilitating public comment on maps and plans, and complete records retention of all emails and documents.
The last decade has been fraught with challenges related to post-2010 reapportionment, including four years of litigation and eight separate opinions from the Florida Supreme Court.
Hutson noted that the bill “locks the maps in place on qualification day,” giving clarity to candidates.
________
There was just a bit of drama during Senate discussion.
Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Miami Democrat, introduced an amendment to strike requirements on the course in the bill, saying that while the legislature passes laws, the language of the bill requiring the courts to conduct public hearings is “not their role.”
Rodriguez made the same point regarding records retention.
“Those are the kinds of things that we do,” Rodriguez said.
Hutson called the amendment “unfriendly,” saying that “there are certain things that the voters and … the legislature should know about how they’re reaching their conclusions.”
Sen. Jack Latvala cited the “arrogance” of the judicial branch, crediting Hutson with a “nice try” in terms of holding the courts to the same standards that the legislative branch is compelled to adhere to.
Rodriguez then withdrew the amendment.
_____
The Florida House version of this bill, HB 953, has three committees to clear ahead of a floor vote.
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Mexico Consul, ACLU, Civil Rights groups blast immigrant crime bill

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

The Consul of the Mexican Consulate in Orlando and several groups blasted a Florida senate bill Wednesday that would make one set of criminal codes for undocumented immigrants and another for everyone else.
Mexico Consul Juan Sabines Guerrero called Senate Bill 120 “condemnable by society as a whole” as he and representatives of the ACLU and several Civil Rights organizations called, at the Mexican Consulate in Orlando, for the Florida Legislature to stop the bill.
SB 120, sponsored by Republican Travis Hutson of Palm Coast, would require that any criminal charges against undocumented immigrants be upgraded. A first-degree misdemeanor charge brought against someone who turned out to be an undocumented immigrant would be prosecuted as a third-degree felony; a third-degree felony charge would be prosecuted as a second-degree felony; etc.
Hutson was not immediately available to respond. He has promoted the bill by arguing that undocumented immigrants already have committed another offense by being in Florida illegally.
“Any legislation that forgets basic principles of law, disregards basic human rights, and forgets the contribution of immigrants is to be condemnable by society as a whole,” Sabines said.
Sabines and others, including activists Philip Arroyo and Lawanna Gelzer, argued that the proposed law clearly violates the equal protection principle of American justice, which has been established to say that immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, are to be treated in court like anyone else.
“We think it’s racist, it’s unconstitutional, it’s a violation of human rights, and as a law student I have to say I am disgusted and embarrassed,” said Arroyo, representing the ACLU of Central Florida and the Immigrant Rights Task Force.
Arroyo said the bill is unconstitutional and said, “If this passes, expect a legal battle.”
SB 120 has cleared both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, by one vote in each panel. It

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Dana Young says Bob Buckhorn should support utility legislation

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says a bill co-introduced by Tampa state Senator Dana Young would take away local control of public spaces, but Young says that the mayor has it wrong in his concerns about what the bill will actually do.
“Telecommunications companies are pushing SB 596 and HB 687, legislation that would allow them to place small refrigerator-sized equipment, and even towering poles, on public rights of way. If passed, local governments would have no control over where this communications equipment would be placed or how it would look,” Buckhorn writes in an op-ed published in the Tampa Bay Times. “This idea tramples on the authority of the very local officials you entrusted to make decisions about how your community, and all others in Florida, look and feel.”
The bill, named the “Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act,” is being sponsored in the Senate by Palm Coast Republican Travis Hutson, chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries committee. It would prohibit the Department of Transportation and certain local governments from prohibiting, regulating or charging for placing small wireless facilities in rights of way. It also says that local governments can’t require applicants to perform services unrelated to the approval that’s being sought, like reserving fiber or pole space for the governmental agency. It also says that local governments can’t ask the applicant to “provide more information to obtain a permit than is required of electric service providers and other communications service providers that are not wireless providers.”
“When public officials consider where structures may be located, they evaluate many factors, including a community’s character, the safe installation of such facilities, and the cost to the taxpayers,” Buckhorn writes in his op-ed. “The proposed legislation directly negates this by allowing telecom companies to construct equipment with no concern about how they affect our neighborhoods, public safety, or local budgets.”
Buckhorn adds that the legislation also “diminishes communities. The legislation would interfere with a community’s ability

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Senate redistricting bill clears last review panel

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

A bill aimed at streamlining the handling of political redistricting court cases cleared its last committee Thursday.
The legislation (SB 352) was OK’d by the Senate Rules Committee on a 7-3 party-line vote. It’s now ready for the full Senate.
It also “encourages” courts “to follow certain procedures to maintain public oversight when drafting a remedial redistricting plan,” the bill’s analysis says.
That’s because bill sponsor Travis Hutson, an Elkton Republican, was concerned that previous redistricting cases were decided “behind closed doors, outside of the public eye” by judges, he said.
“We need more transparency,” Hutson told the committee.
To that end, according to the analysis, his bill asks judges—but does not require them—to:
— Conduct public hearings involving proposed district configurations.
— Record and maintain minutes of meetings on the plan if the meetings are closed to the public.
— Provide a method for the public to submit and comment on additional maps.
— Offer the public an opportunity to review and comment on any map before a plan is finalized.
— Maintain all e-mails and documents related to the creation of the remedial plan.
But opponents, including The League of Women Voters of Florida, raised concerns about separation of powers. Ben Wilcox, research director for Integrity Florida, a Tallahassee-based ethics watchdog, called the bill a “solution in search of a problem.”
The bill is a response to court challenges over the state’s redrawn districts after the 2010 Census.
“The Florida Supreme Court issued eight separate apportionment opinions, the trial court issued additional opinions, and litigation spanned nearly 4 years in the state courts,” the analysis said.
“The litigation often proved confusing to candidates hoping to qualify and run for office because the candidates were uncertain where the district boundaries were located,” it added.
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Redistricting overhaul barely clears second Senate panel

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

A bill aimed at speeding up the handling of political redistricting court cases cut it close Tuesday, clearing its second Senate committee by a 4-3 party-line vote.

The legislation (SB 352) was OK’d by the Senate Ethics and Election Committee, with all three Democrats on the panel voting no.
The bill is a response to court challenges over the state’s redrawn districts after the 2010 Census.
“The Florida Supreme Court issued eight separate apportionment opinions, the trial court issued additional opinions, and litigation spanned nearly 4 years in the state courts,” a staff analysis said.
“The litigation often proved confusing to candidates hoping to qualify and run for office because the candidates were uncertain where the district boundaries were located,” it added.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Travis Hutson of Elkton, will next be considered by the Rules Committee.

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Impressive roster of GOP state leaders lineup for Ed Hooper Tallahassee fundraiser

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Clearwater Republican Ed Hooper is assembling an impressive number of high-profile state lawmakers for a Tallahassee reception next month. Hooper, a former state representative, is seeking the open Senate District 16 seat currently held by Jack Latvala.
Hooper’s campaign fundraiser will be Monday, March 6, from 2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Governors Club, 202 South Adams Street.
The host committee reads like a Who’s Who of GOP state leaders, including Senate President Joe Negron and nearly all the Pinellas County/Hillsborough delegation: Sens. Latvala, Bill Galvano, Wilton Simpson, Dana Young and Jeff Brandes.
Republican senators from beyond the Tampa Bay area will be there, too: Lizbeth Benacquisto, George Gainer, Denise Grimsley, Frank Artiles, Dennis Baxley, Aaron Bean, Travis Hutson, Debbie Mayfield, Kathleen Passidomo, Keith Perry, Robert Bradley, Doug Broxson, David Simmons, Kelli Stargel and Greg Steube.
The House will also be well represented, with Larry Ahern, Ben Albritton, Chris Latvala and Kathleen Peters.
A former Clearwater firefighter who served four terms in the House before term limits forced him out, Hooper ran for Pinellas County Commission in 2014, losing to Democrat Pat Gerard after a contentious campaign.
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Is tobacco bond cap repeal already dead for 2017 Session?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Legislation that would repeal the limit on the amount of money tobacco companies have to put up as appellate bonds could well be dead for the 2017 Legislative Session, which doesn’t even start till March 7. 
Legislative committees have already been meeting on bills, including HB 6011 and SB 100, which would kill the “bond cap” for tobacco companies that want to appeal judgments against them by former smokers.
But both bills were “temporarily postponed” in recent weeks, often a sign the bill sponsors don’t quite have the votes needed for passage lined up.
Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican who sits on the committee, and state Rep. Danny Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican, filed the measures for their respective chambers.
Now, Senate Regulated Industries Committee Chairman Travis Hutson has told POLITICO’s Matt Dixon on Monday the legislation isn’t a “priority,” and he’s “not sure if it is coming back up.”
“It was a timing issue,” Hutson told our reporter Jim Rosica of the “TP” in his committee. “I had it up with the ‘whiskey and Wheaties’ bill and we just ran out of time.”
Asked whether he will call the bond cap repeal back up for a hearing, Hutson said, “I don’t know yet. I have other stuff on my table … We have a lot of other bills that will take a lot of time, but if I can bring it back up, I will. I just have to find the time.”
That said, it looks like a loss for the state’s trial lawyers who backed the cap repeal. They said it would force settlements and end decades-long litigation over plaintiffs’ claims of irreversible illness or early death from smoking.
Tobacco companies said a repeal would be unfair because, without a cap, bonds would fall under the “150 percent of judgment” rule. With some verdicts in the billions of dollars, bonds could be unreasonably large under that standard, they said.
The tipping point seemed

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Bill benefiting craft distilleries clears Senate Regulated Industries

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

The Senate Regulated Industries Committee OK’d a bill benefiting Florida’s craft distilleries, clearing a path for distillers to get their product to more people.
The bill (SB 166) increases the amount of booze a distillery can product and still be considered “craft” to 250,000 gallons, up from 75,000; removes the limit on how many bottles distillers can sell to consumers, even though bottles can’t be bigger than 1.75 liters; and allows distillers to sell their liquor not just in an on-site gift shop, but also in “one other approved sales room located in the same county as the distillery’s production building.”
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube, also allows distillers to bypass the three-tier system of separate alcoholic beverage manufacturers, distributors and retailers put in place after Prohibition.
The proposal says a “designated Florida Craft Distillery may transfer … distilled spirits produced at such … distillery … out of its federal bonded space or unbonded space at its licensed premise or storage areas to its vendor’s licensed premises or approved sales room.”
While representatives for distributors argued that clause could lead to distillers bypassing distributors all together, committee staff said the language does not allow for product to be delivered by mail, only by vehicle from one site to another.
Supporters of the measure said it will help their business, giving them more opportunity to grow. Sen. Travis Hutson, the committee’s chairman, said he has been at the St. Augustine Distillery when “someone (from New York) tries to buy a third bottle or a fourth bottle and they say you can’t.”
“This allows a little more parity,” said Hutson, who presented the bill for Steube, who was absent Wednesday.
The bill passed 5-4. It now heads to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.
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Redistricting overhaul clears first Senate panel

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

A bill aimed at speeding up the handling of political redistricting court cases breezed through its first Senate committee on Tuesday.
The legislation (SB 352) was OK’d by the Senate Judiciary Committee with only state Sen. Bobby Powell, a Riviera Beach Democrat, voting against it.
“I do believe it’s initially incumbent on us to be transparent so we don’t wind up in these situations,” Powell said. “This is something that basically we brought on ourselves.”
The bill is a response to court challenges over the state’s redrawn districts after the 2010 Census.
“What occurred in 2012 was quite different than previous redistricting efforts,” a staff analysis said. “The redistricting plans were litigated over almost 4 years through different state courts before being declared valid.”
The League of Women Voters of Florida and other plaintiffs sued the state for violating the “Fair Districts” constitutional amendments approved by voters in 2010.
Their suit said the new maps violated a prohibition against gerrymandering, the manipulation of political boundaries to favor a particular incumbent or party, in this case, Republicans.
In December 2015, the state Supreme Court approved a new version of the state’s 27 congressional districts, more than three years after the lawsuit had first alleged they were unconstitutional.
The Legislature tried but failed to agree on a redrawn congressional map in a Special Session that summer, and the matter bounced to a Tallahasseee judge, who used the plaintiff’s maps.
Separately, another Tallahassee judge redrew the state’s 40 senatorial districts after the Senate settled that challenge by admitting fault. An effort to redraw those lines also ended in failure, with the courts again adopting the plaintiff’s recommendations.
Sen. Travis Hutson, the Elkton Republican behind the bill, said the legislation does three things: Requires courts to fast-track challenges to redrawn political maps, “locks” the maps in place in time for candidate qualifying, and encourages courts to follow the same procedures as the Legislature if

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Travis Hutson telecom bill would preempt right of way regulation

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Newly filed legislation could affect how much power local governments have to regulate the right of way when it comes to telecommunications equipment.
Sen. Travis Hutson, chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries committee, filed the “Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act” (SB 596) on Monday. The bill, among other things, would prohibit the Department of Transportation and certain local governments from prohibiting, regulating or charging for placing small wireless facilities in rights of way.
Under Hutson’s bill, local governments can’t require applicants to perform services unrelated to the approval that’s being sought, like reserving fiber or pole space for the governmental agency. It also can’t ask the applicant to “provide more information to obtain a permit than is required of electric service providers and other communications service providers that are not wire les providers.”
The bill also prohibits agencies from limiting “the placement of small wireless facilities by minimum separation distances or a maximum height limitation.” However, agencies can limit the height of a small wireless facility to no more than 10 feet above the tallest existing utility pole.
An application is automatically approved within 60 days of receipt, unless an agency approves or denies it.
The proposal has the backing of telecommunications giant AT&T.
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Travis Hutson talks ‘The Process’ and Regulated Industries

Friday, January 20th, 2017

In St. Augustine Wednesday for the St. Johns County Delegation meeting, Sen. Travis Hutson discussed a variety of topics with FloridaPolitics.com.
Hutson expects an interesting year.
Among the topics: The Process and his chairmanship of the Senate’s Regulated Industries committee.
***
The ongoing Cold War between Senate and House leadership looms over the session at large.
Hutson isn’t as pessimistic as some media covering it, however.
“Who knows what’s going to happen? There’s no guarantees in Tallahassee,” Hutson said.
“The process has always been, the initial offer’s made from either side and we go through conferencing to kind of balance out those budgets through subcommittees,” Hutson added.
“All I see that the speaker’s really doing is to ask his House members to start that process a little sooner. The House will put up their bills. The Senate, when we go into conferencing, will put up our stuff. And we’ll negotiate the budget. That’s how I anticipate it [working],” Hutson observed.
***
Hutson amplified a Tweet he made earlier this year about an expected active year in his Regulated Industries committee also.
“In Regulated Industries, it’s going to be a really fun year. Stuff’s going to move, and it will move quickly. Stuff that usually dies – if you look at the agenda, some of it’s up there already.”
Already in play: issues like casino gaming, an issue on which consensus has proven elusive in previous sessions.
“A perfect year for Regulated Industries would be those dogfights that usually happen, where bills go to die, it doesn’t turn into that anymore. If I put a bill on the agenda, I expect it to move and get out.
“I’m going to challenge that committee. I think we have a good committee, but I’m going to challenge them with some stuff they may like to vote for and they may not like to vote for. It’s going

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St. Johns Legislative Delegation hears county wish list

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

On Wednesday, the St. Johns County Commission presented its ambitious legislative action plan to the county’s legislative delegation in what is destined to be, in the words of Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, a “tough budget year.”
The ambitious 73 page plan covers “transportation funding, water quality, beach renourishment, open space and land conservation grants, and unfunded state and federal mandates.”
Transportation asks for the fast-growing Northeast Florida county are significant, including $95 million for the proposed State Road 313 (SR 313) Extension/Bypass from State Road 207 (SR 207) to State Road 16 (SR 16) (and $30 million more for right of way acquisition and design.
As well. St. Johns County seeks another $90 million for the proposed County Road 2209 (CR 2209) from County Road 210 to SR 16.
These have been priority projects for a while.
There also are the pressures of a small-county government dealing with the Sunshine Law: one ask is for public record and open meeting exceptions for economic development agendas.
Additionally, the county commission seeks the reinstatement of the state’s quick action closing fund; while that may be music to Rick Scott‘s ears, Richard Corcoran is a different matter.
And the county commission wants a total of $31 million for septic tank removal in West Augustine, stormwater remediation in Davis Shores, and the elimination of sanitary sewer overflows in St. Augustine.
St. Johns County Commissioner Jimmy Johns called their document a “blueprint” to bridge the gap between core services and what the state can do.
Johns noted that the county had success in previous sessions, and this year needs sand replacement after Hurricane Matthew at its beaches.
The county is still recovering from the storm, and various asks were delineated, including an increase of the state disaster recovery fund share to 75 percent of a $60 million ask.
Numerous speakers addressed these issues throughout the afternoon, painting nightmare scenarios of beach erosion leading to

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Florida Senate bill seeks expedited hearings for district map changes

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

A bill filed Thursday in the Florida Senate would fast-track court rulings in challenges to electoral district boundaries, while requiring current boundaries to be used if the ruling isn’t rendered in a timely fashion.
Senate Bill 352, filed by Elkton Republican Travis Hutson, seeks to resolve uncertainty among candidates and voters alike – a utilitarian measure in the light of high-profile recent challenges to Florida Senate boundaries as well as to those of the United States House of Representatives.
Challenges to boundaries in legislative races must be given an expedited hearing, according to the bill.
If a ruling is not rendered by the 71st day before the primary election in multi-county district races, the election must proceed according to extant boundaries, with any changes taking effect for the next election cycle.
This would not apply to state attorney or public defender races, where the lines are not controversial; rather, to State Senate and State House races.
If a court order mandating change is rendered for a U.S. House of Representatives primary race 116 days before the primary, those candidates must requalify in accordance with the changes.
Additionally, Hutson’s bill has provisions that allow for public oversight in the case of a remedial map from a court, incorporating provisions for public review and commentary, and requiring records to be kept of the process.
“Our districts are the literal building blocks of a successful representative democracy,” said Hutson in a press release.
“The process of creating districts is too important to have uncertainty. This bill clearly sets a framework so all those involved in the electoral process, from the Supervisors of Elections to candidates and most importantly the voters, can be confident that timely and fair elections are held in our state,” Hutson added.
“I am a firm believer that three co-equal branches of government with strong public input and oversight

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Senate plans 4-hour hearing on gambling bill coming Thursday

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

The Senate’s gambling legislation for 2017 will be filed this Thursday, according to state Sen. Bill Galvano.
Bet on a lot of talk about it: The Regulated Industries Committee has set aside four hours to discuss it at its next meeting.
A tentative schedule posted Wednesday on the Senate’s website shows its Jan. 25 meeting beginning at 2 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m. The committee oversees gambling policy.
Committee chair Travis Hutson, said his members will begin going over the bill being handled by Galvano, one of the lawmakers who helped draft the 2010 Seminole Compact,
The Miami Herald reported late Monday that lawmakers were close to a deal to get approval of a new agreement between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida granting them continued exclusivity to offer blackjack and “banked card games.”
Part of that deal involved “allow(ing) owners of declining pari-mutuels to sell their permits to others who want to install slot machines at newer facilities outside of South Florida,” the paper reported.
Galvano, a Bradenton Republican, has been working on legislation with state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, a Miami-Dade Republican and the House’s point man on gambling.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran has said “we’re a very conservative chamber, and if something is going to pass … it’s going to have to be a reduction in gambling.”
The deal satisfies that condition, the Herald reported, because it “lead(s) to a net reduction of live, active (dog and horse track) permits throughout the state.”
But gambling opponents are skeptical, saying any new slots outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties would be unconstitutional.
Voters statewide approved an 2004 amendment to the state constitution legalizing slots at existing jai-alai frontons and horse and dog racetracks, but only in South Florida.
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Florida Senate bill would hike penalties for felon movers

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

A bill filed in the Florida Senate on Wednesday would hike penalties for moving companies who hire felons and give them access to customers’ homes and property.
Senate Bill 336, filed by Elkton Republican Sen. Travis Hutson, would amend statute related to residential movers, penalizing companies that fail to disclose in writing that a moving company employee with access to property has been convicted of a felony.
Each violation of the amended statute would be a Class IV civil penalty, requiring a fine of at least $10,000.
Companies that don’t pay these civil fines could have their registrations not renewed, if they don’t satisfy that obligation.
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Blaise Ingoglia touts support from state senators in Florida GOP chair re-election bid

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Nearly a dozen state senators are throwing their support behind Blaise Ingoglia’s bid to keep his job as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.
The Spring Hill Republican announced Wednesday the support of 10 state senators, including former Majority Leader Bill Galvano and former House Majority Leader and newly elected Sen. Dana Young.
“Over this past election cycle, there has been a lot of rhetoric from the Florida Democrat Party, the media and those who wanted the grassroots to fail, by trying to give the appearance that the Republican Party of Florida and the Florida Senate have not been unified in our shared goals,” said Ingoglia, the current chairman of the Florida GOP and a state representative “Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that I, as well as the RPOF, have a great working relationship with our Florida Senators and their leadership. Florida Senators have attended all our major events, donated and helped raise money to help us succeed.”
In an email to state executive committee members, Ingoglia said he was committed to working “collaboratively with the Florida Senate, the Florida House, our Congressional delegation, the Governor and the cabinet to advance our shared goals of making Florida the best state in the nation.”
Aside from Galvano and Young, Ingoglia was endorsed by:
— Sen. Kelli Stargel
— Sen. Rob Bradley
— Sen. Frank Artiles
— Sen. Dennis Baxley
— Sen. Travis Hutson
— Sen. Debbie Mayfield
— Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, and
— Sen. Greg Steube.
Ingoglia was elected chairman in 2015, after Republican activists rejected Gov. Rick Scott’s hand-picked chairman. He previously served as the vice chairman on the state party.
Ingoglia will face Christian Ziegler, a Sarasota Republican committeeman, in the race to serve as the RPOF chair.
Ziegler, 33, announced his candidacy in November.
 
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Constitutional amendment sought to boost Florida’s budget stabilization fund

Monday, December 12th, 2016

A joint resolution filed last week by State Sen. Travis Hutson would turn vetoed appropriations into the Budget Stabilization fund’s gain.
That is, if the voters approve a Constitutional Amendment to that effect
Senate Joint Resolution 116 proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would require the transfer of the amount of a vetoed specific appropriation originating from the General Revenue Fund to the Budget Stabilization Fund.
The proposed legislation also stipulates that the amount transferred may not be used in calculating the Budget Stabilization Fund’s principal balance limitation, and to provide for the transfer of funds for vetoed specific appropriations that are reinstated.
The proposed amendment would read as follows:
“CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ARTICLE III, SECTION 8: TRANSFER OF VETOED APPROPRIATIONS TO THE BUDGET STABILIZATION FUND.—Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to require that any specific appropriation originating from the General Revenue Fund and vetoed by the Governor be transferred to the Budget Stabilization Fund. The amount transferred may not be used in calculating the fund’s principal balance limitation. If the Legislature overrides the veto, the amount transferred shall be returned to the General Revenue Fund for expenditure in accordance with the specific appropriation.”

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New bill targets crimes from ‘violent illegal immigrants’

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

A bill filed for the 2017 Legislative Session by Sen. Travis Hutson and Rep. Dane Eagle seeks to enhance penalties for violent crimes from illegal immigrants.
“Reclassification of crimes” legislation would increase penalties for violent crimes committed by illegals by one degree from the baseline penalty.
A third degree misdemeanor would become a second degree misdemeanor, and so on, under this legislation, which sees escalations similar to current hate crimes legislation (a genre which will see expansion this session, via enhanced penalties for hate crimes against law enforcement.)
Hutson, who hails from St. Johns County, notes in a press release that he is “focused on going after violent illegal immigrants only” to “ensure that all people in Florida whether they be residents or visitors are protected from these violent actors.”
Eagle says the federal government has been “asleep at the wheel.”
While the state lacks the authority to deport these bad actors, Eagle adds that Florida can “prosecute them to the full extent of the law,” and make that law even “tougher.”

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Northeast Florida Senators to feature heavily on Appropriations Committee

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Northeast Florida Senators Aaron Bean, Rob Bradley, Audrey Gibson, and Travis Hutson all have new committee assignments. And happily for Northeast Florida, the first three listed will be in a position to have say over the upper house’s purse strings in the coming session.
Sen. Bean will be one of three First Coast Delegation Members on the Appropriations Committee, with leadership roles on two subcommittees: the chair of Criminal and Civil Justice, and the vice-chair of General Government.
Bean, who represents part of Duval and all of Nassau County, will also sit on the Community Affairs, Criminal Justice, and Ethics and Elections committees.
Sen. Bradley likewise retains a presence on the Appropriations Committee, chairing the subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources.
Bradley will be the vice-chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection and Conservation, befitting the largely rural nature of his district, which runs south from Orange Park through 11 counties. He will have input into water management districts, which could have a salutary impact for the interests of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida in the perpetual water wars over the St. Johns River.
Bradley will also be on Rules, Criminal Justice, and a committee with an unwieldy title: Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security.
On that last committee, the Orange Park Republican will be very familiar with the chair: Jacksonville Democrat Audrey Gibson.
Gibson will join her two Northeast Florida colleagues on Appropriations, potentially creating a bloc that could bode well for regional interests. She will also be on the Appropriations subcommittee for Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.
Other committee assignments for Sen. Gibson: Commerce and Tourism, Judiciary, Regulated Industries, and the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee.
Sen. Hutson, who represents St. Johns, Flagler, and part of Volusia, will chair the powerful Regulated Industries committee, a key role.
Hutson will also sit on the Appropriations subcommittee for the Environment and Natural Resources.
Additionally, Hutson

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Bipartisan backing finds Tracie Davis, but Mark Griffin holds HD 13 money lead

Monday, October 24th, 2016

In recent debates and interviews with this outlet, HD 13 Democrat Tracie Davis has discussed being trusted by both sides of the aisle.
Davis’ latest campaign finance report, spanning the gap between Oct. 8 and Oct. 14, shows that trust for Davis, who just got into the race as a general election candidate in early October.
Davis raised $5,200 in that week, including from political action committees that make a habit of supporting Republicans as much as they do Democrats.
The “Citizens for Principled Leadership” political committee  gave Davis $1,000 on Oct. 10. The committee has also given money in the past to Republicans, including Sen. Jack Latavla, Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, and Rep. Debbie Mayfield.
“North Florida Citizens for Justice” gave Davis $1,000 on Oct. 12. The committee works both sides of the aisle, giving to Democrats such as Sen. Audrey Gibson and Rep. Mark Pafford, while also backing Republicans such as Sen. Travis Hutson, Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, and Rep. Paul Renner.
The “Florida Justice” political action committee likewise maxed out for Davis. This committee is a frequent donor to the Florida Democratic Party, but also has been known to give money to Republican Party of Florida chairman Blaise Ingoglia.
All told, Davis has just under $8,000 on hand for the stretch run of her campaign.
Davis’ Republican opponent, Pastor Mark Griffin, both raised and spent more than his Democratic opponent in the same week, however.
Griffin raised $5,710 during the week, and spent $10,343; all told, the reverend has just over $23,500 on hand.
Among Griffin’s donations: $1,000 from Swisher International, a notable donation in light of his remark during a debate with Davis on Friday that the Jacksonville cigar company has had to outsource some operations of the Dominican Republic.
Of the $10,343 of expenditures between Oct. 8 and Oct. 14. $9,973 went to IHeart Media for campaign ads, ensuring that Davis and Griffin will have dueling radio spots in the Jacksonville market for

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Travis Hutson calls on FDEP to review ‘severe beach erosion’

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Among the impacts of Hurricane Matthew: beach erosion, an especially acute problem in St. Johns, Flagler, and Volusia counties.
Tuesday, State Sen. Travis Hutson, who represents the affected area, called on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to review the Atlantic coast erosion problem and move toward meaningful redress.
“Hurricane Matthew has caused severe beach erosion threatening real estate and tourism along the East Coast,” said Sen. Hutson in his letter to the FDEP.
“I am requesting that the Department of Environmental Protection look into this matter. Please consider doing a full assessment of our East Coast beaches, provide the Legislature with a plan to re-nourish and replenish the beach, and let the Legislature know any financial cost that might be associated with this,” Hutson wrote.
Among the issues Hutson spotlights are permit delays and process holdups that have thwarted seaside homeowners from building seawalls necessary to protect their property from erosion.
Hutson would like the Department of Environmental Protection to expedite the permitting process, coordinating with local authorities to get this done.

The post Travis Hutson calls on FDEP to review ‘severe beach erosion’ appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Northeast Florida Builders roll out general election endorsements

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

On Thursday, the Northeast Florida Builders Association rolled out its general election endorsements.
The NEFBA slate is heavy on incumbents and people either running unopposed or poised to win safe elections.
The most interesting endorsement: Reggie Fullwood, the indicted incumbent in House District 13, instead of Republican pastor Mark Griffin.
Fullwood was the only Democrat to get the NEFBA nod.
In other house races, Cord Byrd, Clay Yarborough, Jay Fant, and Jason Fischer, running against write-ins in HD 11, 12, 14 and 16 respectively, got endorsements. As did Bobby Payne in HD 19 over Democrat Hubert Snodgrass, and Paul Renner over Adam Morley in HD 24.
Elsewhere in Duval races, Ronnie Fussell was the choice for re-election in the Duval Clerk of Courts race.
Charlie Latham got the backing of the group for re-election as Jacksonville Beach mayor.
And Barbara Toscano is the NEFBA pick for School Board Group 7.

The post Northeast Florida Builders roll out general election endorsements appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Travis Hutson begins spending in general election campaign

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Incumbent Travis Hutson is facing a lightly-funded challenger in his re-election bid for SD 7, but he’s already started spending money.
As of his most recent campaign finance report, Hutson spent $20,014 in the period between Sept. 3 and Sept. 16.
The bulk of that money went to political consultants.
Of that sum, $12,200 went to Tallahassee’s Front Street Consulting.
And $6,000 went to the Pass Consulting Group.
Hutson raised $1,000 in the two week period, and has just under $49,000 on hand … though fundraising certainly would not be a problem for him if necessary.
Hutson’s opponent, Curtis Ceballos, has yet to file his most recent numbers.
But he has a way to go to catch up with Hutson.
As of Sept. 2, Ceballos had $919 on hand.
The post Travis Hutson begins spending in general election campaign appeared first on Florida Politics.

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