In The News Today – January 27, 2016

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FLORIDA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

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Tampa Bay Times: Florida Legislature seeks again to limit school boards association

House Bill 1155/Senate Bill 1426 prohibit membership groups — namely, the FSBA — from using public dollars to sue the state, a move that critics argue could have a chilling effect on the group’s ability to challenge laws and programs its members feel are unconstitutional.

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PINAC: Florida Legislature Votes to Gut Sunshine Law; Bill Would End Open Records Access Advocacy

Florida’s famous Sunshine Law is under attack in the state legislature today as a state House Committee has already voted to eliminate the provision that guarantees government agencies must pay citizens’  attorney fees when public records are illegally withheld.

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State Magazine: Florida Lawmakers Want to Make Abortion a Felony, Advance Bill Citing “The Creator”

For a brief, shining moment on Monday, sanity prevailed on the issue of abortion when the Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that North Dakota’s “fetal heartbeat” law, which would ban abortion at the sixth week of pregnancy, is unconstitutional. On Tuesday, America returned to normal as the Florida House of Representatives moved forward with a bevy of anti-abortion legislation. One of the bills would classify abortion as a first-degree felony—a move so extreme that even its author is clearly under no illusions about getting away with it.

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Tampa Bay Times: Tone-deaf legislators push for longer terms in Florida

….this year legislators have filed a particularly subversive bill you may have missed — one where they hope to extend term limits, so they can stay in office an extra four years.

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Palm Beach Post: Senate plan boosts schools spending by $143 million over Scott plan

TALLAHASSEE — Senate budget writers are considering a larger education spending increase than Gov. Rick Scott sought, though lawmakers are still considering how to offset an increase in local property taxes that helps pay for the historic number.

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Herald tribune: Senate panel OK’s ‘pastor protection’ bill

TALLAHASSEE – Religious conservatives scored a victory Tuesday in the Florida Senate when a “pastor protection” bill aimed at shielding religious leaders and organizations from lawsuits related to same-sex marriage advanced on a party-line vote.

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Florida Politics: BROAD ETHICS BILL UNANIMOUSLY PASSES FIRST HOUSE STOP

After a handful of amendments, an omnibus ethics bill unanimously passed the House Government Operations Subcommittee Tuesday afternoon.

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Florida Times Union: Mayor Curry’s pension bill clears first Senate committee, changes proposed in House

TALLAHASSEE:  The Senate Community Affairs Committee gave unanimous approval to Senate Bill 1652, which would allow Duval County voters to decide whether to extend the Better Jacksonville Plan sales tax to pay down pension debt.

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Florida Politics: JAX VEHICLES FOR HIRE PANEL CONSIDERS STIFFER PENALTIES FOR ROGUE OPERATORS

The Jacksonville Vehicles for Hire subcommittee met Tuesday for the latest skirmish between the Uber/Lyft rideshare side and traditional taxicab companies.

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WTSP: Retiring? New study says Florida is No. 1

St. Petersburg, FL — A new study has concluded what a lot of people living here already know: Florida is the No. 1 state in the country for retirees.

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Florida Times Union: Florida Forest Service awarded national honor for work in fire control

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam made the announcement Friday that the Florida Forest Service has received the Wildfire Mitigation Fire Service Leadership Award for its record-breaking prescribed fire program, which helps reduce the number of wildfires. Prescribed Fire Awareness Week started Sunday.

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WJXT: Florida prisons sued over treatment of disabled inmates

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A group representing disabled inmates has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Florida prison officials of discriminating against prisoners who are deaf, blind or confined to wheelchairs, in violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

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