Special Legislative Session Slated to Iron Out Florida Gaming Compact with the Seminole Tribe

The Florida Legislature will be holding a special session to discuss the gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida on May 17. However, the tribe is not the only one with interests on the line. Multiple national and international casino gambling corporations, smaller casinos, internet gambling, thoroughbred racing, fantasy sports betting, and greyhound dog race betting are among those with interest in the outcomes of the compact.

As Florida becomes a more popular spot for gambling and betting, the state, the tribes, and invested industries are hoping previous years of tension will end in a new 30-year compact benefitting each party.

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Florida Legislature Passed Insurance Reform, Industry Future Uncertain

After weeks of debate, Florida lawmakers passed insurance reform bills at the tail end of session. In the end, lawmakers passed legislation potentially leading to rate increases for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

Legislators also took steps to reduce the amount of roof-damage claims and lawsuits due to concerns of hurricane damage claims being filed long after the storm.

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Consumer Protection Bill Died in Florida Legislature

William Large

As time expired in the Florida legislative session, a consumer protection bill died. The bill, HB 969, would have given consumers more control over data collected by large companies would have required businesses in Florida to tell consumers what data has been collected and how it’ll be used.

The bill drew much opposition from the business community, and were glad to see the bill expire this session. Companies like Apple, Target, Quicken Loans, and Walt Disney Parks hired a total of 343 lobbyists to work on killing the bill.

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Florida Legislature Sends Vaping Regulations to DeSantis

Jackie Toledo

The Florida Legislature passed SB 1080, installing new vaping regulations, sending it to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis. The bill will also raise the smoking and vaping age to 21, falling in line with federal standards.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Jackie Toldeo (R-60) said the bill is necessary to encourage Florida’s youth to stop vaping.

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Florida Legislature Passes Voter ID Law

People voting

On the second-to-last day of the legislative session, the Republican-controlled Florida state Senate Thursday passed a new law aimed at election integrity. 

After SB 90 passed the Florida House Wednesday with a vote of 77-40, it did the same in the Senate Thursday by a vote of 23-17. It was passed mostly along partisan lines, with one Republican state Senator, Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg, breaking with his party and voting against the measure. 

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Florida House Rep. Randy Fine Talks Recent Florida Legislation of Big Tech, Critical Race Theory, Pro-Police, and Anti-Rioting

Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Florida State Representative Randy Fine to the newsmakers line to discuss current legislation on the table in the Sunshine State that will address Big Tech, critical race theory, pro-police policy, and anti-rioting.

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Florida State University Failed to Disclose Foreign Relationships, USDOE Opens Inquiry

Florida State University

Florida State University (FSU) failed to disclose foreign relationships, gifts, or contracts among university entities and now faces a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) inquiry.

In a letter obtained by the Florida Capital Star to FSU President John Thrasher on January 15, the DOE notified the university of an inquiry into potential violations of Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

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Florida’s Transgender Athlete Ban Resurrected

Florida Republicans resurrected a ban on transgender women from competing in women’s sports and attached it to a bill related to charter schools. Last week, Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-22) said her bill, which would’ve banned transgendered athletes from women’s sports, was unlikely to  move forward due to constitutional requirements to balance the budget.

However, Stargel did not resurrect the bill, but Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R-55), added the ban as an amendment to SB 1028. Stargel did voice her support for Tuck’s amendment.

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Florida Legislature Passes Toll Road Repeal Bill

The Florida House passed SB 100 yesterday, a repeal bill of the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program. The program was a priority of former Senate President Bill Galvano to build new toll roads as part of an infrastructure plan connecting Florida’s metro areas.

The bill will cancel the Heartland Parkway, connecting Polk and Collier counties.

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Florida Bill Allows Colleges, Universities to Sponsor Charter Schools

On Monday, the Florida Senate passed SB 1028 which would allow Florida’s colleges and universities to sponsor an unlimited number of charter schools. Under current law, colleges and universities can, through the Florida Department of Education’s approval, sponsor one school.

A state university is permitted to work with a school district to develop a charter school but can only sponsor one. Now, there is no limit to the amount of charter schools an institution can sponsor.

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Florida House Passes Bipartisan Police Reform Bill

The Florida House passed HB 7051 unanimously, a police reform bill, designed to be a bipartisan, compromise piece of legislation satisfying the requests of conservatives as well as social justice advocates.

One of the main staples of the bill is amending current use-of-force protocol for law enforcement officers. Each police force and law enforcement agency in the state will now be required to have a use-of-force standard. This would, in essence, create a statewide minimum standard, including methods to de-escalate situations. Chokeholds are banned unless the officer “perceives an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death.” If another officer is witnessing excessive use of force, they will now be required to intervene.

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Florida Lawmakers Negotiate Budget Deal

Jay Trumbull

After a week of negotiation, Florida’s lawmakers reached a deal determining spending difference for Florida’s $92.2 billion budget.

One of the largest contingents of the budget has been allocated for education. Twenty-two billion dollars of the budget is dedicated to school spending, which includes one-time $1,000 bonuses for all K-12 teachers and principals. The proposal is backed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

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DeSantis Cuts Deal with Seminole Tribe to Bring Sports Betting to Florida

Sports Book Betting

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is expected to reach an agreement with the Seminole Tribe to bring sports betting to the Sunshine State, as well as expanding current gambling rules.

“The broad parameters of the deal — as confirmed by multiple sources — are that the Seminole Tribe would control sports betting in the state and would offer it at their casinos, including the Hard Rock locations in Hollywood and Tampa,” according to POLITICO. “But sports betting would also be allowed at existing tracks and other poker rooms around the state where the tribe and other gambling operators would split the revenue generated.”

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