State

Legislation proposed to limit sales tax referendum to General Election ballot

(STAFF)

State Representatives Blaise Ingoglia (R, District 35, part of Hernando County), Bryan Avila (R, District 111, part of Miami-Dade County) introduced a bill on Dec. 29, 2016 that would limit the placement of sales tax referendum to general election ballots. Joe Gruters (R, District 73, part of Sarasota and Manatee counties) is a co-sponsor. Ingoglia sponsored a similar bill in 2016 which passed the House 95 to 19, but died in the Senate.

INGOGLIA WINS SECOND TERM AS STATE GOP CHAIR

By BRANDON LARRABEE
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Blaise Ingoglia

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 14, 2017..........Following the state GOP's strong performance in the November elections, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia overwhelmingly won a second term Saturday at the party's annual meeting.

In a vote of the party's executive committee, Ingoglia defeated his only competitor by a 2-to-1 margin, taking 152 votes to 76 for Christian Ziegler, the Republican state committeeman for Sarasota County.

SENATE LOOKS TO REDUCE SCHOOL TESTING

By BRANDON LARRABEE
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 11, 2017.......... The chairman of the Senate's education budget-writing panel said Wednesday that the Senate will likely consider legislation this year that would roll back standardized testing in public schools.

Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, told reporters after a hearing on state tests that "you can reasonably expect" a bill dealing with assessments to be heard by the Senate.

SCOTT SEEKS MONEY TO BATTLE TERRORISM

By JIM TURNER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 4, 2017.......... Gov. Rick Scott is backing a request from state law-enforcement officials to set up anti-terrorism squads across Florida.

Scott will include in his 2017-2018 budget proposal a $5.8 million request for counterterrorism efforts by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he announced Wednesday during a news conference in Orlando.

State lawmakers, faced with a tightening fiscal outlook, will craft the budget during the 60-day legislative session that begins March 7. The 2017-2018 budget year starts July 1.

CRASHES UP AT RED-LIGHT CAMERA INTERSECTIONS

By LLOYD DUNKELBERGER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Red light camera at Cortez and Cobb Rd.  The Brooksville Red Light Camera Program ended Oct. 31, 2016, with the expiration of the Sensys Contract.

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 5, 2017.......... As Florida lawmakers prepare to renew their debate over red-light cameras, a new report from state highway officials shows an increase in vehicle collisions at intersections with the traffic-control devices.

In a survey of 148 intersections in 28 cities and counties across the state, total crashes were up 10.14 percent when comparing data before the cameras were installed and after they were in place, according to the Dec. 31 report from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

PENSION FUND PROJECTIONS COULD BE TOO ROSY

By LLOYD DUNKELBERGER
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 4, 2017.......... While Florida has a financially healthy state pension fund, a new report from the Department of Management Services warns the $144 billion system is relying on a projected investment return that independent financial consultants say is too optimistic.

State analysts lowered the projected rate of return to 7.6 percent in October, down from 7.65 percent.

'BIZARRE' COURT ACTION ADDS TO DEATH PENALTY CONFUSION

By DARA KAM
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, January 4, 2017.......... In a highly unusual move that heightened confusion in an already-murky legal arena, the Florida Supreme Court quickly rescinded an order Wednesday that would have barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty in capital cases.

The release of the order --- a mistake, according to a court spokesman --- and its almost immediate retraction further muddled Florida's embattled death penalty, on hold for nearly a year following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last January.

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