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Betting on Changes for the Florida Lottery

Innocent Floridians, take heed: Your lottery department has been going rogue. Luckily, we've got state Rep. Clay Ford to reel it back in.

The Gulf Breeze Republican is pushing a measure that would tighten the department's ability to set its own rules. While other state departments have some rulemaking authority, the lottery's power is significantly broader, said Ford aide Ray Walker.

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House Passes $67.2 Billion Budget


The Florida House held a marathon session to pass the budget on Thursday. Unlike the Senates $69.5 billion budget that passed unanimously on Wednesday, the House passed its $67.2 billion on a 74-44 vote on party lines.

There was four hours of debate on the budget and a future Speaker of the House said he had heard it all before.

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A New Star Enters the House Stage Right


Looks like there could be a new conservative star in the House. While most Republicans were apologetic about the budget, saying they had to make hard choices and were forced to prioritize, freshman Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, proudly stressed his fiscal conservatism.

In response to comments about the Senates budget and the governors budget being larger than the House proposal, Workman was not apologetic at all. He said that while it may be the smallest proposal, it was still too large.

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Don't Tell Kelly Skidmore You Plan to See an M. Night Shyamalan Film


During the House budget debate, Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, violated one of the chief laws of human society. She offered plot spoilers for a movie on the House floor. Comparing the House budget to Shutter Island, Skidmore ruined the movie for anyone in the audience who had not seen it. The Martin Scorsese film has a number of plot twists and surprises and Skidmore talked about every single one of them in detail. She gave away the plot. She gave away which characters surprise the audience. She even gave away what the bad guys were up to.

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By George, Sheldon Kicking Over Running for Governor


The Buzz is reporting that DCF chief George Sheldon is considering running for governor as an independent. Sheldon has had a distinguished career. He served as a legislative aide to Reubin Askew, served in the Legislature and was deputy attorney general under Bob Butterworth. He later served under Butterworth at DCF before raised to his current position by Gov. Charlie Crist.

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Thrasher: Jim Greer Under Criminal Investigation


Republican Party of FloridaChairman Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, revealed in a statement that former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer is the subject of a criminal investigation.

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Medicaid overhaul amendment rushed past Senate floor.

As senators set to the task of refining a proposed $68.6 billion budget, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, and two of the Senate's leading Republicans surprised the floor with a proposal to make the state Medicaid program more closely resemble private insurance.

Senators Negron, Don Gaetz, R-Destin, and Mike Haridopolos,R-Melbourne, slipped in a proviso that would require residents with higher incomes to pay deductibles or supplement Medicaid with private insurance and allow the Legislature to change eligibility requirements for certain optional programs.

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Alex Sink Against SB 6

No surprise on this one but state CFO Alex Sink, the frontrunner to be the Democratic gubenatorial nominee, just announced via news release that she opposes SB 6, the teacherperformance pay bill being sponsored by Sen. John Thrahser, R-St. Augustine.

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As Jobless Rate Creeps Up, Consumer Confidence Slides

Still feeling pessimistic about the economy? Holding off on buying that shiny new Audi or much needed home appliance? In Florida, you're not alone.

The state's consumer confidence took another dip this month, with residents reporting skepticism on their ability to buy big-ticket items as well as on the economy's long-term outlook. A new University of Florida survey shows confidence fell by three points in March to 70, just as recent unemployment figures reveal Florida's jobless rate last month stood at 12.2 percent.

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Bill to create "Affiliated Party Committees" arrives on Crist's desk

A bill that would that would allow Republican and Democratic leaders in the Florida Senate and House to create committees that raise funds for candidates in their political parties has come to Gov. Charlie Crist's office, and he has a week to sign legislation Democrats fear would resurrect "leadership funds."

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