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Don Gaetz’s Senate Week in Review

November 7, 2013 - 6:00pm

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz outlined Fridayseveral important actions by Florida Senate committees during the week ending Nov. 8.

From Floridas possible expansion of gambling to lobby-firm transparency to environment and health, it was a busy week for legislators in Tallahassee.

The Senate activity updates highlighted by Gaetz, R-Niceville, include:

Senate Gaming Committee offers Floridians statewide a say.
Senators in Tallahassee Monday heard testimony about gaming and the possible expansion of it to include destination casinos in Florida.

Gaetz said, As Florida conducts a fact-based, market-driven review of gaming in our state, hearing citizens reactions to the two-part Gambling Impact Study and public perspectives about community impacts is a critical part in setting a foundation for important policy choices for the upcoming legislative session.

This coming week, Senate Gaming Committee members will meet in Jacksonville and Pensacola to hear additional public comments. Gaetz will attend the meeting in Pensacola.

Lobby industry audit guidelines adopted.
To bring Florida into compliance with current ethics laws aimed at increasing transparency, on Monday, Floridas Joint Legislative Auditing Committee adopted guidelines regarding the auditing of lobbying firms,"Gaetz said."Based on a law adopted in 2005, state lobbyists in Florida already have to report their earnings within a certain range; however, under the new guidelines adopted this week, firms will be selected at random for audits beginning in 2015.

Recommendations to tame Lake Okeechobee releases put forward by Senate select committee.
The Senate Select Committee on Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin on Tuesday adopted their report listing recommendations to help the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. The report was three months in the making. According to Gaetz, The options outlined in the recommendations focus on three key areas: (1) improving water quality; (2) expanding water storage capacity; and (3) strengthening the current relationship between the state and federal government by clarifying areas of responsibility and working to improve accountability.

Youth Protections from electronic cigarettes moves through first Senate committee stop.
The Senate Committee on Regulated Industries unanimously passed Senate Bill 224, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, that makes the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors illegal.

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