Joe Negron Archives - Page 5 of 32 - Florida Politics

Capitol Reax: Opening Day of the 2017 Legislative Session

The 2017 Legislative Session kicked off Tuesday with Gov. Rick Scott’s penultimate “State of the State” address, and speeches from Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

“This session represents Florida’s best chance yet for solving an ongoing environmental catastrophe that affects millions of Floridians.

For nearly 20 years, scientists have agreed that a southern reservoir will reduce harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee to our coastal waterways, rehydrate America’s Everglades and Florida Bay, and help meet the growing water needs of 8 million Floridians in the years ahead.

Senate President Joe Negron, Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Thad Altman are to be congratulated for their leadership. We look forward to working with them, along with House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Governor Rick Scott. We are hopeful that this critical water infrastructure project becomes a reality.” – Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg

 “AIF congratulates Governor Rick Scott on all of his accomplishments outlined in his State of the State address today, and supports his business-friendly agenda for the coming year.

Since the day the Governor took office, he has promised Floridians that he would grow our job base, cut our taxes and create an environment where new businesses want to locate, stay and contribute to our economy.  Our Governor has done just that for our Florida families.

This legislative session, AIF and our members stand with Governor Scott in ensuring Florida job creators are excelling and Florida families are benefitting from a pro-business environment in their home state.  AIF congratulates Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature on making Florida one of the best places to do business in the United States.” — AIF President & CEO Tom Feeney

“After 20 years of Republican state government control, it’s clearer now more than ever that the status quo is not working for the people of Florida. 44 percent of households across the state struggle to make ends meet; our infrastructure is ill-equipped to meet the demands of our ever-growing population; the income gap is among the widest in the country; and the state’s pre-K program is shamefully underfunded by $400 million.

And yet in the latest display of misplaced Tallahassee priorities, Gov. Scott heralds more corporate tax breaks as the path forward at the expense of small businesses and communities across the state. Lawmakers must stop rewarding their special interest campaign contributors and instead focus on the real issues that impact everyday Floridians’ lives.

When lawmakers fund public education, our children will be better prepared to join the workforce. When we put more money in Floridians’ pockets, they will spend it at small businesses in their communities, helping boost our economy. When we maintain safe highways and roads, Florida will be that much more productive and economically competitive.

These times require smarter and wiser use of taxpayer dollars as a means to create an environment for good-paying jobs in every corner of the Sunshine State. This is not about hard choices, but a matter of priorities.”  — FloridaStrong Executive Director Charly Norton.

“We appreciate Governor Scott’s passion for job creation, common sense regulatory reform and tax cuts. There is no question that Governor Scott and the Florida legislature have helped Florida endure the recent recession, and through their effective leadership the state of our state is strong. But make no mistake, the positive strides and gains we’ve made together are not because of top down big-government programs. Because Florida entrepreneurs are the best investors of their dollars, they are thriving in the low tax, low regulatory environment which are among the most critical reasons millions of Americans from across the country have migrated to the Sunshine State.”

Americans for Prosperity-Florida and the over 180,000 individuals that have taken action with us to hold their elected official accountable call on Governor Scott and the Florida legislature to continue focusing on the key steps that make our state the best place to live, raise a family, and start a business. We’ve laid out a series of priority bills that if enacted can assist in fast-tracking the opportunity of success for all Floridians, by focusing on free-market policies that level the playing field.”

We hope the legislature forgoes the call by Governor Scott to maintain a rigged system by keeping the quasi-state agency, Enterprise Florida in existence. Lawmakers have an opportunity to cut wasteful spending and end corporate welfare by passing HB 7005.”

The other critical needs of this state must be balanced and met. We call on the legislature to focus on common sense free-market health care reforms to expand access for patients to receive the best care available. We also hope this is the year that School Choice policies receive the most favorable advancements to empower our children and their families to receive the best education.” – AFP-FL State Director Chris Hudson

“The Florida League of Cities has profound concerns about Senate Bill 569. This legislation will strip away local authority in favor of private utility companies, giving Big Telecom a massive corporate handout by granting them virtually unlimited access to use resources within public rights of way.  

“We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Hutson and other interested parties to prevent the harm this bill would inflict on the ability of local communities to shape the character of their own hometown.”Florida League of Cities President and Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie

“It’s well established that the best decisions for the future of a community are made by leaders within that community. Senate Bill 596 disregards that proven fact, ignoring the views of local decision-makers and instead handing authority to giant telecommunications corporations.

“While Florida’s mayors embrace innovation and new technological advancements, this legislation threatens our ability to help shape the look and feel of our hometown communities and gives private corporations unfettered access to public rights of way. This would be a terrible mistake, and we strongly oppose Senate Bill 596.” — Palm Shores Mayor Carol McCormack, President of the Florida League of Mayor

 

Joe Negron backs Gulf Coast compensation process

Senate President Joe Negron on Tuesday said he was committed to getting $300 million in settlement money from the 2010 BP oil spill to affected communities in northwest Florida.

Negron spoke to reporters on the first day of the 2017 Legislative Session.

“I don’t believe that we should set up some complicated bureaucracy,” said Negron, a Stuart Republican.

He said he’s working with Sens. Bill Montford, Doug Broxson and George Gainer, all of whom represent coastal areas in the Panhandle, to make sure constituents “get compensated for their actual economic damages.”

He toured affected areas at the time, telling a story of one hotel that couldn’t get any guests and had to lay off all its employees.

“This isn’t just a policy priority. It’s a personal priority,” Negron said.

Millions of barrels of oil surged into the Gulf in April 2010 after an oil well ruptured under BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling platform. Eleven rig workers died and 17 were injured.

It took until that July to cap the well; meantime, tarballs and oil washed up on 1,100 miles of coastline, keeping away the usual summer tourists and their money. Hotels, restaurants and tourism-related businesses were hit hardest.

A House measure filed recently would eliminate some oversight for the Triumph Gulf Coast board selected to allocate the settlement money, the Panama City News-Herald has reported. It also would have exempted tourism businesses from getting paid.

Negron said legislation needs to be passed soon: “We need the state of Florida to write a check,” he said.

He also opined on medical cannabis, charter school funding, Everglades restoration, and said he supported some sort of pay raise for state workers this year.

A Periscope video of his remarks can be viewed below:

Senate President Joe Negron https://t.co/ilZ2L2d4t0

Dorothy Hukill, recovering from cancer, watching from home as Senate convenes

Sen. Dorthy Hukill wasn’t in Tallahassee for opening day of the 2017 Legislature, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t on the job.

Hukill, chairwoman of the Education Committee, is recovering from surgery for cervical cancer, and her doctors wouldn’t let her travel to the state capital.

Nevertheless, the Port Orange Republican has remained active in the legislative process during committee weeks, Senate President Joe Negron told the Senate.

He’d spoken to her shortly before the Senate convened, Negron said.

“I want to report to all of us who care about her and who are her friends and extended family that she is doing an amazing job overcoming this medical challenge that’s been presented to her,” Negron said.

“She has been completely active during the entire time of her recovery on behalf for her constituents. She is in charge of determining what bills get heard in the Education Committee. She’s responsible for developing policy. She’s in regular contact with us.”

Hukill is eager to return to the Capitol as soon as her doctors clear her for travel, Negron said.

“In all the conversations I’ve had with her, she talks about us, what’s happening here. And she feels badly about the effects on her constitutents and on the process rather than on herself,” he said.

“She doesn’t talk about her medical condition, or the challenges or the incredible progress she’s made in overcoming this. That says a lot about her,” he said.

“I know she’s watching this morning, and we look forward to having her back.”

Just imagine huge can of worms opened by religious liberty bill

The Hillsborough County public school district has straightforward rules in its student handbook about religion.

It says students can talk about religion, practice their religion, can be excused to observe a religious holiday, and – most important for the context of our discussion today – decide for themselves whether they want to participate in things such as student-led prayer or other practices.

The basic rule is this: If students lead the religious activity – fine. If teachers or administrators take part – not fine.

Districts in Miami-Dade and Orlando have basically the same policy.

Apparently, that’s not good enough for the state Senate Education Committee, which Monday approved SB-436. It’s a measure designed to protect religious liberty, except that such liberty already exists. The 5-2 vote was along party lines, of course; five Republicans said yea, two Democrats were naysayers.

A statement released by Senate President Joe Negron after the education committee did its work, was a clear indication of what he has in mind.

The statement said: “Freedom of Religion is a central right protected by our Constitution. This legislation makes it clear that the State of Florida stands for religious liberty and will take the steps necessary to protect the free speech rights of public school students, parents, teachers and school administrators.”

A statement released by state Sen. Dennis Baxley was even more to the point.

“We should be encouraging, rather than preventing our students from expressing their religious convictions,” Baxley said. “This legislation safeguards Freedom of Religion by protecting our students from being discriminated against based on the free expression of their religious ideals in spoken word or prayer, attire, school assignments and extracurricular activities.”

I can see worms crawling out of that just-opened can by the thousands – assuming this bill passes. Let’s play a game called “just imagine.”

Just imagine the bill passes and a teacher or administrator decides freedom of speech includes preaching the gospel in class or over the school public address system. What gospel would that be?

What happens when a Muslim student takes offense and demands classroom time to offer prayers to Allah along with equal time at the microphone?

Just imagine a Jewish kid goes, “Hey, wait a minute …”

Let’s get really absurd and just imagine a Satanist wants the same freedom. Can’t happen, you say? It already has – in 2014 at the state capitol, not far from where this current bill was being fast-tracked through committee.

Satanists demanded to erect their own holiday display to counter a Nativity scene by a Christian group.

So why do this at all? It seems like obvious pandering to me.

There is nothing already on the books that says kids and teachers can’t pray in public schools. I imagine many of them already do as the SAT tests are passed out. They can read the Bible during breaks. I have heard from parents, though, who say that even these student-led actions can put a lot of pressure on their kids to conform.

Don’t believe it? Try sitting out a “voluntary” public prayer sometime and see the looks you get. But they’re going ahead with this bill and I wouldn’t be shocked if it became law – at least until it is overturned in the courts.

This has been touted as bill that will protect Christians from alleged persecution. Baloney.

Real persecution is what Christians face in places like Cuba, China and many Middle East nations. Real persecution is being dragged from your home and flogged or executed for your belief.

The stuff these lawmakers are talking about doesn’t qualify.

Florida Senate convenes in Tallahassee, adopts compromise budget rules

The Florida Senate is in session.

Senators convened at 9:30 with a prayer and the traditional singing of the national anthem.

“They need wisdom, direction, and understanding,” Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network said during the invocation.

“Keep their marriages strong” while the members are “here doing the people’s business,” she prayed.

“I know I’m asking for a miracle, but make this session end on time.”

There for the occasion were Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, plus members of the Florida Supreme Court.

“We understand you have a busy morning,” Senate President Joe Negron told Scott, who was due to deliver his State of the State address later than morning.

One of the first orders of business was approval of rules changes designed to prevent a meltdown over the House’s strict new rules for member projects in the state budget while respecting the Senate’s prerogatives.

In reaching the agreement with the House Friday, “potentially we dodged a bullet that could have stopped our appropriations process in about the fifth week,” budget chairman Jack Latvala said.

Negron discussed his hopes for education funding during the session, including building the state’s universities to “national elite” standard, comparable to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, and the University of Michigan.

Also, that every student in Florida, regardless of financial and family background, be able to attend the state university of his or her choice. They might have to work their way through college, he said, but he hopes “there will never be a financial impediment to a student attending a university and graduating on time.”

He touted his plan to prevent discharges of toxic algae from Lake Okeechobee — which, he said, draws unflattering national attention to the state. He wants to buy land to store overflow water south of the lake.

“In the end, we’re going to have to have a place for the water to go” to avoid damaging discharges to communities to the east and west of the lake, he said.

Negron also highlighted his proposal to create alternatives to the criminal justice system for youthful misdemeanors. “Let’s have some room for young people to make mistakes” that doesn’t jeopardize their job prospects later, he said.

Negron endorsed proposed legislation to require unanimous jury verdicts to impose the death penalty, shift the burden of proof to prosecutors in “stand your ground” cases, and protect students’ right to pray in schools without compulsion.

He praised the governor’s, House Speaker Richard Corcoran‘s, and his own appointees to the Constitutional Revision Commission, saying he hopes the panel will protect individual rights.

“I really think there’s a special part of opening day — this is really when a lot of our constituents are going to get engaged” in the legislative process.

“I’m asking all of us to share in that renewed energy and commitment,” he said, “and look at today as Day One going forward.”

 

Guns, gambling and taxes: Legislators return to work

Once the Florida Legislature kicks off its 60-day Session March 7, legislators are expected to pass, or kill, dozens of measures dealing with everything from abortion to gambling and the environment.

So far, more than 2,000 bills have been filed, but in the end, legislators usually pass fewer than 300 pieces of legislation each year.

Here’s a look at some of the top issues this Session:

DEATH PENALTY: Florida legislators are expected to quickly pass a measure that would require a unanimous jury recommendation before the death penalty can be imposed. Last year, the state Supreme Court declared a new law requiring a 10-2 jury vote to impose the death penalty unconstitutional.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Voters last November overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2, which allows higher-strength marijuana to be used for a wider list of medical ailments than had been allowed under state law. Legislators will consider bills to implement the amendment, including possibly expanding who can grow and sell medical marijuana.

GUNS: There are about two dozen gun-related bills that already have been filed and the vast majority would expand gun rights so they can be carried in places that they are now not allowed including university campuses and non-secure areas of airports. Democrats have proposed more restrictions, but they have virtually no chance of passing.

GAMBLING: Top legislative leaders say they would like to come up with a comprehensive overhaul of gambling laws. But so far, the House and Senate are divided on what should be done.

The Senate is considering a bill that would allow slot machines at dog and horse tracks in eight counties outside South Florida. The Senate gambling bill would also allow the Seminole Tribe to offer craps and roulette at its casinos.

The House version would allow the Seminoles to keep blackjack and slot machines at its casinos for 20 years. But it would not allow gambling to expand to other parts of the state.

WATER: Senate President Joe Negron wants to borrow up to $1.2 billion to acquire 60,000 acres of land and build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee to reduce discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries that have been blamed for toxic algae blooms.

JUDICIAL TERM LIMITS: House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants to impose a 12-year term limit on Supreme Court justices and appeals court judges. The House is backing a constitutional amendment for the 2018 ballot that would ask voters to make the change. But it’s unclear if the Senate will consider the proposal.

BUDGET: Florida legislators are required to annually pass a new budget. Gov. Rick Scott has recommended an $83.5 billion budget that includes money for tax cuts, steep reductions for hospitals and uses local tax dollars to boost school spending.

House Republicans are opposed to Scott’s use of local property taxes and they are expected to call for large budget cuts while also increasing spending on education. Senate President Joe Negron wants to eliminate a tax break for the insurance industry and use the money to cut taxes charged on cellphone service and cable television. Negron also wants to boost spending on universities and colleges.

EDUCATION: Legislators are considering several bills dealing with schools, including one that would require elementary schools to set aside 20 minutes each day for “free-play recess.” Another bill would allow high school students to earn foreign language credits if they take courses in computer coding. Legislators are also considering changes to Florida’s high-stakes standardized tests, including pushing back the testing date to the end of the school year.

HIGHER EDUCATION: Negron has called for an overhaul of the state’s colleges and universities that requires the state to cover 100 percent of tuition costs for top performing high school students who attend a university or college. The Senate plan also calls for boosting efforts to recruit and retain university faculty.

ABORTION: Several abortion bills have been filed including one that would make it easier for women to sue physicians for physical or emotional injuries stemming from abortions.

ECONOMIC INCENTIVES: Corcoran wants to scuttle the state’s economic development agency and trim back spending at the state’s tourism marketing outfit. The move is strongly opposed by Gov. Scott who says they help the economy, but Corcoran has criticized the efforts as a form of “corporate welfare.”

HEALTH CARE: Legislators are considering several proposals that would eliminate limits on certain types of health care facilities. They may also overhaul the state worker health insurance program and expand the use of direct primary care agreements between physicians and patients.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

mobile phone service

Business groups oppose tax break swap

A coalition of Florida business groups is giving the thumbs-down to state Sen. Anitere Flores’ proposal to pay for a cut in the state’s tax on mobile phone and satellite and cable TV service by repealing a tax break to insurers.

The legislation (SB 378) would swap the insurance break for a 2 percent reduction in the state’s communications services tax (CST). The proposal is a priority of Senate President Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican.

Negron earlier this year said he was looking to eliminate the insurance deal this year, a 15 percent tax credit on the salaries that insurers give their full-time workers here in the state.

But the coalition – including Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and the Florida Insurance Council (FIC) – on Monday suggested the move would be a net neutral.

Moreover, if the measure passes as is, Gov. Rick Scott could see himself jammed up by competing priorities: Cutting taxes for middle-class Floridians and keeping the state’s business community happy.

The state could see $300 million in communication tax savings, charged on mobile phone and satellite and cable TV service, but that would be eaten up by “a $300 million increase in insurance premiums, negatively impacting all Floridians,” according to a press release.

“These premium increases will at least be equal to the reduction in the CST, leaving consumers without any actual economic relief,” it said.

“Doing away with the tax credit will increase the tax burden on Florida insurers who employ more than 200,000 Floridians in typically high-wage paying jobs, and will endanger future job growth in the industry,” said Cecil Pearce, president of FIC. “The salary tax credit reduces the premium tax liability, which helps keep insurance premiums as low as possible.”

Flores’ bill, which does not yet have a House companion, has been referred to the Senate’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax, and the full Appropriations panel for hearings in the 2017 Legislative Session, which starts Tuesday.

 

Richard Corcoran selects Darryl Rouson, Tom Lee to constitution panel

House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced that Sen. Darryl Rouson, Rep. Chris Sprowls, and Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco will be among his nine picks for the Constitution Revision Commission.

The Land O’Lakes Republican’s selections will round out the 37-member review panel, which meets every 20 years to look over and suggest changes to the Florida Constitution. The panel must be established within 30 days before the regular 2017 Legislative Session convenes.

The annual 60-day session kicks off Tuesday.

“I’ve said it on numerous occasions, I would only appoint Commission Members who understood and respected the role of our constitution and the separation of powers. I believe all these appointees share that respect and understanding,” said Corcoran in a statement. “With that as a foundation, these appointees are diverse, principled, and won’t march in lockstep with anyone. And my only charge to each has been to do what they believe to be right. I am sure that each Member appointed today will do their part to ensure freedom and the rule of law are embodied in our final product.”

Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat, was elected to the Senate in 2016, after serving serving eight years in the Florida House. He’s a former Pinellas County prosecutor, who also served as commissioner on the Tax and Budget Reform Commission.

Sprowls is also a former prosecutor, leaving the State Attorney’s Office over the summer to join Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney. First elected in 2014, the Palm Harbor Republican has quickly moved up the leadership ladder, and is in line to become Speaker after the 2020 elections.

Sprowls isn’t the only member of the House leadership team expected to get a spot at the table. Corcoran is also expected to name Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Speaker Pro Tempore Jeanette Nunez to panel, according to sources briefed on the Speaker’s plans.

Look for Corcoran to also select Rich Newsome, a long-time friend and attorney who has lobbied on behalf of the state’s trial lawyers; Sen. Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican and former Senate President; John Stemberger with the Florida Family Policy Council; and Erika Donalds, a member of the Collier County School Board and the wife of freshman Rep. Byron Donalds. 

 Corcoran’s announcements comes just days after Gov. Rick Scott announced his appointments, which were also heavy on supporters and political allies.

As Governor, Scott selected 15 of the 37 commissioners, as well as its chairman. The Naples Republican selected Carlos Beruff, a Manatee County homebuilder who ran for U.S. Senate in 2016, as chairman.

Senate President Joe Negron also got nine picks, while the Chief Justice is allotted three. Republican Pam Bondi is automatically a member as the state’s Attorney General.

The commission has met twice before, in 1977-78 and 1997-98, but this will be the first to be selected by a majority of Republicans. Any changes the commission proposes would be in the form of constitutional amendments, which would have to be approved by 60 percent of voters on a statewide ballot.

Florida’s legislative leaders talk issues, personalities

Florida Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran are Republican lawyers. But the similarities start to drift from there.

Negron calls himself boring and is the quiet, deliberative type. Corcoran likes listening to music at top volume, and his approach to leadership reflects that.

The Associated Press interviewed each separately about their backgrounds, personalities and priorities as they prepare for their first legislative session as their chambers’ leaders. Here’s what they had to say:

___

What motivated you to first run for office?

Corcoran said his interest in government was a lesson he learned from his parents, who lived through the Great Depression and World War II. “They always were very involved in understanding and following and trying to affect our government at all levels because they recognized and lived through the horrors of what bad government or the wrong philosophy lead to.”

Negron: “I’ve always been fascinated by how the political process works, and I have strong opinions on some core issues, like the sovereignty of the individual. In government service, you have an opportunity to advocate and promote those things you believe in and make a tangible and measurable difference.”

___

What is the one bill you are most proud of passing?

“I couldn’t tell you one,” said Corcoran, who listed several bills. The first one he mentioned was a billed passed his freshman year in 2011 that requires urgent-care centers to post the costs of their 50 most frequently provided medical services. Negron sponsored the bill in the Senate.

Negron: “We passed a bill saying that out-of-state insurance companies had to follow the same Florida consumer protection laws if they wanted to sell policies in our state.”

___

What are your 2017 priorities?

Corcoran: “Scaling back the size of government; eliminating and getting a hold on pork barrel spending and wasteful government spending and cutting that out of the budget, and creating much bigger transparency and accountability; having the toughest ethics standards of any state in the nation; holding elected officials accountable by creating finer lines on the separation of powers, and reining in a Supreme Court that’s writing law and trying to be two branches instead of one; cutting taxes; and getting government as much as we can out of the people’s pockets.”

Negron said increasing water storage capacity south of Lake Okeechobee to reduce and eliminate discharges that have cause algae blooms in rivers flowing to the coast. Also, he said increasing funding to state universities.

___

How would you describe your leadership style?

Corcoran: “The book that over the last six years that our class used a lot was ‘Good to Great’ and we talked about having a real leadership team with people having input.” The subtitle of the book is “Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t” and it’s a management book on how to improve companies.

Negron: “My colleagues supported me to be the presiding officer based on my commitment to work as a team. I try to make up with attention to detail what I lack in charisma. … I don’t need to be the center of attention.”

___

What are the similarities and differences between you and the other chamber’s leader?

Corcoran: “Both of us would like to accomplishment a tremendous amount.” On differences, he said, “He doesn’t drink; he doesn’t smoke cigars. When you get together with Joe it’s literally business for like 30 minutes.”

Negron: “His growing up was very much revolved around playing sports and being competitive with siblings. That’s very similar to how I grew up. We both have a strong work ethic and respect for our parents who worked hard for everything they got.” On differences, he said he analyzes issues apart from the issue, and Corcoran dives right in. “He’s a little bit more animated than I am.”

___

What’s your greatest nonpolitical achievement?

Corcoran: “Being a husband and a father are the things I enjoy the most.”

Negron cited a legal case in which he helped exonerate a man wrongfully convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

___

What brought your family to Florida?

Corcoran said his family was living in Toronto when his father invested in a Florida concrete plant with some friends. “It was going under and it was losing money, so they got together and they said ‘One of us needs to go down there and see what’s going on.’ So, my dad said he would. He went down and of course people were stealing and all that kind of stuff, so he came down to manage it.”

Negron: “My grandfather came from Ponce, Puerto Rico, to New York through Ellis Island and then moved to South Florida.”

___

What is your most interesting hobby or recreational activity?

Corcoran: “Pretty much anything sports. All sports.”

Negron: “Visiting courthouses. I’ve probably personally been in, of our 67 counties, at least 40, maybe as many as 50. Especially in small towns. I just like to go into courthouses and just walk around, poke my head in courtrooms and sit in the back seat for 30 minutes.”

___

Who is your favorite author?

Corcoran: “For fluff, I’ll read any of the best-sellers. I’ll read (John) Grisham, but I’ll also read where there’s a new one out like ‘The Girl on the Train.’ When I see it in the bookstore or see it The New York Times rankings 20 weeks in a row, still in the top 10, then I’ll go out and read it.”

Negron: “George Will. I’ve been reading George Will since I was in high school.”

___

Who is your favorite musician or band?

Corcoran: “U2. That’s easy. I crank U2.”

Negron: “Billy Joel. I saw him when I was in law school and then I saw him in New York last year.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Final push for fundraising before 2017 Session kicks off

Think of it as the last hurrah before the 2017 Legislative Session.

Members of the House and Senate can’t raise money while the Legislature is session, putting a 60-day pause on fundraising each year. And while that may be good news for their most loyal contributors’ pocketbooks, it does mean you can expect a mad dash for last minute fundraising before clock starts on the 2017 Session.

House Majority, the fundraising arm of House Republicans, has a bevy of fundraisers planned for Monday. All of the events are hosted by Speaker Richard Corcoran, Rep. Jose Oliva, and Rep. Chris Sprowls.

Reps. Cord Byrd, Clay Yarborough, and Jason Fischer will kick off their fundraising early in the day with a reception at the Governors Club, 202 S. Adams Street, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Yarborough will be back at the Governors Club at 5 p.m. for another fundraising reception, this time with Reps. Thomas Leek and Stan McClain.

The Southern Public House, 224 East College Ave, is the place to be Monday evening from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. That’s where you’ll find a fundraiser for Reps. James Grant, Mel Ponder, and Halsey Beshears. Rep. Brad Drake will be raising dough a few blocks away at Clyde’s and Costello’s, 210 South Adams Street. His fundraiser is also scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

If hanging out at bars aren’t your style, then the fundraising reception for Reps. Cary Pigman, Michael Grant, Bryon Donalds, Joe Gruters, Ralph Massullo, and Julio Gonzalez might be up your alley. The event is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Governors Inn, 209 S. Adams Street.

Senators are also getting in on the action. Senate President Joe Negron, Sen. Bill Galvano, Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, and Sen. Jack Latvala will host a fundraiser for Ed Hooper, who’s hoping to replace Latvala in the Florida Senate, from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at The Governors Club.

Galvano and Simpson are also hosting a fundraiser for Sen. Frank Artiles and Rep. Manny Diaz, who is running for Senate in 2018, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Maddox House, 510 North Adams Street.

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