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Nick Evans

Nick Evans is a masters student in communications at Florida State University.  Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years.  He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan.  When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.

Florida lawmakers of Cuban descent spoke out Tuesday on the Senate floor against normalizing relations with the island nation. 

There’s a U.S. flag and the state flag of Florida flying over the historic Capitol, and they’re waving at the top of two flagpoles framing the entrance to the new Capitol, too.  And a state lawmaker wants to ensure they’re made in America from American materials.

Rep. Frank Artiles’ (R-Miami) controversial single-sex facilities bill passed its second House committee Tuesday.  But the so-called bathroom bill’s progress has been dogged by loud public opposition.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism committee took up the state’s growler ban Monday.  Measures doing away with the state’s restriction continue to march forward in both chambers of the Legislature.

Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut over half a billion dollars in taxes in the coming fiscal year—much of that coming from a reduction in taxes on cell phone and cable bills.  The plan is moving forward in the Senate.

A House measure placing greater restrictions on the use of red light cameras passed its first committee this week.  While it differs from a similar proposal in the Senate, the arguments against it sound about the same.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St.Petersburg) is shepherding a bill through the Senate that calls for new requirements on red light cameras.  Namely, jurisdictions that employ cameras would need to submit annual reports and show they’ve already tried alternative safety measures before setting up any new ones. 

Speaking after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, Florida Gov. Rick Scott echoed House Speaker Steve Crisafulli’s statements on the prospect of losing federal funds for hospitals treating low income patients.  Scott claims expanding Medicaid would not replace low income pool, or LIP, funding.

“LIP is completely separate from Medicaid expansion,” Scott says.  “If you go look at Texas, go look at California, one expanded Medicaid, one didn’t, and both of them are getting significantly more dollars under LIP than what Florida’s getting today or ever gotten.”

The Florida Cabinet squared off again Tuesday on the issue of reviewing and replacing agency leaders.  Much of Governor Rick Scott’s plan was either thrown out or put off to a later date. 

Using cameras to write tickets was greenlit years ago, but now a state lawmaker is calling for those green lights to turn yellow.  As Nick Evans reports, Senator Jeff Brandes is pushing for municipalities to report on existing red light cameras and try alternative measures before setting up more.

Rep. Dwight Dudley (D-St. Petersburg) is sounding off against a plan allowing utilities to charge Florida ratepayers hundreds of millions for out-of-state gas exploration ventures.  He’s filed a bill to block the program approved by state regulators late last year.

A coalition of voting rights groups and the Florida Legislature squared off Wednesday over the state’s congressional borders.  Nick Evans reports, lawmakers are defending the changes they made in last summer’s special session before the state Supreme Court.

After beer retailers and distributors challenged a legal exception that helps craft brewers open up tap rooms, two Florida senators put forward a measure doing away with the exception completely—in effect ensuring breweries can sell beer on-site.  But that original challenge hasn’t disappeared.

Despite broad opposition on Florida’s campuses, state lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to allow guns at universities.  Three months ago today, there was a shooting at Florida State University, and this week the controversial measure began its path through the Senate.

Liquor sales could move under the same roof as the neighborhood grocery store under a measure making its way through the Florida House.  State lawmakers wrangled over the issue Wednesday.

Florida law requires stores selling liquor to put spirits like whiskey, rum, and vodka behind another storefront.  Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) says the state’s requirement for liquor stores to have their own exterior entrance is outdated.

A controversial measure to allow concealed weapons on university campuses passed on a close party-line vote in a senate committee Monday. 

Concealed carry licenses in Florida are limited.  Places like bars, courtrooms—even career centers are set aside as gun-free zones.  But Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) is taking aim at a different area: public universities. 

Evers invited Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) to introduce the bill, and during his presentation Evers holds up a sheet of paper for Steube to see.

Under a new proposal, texting drivers could be hit with a felony if they’re involved in a fatal crash.  But the newest texting while driving bill is meeting some resistance in the statehouse.

It’s already illegal to text while driving in Florida, but Rep. Irv Slosberg (D-Delray Beach) thinks ratcheting up penalties will be a more effective deterrent.  But Matt Willard from the Florida association of criminal defense attorneys says current law is broad enough to cover texting.

Plans are taking shape in the agency tasked with pitching Florida to newly discharged veterans.  Florida is For Veterans held its second strategy meeting Monday in Tallahassee.

Florida House and Senate subcommittees heard testimony Wednesday from stakeholders in the state’s beer industry.  After failing twice, a bill to legalize a popular refillable bottle is up for a third try.

It seems there’s new trouble brewing for Florida’s small but growing craft beer industry.  The Florida Retail Federation is challenging a long-standing exception to the state’s licensing rules that allows a brewery to sell beer in on-site ‘tasting’ or ‘tap’ rooms.  But this isn’t the only attack the state’s rules have drawn.

Beer is bipartisan.  Really, it’s hard to imagine something more people can agree on.  But, unfortunately in Florida, beer is a political issue.

Beer distribution interests in Florida have launched a legal attack against a well-established exception to the state’s three-tier system.  The ‘Tourism Exception’ allows brewers licensed for manufacturing beer to sell it directly to the public. 

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