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  • Juvenile Citations 1, March30, 2015
    Lawmakers are pushing a bill that could cut down on juvenile arrests and hopefully still set kids on the right path, but as Matt Galka tells us, retailers are worried it could end up costing them. Edward Barnes says an arrest when he was a kid sent his life barreling down the wrong path. “By […]
    Matt Galka
  • Florida Aviation Expert says Lufthansa Dropped the Ball 1, March30, 2015
    Pilot too inexperienced   Florida Aviation analyst Jay Rollins spent 25 years as a Captain flying International routes for American Airlines. He now teaches aviation at a south Florida flight school and at the University of Miami. Rollins says the co-pilot of the ill fated Germanwings flight should never have been hired with 600 hours. […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Class Size Changes 1, March27, 2015
    Florida voters put class size limits into the constitution in 2002. As Matt Galka tells us, a bill passed by the Florida House would give schools a break for exceeding the class size numbers, but opponents say that’s not what voters wanted. A little more than a decade ago, Florida voters put caps on class […]
    Matt Galka
  • Uniforms Coming to a School Near You? 1, March26, 2015
    The Florida House of Representatives has given tentative approval this afternoon to make it easier for school districts to adopt standard uniform policies for kindergarten through eight grade. Under state law, uniforms are already allowed, but this legislation offers an encouragement. The legislation offers a ten dollar per student incentive for districts th […]
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  • Hitting a Donkey with a 2X4 1, March26, 2015
    One lawmaker likened legislation making major changes in the body that regulates high school sports in Florida to hitting a donkey on the head with a 2 x 4. The House Education committee today passed legislation requiring a complete shakeup of the governing organization, reorganizing its board and membership, allowing students to attend any school. […]
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  • Cards on the Table 1, March26, 2015
    Destination resort casinos, the future of greyhound racing, and renewing the compact that allows blackjack in certain places around the state. All were topics of discussion for lawmakers today, and as Matt Galka tells us, the odds are against getting many of the proposals to pass. A four hour long workshop saw legislators diving into […]
    Matt Galka
  • Turf wars: Nurses vs. Doctors. Round one to the Nurses 1, March25, 2015
    A turf war over your health care options is heating up at the State Capitol. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, it has to do with giving Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners more authority at the expense of doctors. Elizabeth Markovich isn’t a doctor, but she has a Doctorate degree in nursing and more than 15 years […]
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  • A First for Political Theatre: Bag Monster 1, March25, 2015
    Take a look at this. He’s called a bag monster and he was walking around the state Capitol today to dramatize the harm done by plastic bags. According to the Surfrider Foundation, the average family uses 500 plastic bags a year that end up in land fills or in our waterways.Holly Parker says the Foundation […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Hillsborough County Comes to the Capitol 1, March25, 2015
    A pirate stormed through legislation offices today passing out beads and posing for pictures with lawmakers and staff as part of Hillsborough day in the State Capitol. The annual fest fed cuban sandwiches to more than a thousand people and offered stunts from the Museum of Science along with exhibits from the Lowery Park Zoo […]
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  • Taxis are Uber Mad 1, March25, 2015
    The boom of ride sharing services through smart phones has ruffled some feathers in the traditional cab company community.  As Matt Galka tell us, taxis say ride sharers are breaking the rules, and the legislature is trying to fix that. Tom Villaverde says he used to work 80 hours a week selling cars. “And I […]
    Matt Galka

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Internet Café Ban Passes House Committee

March 15th, 2013 by Anna Laura Rehwinkel

Days after a massive raid closed 51 internet cafes and led to the resignation of Florida’s Lieutenant Governor, state lawmakers are voting to ban the sweepstakes businesses statewide. As Whitney Ray tells us, the House Gaming Committee took quick action this morning. Too quick some say.

Just three days after a massive internet café bust, state lawmakers are taking action. Tuesday 51 internet cafes were raided and 57 people arrested.

The arrests stem from an investigation of Allied Veterans of the World. The group claimed its 290 million dollar internet café business was a charity, but investigators found just two percent of the processed were given to veterans.

Riding the coattails of investigators, a House Gaming committee sprang into action, amending a bill sponsored by Representative Carlos Trujillo to ban all internet cafes.

“I don’t think this is behavior we should encourage as a state, but it’s behavior we should punish,” said Trujillo.

Trujillo says the cafes, that run sweepstakes games that look a lot like slot machines, are already illegal. His legislation would simply clarify existing law.

The bill passed the committee with little opposition and just one no vote. The vote came from a House Democrat concerned that they were moving too fast.

Representative Jim Waldman says there wasn’t enough time to study the amendment. It was drafted Thursday night and voted on Friday morning.

“Yes it has parts of what are in other bills, but the reality is the stakeholders haven’t even had a chance to check in on this,” said Waldman.

Adult arcades would also be banned under the amended bill. An action Waldman says needs more vetting. The Senate Gaming Committee will take up a similar bill Monday.

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