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  • No More Quotas 1, July2, 2015
    If you’ve ever seen what seems like a lot of cops going after speeders on a drive and said to yourself “I guess they have to meet their quota,” you can worry a little less now. AS Matt Galka tells us, a new law cracks down on quotas. Juanita Boykin and her husband were on […]
    Matt Galka
  • Fake Service Dog Legislation Takes Effect July First 1, July1, 2015
    Starting today, people using fake service dogs might find it a littler harder to pull off their scam. New Legislation gives businesses more flexibility, but as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the legislation also makes sure people with real disabilities aren’t mistreated. Meet Lando….and owner Tiffany Baylor.  Tiffany is sight challenged. “For me, I see my […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Abortion Law Back and Forth 1, July1, 2015
    A North Florida judge temporarily blocked a 24 hour abortion waiting period law from taking effect Wednesday, but the decision was immediately appealed. As Matt Galka tells us, that meant the law did apply to Floridians, but opponents continued the fight. July 1st is typically a day where new laws take effect and plenty did […]
    Matt Galka
  • Jumping Sturgeon on the Suwanee 1, June30, 2015
    Each year thousands of prehistoric Gulf Sturgeon enter the Suwanee and six other rivers in Florida. The fish are know to jump, and have hurt two people, neither seriously, so far this year. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, state officials are warning July fourth boaters to be on the lookout. The Suwanee River. Quiet. Peaceful. […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Another City Opts Out of Red Light Camera Program 1, June30, 2015
    The $158 dollar red light camera fine has annoyed plenty of drivers around the state. As Matt Galka tells us, another city is opting out of the program – and cities around the state aren’t seeing the same amount of money coming in they once did. Attorney Ian Nesbeth has defended dozens of red light […]
    Matt Galka
  • Executions Back on Track after High Court Ruling 1, June29, 2015
    The US Supreme Court has ruled that the drug midazolam is acceptable for use in lethal injections. Four Oklahoma convicts had challenged the drugs use, and Florida courts stopped executions here pending the outcome. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the ruling is now likely to open the door to dozens of executions in Florida. The […]
    Mike Vasilinda
  • Juice Gets the Budget Squeeze 1, June29, 2015
    Florida’s budget takes effect Wednesday and among the vetoes – a tourism staple. As Matt Galka tells us, money requested to serve free Florida orange and grapefruit juice at welcome centers got the ax. “Welcome to Florida would you like some juice.” That phrase has greeted tourists stopping by Florida welcome centers near the state […]
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  • Supreme Court Makes Gay Marriage Legal Across U.S. 1, June26, 2015
    A landmark Supreme Court decision has Marriage Equality advocates celebrating. As Matt Galka tells us, the ruling makes Florida’s ban, which was overturned earlier this year, a thing of the past. It was a special day on Friday for Equality Florida’s Jim VanRiper. 16 years ago he met his now husband. Now the anniversary will […]
    Matt Galka
  • Starting a Campaign? 1, June26, 2015
    It’s early, but many say that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is planting the seeds for a 2018 run at the Governor’s office – and could be the Democrats best hope to resurrect the party. Matt Galka was there as Buckhorn addressed a political club in the state capital. A familiar name in Tampa made his […]
    Matt Galka
  • Seminole’s Seek Resolution In Gambling Deal 1, June25, 2015
    The Seminole Tribe of Florida is drawing a line in the sand over the continuation of the Seminole Gaming Compact. The tribe sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday saying they believe they can still continue to deal cards but stop paying the state revenue.  The Compact gives the Seminoles exclusive rights to […]
    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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