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Government Digest: April 23 - April 29

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  • | 11:04 a.m. April 23, 2010
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Drilling bill draft waits until next year
TALLAHASSEE — A 41-page draft bill laying out how the state might manage oil and gas development in state waters will wait for action at least until next year. Accompanied by a 35-page bill analysis, the legislation won't be taken up by the Senate this session. Instead, the House Select Policy Council on Strategic and Economic Planning submitted the bill and analysis to the office of Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, as part of a package of materials from 10 hearings and 26 hours of testimony and discussion.

Weatherford faces primary opposition
TALLAHASSEE — Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, now has a primary opponent in his race to defend his District 61 House seat. Tampa Tea Party activist and small business owner Kevin Wright filed last month to challenge Weatherford in the Republican primary. But with nearly $440,000 in campaign contributions, the chairman of the Education Policy Council and presumptive 2012 House Speaker has a huge fundraising advantage over both challengers. Democrat Elena McCollough of Wesley Chapel, a 24-year Coast Guard veteran, filed to run in January and has raised about $20,400 through March, including a $3,000 loan. Wright raised $144 the first two weeks of his campaign. The district includes much of eastern Pasco County and parts of New Tampa.

Tampa Bay Partnership expands north
TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Partnership is expanding to eight member counties with the addition of Citrus County. The county has been involved with the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA). Both the County Commission and the Citrus County Economic Development Council voted unanimously to join the partnership, which also includes Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Final Recovery Zone Facility Bonds issued
SARASOTA COUNTY — County commissioners is allocating the final $1.4 million in recovery zone facility bonds to the proposed Lakewood-Amedex Inc. project. Lakewood Amedex Inc., a biopharmaceutical company considering relocating to the county, would use the bonds to acquire a vacant building on University Parkway. A public hearing on the application will be held after review by bond counsel and the county attorney's office. The county originally received $27.8 million in recovery zone facility bonds from the federal government and allocated $26.4 million for two previous applications.

Gambling deal passes Legislature
TALLAHASSEE — By a vote of 74-39 the Florida House approved the Seminole Indian gaming compact April 19. Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, led the legislation through their respective bodies. In his closing on the bill, Galvano reminded his colleagues that it gives control of gaming back to the state. The measure requires the compact to be reconsidered in five years with the Seminole Tribe agreeing to waive its sovereign rights to permit renegotiation. The Senate adopted the bill on April 15. Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to sign it.


The Planning Commission's 28th Annual Community Design Awards Program begins with a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception followed by dinner and presentations at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tampa. For more information, call Barbara Gibson at (813) 273-3774, ext. 335.

The county commission will hold community budget meetings at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, and Thursday, April 29. The first meeting will be in the auditorium of Bishop McLaughlin High School, 13651 Hays Road, Shady Hills. The second meeting will be at the Pasco-Hernando Community College law enforcement building, E130, 36727 Blanton Road, Dade City.

The Tourist Development Council meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater. For more information, call (727) 464-6633.

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority, TBARTA, meets at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 30 at the Florida Department of Transportation District 7 office, 11201 McKinley Drive, Tampa.

The Sarasota/Bradenton Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday, April 26 at Sudakoff Center, 5700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

The county commission will hold a public hearing April 28 to place an economic development property tax exemption on the Aug. 24 primary ballot. County commissioners can grant these property exemptions if approved by county voters.

The Economic Development Working Group meets at 1:30 p.m. Friday, April 30, at the SunTrust building, 18501 Murdock Circle, suite 502, Port Charlotte. For more information, contact Simone Petche at (941) 627-3023.


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