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Government Digest: Feb. 18

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  • | 9:16 a.m. February 18, 2011
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Oil drilling ban sought by petition

TALLAHASSEE — Paid signature gatherers will be getting to work soon in an attempt to outlaw oil drilling in Florida waters, perhaps permanently, by placing the ban in the state constitution.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist and Alex Sink, the state's ex-chief financial officer who lost her 2010 bid to be Florida's first woman governor, now hope to find at least 676,811 registered voters to sign petitions to place the constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot. If successful, at least 60% of voters will need to approve the change.

Gulf Coast legislators lead reform effort

TALLAHASSEE — Led by House Speaker pro-tempore John Legg, R-Port Richey, the newly appointed Select Committee on Government Reorganization has been formed by Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, to reform state government.

“Reform cannot consist of simply combining, recombining, dividing, or redividing government agencies,” wrote Cannon in a recent memo to House members. “Our goal instead is to engage in the work of identifying the specific and necessary work of government in order to eliminate the extraneous tasks that have been added over the years.”

The 24-member committee's focus will be programs “ ... that purport to promote or regulate economic activity and programs involved in health and human services.” Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, and chairman of the rules and calendar committee, is vice chairman of the committee. Also appointed from the Gulf Coast are Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-New Port Richey, Rep. Doug Holder, R-Sarasota, Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, Ken Roberson, R-Port Charlotte and Rep. Dana Young, R-Tampa.

Revenue cap advances in Legislature

TALLAHASSEE — Picking up on a recommendation by Gov. Rick Scott's economic advisory council, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Finance and Tax has proposed a constitutional amendment that would index growth in state revenue to population and inflation growth.

Currently, the constitution only limits state revenue to the average growth rate in state personal income for the previous five years. That limitation, however, has been criticized by council Chairman Donna Arduin as “moot” and “ineffective.” Arduin, who is president of Arduin, Laffer & Moore Econometrics, says, “The way it was written, the spending in Florida will never reach the limit.” To get on the ballot, each chamber of the Legislature would need to approve it by a three-fifths vote.

Former FDOT secretary to work for Mica

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Stephanie Kopelousos, former secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation under former Gov. Charlie Crist, has been hired as a senior advisor to U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Orlando. Mica chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the U.S. House. Kopelousos and Mica have been involved in efforts to bring high speed and commuter rail projects to Florida.


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