Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:
Senate Committee advances distribution ‘tariff’ on craft brewers: Craft brewers are fighting a Senate measure that would require them to pay a distributor when selling their bottled or canned product to customers, even if the beer never leaves the building. The distribution requirement is part of a long-sought measure by small specialty brewers (SB 1714) that was supported 8-1 by the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Tuesday. The bill would allow small specialty craft brewers to sell beer made on site when poured into individual customer’s 64-ounce containers known as growlers, as they can with 32-ounce and 128-ounce containers. The brewers want that part of the bill. The problem for the brewers is the distributor-backed portion of the proposal, which expands the state’s Depression-era three-tier regulation on alcohol sales. Read more.
Senate textbook bill a clunker: The textbook bill that passed narrowly in the Senate last week is no way to answer Common Core. It’s a school-budget turkey multiplied 67 times. And worse. Sponsored by Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, Senate Bill 864 provides that district school boards have “the constitutional duty and responsibility” to select and provide adequate instructional materials for all students. If this bill goes all the way to the governor’s desk, it will end the state Department of Education’s role in reviewing and selecting students’ textbooks. “Constitutional duty and responsibility” is a fancy way of saying here comes an unfunded mandate. Read more.
Medical marijuana could be good for business in Florida: With the question of legalizing medical marijuana apparently heading to voters on the Nov. 4 ballot, entrepreneurs are popping up in an effort to get in on the ground floor of the movement.Eighteen medical marijuana companies have registered with the state this year. Medical Marijuana of Brevard LLC, Medical Marijuana Business Lawyers LLC and Medical Marijuana Centers of Florida Inc., are among the first positioning to take advantage of a boom, should Florida voters approve the referendum by a 60 percent margin. Some, like Daniel Curtis, founder of The Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Institute, are letting the others “mine for the gold,” opting instead to sell the “pick axes” by offering courses and seminars to those who want to jump into the medical-marijuana business. Read more.
Taxpayers beware: Florida’s film subsidies lobby wants action: State Sen. Nancy Detert, chair of the Commerce and Tourism Committee, this week summarized a film subsidies bill slated to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer giveaways to film and television production companies. “We have film (companies) call up and their first question is, ‘What do you have in the way of incentives?’” Detert said. “We have none right now.”Subsidy supporters want more than the $300 million over six years, offered courtesy of Florida’s taxpayers. A month ago, industry reps were looking for a cool $1 billion. A House-driven provision requiring counties to offer 5 percent to 10 percent in matching funds has some local government lobbyists worried. One South Florida lawmaker is calling for a rewrite. Read more.
Marc Caputo: Democrats’ deceptive voter registration edge in Florida: In a state where a presidential election was famously decided by 537 ballots, Florida Democrats’ edge of 485,907 active voters over registered Republicans looks impressive at a glance. But it isn’t. In historical terms, it’s a bad sign for Democrats and Charlie Crist. And it’s great news for Republicans and Gov. Rick Scott. The Democrats’ registration advantage hasn’t been this small since 2007. Perhaps more significantly, the gap is even smaller than it was in 2010 (591,809), when Republicans whipped Democrats at the ballot box. Read more.
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