Legislators stop at UWF to hear about new programs

Florida legislators visited the University of West Florida Wednesday as part of the Work Plan Florida Regional Tour to highlight critical investments in higher education made through this year’s state budget.

Senate President Don Gaetz, Speaker of the House Will Weatherford, and Reps. Matt Gaetz, Clay Ingram and Doug Broxson heard from UWF faculty and staff regarding specific initiatives related to degrees and professional jobs.


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Scott signs ethanol bill into law

State Rep. Matt Gaetz’s long quest to repeal a requirement that gasoline sold in Florida contain some percentage of the supplement ethanol is over.

Legislation that began as H.B. 4001 was signed late Friday by Gov. Rick Scott.

The new law repeals a five-year-old statute requiring all state service stations to sell gasoline containing an established percentage of ethanol.

“It’s one more mandate off the books,” Gaetz said.


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Legislation could shorten Frank Walls’ stay on death row

State Rep. Matt Gaetz is eager to give serial killer Frank Walls something to contemplate as he sits in his cell on death row at the Union Correctional Institute.

Gaetz believes legislation he has introduced, if passed, could significantly lessen the time Walls will have left before his date with the executioner.

“If the Timely Justice Act becomes law, Mr. Walls is going to have to start thinking about what his last meal is going to be,” Gaetz said.

The Fort Walton Beach Republican last week sought to …

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Ethanol bill passes state House, awaits approval in Senate

A law that requires gasoline sold in Florida to contain some percentage of ethanol may be headed for repeal.

Bills sponsored by state Rep. Matt Gaetz and state Sen. Greg Evers appear to have cleared all significant hurdles in the Legislature.

H.B. 4001 passed the House with a 77-39 vote and S.B. 320, amended to mirror the House bill, faces no significant opposition as it awaits a final vote on the Senate floor.


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Lawmakers look to speed death penalty

Bills now in the House and Senate would create tighter timeframes for appeals and post-conviction motions, make it harder for inmates to dismiss their lawyers, and heighten the legal standards for pleading certain arguments.

Florida has 405 inmates on the death row, more than any other state except California, which has 724. It takes an average of 13 years to get from sentencing to execution.

But legislators will have to walk a high wire between speed and fairness. Twenty-four men have been exonerated from Florida’s death row …

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Ethanol repeal passes House Energy Committee

With your support and testimony, HB4001 has officially cleared the House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee and is one step closer to relieving consumers of Florida’s oppressive ethanol mandate. The next stop for HB4001 will be the House Regulatory Affairs Committee. I look forward to working with the committee members and to sharing with them the overwhelming evidence provided by business owners and constituents throughout the state.

Please wait for details to come regarding this committee meeting.

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Op-ed from Matt: Fixing Okaloosa

Since age nine, Okaloosa County has been my home. My mother grew up here. Someday, my children will too. I love Okaloosa County – and that’s why our government should be worthy of our great citizens. After all, countless honest, hardworking county employees see their service dishonored each day the politicians fail to truly accept responsibility and begin real reform.

Our own Commissioner Nathan Boyles doesn’t want to spend another day in Tallahassee. He’s upset that the state’s Auditor General and the …

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