Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Politics

Small brewers cheer changes to beer measure (w/video)

Small breweries may not be as mighty as Anheuser-Busch distributors, but they showed a little muscle on Monday by helping to reshape a House bill that could have put some out of business.

"Some folks recognized that there were problems that needed to be addressed," said Josh Aubuchon, a Holland & Knight lobbyist who represents the Florida Brewers Guild, a consortium that includes 90 local breweries in Florida, including 28 in the Tampa Bay region.

HB 1329, sponsored by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Fort Myers, would have legalized half-gallon containers, known as growlers, to sell craft beer. That size is legal in 47 other states, but not Florida.

But while Rodrigues' bill would make half-gallon growlers legal, it also came with many restrictions small breweries didn't like, so that only those with certain licenses were eligible. Aubuchon said additional restrictions would have made it difficult for many of the 90 breweries he is representing to operate.

So they cheered an amendment that eliminated most of those restrictions adopted by the House's Business & Professional Regulation committee on Monday. Under the revised bill, which has two more committees to go, breweries can more easily open tasting rooms and avoid many of the restrictions proposed in Rodrigues' original bill.

Even though it completely changed his bill, Rodrigues reversed himself and agreed to the changes.

"It's the legislative process at work," Rodrigues said afterward. "You get input from the public, you determine what the better policy is, and then you amend it as you go forward."

Bill puts limits on red light cameras

Local governments would be limited on where they can put new red light cameras and how they can use fines from violations under a measure approved by a House committee Monday.

The Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved the amended HB 7005, sponsored by Miami Republican Rep. Frank Artiles, after some controversial provisions were deleted.

Rather than doing away with the portion of the fine that goes to local agencies, local governments have to use at least 70 percent of their proceeds, or $52.50, for traffic safety projects. The proposal also requires local governments to complete an engineering study before they install red light cameras in an intersection.

The bill would also eliminate local governments' ability to write tickets for right-on-red violations (or left-on-red, at intersections of one-way streets). Now, drivers can receive citations only if there is a pedestrian in a walkway or they otherwise are shown to have failed to yield.

There currently is no Senate companion to the House bill.

Times staff writer Tia Mitchell contributed to this report.

Comments
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18
Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victorie...
Published: 04/16/18
Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won’t seek additional medical treatment, a Bush family spokesman said Sunday. "Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors...
Published: 04/15/18
Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump attacked James Comey in a fusillade of tweets Sunday morning, calling for the former FBI director to be imprisoned as Trump served up a number of his favorite theories and alleged misdeeds without evidence.Trump’s ...
Published: 04/15/18
President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at 40 percent in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, slightly more than his 36 percent approval rating when last measured in January. It’s also the highest he’s enjoyed in Post-ABC polling since his fi...
Published: 04/15/18
Gun rights advocates holding rallies at state capitols in US

Gun rights advocates holding rallies at state capitols in US

DOVER, Del. — Gun rights supporters — many carrying rifles and ammunition — gathered at state capitols across the U.S. on Saturday to push back against efforts to pass stricter gun-control laws that they fear threaten their constitutional right to be...
Published: 04/15/18
Trump, Abe to meet as U.S.-Japan relationship shows strains over N. Korea, trade

Trump, Abe to meet as U.S.-Japan relationship shows strains over N. Korea, trade

President Donald Trump will welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago this week in an effort to shore up their relationship amid strains in the U.S.-Japan alliance ahead of Trump’s potential summit with the leader of North Korea.Abe is...
Published: 04/14/18
Haley warns that US forces ‘locked and loaded’ if Syria stages another chemical attack

Haley warns that US forces ‘locked and loaded’ if Syria stages another chemical attack

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations told the Security Council on Saturday that the United States is "locked and loaded," ready to launch another military strike if the Syrian government ever uses chemical weapons again."I spoke to the president...
Published: 04/14/18
Trump uses phrase that haunted Bush: ‘Mission Accomplished!’

Trump uses phrase that haunted Bush: ‘Mission Accomplished!’

WASHINGTON — As he declares the U.S.-led airstrikes against Syria a success, President Donald Trump is adopting a phrase that a previous president came to regret — "mission accomplished." On Saturday, Trump tweeted: "A perfectly executed strike last ...
Published: 04/14/18
Rays stadium backers sponsor free screening of ‘Field of Dreams’ at Tampa Theatre

Rays stadium backers sponsor free screening of ‘Field of Dreams’ at Tampa Theatre

TAMPA — It would take hundreds of millions of dollars to build a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays, and more than a few dreams, too.So a business group advocating for a stadium in Ybor City is joining with the Tampa Theatre for a free screening of t...
Published: 04/13/18