Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the leading Republican candidate for governor, is in Clearwater on Thursday for a "major announcement" with Pinellas County Tax Collector Charles Thomas.
The news is that Putnam, working with the state Legislature, got a reduction in the fee to apply for a concealed weapons license or a renewal license, and it's a piece of news that Putnam's office wanted to announce first.
Putnam's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services processes permit applications, but Floridians can file them with their local tax collector, who also accepts property tax payments and issues driver's licenses, vehicle registrations and car and truck titles.
Shortly before Putnam's office issued a media alert Wednesday, it alerted tax collectors in an email that said: "We ask that you refrain from sending your releases until after we send our release, as the news should first come from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. We'll forward you all our release once it has gone out." (Tax collectors had nothing to do with the fee reduction, but they are elected officials, too).
Florida has nearly 1.8 million concealed weapons license holders. The Legislature passed a bill in the regular session (HB 467) that reduces the license fee and renewal fee by $5, From $60 to $55 for a first-time licensee and from $50 to $45 for a renewal. The measure was sponsored by Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, and Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, and Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law on June 9.