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Published Dec. 17, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday appointed as his new general counsel Tim Cerio, a shareholder at the GrayRobinson law firm that was the home of his departing counsel, Pete Antonacci. Cerio takes over for Antonacci on Jan. 5.

Cerio was chief of staff and general counsel at the Department of Health in the final two years of former Gov. Jeb Bush's administration. He's president-elect of the University of Florida Alumni Association and is a Scott appointee to the Judicial Nominating Commission for the First District Court of Appeal.

Scott has appointed at least four GrayRobinson lawyers to JNCs. The law firm contributed $20,000 to the Republican Party of Florida during the latest campaign cycle and gave $2,500 to Scott's re-election campaign committee, Let's Get to Work.

During 2014, Cerio was a registered lobbyist with 13 clients, including the American Cancer Society, the city of Key West, Corizon and the Darden restaurant chain.

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Roster begins to take shape

Gov. Scott on Tuesday named Chad Poppell, chief of staff for the state Department of Economic Opportunity, as the new secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services.

Scott also announced the reappointment of Ken Lawson as secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Poppell has been chief of staff at the Department of Economic Opportunity since January 2013 and previously held positions in Jacksonville city government and with the JEA municipal utility.

The Department of Management Services, which oversees state-government issues such as human resources, procurement and real estate, has been headed by Craig Nichols, who was appointed by Scott in 2012. Scott is filling out his leadership team as he prepares to start a second term Jan. 6.

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'Growler' beer container bill filed

It was one of the most spirited battles in the Legislature this year, pitting scrappy independent craft brewers against wealthy beer distributors intent on preserving their dwindling customer base.

On Tuesday, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, renewed the fight, filing a 2015 bill that would give microbreweries what they have long craved: half-gallon "growler" containers.

It's the second go-round for Latvala, who filed a previous bill only to see it get killed. Another bill, which placed additional restrictions on craft brewers, died after late-session maneuvering by Latvala and others. Latvala's Senate Bill 186 would allow local breweries to fill up the 64-ounce containers for customers to take home, which is illegal in Florida. Brewers now can fill up 32- or 128-ounce containers.

Times/Herald staff writer Rochelle Koff contributed to this report, which uses information from the News Service of Florida.


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