1. Florida Politics

The Buzz: Take hike for lobbyists' Gucci loafers? Just a joke

Published Apr. 9, 2015

Perhaps inspired by Incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran's rousing speech last week, Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, filed an amendment that would increase the sales tax on Gucci loafers sold to lobbyists.

"I will proudly declare war on all the special interests … all the Gucci-loafing, shoe-wearing special interests, powers-that-be, who are standing in that hallway (outside)," Corcoran said in his anti-Medicaid expansion monologue. "Come to war with us. I'll fight. And if it costs me my political career or yours, so be it."

Rodriguez's amendment proposed a levy of 12 percent "on the sale of Gucci loafers to a principal or lobbyist."

Filed in jest, and later withdrawn, the amendment did target the special interests Corcoran blames for the failed health care status quo. But c'mon. It's a tax increase, and the House is run by Republicans.

Growler vote set

The Senate is ready for a vote in the Beer Wars.

SB 186 by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, would allow craft brewers to sell half-gallon refillable growlers of beer, an industry standard size that's illegal in the state of Florida. It would also clarify laws for tasting rooms.

"This is the third year we've been working on this. Hopefully we're going to bring it in for a landing this year," Latvala said. "I think (it) will help an industry that has proven to be a very rapidly growing industry in Florida in the last few years."

This has been a long-fought battle between craft brewers and the distributors tasked with transporting beer from those brewers to bars and liquor stores.

It's likely that the Senate bill will face a final vote Tuesday, the next time the chamber meets.

Bondi won't run

There wasn't much chance Attorney General Pam Bondi would run for U.S. Senate in 2016, and now there is none.

"I don't believe I should be out running for another office instead of running my office," the Republican told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

A recent poll showed Bondi, who has boosted her profile with appearances on Fox News, doing well. But she hasn't been angling like CFO Jeff Atwater. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera could also seek the nomination.

The seat is likely to open with Sen. Marco Rubio running for president.

Rubio's big announcement will begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Miami's Freedom Tower, his staff said.

Panuccio advances

Gov. Rick Scott's jobs chief sailed through a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, drawing one question and no debate.

Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the state Department of Economic Opportunity, got the backing of the Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

The panel's chairman, Sen. Latvala, cast the only dissenting vote, but declined after the meeting to explain his opposition.

Alex Leary and the News Service of Florida contributed.