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Crist Gives Teen Republicans a Holla and Plea for Support

Jacob Engels, the 17-year-old chairman of the Florida Federation of Teenage Republicans, has received a letter from Gov. Charlie Crist urging the group to support his U.S. Senate campaign. Many members are not yet eligible to vote, meaning if the governor is hoping to grow his base it may take a while before the votes come in.

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U.S. Sen. LeMieux Doesn't Care for Health Care Reform

U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., said from his Washington, D.C., office today that he opposes the Democrat-supported federal health care overhaul working its way through Congress. It's a costly bill that the nation lacks money to fund, and he said he hoped Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, and other Democratic members of Florida's Congressional delegation would vote down the proposal.

"It's a bad bill for Florida," LeMieux said.

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Will President Change Course On Space Plan? U.S. Sen. LeMieux is Hopeful

U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, R-Fla., said in a phone call from Washington, D.C., today that it wouldn't make sense for President Barack Obama to do nothing but repeat bad news during his April 15th visit to Florida to discuss a NASA budget that grounds the agency's return to the moon and jettisons 7,000 aerospace jobs.

LeMieux said he plans to demand during the visit that the President promise that NASA will be given funding to return to the moon and then make the journey to Mars, and he wants the President to set a specific deadline for both goals.

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FEMA Rejects State's Chinese Drywall Request

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has rejected Florida's request for help in assessing damage caused by corrosive Chinese drywall, according to a letter from Phil May, FEMA's regional administrator in Atlanta.

The letter said that the state's request doesn't meet the federal criteria for an emergency or major disaster and thus cannot be granted.

``Conditions experienced by individuals from a consumer product safety matter, such as the degradation of imported drywall, does not constitute an emergency or major disaster incident,'' said May

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Balanced federal budget? Senate Dems say no thanks

Senate lawmakers just voted to make Florida the 20th state to demand a balanced federal budget and limit federal restrictions on state spending, with opposition from Democrats.

The concurrent resolution, proposed by Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, and House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, calls for the state jto oin 19 others in demanding a Balanced Budget Amendment to the federal Constitution.

But leading Senate Democrats say the measure is too simplistic and could prevent future federal help.

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Slip and Fall Bill Slides Through Debate in the House

Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, defended his slip and fall legislation today on the House floor.

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Too Many Speakers in the House

As he presided over the Florida House this afternoon, Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, grew increasingly frustrated by the constant chatter of the representatives.

Cretul twice asked the House members to quiet down before actually interrupting the presentation of an amendment to take charge of the House.

Im having a hard time hearing the clerk, he said. Please indulge an old guy who cant hear.

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Senators Battle FEA over Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Sens. Ronda Storms and Thad Altman battled the Florida Education Association on SB 2126. The bill seeks to allocate funds to help low-income families to give students a scholarship move to private schools.

The funds in the bill are from corporate taxes. Florida companies can commit money to low-income scholarships that give disadvantaged families access to some of Florida's best private schools.

But Lynda Russell, from the FEA, says the money shouldn't be appropriated and children, and support, shouldn't be drawn away from public schools.

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Conservative Dem Dark Horse: Rick Minton Campaigns for Agriculture Post

Calling himself a very conservative Democrat and Bob Graham and Lawton Chiles his "political heroes,"former Rep. Rick Minton is revving up his bid to become the states next Agricultural and Consumer Services commissioner.

Speaking this morning, Minton listed the numerous responsibilities of the Agriculture post including land trust, water policy, determining who qualified for unemployment benefits.

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$125-per-Plate First Amendment Foundation Luncheon Attracts a Who's Who

The Florida First Amendment Foundation luncheon today attracted a healthy turnout of political leaders and journalists. Notably absent: Gov. Charlie Crist, who is a two-time winner of the foundation's Pete Weitzel Friend of the First Amendment Award, and Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Keynote speakers were Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, and CFO Alex Sink, a Democrat, both of whom are candidates for governor. Most members of the House and Senate leadership were in attendance.

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