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No money for Everglades clean-up in Senate budget – yet

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 by Dara Kam

The Florida Senate hasn’t included any money for Everglades restoration in its spending plan, but the money may soon flow to the “River of Grass.”

Sen. Oscar Braynon, a Miami Democrat, questioned Senate General Government Appropriations Committee Chairman Alan Hays about the absence of the money during a meeting late Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s definitely in play,” Hays, R-Umatilla, assured him. “It’s an open issue.”

Gov. Rick Scott included $40 million for Everglades restoration in his budget proposal, and the House wants to spend $30 million on clean-up and another $5 million for northern Everglades projects.

The Senate’s plan prompted an outcry from Everglades Foundation CEO Kirk Fordham, who urged the Senate to go along with Scott’s $40 million allocation.

“We are disappointed that the Florida Senate has decided to risk the future of Florida’s water supply by refusing to provide any funding for Everglades restoration,” Fordham said in a press release. “This is not the time to delay the vital work that needs to be done. More than 7 million Floridians depend on the Everglades for fresh water. Any delay threatens the welfare of 1 in 3 Floridians and the economic well-being of our state.”

Senate holds civilized immigration reform meeting, stresses ‘decorum’

Monday, January 10th, 2011 by Dara Kam

The Florida Senate held a low-key information-gathering session on immigration reform late this afternoon, the first in a series of meetings coinciding with immigration legislation currently in the works.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos put Sen. Anitere Flores, a Cuban-American from Miami and chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in charge of three meetings on the controversial topic that legislatures throughout the nation are grappling with.

Today’s meeting included presentations from federal immigration authorities and an update from state education, prison and highway safety officials as well as a law professor from Florida International University.

Flores said she hoped the cerebral kick-off would set the stage for future discussions to be held in “dispassionate and well-informed manner.”

But some lawmakers were clearly frustrated by what they heard.

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