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Samantha J. Gross
Tallahassee, FL
Samantha J. Gross covers state government for the Miami Herald.
Recent Activity
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Florida's got a new "water czar," agriculture commissioner Nicole "Nikki" Fried announced Wednesday. Chris Pettit, who has worked for years in water management districts and county water utilities, will replace Steve Dwinell, who retired as water policy director for the... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2019 at Naked Politics
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A bill that would require utilities to give long-range storm protection plans to the Florida Public Service Commission got the OK from the Florida House. Without any debate and an overwhelming 110-3 vote, the bill passed through the House Wednesday.... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2019 at Naked Politics
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The Miami Shores front-yard vegetable garden, as seen in 2013, that created a dispute leading to this year's legislation that would prevent local governments from regulating locations of such gardens (Walter Michot / Miami Herald file) A bill that will... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Photo courtesy Florida House The clock neared midnight Tuesday as Representatives in the Florida House debated at length over an amendment to a larger healthcare bill that would put a proposed cap on THC for smokable medical marijuana. House Democrats... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2019 at Naked Politics
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While House Health & Human Services Chairman Ray Rodrigues' bill to cap medical THC — the naturally occurring element in marijuana that produces a high — was never heard on the floor and failed to get a Senate companion, the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2019 at Naked Politics
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With little discussion and rousing support, the Florida Senate unanimously approved a bill to create a state hemp program Thursday. "This may be one of the most significant things we do this session," said bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley during... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2019 at Naked Politics
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After funding for a permanent memorial in honor of the 49 victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando came out to $0 on the budget proposals Wednesday morning, the House and Senate changed course. The Senate put forth... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2019 at Naked Politics
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As budget negotiations ramp up this week — the penultimate week of the legislative session — lawmakers are taking a closer look at appropriations for both statewide initiatives and local projects in their home communities. One line in the budget... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2019 at Naked Politics
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In filings to the state Supreme Court late Thursday, both the Florida House and Senate said they oppose the petition-driven ballot initiative that would reform how consumers purchase electricity in Florida. The proposal, put forward by the Citizens for Energy... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Without much conversation and a brief, unanimous vote, a House panel voted Thursday to send a bill that would create a state hemp program to the chamber floor. The bill, put forward by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2019 at Naked Politics
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A bill to ban regulations on vegetable gardens is headed to the House floor. HB 145, filed by Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, R-DeLand, was approved at the House State Affairs Committee's last meeting Thursday. Fetterhoff's bill prohibits local governments from regulating... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2019 at Naked Politics
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U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks with reporters in Tallahassee about her 2020 presidential campaign. SGROSS@MIAMIHERALD.COM U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar talked climate change, hurricanes and what it will take to win Florida with Democratic lawmakers in Tallahassee on Tuesday in her... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Undocumented immigrants protest outside of Senator Marco Rubio's office in Doral on Nov. 20, 2015 C.M. GUERRERO After bills aimed at banning so-called "sanctuary cities" were fast-tracked through the Legislature this year, progress grinded to a halt and they weren't... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Despite jeers, boos and shouts of "willful ignorance" from opponents in the crowd, a bill aimed at limiting THC — the naturally occurring element in marijuana that produces a high — is headed to the House floor. The House Appropriations... Continue reading
Posted Apr 9, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Parents of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a shooter killed 17 people in 2018, push petitions for 2020 ban on assault weapons in Florida. MIAMI HERALD The effort by Republicans to complicate the citizen-initiative ballot process marches... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Parents of students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a shooter killed 17 people in 2018, push petitions for 2020 ban on assault weapons in Florida. MIAMI HERALD The effort by Republicans to complicate the citizen-initiative ballot process marches... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2019 at Naked Politics
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A bill aimed at limiting THC — the naturally occurring element in marijuana that produces a high — passed its first committee Wednesday. The House Health and Human Services committee approved a bill that would limit the amount of THC... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2019 at Naked Politics
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The House’s version of a bill to create a state hemp program made it through its second of three committee stops Tuesday. Rep. Ralph Massullo’s HB 333, which passed unanimously in the last meeting of Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, speaks on the Senate floor during the 2017 session. FLORIDA SENATE Senate Democrats have unanimously decided to take a caucus position against SB 168, a bill by Sarasota Republican Sen. Joe Gruters to address so-called “sanctuary... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2019 at Naked Politics
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STEVE HELBER/ ASSOCIATED PRESS A bill aimed at making the hemp plant an agricultural option for farmers across the state took a second step forward Monday, passing unanimously through the Senate agriculture committee. Bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley said this... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus The state is getting its first advocate for LGBTQ consumers, thanks to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. Nik Harris, currently a senior attorney at the Florida Department of Transportation, was appointed to serve as the department's liaison... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Tim and Linda Lawson stand by the well outside their Ocala home. The Lawsons, who have lived there for 33 years, were told in November that the well is contaminated with elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2019 at Naked Politics
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LILY OPPENHEIMER / WLRN The House Agriculture and Natural Resources subcommittee approved a bill Tuesday that, among other things, would require municipalities to address contamination of recyclable materials. HB 771, put forward by Palm City Republican Rep. Toby Overdorf, passed... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2019 at Naked Politics
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AL DIAZ ADIAZ@MIAMIHERALD.COM A petition-driven ballot initiative that would reform how consumers purchase electricity in Florida now has some policy experts for the state saying that they are not totally opposed to the idea. The state's Financial Impact Estimating Conference... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2019 at Naked Politics
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Tom Carroll and Hermine Ricketts stand in front of their home at 53 NE 106th St., Miami Shores, Florida, in November 2013, when the couple maintained a front-yard vegetable garden. Walter Michot/Miami Herald file photo. After some light teasing by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2019 at Naked Politics