Redistricting won't completely dominate the legislative landscape in January. A look at other issues percolating in the background and who wants what.
• CASINOS — The hottest non-redistricting fight likely will play out around a bill sponsored by Rep. Erik Fresen (R-Miami) and Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Fort Lauderdale). Their legislation would create a state gaming commission styled after regulatory bodies in Nevada and New Jersey that would award licenses to three entities to build high-end resort casinos in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Bidders would pay $50 million, refundable if the bidder is denied, to compete for a license and would be required to make a $2-billion minimum investment in each facility. Casino operators would pay a 10% tax rate on net gambling revenue. Focus of the debate: Jobs and economic development vs. the psychological, business and social impacts of gambling.
• INTERNET CAFES — Another gambling-related fight will play out over the 1,000 internet cafes featuring sweepstakes-style games that have sprung up in Florida. Rep. Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) and Sen. Steve Oelrich (R-Gainesville) have reintroduced legislation that would outlaw the cafes, which sell customers phone cards and web surfing time in exchange for the opportunity to play slot-machine-type games on computers. Other legislation would merely regulate the cafes, described variously as either crime magnets or innocuous pastimes akin to McDonald's Monopoly game.Don't Miss:
|Lawmakers return to Tallahassee two months early to begin their once-a-decade task of redrawing district lines for state House and Senate seats and the U.S. Congress. The Game of Redistricting »|