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Florida legislators vote to alter the state's 10-year-old ban on gifts from lobbyists

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TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Florida legislators are backing a change to the state's nearly 10-year-old ban on gifts to lawmakers.

The Florida Legislature on Tuesday sent to Gov. Rick Scott a bill that would include an exception to the existing ban.

The legislation (SB 984) would allow legislators to accept use of a public building or public property if it is being used for a public purpose like a town hall meeting. Currently legislators need permission from legislative leaders before they can accept the use of a building.

The state's gift ban prohibits legislators from accepting anything of value from lobbyists as well as from any business or government that hires lobbyists.

Rep. Alan Williams, a Tallahassee Democrat, urged legislators to repeal the gift ban during the 2016 session. He said the ban has hurt area restaurants and bars.

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