BFRBriefings from the Rotunda Boyd Gaming cancels Florida lobbying contract Boyd Gaming Corp., which bills itself as “one of the largest and most successful casino entertainment companies in the United States,” ended its relationship with its Tallahassee-based lobbyists. The casino company’s representation by The Mayernick Group was “canceled” back in July. Firm principal Frank Mayernick declined comment and Boyd spokesman David Strow did not respond to an email or phone call. Boyd has nine casinos in Las Vegas and 12 others across the South and Midwest, according to its website. More recently, it sold its stake in Atlantic City's Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to its partner, MGM Resorts International. It also once was part-owner of Dania Casino & Jai Alai in South Florida but sold its interest to a team of investors in 46 | INFLUENCE SUMMER/FALL 2016 Argentina three years ago. Since then, Boyd had sought to put up a new casino adjacent to the Florida Panthers’ arena and at the Sawgrass Mills shopping center in Broward County. But Boyd needed state approval. And its plans, like other casino operators’, idled under a Legislature that historically has choked in the face of any gambling-related legislation. This year’s gambling overhaul bills, including renewal of a blackjack revenue sharing agreement between the state and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, also died by the end of session. Another prominent operator, Las Vegas Sands Corp., last year gave up efforts to get a destination casino resort in Florida. It canceled its representation by lobbyist Nick Iarossi of Capital City Consulting in September. Ethics Commission clears staff director for lobbying The Florida Commission on Ethics says a legislative bill drafting staff director isn’t covered by the state’s lobbying ban on some state workers. The commission approved a staff-written advisory opinion at its July meeting. Joseph Gillespie, the staff director of the House of Representatives Bill Drafting Service, requested the opinion the previous month. The office’s bill drafters write the first draft of bills for lawmakers to file. In a letter, Gillespie told the commission he “will be seeking positions that require me to represent other persons or entities before the Legislature and register as a legislative lobbyist.” State law, however, says certain state employees “may not personally represent another person or entity for compensation before the agency with which he or she was employed for a period of two years following vacation of position, unless employed by another agency of state government.” The opinion said the law includes only staff directors of legislative committees, party offices or those of the House Speaker’s Office or Senate President’s Office, so Gillespie isn’t bound by the two-year lobbying ban.
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