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Rep. Patronis is developers' go-to man for loosening environmental rules

Every year during the Legislative session in Tallahassee, state Rep. Jimmy Patronis does two things:

He organizes a day for everyone to wear seersucker suits. And he pushes a bill to change Florida’s environmental regulations, like the one that passed the House last week blocking local governments from protecting thousands of acres of wetlands.

Patronis, R-Panama City, is the man who gives environmental activists nightmares — a charming and savvy lawmaker convinced that Florida would be better off if government would get out of the way and let businesses boost the economy.

“I can’t say enough good things about him,” said Frank Matthews, who lobbies on behalf of developers, phosphate miners, boat manufacturers, sugar growers, power companies and a garbage company. “He couldn’t be more accommodating. That’s the appealing thing to me.” More from Tampa Bay Times' Craig Pittman here.

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