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Category archives for: Florida Legislature

Proposal Would End Local Districts’ Oversight of Charter Schools in Favor Of State Power

| February 11, 2016

The proposed constitutional amendment would set up a statewide entity with the power to approve charter schools anywhere in Florida, bypassing local school districts. The Legislature is expected to approve sending the proposal to the ballot.

Legislature Tells Florida’s Horse Farmers to Find a New Business

| February 10, 2016

Florida horsemen are screwed, argues Nancy Smith: Only a miracle can save the $1.2 billion Florida horse racing industry they represent. Their bane: the Florida Legislature.  

More Public Record Exemptions For Gun Owners, This Time For Hunters and Fishermen

| February 10, 2016

People getting hunting, fishing and boating licenses and certificates from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would be shielded from public record disclosures.

In a Decisive Shift, Palm Coast Will Oppose Fracking On and Offshore, Citing Environment

| February 9, 2016

Abandoning its silence and tacit nod to fracking, the Palm Coast City Council will forcefully oppose hydraulic fracturing in a resolution, citing water and environmental protection.

Bathroom Use By Transgenders Scuttles Bill Designed to End LGBT Discrimination

| February 9, 2016

The anti-discrimination bill is backed by big business such as Disnet and AT&T but opposed by social conservatives such as Florida Family Policy Council.

Measure Forbidding Local Governments From Using Red-Light Cameras Advances

| February 4, 2016

Sen. Jeff Brandes’ measure would repeal a law known as the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Act of 2010 and, as a result, prevent local governments from using the cameras for traffic enforcement.

Family of Corey Jones, Killed by Cop, Calls For Regulation of Police Body Cameras

| February 3, 2016

A musician, Corey Jones was fatally shot by a plainclothes Palm Beach Gardens officer when his car broke down on Interstate 95 in the early morning after a gig. The officer, who was driving an unmarked van, has since been fired.

Florida Supreme Court Halts Executions Indefinitely; 389 Death Row Inmates In Limbo

| February 2, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Florida’s death-penalty sentencing scheme on Jan. 12, forcing the state to rewrite its law but also putting in question whether the new law must apply to all 489 death row inmates.

In “Fair Sentencing” Push, an Attempt to Reconsider Florida’s Get-Tough-On-Crime Laws

| February 1, 2016

Fair Sentencing seeks to change laws of the 1990s, such as 10-20-Life, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses and habitual-offender laws, as other states have done.

Florida’s “Pastor Protection Act” Seen as Defense of Clergy or Latest Bias Against LGBT

| January 31, 2016

The proposal, which was approved this week by a Senate committee, would prevent clergy members from being forced to perform marriage ceremonies contrary to their beliefs.

The Future Is Here: Florida Wants Welfare For the Rich While Punishing the Poor

| January 29, 2016

Four years ago Chris Timmons, now a columnist and fellow at a Florida think tank, lost his job and needed food stamps. “It did not make me feel like a moocher,” he writes. Yet Florida makes welfare recipients feel just that.

Open-Carry Allowance and Ban on Backyard Shooting Among Gun Bills Heading for a Vote

| January 29, 2016

Openly carried guns would have to be in a holster, case or bag, recreational shooting in certain residential areas would be banned, and the burden of proof in stand your ground cases would shift to defendants.

Conklin Will Lead Suicide Awareness Town Hall Sunday: #FlaglersuicideASK4HELP

| January 29, 2016

In the wake of two recent and related suicides in Palm Coast, the town hall will feature Barbara Coxwell, whose son took his life in 2013. The Legislature is considering bills related to increased suicide awareness.

Florida Lawmakers Urged to Require Unanimous Verdicts in Death Penalty Cases

| January 28, 2016

Florida is the only state in the nation where a simple jury majority is enough for a death penalty recommendation, one of several problems at odds with a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Florida’s capital punishment system.

Senate Looks to Boost Education Funding Beyond Scott Request, But Tax Burden Looms

| January 27, 2016

The Senate is proposing spending $7,249 a student, against Scott’s $7,220, but the increase relies on rising local property taxes, which are part of the state funding formula.

Term Limits for Supreme Court and Appellate Judges? Measure Moving Closer to Ballot

| January 24, 2016

Under the proposal, members of the Supreme Court and district courts of appeal would be limited to two full six-year terms. Judges currently have to retire in the election cycle after they turn 70 years old.

City School Districts? Lawmaker Mulling Proposed Constitutional Amendment

| January 21, 2016

The measure (HJR 539) would mark a dramatic change in how school districts are organized in Florida. The Constitution requires all districts to be made up of whole counties, though a handful of public schools are stand-alone.

Opposing Open Carry, Sheriffs Instead Propose Immunity for Accidental Display of Guns

| January 20, 2016

The Florida Sheriffs Association, which has opposed the open-carry measure, outlined proposed steps that would provide immunity to people who inadvertently or accidentally display firearms.

Florida Lawmakers Drilling the Way for Fracking Even as Need Is Questioned

| January 19, 2016

The assault on Florida’s environment continues as a Senate committee last week approved a bill that would make it easier for companies to use fracking technology to drill for oil and gas in the state.

High Schools May Get Greater Autonomy From Florida Athletic Association Requirements

| January 19, 2016

The proposals would allow schools to join the FHSAA on a per-sport basis and limit how much can be charged for some association-sponsored competitions. Currently, a school that joins the FHSAA in any sport has to be a member in every sport.

Florida House May Back Scott’s $1 Billion Tax Cut, With Minor Differences

| January 15, 2016

The House intends to offer a $1 billion tax-cut package that includes Gov. Rick Scott’s call to reduce a tax on commercial leases and holding a back-to-school sales tax “holiday.”

Nurseries Will Start Growing Pot Despite Legal Challenges Threatening Their Licenses

| January 14, 2016

Five dispensing organizations selected by state officials promised lawmakers Wednesday they would meet a deadline next month to get medical-marijuana production off the ground, despite legal challenges that could threaten their licenses.

Florida House Wants to Prohibit Immigrants’ “Sanctuary” Communities

| January 13, 2016

Despite emotional pleas from immigrant advocates, state House members Wednesday moved forward with measures aimed at cracking down on cities and counties that provide “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants and increasing penalties for people who defy deportation orders.

Familiar Priorities In Scott State of the State: Tax Cuts and Spending on Business Incentives

| January 12, 2016

The governor has essentially staked his legislative session on the success of two initiatives: A $1 billion tax cut and devoting $250 million to a new “Florida Enterprise Fund” to help lure employers to the Sunshine State.

Flagler County Revises Vacation-Rental Rules as Lawmakers Propose Yet More Changes

| January 12, 2016

The county commission’s authority is limited but it plans to stiffen fines against vacation-rental rule violators. Lawmakers meanwhile, catching on to the controversy, may revert more regulatory authority to local governments.

Scott’s Proposed Billion-Dollar Tax Cut and $250 Million For Job Subsidies Sets Up a Fight

| January 7, 2016

An election-year budget that includes huge tax cuts, record funding for public schools and a new initiative to bring jobs to Florida might be good politics for lawmakers. The question is whether they can afford it.

2016: A Year of Political Games in the Making

| January 1, 2016

After a strange and at times exhausting 2015, Florida’s government and political establishment is bracing for what could be another intriguing year with another election is on tap in the biggest swing state in the nation.

Push for Policing Reforms Expected in 2016 Legislative Sessions, But Not in Florida

| December 28, 2015

Passing more laws in 2016 will depend on politics — and the level of public outcry — in each state. The federal government has no jurisdiction over local policing, leaving state lawmakers are ultimately responsible for reforms.

For Millennials, Government Is a Gap of Generations and Representation

| December 27, 2015

Millennials, those born after 1980 who entered adulthood at the turn of the century, hold just 5 percent of state legislative seats, while comprising 31 percent of the U.S. voting-age population.

Florida’s Year of the Bizarre, The Messy and the Ungoverned

| December 24, 2015

In Florida politics, the year was educational, entertaining and bizarre. It was a year unlike any other in recent memory — and many in Tallahassee hope it stays unlike any other for quite some time.

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