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Category archives for: Florida Legislature

From Child Protection to Early learning, Advocates Aim For More Serious Funding From 2014 Legislature

| March 2, 2014

With Florida’s coffers filling again and state leaders focusing on child protection, advocates are hopeful the 2014 legislative session will bring both policy and funding gains for children’s services as high-profile issues include a massive crackdown on sexually violent predators and an overhaul of the child-welfare system.

Lock and Load: NRA-Willing, Florida Legislature Takes On Slew of New Gun Legislation

| February 28, 2014

Bills dealing with toaster pastries and insurance policies are just two of more than a dozen gun-related measures lined up for the 2014 legislative session that starts Tuesday. As in previous years, many of them will go nowhere, especially if Marion Hammer, the National Rifle Association’s powerful Florida lobbyist, doesn’t like them.

Ten Issues to Watch as Florida’s Legislative Session Starts

| February 28, 2014

Florida lawmakers will start the 2014 session Tuesday with a budget surplus and an eye on the November elections. But they still will have to address some tough questions before the session ends May 2. Among the questions: How can Florida better protect vulnerable children? Is it time to overhaul the state pension system? And should the state allow resort casinos to set up shop? Here are 10 issues to watch during the next two months.

Lawmaker Files Bill Favoring Trauma Centers Run by HCA, Gov. Scott’s Former Company

| February 27, 2014

The proposal, opposed by numerous Florida hospitals, would help the HCA health-care chain keep trauma centers open and could short-circuit a debate about how the Florida Department of Health determines where new trauma centers should be allowed to open.

Senate President Says No to More Authority and Prescription Power For Nurse Practitioners

| February 26, 2014

A House bill would give advanced-practice nurses more authority, including prescribing of controlled substances, and set up a pathway to independent practice, not supervised by physicians. But Senate President Don Gaetz opposes it.

Florida Lawmakers Reeling Up Billion-Dollar Tax Breaks For Film and TV Industries

| February 25, 2014

Less than a week after a measure was introduced in the House to provide $1 billion in tax credit to film and television production efforts in Florida, the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee released a proposal that offers $300 million in tax credits.

Bitter Criticism and Some Caution from Flagler School Officials on State’s Teacher Rankings

| February 25, 2014

The Flagler and Florida Education Association, the state’s teachers union, is criticizing the state’s so-called “value-added model” that presumes to rate teachers’ effectiveness, calling the data “flawed.” Many teachers and a Flagler County School Board member are also critical of the data, but for varying reasons, while Flagler’s superintendent cautions against making too much of the numbers.

Forget Vegas: Florida Senate Wants
You to Gamble in State’s Backyards

| February 24, 2014

The Florida Senate has released an ambitious gambling proposal that would authorize two Las Vegas-style casinos in South Florida, create a gambling commission and allow voters to decide if they want to control future gambling expansions.

State Pensions, Tuition for Immigrants and Common Core Revisionism: Tallahassee Week in Review

| February 22, 2014

Before lawmakers returned to their districts for the last week before the 2014 legislative session begins, they capped off a week of discussions about living arrangements and homecomings.

Memo to Florida Legislature: Quit Bashing Public-Employee Pensions

| February 20, 2014

A determined cohort of elected officials in our Legislature is trying to turn working and retired people against each other, to better the odds of a dangerous bill becoming destructive law. If ever there were a legislative wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing of “fiscal responsibility,” this would be that perpetually hungry beast, argues Daniel Tilson.

“Massive Expansion” of School Vouchers Would Fund Private Education at Public Expense

| February 20, 2014

Under the proposal, retailers could divert sales-tax payments to the system; middle-class families would qualify for partial scholarships; and each scholarship would cover more of the cost of attending a private school.

Florida Lawmakers Edging Toward Offering In-State Tuition for Some Undocumented Immigrants

| February 19, 2014

A measure allowing some undocumented students to receive in-state tuition was easily approved Wednesday by a House subcommittee, but the bill still faces a steep climb in the Senate.

Latest NRA Push: Let County Tax Collectors Issue Concealed-Weapons Permits

| February 17, 2014

The Senate Agriculture Committee will consider a proposal that would allow county tax collectors to accept applications for concealed-weapon or firearms licenses. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services currently accepts the applications at regional locations, but supporters of the bill say it would address increasing demands. The proposal comes as lawmakers move forward with bills backed by the National Rifle Association. But it also comes as a verdict this weekend in a highly publicized Jacksonville shooting places renewed focus on Florida’s gun laws.

Busy Tallahassee as Red-Light Camera Ban, Pension Phase-Out and Pot Phase-In Animate Lawmakers

| February 15, 2014

Lawmakers seemed to be drawing closer this week to giving a green light to a limited form of medical marijuana, while some of them complained that red-light cameras were spreading across the state like weeds.

State Employees Would Be Shifted to 401(k)-Like Plans, Ending Florida Retirement System for Almost All

| February 12, 2014

The Senate proposal dramatically overhauling the pension plans for many future public employees sets off a highly anticipated election-year fight between unions and Republican legislative leaders. Only firefighters and cops would be allowed to stay in FRS.

Stand Your Ground: Florida is Not My Castle. And It’s Not Yours, Either.

| February 11, 2014

The right to stand one’s ground against aggression in one’s home is unquestioned, but, argues Julie Delegal, in public, spaces must be shared, peacefully. The castle doctrine cannot be extended to cover the entire state, as Florida’s Stand Your Ground law does.

State Study Skeptical of Red-Light Cameras’ Effectiveness Buoys Senator’s Push For Repeal

| February 10, 2014

The report from theFlorida Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability found there were fewer fatalities but more crashes at electronically monitored intersections, and that fines issued due to the technology cost motorists nearly $119 million last year. The study cast doubt on cameras as safety-inducing devices.

NRA-Backed Bill Would End Zero-Tolerance Punishment of Students Play-Acting Guns at School

| February 6, 2014

The NRA-backed measure by Florida House Judiciary Chairman Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, would prevent children from being disciplined for simulating a gun while playing or wearing clothes that depict firearms.

Florida Lawmakers Would Stiffen Penalties On Insurers Discriminating Against Gun Owners

| February 5, 2014

Insurance companies could face tougher penalties if they impose higher rates, refuse to issue or cancel auto or homeowner policies due to gun ownership, under a measure backed by a House committee Tuesday.

Flagler’s Vacation Rental Reform Bill Advances Through 2 Committees, Buoying Chances

| February 5, 2014

The proposed reform of a law that would return control of short-term rental regulations to counties and cities gained additional support at the Legislature Tuesday as it cleared a second Senate committee and its first House committee with solid backing.

Healthy Families and Other Children’s Programs Could Benefit From Scott’s Election-Year Budget

| February 3, 2014

Scott’s proposed budget includes an additional $7 million for Healthy Families Florida, a program that reduces child abuse and neglect, and $3.6 million for Early Steps, which screens the youngest children for disabilities and delays, the better to catch them at the earliest and most correctable.

Florida GI Bill Seeks More ‘Military Friendly’ State, With Free Tuition For National Guardsmen

| January 31, 2014

The hefty proposals include spending $14.5 million a year for an expansion of free tuition for members of the National Guard, would create a non-profit to market Florida to former members of the U.S. military. Also, they would upgrade state armories, ease professional licensing for veterans and offer a waiver for all honorably discharged veterans from having to pay out-of-state tuition charges at state colleges and universities.

Scott Proposes $74.2 Million Budget, Culminating Weeks of Tax-Cutting and Spending Pitches

| January 29, 2014

The blueprint released Wednesday included at least two notable items: an increase in the exemption from the corporate income tax that would cost the state $21.6 million, and up to $70 million for land conservation efforts.

Scott Pitches Cut of Sales Tax on Rental Properties and $80 Million for Cancer Research

| January 28, 2014

Scott will ask lawmakers to support a $100 million reduction in the commercial lease tax that now brings in about $1.4 billion a year, and $60 million to existing cancer centers as they seek National Cancer Institute designation.

Scott Proposes Increasing Education Funding By $542 Million, Mostly For Public Schools

| January 27, 2014

The bulk of the new spending — $542 million — would go to public schools. While that is far lower than the approximately $1 billion increases Scott sought in each of the last two years, his office touted the fact that it would bring spending on education to the highest level in state history in terms of raw dollars, though unadjusted for inflation.

Fulfilling Pledge, Rep. Travis Hutson Files Animal Cruelty Bill Inspired By FPC Student

| January 23, 2014

Animal abuse may cost abusers far more in penalties and punishment if a bi-partisan bill inspired by Flagler Palm Coast High School student Morgan Purtlebaugh and filed by Rep. Travis Hutson last week becomes law.

In Latest Re-Election Ploy, Scott Proposes 10-Day Sales Tax Holiday, Triple the Usual Length

| January 18, 2014

Scott announced Friday he wants lawmakers to approve a 10-day sales tax holiday in August. The extended tax-free period is the latest of the budget proposals Scott has rolled out in advance of the 2014 legislative session.

Stores May Host Tastings For Wine But Not Beer. Senate Bill Would Repeal Prohibition.

| January 17, 2014

The Florida Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Thursday gave unanimous support to the bill (SB 470)–including the vote of Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine–but lawmakers, lobbyists and substance-abuse prevention advocates were quick to question the packaging of the proposal.

Florida’s Legislative Black Caucus To Gov. Rick Scott: Drop Dead

| January 16, 2014

The Florida Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday abruptly canceled its annual meeting with Gov. Rick Scott, a move the group said was meant to underscore its frustration with the governor.

GOP Lawmaker Calls State’s Surplus Land Sale Program a “Disaster”

| January 13, 2014

The Department of Environmental Protection effort was created with the intent of generating $50 million and replace the defunct and once-popular Florida Forever program, but so far no money has been raised and what has become a shortened list continues to draw criticism for sites remaining under consideration.

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