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Category archives for: Florida Legislature

Florida TaxWatch Urges Gov. Scott to Veto $120 Million in Budget “Turkeys”; Flagler Is Spared

| May 23, 2014

A dog park in Jacksonville, a fountain in Palm Beach and money to help people get to the planned 1,000-foot-tall SkyRise Miami were among $121 million in budget projects that Florida TaxWatch says Gov. Rick Scott needs to strike with his line-item veto.

Florida State University’s Presidential Search Short-Listed to One: Sen. John Thrasher

| May 21, 2014

Thrasher, 70, whose senate district includes all of Flagler County, has long been an influential figure in state politics and serves as chairman of Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election campaign. He served as House speaker from 1998 to 2000 and currently is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee.

Florida’s Deepest Pockets: The Best Legislature Money Can Buy

| May 20, 2014

From blocking debate on equal pay for equal work for women, to a head-in-the-sand approach to protecting our environment, the list of issues ignored by this legislature is as long as it is indefensible, argues Mark Ferrulo.

Florida’s Record $77.1 Billion Budget, With a Few Perks for Flagler, Lands on Scott’s Desk

| May 20, 2014

Gov. Rick Scott and his staff have 15 days to scrutinize every line in the 431-page budget document, weighing legislators’ earmarks against the need to score political points in allowing individual items to remain or be vetoed.

Dispute Over State’s Shifting Juvenile Detention Costs to Counties Simmers Again

| May 19, 2014

The dispute goes back to 2004 and centers on DJJ’s handling of a law that requires counties help pay for “predisposition,” or the costs of detaining underage offenders before they are sentenced. It affects 38 counties. The 29 poorest counties in the state are considered “fiscally constrained” and aren’t part of the cost-sharing formula.

Satanic Temple, Come On Down: Florida Eases Holiday Display Bids at State Capitol

| May 14, 2014

Rather than institute a new policy that would limit displays as some expected, the state Department of Management Services is trying to make the application process easier for groups seeking to put up temporary displays in the Capitol complex. The Satanic Temple will give Florida another chance after being blocked from putting up a holiday display last year.

AAA To Scott: Veto 75 MPH Speed Limit

| May 11, 2014

AAA asked Scott more than a week ago for a sit-down to talk about the narrowly-approved measure that could see maximum speed limits hiked by 5 mph. The governor hasn’t made a decision on the bill. His aides are willing to discuss it.

Early Learning and KidCare Shortchanged as Children Take Back Seat in $77.1 Billion Budget

| May 9, 2014

Children’s issues were in the spotlight during the 2014 legislative session, frequently contentious and ultimately a very mixed bag. Given the size of the $77.1 billion budget — the largest in state history — many advocates said lawmakers could and should have done more for kids.

Dog Parks, Bungee Jumping, Bike Paths and Free OJ: Perks in State’s $77.1 Billion Budget

| May 6, 2014

But while much of the money in Florida’s 2014-15 budget went to must-have programs such as education, health care and prisons, smaller items are littered through the more-than-400-page document. Here are some examples.

Red-Light Cameras, Guns, Pot, Tax Cuts: Rating the 2014 Legislative Session

| May 5, 2014

Florida lawmakers ended the 2014 legislative session after passing a budget and a flurry of other bills dealing with issues such as child welfare and school vouchers. But hundreds of bills died as lawmakers headed home to gear up for re-election campaigns. Here are 10 issues that passed during the session and 10 issues that failed.

Legislature Approves Medical Marijuana Bill Narrowly Targeting Epilepsy and Other Seizures

| May 2, 2014

The proposal would make Florida one of a handful of states that allow “Charlotte’s Web,” a low-THC strain of marijuana that proponents say doesn’t get users high but can end or dramatically decrease potentially fatal seizures in children who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy that can cause hundreds of seizures a week. The allowance would extend to some forms of cancer and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Flagler Seeks, Flagler Wins: Bill Restoring Vacation-Rental Regulation Authority Passes House and Heads for Scott’s Desk

| May 1, 2014

The Flagler County Commission has been leading the fight to overturn a 2011 state law prohibiting the regulation of short-term rentals. Thursday morning, the Florida Senate voted 37-2 to give back some home-rule authority to local governments. The House approved the measure 90-27 on Wednesday, sealing a major victory for Flagler County.

75 MPH Speed Limit on Some Highways Nears Reality as Bill Goes to Gov. Scott

| May 1, 2014

After a sometimes-emotional debate, a divided Florida House on Wednesday gave final approval to a proposal that could lead to 75 mph speed limits on some highways. The House voted 58-56 to pass the bill (SB 392), which was backed by the Senate last week.

As Florida House Opens Schools to Guns, Lawmaker Declares Gun-Free Zones “The Most Dangerous Places in America”

| April 28, 2014

In a debate that showed sharp divisions about how best to protect children and teachers, the Florida House on Monday approved a bill, 71-44, that could lead to some public-school employees or volunteers carrying guns on campus.

Late-Night Session Nears Agreement on $75 Billion Budget, Including Increase in Student Funding

| April 27, 2014

After two days of what appeared to be faltering negotiations the deals were a sign that lawmakers could finish the budget and have it on lawmakers’ desks by Tuesday. The legislative session is scheduled to end Friday, and lawmakers are required to wait 72 hours before voting on the completed budget.

250-Mile, Coast-to-Coast Bike Trail
Across Central Florida Nears Reality

| April 24, 2014

Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, thanked House members for supporting his Coast-to-Coast bike-trail connector, which was vetoed last year by Gov. Rick Scott when lawmakers backed the project as a $50 million item.

In Clearest Pro-Immigrant Shift Yet, Gov. Scott Demands a Senate Vote on In-State Tuition for Undocumented

| April 23, 2014

The governor, who originally came to office threatening to crack down on undocumented immigrants, said Tuesday that his opinion on the issue was shaped by stories he’s heard from students who grew up in Florida and would benefit from being able to pay the cheaper, in-state tuition rates.

Latest Beer-Sale Proposal Protects Big Distributors as Craft Brewers Are Limited to 2,000 Off-Site Kegs

| April 22, 2014

A Senate proposal that would allow small craft brewers to directly sell beer in bottles and cans, as long as they limit to 2,000 kegs how much beer is made for off-site sales, continues to leave a bad taste for the growing industry.

0-For-5: In latest Blow to Scott, U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Drug-Testing State Workers

| April 21, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to take up the case means that the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling stands: Drug tests can’t be justified constitutionally for many of the 85,000 workers who would have been subject to Scott’s policy. The two sides continue to carry out a painstaking process of looking at different categories of workers to determine whether some could be subject to drug testing — a process stemming from the appeals court ruling.

Dream Act’s Florida Push Dies as Senate Panel Kills Proposal to Give In-State Tuition to Undocumented Immigrants

| April 18, 2014

Supporters of the bill seemed taken aback by the news, which came less than a week after Sen. Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who sponsored the bill, announced that half the Senate had agreed to join him in sponsoring the measure. Latvala and Negron are locked in a battle over the Senate presidency for the session beginning after the 2016 elections.

House Balks at $2 Million-a-Year Tax Subsidy to Daytona Speedway as Other Breaks Advance

| April 15, 2014

Funding for Daytona International Speedway and a temporary tax break on gym memberships could be casualties when the House and Senate meet next week on their opposing packages to complete Gov. Rick Scott’s $500 million election-year tax cuts.

Mega Health Bill Favoring Nurse Practitioners, Trauma Centers and Drs. Without State License Clears House Panel

| April 10, 2014

The bill would protect private for-profit trauma centers, allow for independent practice for nurse practitioners and allow out-of-state doctors to participate in telehealth without a Florida license. The Florida Medical Association opposes the latter two.

Casino Legislation Is Dead This Year, But So Is Proposal to Report Injuries and Deaths of Race Greyhounds

| April 9, 2014

Florida will remain, along with Alabama, the only state that does not require require greyhound tracks to report dog injury and deaths. Also ended is a sweeping gambling overhaul that would have authorized two Las Vegas-style casinos in South Florida.

Abortion Restrictions May Tighten in Florida as “Viability” Bill Diminishing Women’s Rights Moves Forward

| April 8, 2014

Under current law, third-trimester abortions are allowed if they are necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life or preserve her health, The proposals would make that standard more restrictive, and would exclude a woman’s psychological health as a reason to perform an abortion.

Health Groups Oppose Bill Banning E-Cigarettes to Minors, Calling It a Stealth Favor to Big Tobacco

| April 7, 2014

The American Lung Association of Florida and other groups are fighting the measure because it would also ban local efforts to restrict the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco-related products.

Scoring the Legislature at the Half-Way Mark

| April 5, 2014

With the two chambers working in tandem on most issues, Gov. Rick Scott was able to sign a series of bills into law this week. They included a bill, dubbed the “Florida GI Bill,” aimed at making the state more military friendly; a package of bills aimed at keeping sexually violent predators locked up; and a bill that will roll back motor-vehicle registration fees.

Lawmakers Poised to Kill Florida KidCare Expansion for 25,000 Children of Legal Immigrants

| April 4, 2014

The proposal (HB 7 and SB 282) would eliminate a five-year waiting period for lawfully residing immigrants to be eligible for KidCare, a subsidized insurance program that serves children from low- and moderate-income families. Senate President Don Gaetz would vote against it.

Sweeping Child-Welfare Reform Bill Calls For “Moral Outrage” and More Money

| April 3, 2014

The legislation got its start last fall, after media reports about a wave of child deaths from abuse and neglect — and gained momentum as it became clear that many of the victims were already known to the Florida Department of Children and Families, which had failed to protect them.

“Opportunity Scholarships”: Lawmakers Revive Vast Expansion of School Vouchers By Riding Coattails of Students With Disabilities

| March 29, 2014

The House Education Appropriations Subcommittee voted 8-4 to introduce the measure, which would bind together a program aimed at students with disabilities and the voucher expansion. Senate leaders last week pulled their counterpart to the House voucher bill, but the measure for students with disabilities remains alive.

Lawmakers’ Proposal to Ban E-Cigarettes for Youths Lights Up Local Governments Over Additional Strictures

| March 28, 2014

Health groups and local governments are criticizing a bill (HB 169) that would ban e-cigarette sales to minors because the measure also would prevent cities and counties from passing their own regulations on the sales of electronic cigarettes and tobacco products.

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