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Posts tagged as: Florida Legislature

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.

Red-Light Cameras Won’t Be Repealed This Year, But Restrictions on Profits May Yet Pass

| March 27, 2014

Red-light cameras’ powerful lobby defeated Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes’s attempt to end the use of the devices, but several proposed restrictions are still moving through the Legislature, such as limiting profits to safety uses and requiring safety studies before cameras can be installed.

David Beckham Lobbies Tallahassee for Tax Breaks on a Soccer Stadium in Miami

| March 25, 2014

Elected officials — including Gov. Rick Scott — and staffers flooded Twitter with “selfies” alongside Beckham, who wants to bring a professional soccer team to Miami and has set his goal on the Port of Miami as a potential stadium site.

Measure to Cut Local Red-Light Camera Revenue Falters as Cities Cry Foul

| March 24, 2014

A lawmaker had initially proposed that the state ban new red-light cameras while reducing the fine from $158 to $83, eliminating the money local governments could collect. The outcry from local governments over his initial proposal to eliminate the money demonstrated that the issue is strictly about money, he said.

The Problem With “Step Up for Students,” Florida’s Voucher Jockey

| March 24, 2014

Step Up For Children CEO Doug Tuthill is shameless about the way his organization–the administrative agent for Florida’s school voucher program–spends lavishly on political races, which may explain why a Senate proposal to vastly expand the voucher program this year foundered.

In-State Tuition For Undocumented Immigrants Passes House, 81-33, as GOP Opposition Thins

| March 20, 2014

The measure allows undocumented immigrants to pay cheaper, in-state tuition rates if they attend Florida middle and high schools for at least four straight years before going to college.

Florida National Guard Stalls Proposal to Let Residents Carry Unlicensed Weapons During Emergencies

| March 19, 2014

Concerns expressed by the Florida National Guard stalled an NRA-backed Senate proposal that would allow people without concealed-weapons licenses to carry concealed firearms when forced outside in times of emergency.

Senate Panel Unanimously Approves Minor Changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law

| March 18, 2014

The bill would clarify that a law enforcement agency must fully investigate whether a person claiming self-defense has lawfully used force. It also would no longer preclude lawsuits from third parties who are injured by negligent conduct used in self-defense.

Sheriff Jim Manfre: How To Restore Common Sense to Stand Your Ground

| March 13, 2014

The public’s valid concern over the vigilante-style actions of certain people who have watched too many Western movies should be dealt with through legislative action, argues Sheriff Jim Manfre, starting with a definition of self-defense that doesn;t leave its determination in the perpetrator’s hands.

Former Gov. Reubin Askew, Towering Force Behind Modern Florida, Is Dead at 85

| March 13, 2014

Reubin Askew, who died on March 13, led efforts to institute a corporate income tax, while reducing consumer taxes. He also spearheaded approval of what became known as the “Sunshine Amendment,” which opened government records and required public officials to disclose information about their financial affairs.

NRA-Backed Measure to Let Armed Vets and Ex-Cops In Schools Triggers Controversy

| March 11, 2014

Under the bill, opposed by the state School Board Association, principals and school superintendents could appoint staff members or volunteers who are military veterans with honorable discharges, active military or retired law enforcement officials as gun-toting “designees.”

Al Sharpton Leads Call For Repeal of Stand Your Ground in Florida Capitol March

| March 10, 2014

Sharpton marched alongside the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, two teens the marchers said were wrongly killed under Florida’s first-in-the-nation law, which allows people to use deadly force when they feel their lives are in danger and provides immunity from prosecution.

Palm Coast’s Red-Light Cameras: How the City Council Locked In a Fraud on Taxpayers Through 2019

| March 7, 2014

Palm Coast’s red-light cameras siphon off more than $2.5 million out of the local economy every year, in the share that goes to the state and to ATS, the company that runs the scheme, yet the city council quietly approved the deal through 2019, long past the terms of every one of the council members and some of their successors.

Life Without Parole for Juveniles: Florida Struggles to Comply With Supreme Court Ruling

| March 6, 2014

Florida sentences more juveniles to life in prison without parole than any other state, but the pressure is on the Legislature this year to comply with restrictive U.S. Supreme Court rulings because without sentencing guidelines, the Florida judiciary is filling the gap one case at a time.

Speed Limit of 75 Advances Against AAA Opposition as House Panel Endorses Measure

| March 5, 2014

The House Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee voted 13-1 to support the measure (HB 761), which would direct the state Department of Transportation to determine the safe minimum and maximum speed limits on all divided highways that have least four lanes.

With His Job in Mind, Gov. Scott Campaigns to “Keep Working” in State of the State Address

| March 4, 2014

The half-hour speech, delivered before a joint meeting of the Legislature, plowed little to no new ground on the policies the governor will tout during the 60-day session that opened Tuesday. But Scott used the speech to connect his family’s financial troubles when he was young to his quest to bring more jobs to the state.

Moral Monday Comes to Florida as NAACP Leads Capitol Protest, and Right-Wingers Respond

| March 3, 2014

“Moral Monday” included an array of left-leaning groups calling for lawmakers to expand Medicaid, stop the state’s voter purge and roll back the “stand your ground” self-defense law, while a right-wing group later held its own event to oppose expanding Medicaid and support overhauling the state’s pension system, cut taxes and expand school vouchers.

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.

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.

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.

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