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Education Committee Easily Approves Gun-Carrying By Select Florida School Employees

| March 11, 2015

School superintendents could allow designated people to carry weapons on campus. Those people could be current or former law enforcement officers or current or former members of the military.

Bill Banning Red-Light Camera Tickets for Right-Turn on Red Sails Through House Panel

| March 11, 2015

The proposal and one like it in the Senate would further complicate Palm Coast’s troubled red-light camera program and its relationship with ATS, the private company running the local scheme. Right-turn on red tickets generate the majority of revenue.

Fearing Loss of $1 Billion in Federal Aid, Senate Again Considers Medicaid Expansion

| March 11, 2015

Florida’s budget faces an unexpected deficit. Accepting the federal Medicaid money could potentially offset the loss of the Low-Income Pool Funds. But the plan faces stiff opposition.

Amendment 1 Money For Land Conservation: House Panel Says Buy Fewer Acres, Manage More

| March 7, 2015

Again seeming to counter voter intent, a Florida House committee crafting rules on spending voter-approved dollars for land conservation would limit new land to be bought under the program.

Lawmakers Looking to End Speed Traps and Limit Police Revenue From Speeding Tickets

| March 5, 2015

A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill banning police’s speeding-ticket quotas and limit law enforcement agencies’ revenue from tickets.

Bill Forbidding Local Government Protection for Transgenders In Public Bathrooms Advances

| March 5, 2015

A bill by Florida Rep. Frank Artiles that would overturn local government ordinances protecting transgender use of single-sex bathrooms passed 8-3 on a party-line vote Wednesday after an impassioned discussion in a House subcommittee.

I Am A Throw-Away Piece Of Trash In This Country of Freedom and Liberty and Respect

| March 5, 2015

Cindy Robert Sullivan, a transgender man transitioning to a woman, addressed Rep. Frank Artiles and a House committee before a 9-4 vote approving a bill forbidding certain protections for transgender people.

Bill Would Allow Gun-Carrying Without Concealed-Weapons Permit During Evacuations

| March 4, 2015

An NRA-supported measure that failed last year now has sheriffs’ backing, and would allow legal gun owners to carry their guns without licenses in the first 48 hours after emergency evacuation orders are given.

Correctly Anticipating State Problems, Flagler Delayed School Testing Until Thursday

| March 3, 2015

Rarely in the spotlight, Shawn Schmidli, the Flagler school district’s assessment director, anticipated that state-issued computer tests would have problems, and delayed Flagler’s testing until Thursday.

The State of the State Floridians Should Hear

| March 1, 2015

With 3.2 million Florida households struggling every month to stretch paychecks to cover basic necessities, former Florida Sen. Dan Gelber outlines a State of the State Floridians swill not hear when the governor opens the Legislative session this week.

Pot. Beer Wars. Gambling. Even Pension Reform. Sen. Rob Bradley Says Bring ‘Em On

| February 26, 2015

Many of this Florida legislative session’s thorniest issues — and more — rest in the hands of Sen. Rob Bradley, a laid-back junior legislator and chairman of a committee dubbed by Senate President Andy Gardiner as the “Thunderdome.”

Special Election Candidates Slog Through Only Local Forum, Except When Talk Turns to Guns

| February 25, 2015

The largely plodding Q&A forum organized by three Flagler business groups held few surprises and featured Senate candidates David Cox and Travis Hutson and House candidates Adam Morley and Paul Renner.

Special Election’s Final Four: Cox, Hutson, Morley and Renner in Tuesday Forum

| February 23, 2015

This time the forum, at the Realtors building on SR100, will feature audience questions. All four candidates are scheduled to appear at the 6 p.m. event.

2015 Legislative Session: 10 Issues To Watch

| February 23, 2015

Starting March 3, and for 60 days, the House and Senate will grapple with hot-button issues ranging from standardized testing in public schools to reforming the troubled prison system, plus the one must-pass bill of the session: a roughly $77 billion state budget.

Lawmakers Punt to Full Legislature on Millions in Tax Subsidies for Speedway and Jaguars

| February 20, 2015

A process intended to reducing lobbying may do the opposite now that the Joint Legislative Budget Commission moved any funding decisions regarding the stadiums to the full Legislature.

On Flagler Roads, Cyclists Share Some Blame For Wrecks; Legislator Files Protective Bill

| February 16, 2015

A proposed bill to strengthen protections for cyclists drew mixed reviews from a Flagler County commissioner and a Florida Highway Patrol homicide investigator, who both pointed at cyclists’ responsibilities on the road.

Guns on Florida Campuses: University System Says No, Citing Values and Protection

| February 14, 2015

Florida’s university system wants state lawmakers to holster the idea of allowing guns on campus, saying it would jeopardize providing a safe and secure learning environment.

Gov. Scott Is Balancing State’s Budget With Money That May Not Exist

| February 13, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott’s proposed budget for the new fiscal year includes $1.3 billion for Florida hospitals providing care to uninsured people. However, that pool of money might stop existing this summer.

Is Your Facebook Account Private After You Die? Senate Bill Says Not So Fast.

| February 12, 2015

Florida Sen. Dorothy Hukill wants to permit online account access after an account holder has died. The Act seeks to open the book on our digital lives, even after we have uploaded to the great cloud in the sky, writes Peter Schorsch.

Early Learning and Child Care Advocates Target Florida Legislature For More Money

| February 12, 2015

Advocates are looking for higher health and safety standards for providers, better training for teachers and new money to cut the waiting list of 63,000 children for slots in the school-readiness program, which provides subsidized child care to low-income working families.

Prospects Dim For Medical Pot in Florida As Senate Committee Signals Rejection

| February 10, 2015

Proposals by two Republican lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana have a slim chance of passing this legislative session, based on the comments of a Senate committee chairman who helps control the fate of that chamber’s measure.

Jeb Bush’s Behavior in the Terry Schiavo Case: Unworthy of a Governor — Or a President

| February 9, 2015

Schiavo was brain-dead for 10 years. Her Catholic parents prevented her husband from removing a feeding tube, and Jeb Bush intervened, strong-arming the Florida Legislature to circumvent a court ruling.

24-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions and Repeal of Undocumented Immigrant Attorney Law Filed

| February 6, 2015

In a sign that hard-core Republican legislators intend to press their case at the Florida Legislature, lawmakers this week filed bills that would impose a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, and that would repeal the law adopted last year that enabled Jose Godinez-Samperio, an undocumented immigrant, to become a practicing lawyer.

Florida Lawmaker Proposes Capping All State and Local Testing at 5% of School Time

| February 3, 2015

The bill would authorize districts to use something other than tests to assess students in some courses, revamp laws tying teachers’ evaluations and pay more closely to student performance.

For Democrat Adam Morley, Steep Challenges In Bid For State House Against Paul Renner

| February 2, 2015

Lack of money aside, Adam Morley’s candidacy appears to lack coherence and strategy, neither of which he could formulate when he met with Flagler County’s leading Democrats Monday.

More States Lean Toward Medicaid Expansion, But Florida Remains a Holdout

| January 28, 2015

The biggest nonexpansion states are Florida and Texas, where expansion would add a total of 2.6 million uninsured residents to the Medicaid rolls. But both the Florida and Texas legislatures are dominated by Republicans, and expansion remains a long shot.

An Election For Republicans Only That Will Likely Decide Flagler’s House and Senate Seats

| January 27, 2015

The election is nevertheless likely to decide Flagler’s representation in both chambers of the Legislature, as the winners are facing relatively weak candidates in the April 7 general election.

Florida Republican Files Bill to Extend Medical Pot Access to AIDS, Cancer and Other Ills

| January 26, 2015

The proposal (SB 528), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, includes a detailed regulatory structure that would place requirements on patients, doctors, growers and retail stores. Patients could only get “medical-grade” marijuana if their physicians sign off on the need.

No Surprise: Florida’s Economic Development Agency Wants Tax Subsidies for Daytona Speedway, Jaguars and 2 Other Sports Venues

| January 25, 2015

Daytona International Speedway is seeking $3 million a year for 30 years to subsidize its operations, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars have asked for $1 million a year for three decades.

8 Weeks After FSU Shooting, House Panel Approves Concealed Guns on Florida Campuses

| January 21, 2015

Currently, people are banned from carrying such weapons at Florida colleges and universities, with the exception of stun guns or similar devices. Data show that 246,632 Floridians between the ages of 21 and 35 have concealed carry permits.

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