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It’ll Be Harder For Citizens To Get Their Initiatives On the Ballot If House Has Its Way

| April 21, 2019

Petition-gatherers to be registered with the state, ballots would have to include information about contributions raised by amendment sponsors, whether out-of-state petition circulators were used and whether amendments could lead to tax increases.

New Florida Supreme Court Flexes Rightward Muscle, Overturning Two January Decisions

| April 19, 2019

Justices, in a pair of 6-1 opinions Thursday, overturned the two rulings. The only dissenter in both cases: Justice Jorge Labarga, who had sided with Pariente, Lewis and Quince in January.

Hands-Free Cell Use In Car May Become Requirement in Florida Under Senate Plan

| April 18, 2019

The House measure matches the Senate proposal in shifting texting while driving from a “secondary” offense to a “primary” offense, but it doesn’t impose a hands-free requirement.

Supreme Court Sides With DeSantis in Suspension of Okaloosa County School Superintendent

| April 17, 2019

DeSantis stripped Jackson of her post less than a week after he was sworn into office, citing “scathing” grand-jury reports that alleged “dereliction of duty.”

At Walk-Ins Across 9 Flagler Schools, a Call to Lawmakers To Stop Undermining Public Education

| April 17, 2019

Teacher and service employee unions organized the walk-ins at the schools to pressure lawmakers to improve per-student allocations and lessen the favored financial and other terms granted charter and voucher programs.

Eyes on the 2022 Senate Presidency:
Five Questions For Travis Hutson

| April 15, 2019

The St. Augustine Republican, who also represents all of Flagler, is the Senate’s top economic development budget writer and sits on other major committees, including the Appropriations Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Rules Committee.

Nanny Senate: Students Would Have to Get Parental Consent Before Seeking Mental Health or Birth Control

| April 11, 2019

The so-called “Parents Bill of Rights” would allow parents to access and review all of their children’s school records and change the way students can seek mental-health and reproductive-health services, including counseling and birth control prescriptions.

Bill Allowing Cheaper Drug Imports From Canada Advancing Against Big Pharma Fit

| April 10, 2019

Gov. DeSantis has championed the legislation as a way to curb prescription drug costs. But his effort continues to draw opposition from representatives of the pharmaceutical industry who say importing drugs could increase the amount of unsafe and counterfeit drugs.

In a First, FPC’s Bulldog Patrol Presents Safety Plan to Marjorie Stoneman Commission, Drawing Raves and Calls to Scale Statewide

| April 10, 2019

A six-student team of problem solvers presented their student-centered safety plan to the state commission established after the Parkland school massacre, and were asked by several commission members to spread their plan statewide, including at the Broward school.

Renner’s Panel Goes Jekyll and Hyde on Felons, Easing Punishments But Not Voting Rights

| April 9, 2019

The House Judiciary Committee Palm Coast’s Paul Renner chairs on Tuesday passed a crime bill that eases some punishments and makes it easier for felons to reintegrate society but also passed a restrictive interpretation of Amendment 4 and felons’ right to vote.

Senate Panel Advances Bill That Would Require Felons to Pay Fines and Restitution Before Voting

| April 8, 2019

The 3-2 party-line vote followed a hurried 27-minute hearing on the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, the Pinellas County Republican. Opponents of the bill are pleading to make financial burdens a roadblock to voting.

Senate Panel Divides 5-4 in Advancing Measure Requiring Minors’ Parental Consent for Abortion

| April 8, 2019

After rallying and testimony from numerous activists on both sides of the issue, a Senate panel Monday approved a proposal that would require minors to receive parental consent before having abortions.

Florida House Unanimously Approves Plan That Would Permanently Add a County Judge in Flagler

| April 7, 2019

The Florida House on Thursday unanimously approved a plan to add two new county judges, one of them in Flagler, where County Judge Melissa Distler’s workload has long been among the heaviest in the state.

Felons’ Right To Vote and Paul Renner’s Cynical End Run Around Amendment 4

| April 6, 2019

Paul Renner, Flagler’s GOP representative and future Speaker of the House, is being dishonest and disingenuous in his defense of a bill that would make felons’ right to vote dependent on paying back all financial obligations.

House Prepared To Raise Threshold For Felony Shoplifting From $300 to $1,000

| April 3, 2019

Efforts to raise the threshold amount for the first time since 1986 have stalled in the Legislature in the past. This year’s proposal (HB 589) has steadily moved forward in the House, as criminal-justice reform advocates say there is momentum to pass such measures.

The Florida Compact on Immigration: Recognizing Immigrants’ Value Without Demonizing Them

| April 2, 2019

The compact is a set of key principles outlining the need for smart immigration policies at the state and federal levels to drive Florida’s economy forward, including a path forward for undocumented immigrants.

Past Prison Sentences Could Be Reduced as Criminal Justice Reform Advances at Legislature

| April 1, 2019

A bill that would give the Legislature power to decide on a law-by-law basis whether to reduce past prison sentences cleared a Senate panel Monday following tearful testimony from criminal-justice reform advocates.

Flagler Watches as Vacation-Rental Bill That Would Eliminate Local Or Homeowner Association Regulations Advances

| April 1, 2019

The House bill approved today would eliminate local control and all grandfather clauses in vacation-rental rules, including those in Flagler and Flagler Beach, but Flagler officials say they’ll prevail in the end.

Lawmakers Mulling New Way To Regulate Medical Pot: Limiting How High You Can Get

| March 28, 2019

Florida patients can now smoke medical marijuana, but some Republican legislative leaders want to put a limit on how high they can get when lighting up: The House is considering a proposal that would cap THC levels in medical marijuana at 10 percent.

Flagler Claims School Funding Formula Has Unfairly Penalized the District for Years. A Controversial Bill Could Change That.

| March 28, 2019

Flagler was receiving $300 less per student than the average $7,200 per-student share because of the so-called District Cost Differential, which takes a complicated set of “amenities” into account to divvy up state education dollars.

Suicides of 2 Parkland Students in a Week Have Lawmakers Questioning Schools’ Mental Health Funding

| March 27, 2019

Two suicides in the span of a week involving student survivors of the Parkland school shooting have sparked a new question at the Florida Capitol: How much mental-health money should the state provide to schools?

Lawmakers Again Float Bill To Make Texting While Driving a Primary Offense; Other Distractions Spared

| March 26, 2019

Currently, police can only cite motorists for texting if they are pulled over for other reasons. By making it a primary offense, police could pull over motorists for texting behind the wheel.

‘That’s Like a Poll Tax’: Senate Bill Would Require All Restitution Paid Before Restoring Voting Right

| March 25, 2019

Dozens of people who traveled to the state Capitol to plead with lawmakers to do nothing or to dramatically scale back House and Senate bills designed to carry out the amendment. Many amendment supporters do not believe the measure requires legislative action.

Stetson Issues Explicit Defense of Free and Controversial Expression on Campus, Whatever the ‘Discomforts’

| March 23, 2019

In the culmination of a year-and-a-half process, Stetson University this week issued a statement firmly in defense of academic freedom and free, diverse and controversial expression on campus.

For Use in Joints, Pipes or Bongs: Smokable Medical Pot Finally Hits Florida Market

| March 23, 2019

In other states where medical marijuana has been legalized, smokable products comprise between 40 and 60 percent of sales. Florida voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Voters, In a Constitutional Amendment, May Be Asked Whether To Abolish Constitutional Revision Commission

| March 21, 2019

Proposals moved forward Thursday in the House and Senate, as lawmakers continue to vent frustration with the commission that last year put seven constitutional amendments before voters. All of the amendments passed.

Critics See Jim Crow Poll Taxes In House Plan To Make Felons Pay Up Before Voting

| March 19, 2019

Felons would have to clear up any financial obligations, including court costs, fees and fines, before having their voting rights restored, under a House proposal castigated by critics Tuesday as a modern take on Jim Crow-era poll taxes designed to keep black voters from participating in elections.

Why Are Florida’s Softshell Turtles Dying Along the St. Johns River?

| March 19, 2019

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and collaborators continue to investigate a die-off of freshwater turtles, and the FWC is asking the public to assist by providing information.

House Piles Up Exceptions and Controversies to Automatic Restoration of Felons’ Voting Rights

| March 18, 2019

House proposals would broaden the definition of sex offenses that would keep a felon from regaining the right to vote and would add a slew of financial obligations before a felon could get the right back.

Florida’s GOP Lawmakers Accelerate Plan To Use Far More Public Dollars for Private Schools

| March 16, 2019

The House Education Committee on Thursday approved a bill (PCB EDC 19-01) that would create a new voucher program, known as the Family Empowerment Scholarship program, which would be open to many middle-class families.

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