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Florida Legislature

  1. Five budget fights to watch as Scott, lawmakers collide on spending $83.5 billion

    Legislature

    By STEVE BOUSQUET

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

      Students take their seats before the start of the USF St. Petersburg fall commencement ceremony at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 13, 2015. Universities are in the House's crosshairs for the 2017-2018 state budget. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  2. Florida House committee proposes changes to school recess bill

    Blogs

    Next week would have been make-or-break for this year’s efforts by the Florida Legislature to implement mandatory daily recess in public elementary schools.

    Omari Accius 6, enjoys recess at Citrus Grove Elementary School on Thursday, February 9, 2017. Florida lawmakers are again considering a statewide mandate for daily recess in public elementary schools.
  3. Rep. Cary Pigman facing DUI charge after stop on Turnpike

    Blogs

    State Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, was charged with driving under the influence early Friday after a state trooper stopped his Jeep on Florida's Turnpike in St. Lucie County and a Breathalyzer test showed that his blood alcohol level was .15, nearly twice the legal limit.

    Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park
  4. Lawmaker to Rick Scott: Restore order in privately run women's prison

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Warning that inmate health and safety is at risk at the state's largest privately run women's prison, Rep. David Richardson asked Gov. Rick Scott this week to use his emergency powers to replace the top officers and take state control of Gadsden Correctional Facility.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, is asking Gov. Rick Scott to declare an emergency about the conditions at Gadsden Correctional Facility, the state's largest women's prison. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Tampa Bay's legislators aren't asking for state transportation money; a fractured approach doesn't help

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Tampa Bay leaders aren't shy about proclaiming the need for more transportation dollars.

    It's not just that Hillsborough County's haul of state dollars has been dwarfed by other similar-sized counties over the past three years. It's that state lawmakers aren't working to close that gap, either. Lawmakers from HIllsborough have requested only $1.9 million in transportation projects next year, a tiny fraction of the $700 million in statewide requests for transportation money. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  1. Five budget fights to watch as Scott, lawmakers collide on spending $83.5 billion

    Legislature

    By STEVE BOUSQUET

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

      Students take their seats before the start of the USF St. Petersburg fall commencement ceremony at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 13, 2015. Universities are in the House's crosshairs for the 2017-2018 state budget. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  2. Rick Scott answers whether he wants U.S. House to pass Trumpcare bill

    Blogs

    The question from the Miami Herald's Amy Sherman this afternoon was concise and clear: "Should the House approve the Affordable Health Care Act as it is written?

  3. Lawmaker to Rick Scott: Restore order in privately run women's prison

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Warning that inmate health and safety is at risk at the state's largest privately run women's prison, Rep. David Richardson asked Gov. Rick Scott this week to use his emergency powers to replace the top officers and take state control of Gadsden Correctional Facility.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, is asking Gov. Rick Scott to declare an emergency about the conditions at Gadsden Correctional Facility, the state's largest women's prison. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Lawmaker asks governor have state take over private prison

    Blogs

    Warning that inmate health and safety is at risk at the state’s largest privately run women’s prison, Rep. David Richardson on Thursday asked Gov. Rick Scott to use his emergency powers to replace the top officers and take state control of Gadsden Correctional Facility.

    Rep. David Richardson at Gadsden Correctional Facility
  5. Black caucus demands Rick Scott rescind order taking Orlando prosecutor off cop-killer case

    Blogs

    Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus on Thursday called for Gov. Rick Scott to change his mind and rescind an executive order that transfered the case of a man accused of killing a police officer in Orlando away from the local state attorney after she declared she would not seek the death …

    Members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, led by Sen. Perry Thurston, D-Lauderhill, call on Gov. Rick Scott to rescind an executive order removing the Orange-Osceola state attorney from a case after she said she would not seek the death penalty.
  1. How Walmart's decision to leave Midtown played into a Darryl Rouson vote

    Blogs

    The Florida Senate's vote on the so-called "whiskey to Wheaties" bill was a tight one, narrowly passing 21-17.

    Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg
  2. Caught in crossfire between Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran, group fights for survival

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — While the prospect of another round of military base closures is getting more talk in Washington, the Florida Legislature is taking steps to kill off a non-profit created to help keep Florida bases off the chopping block.

    A flight crew boards a KC-135 R Stratotanker at the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Airforce Base. [Scott Martin | Associated Press]
  3. Joe Negron's Lake Okeechobee bill could decide Enterprise Florida's fate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — The success or failure of Florida Senate President Joe Negron’s signature issue — building a reservoir on sugar-owned land south of Lake Okeechobee — may boil down to what happens to Gov. Rick Scott’s signature issue, saving Enterprise Florida.

    Water full of algae laps along the Sewell's Point shore on the St. Lucie River under an Ocean Boulevard bridge last year during the toxic algae blooms that affected Lake Okeechobee.
  4. Small world: Enterprise Florida and Richard Corcoran's law firm

    Blogs

    A priority for House Speaker Richard Corcoran in this year's legislative session is abolishing Enterprise Florida, the "unreformable" taxpayer-supported program that uses state money to attract private employers that Corcoran considers a complete failure.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes
  5. Will legislators lift the veil on 'dark money' in Florida politics?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The ritual is so routine it hardly draws attention.

    Rep. Joe Gruters, R- Sarasota, is proposing legislation that would ban the practice of committees tranferring funds to other committees, making it difficult to determine which contributions go to which lawmakers. Along with Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Melbourne, the legislation intends to improve campaign finance transparency. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  1. Tampa Bay's legislators aren't asking for state transportation money; a fractured approach doesn't help

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Tampa Bay leaders aren't shy about proclaiming the need for more transportation dollars.

    It's not just that Hillsborough County's haul of state dollars has been dwarfed by other similar-sized counties over the past three years. It's that state lawmakers aren't working to close that gap, either. Lawmakers from HIllsborough have requested only $1.9 million in transportation projects next year, a tiny fraction of the $700 million in statewide requests for transportation money. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  2. Caught in crossfire between Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran, group fights for survival

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — While the prospect of another round of military base closures is getting more talk in Washington, the Florida Legislature is taking steps to kill off a non-profit created to help keep Florida bases off the chopping block.

    A flight crew boards a KC-135 R Stratotanker at the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Airforce Base. [Scott Martin | Associated Press]
  3. Why do Florida House Republicans keep driving money into the World Golf Hall of Fame?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Republicans in the Florida House proudly declared they were rooting out wasteful "corporate welfare" in state government to protect taxpayers.

    For every $1 the state invests in the World Golf Hall of Fame it gets nothing in return, then loses an additional 8 cents.
  1. Two Republican lawmakers are pivotal in Legislature's gun debate

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Two Miami-Dade Republican senators are positioned to be the deciding factors this year in the perennial debate the Florida Legislature has over controversial proposals to expand gun-owners' rights in Florida.

    Florida Senators Rene Garcia and Anitere Flores talk on the floor of the Florida Senate on March 8, 2017.
  2. Florida Cabinet could get special exemption to carry concealed guns almost anywhere

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Three of Florida's four highest-ranking elected officials — and potentially the lieutenant governor and the state's 160 lawmakers, too — could be able to carry guns almost anywhere in the state under a special carve-out in Florida law being considered by the Legislature.

    Sen. Greg Steube said he was approached about the exemption.
  3. In Harm's Way: What could Florida lawmakers do to keep kids from being shot?

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — When the annual 60-day legislative session gets under way next month, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will be looking for ways to keep Florida's kids safe from guns.

    Proper storage of firearms, including the use of a trigger lock, can help prevent gun accidents among children. [Associated Press file photo]

  1. Five budget fights to watch as Scott, lawmakers collide on spending $83.5 billion

    Legislature

    By STEVE BOUSQUET

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

      Students take their seats before the start of the USF St. Petersburg fall commencement ceremony at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 13, 2015. Universities are in the House's crosshairs for the 2017-2018 state budget. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  2. Are Florida voters getting burned by lawmakers on last year's solar amendment?

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — A bill moving through the Florida House to implement the August ballot initiative by giving tax breaks to businesses that install solar energy panels is under fire for doing what the utility industry could not do in the last election cycle — impose impediments to rooftop solar installation.

     A human art installation, designed by artist John Quigley, forms for a "Hands Across the Sand" event on the beach in front of the Bilmar Beach Resort in Treasure Island, Fla., on Saturday, May 21, 2016. The event, organized by the Sierra Club and fellow environmental groups, aimed to promote solar energy in place of fossil fuels such as coal and gas.
  3. Joe Negron's Lake Okeechobee bill could decide Enterprise Florida's fate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — The success or failure of Florida Senate President Joe Negron’s signature issue — building a reservoir on sugar-owned land south of Lake Okeechobee — may boil down to what happens to Gov. Rick Scott’s signature issue, saving Enterprise Florida.

    Water full of algae laps along the Sewell's Point shore on the St. Lucie River under an Ocean Boulevard bridge last year during the toxic algae blooms that affected Lake Okeechobee.
  1. Florida Senate takes 'stand for liberty' in passing religious freedom bill for schools over Democratic concerns

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's public schools would have to let students lead religious prayers during the school day and at school-sanctioned events under a controversial proposal that the state Senate approved Thursday.

     Cambridge Christian and Clearwater Academy players join in prayer after the game between Clearwater Academy and Cambridge Christian at Skyway Park in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. A Clearwater player had to be evacuated late in the fourth quarter of the game after possibly suffering a spinal injury. Cambridge beat Clearwater 44-34.
  2. Plan to fortify religious expression in public schools quickly advancing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Efforts by the Legislature to make explicitly clear the rights students and teachers have to express their religious beliefs in Florida public schools is ready for a floor vote in the Senate, while earning high praise in an initial House hearing.

    Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, is sponsoring a bill that would allow students to express their religious beliefs. It cleared a key Senate committee on Tuesday. [AP Photo | /Steve Cannon]
  3. More teachers, principals could qualify for 'Best & Brightest' bonuses

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — More top educators in Florida would have a crack at an annual state bonus in the 2017-2018 school year, under initial proposals to expand a controversial, 2-year-old teacher incentive program.

    “We know the No. 1 factor in the student’s life is the quality of the teacher, but the No. 1 factor in getting teachers to those schools is the quality of the leadership.” Rep. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah