Florida Legislature

Politics
7:18 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Proposed Law Would Further Limit Drone Surveillance

Lawmakers are preparing legislation to address the potential abuse of surveillance technology. Sen. Dorothy Hukill says the technology for drones and tracking devices is becoming more affordable and easy for anyone to obtain.
Credit David Rodriguez Martin/flickr

The Florida Legislature passed a bill in 2013 that limits the government’s ability to use drones for unwarranted surveillance. Now, a new proposal would give people greater privacy rights on their own property.

The proposed legislation would take surveillance restrictions on drones a step further than last year’s law.

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News
1:44 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Miami Beach Lawmaker Wants Tax Break On Artwork

A sculpture shown at this year's Art Basel in Miami Beach.
Credit Alicia Zuckerman

A lawmaker from the city that hosts Art Basel Miami Beach says a tax break on art work would help stimulate the economy statewide. 

State representative David Richardson of Miami Beach just filed a bill that would exempt works of art from the state's sales tax. 

To qualify, the artwork would have to be original, as well as signed and sold by the artists. It would have to cost at least $1,000.

Richardson says said the measure is important because artwork in Florida is under a double-taxation:

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Politics
12:32 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Business Coalition Seeks Anti-Discrimination Policy For LGBT Community

Key Largo Rep. Holly Raschein debates during a Florida House session last April.
Credit myfloridahouse.gov

A bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation is back in Tallahassee.

Florida law prohibits discrimination based on everything from race to religion. But the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community doesn't have that protection.

The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would change that, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations.

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News
3:57 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

New Bill Proposes Regulations To Florida's "Sober Homes"

Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, offers debate during consideration of a measure on the House floor, March 6, 2012.
Credit myfloridahouse.gov

Sober homes are transitional housing for people who have gone through rehab. State Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, is reintroducing a bill to regulate them.

Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein says the homes are intruding on quiet neighborhoods by attracting drug dealers who typically target people recently released from rehab.

Hager tried to pass a bill regulating sober homes during the 2014 legislative session, but it failed after disputes between leaders in the House and Senate. The leadership has since changed.

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The Gorvernor's Race
12:46 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Analysis: What Florida's Republican-Controlled Legislature Might Look Like Under Scott Or Crist

A poll released by Quinnipiac University the day before Election Day gives Charlie Crist a one-point advantage over Rick Scott. Pollsters say that makes the race too close to call.
Credit Dr sanjeevkumar SinghEr/flickr

What will the Florida Legislature look like with Republican Rick Scott or Democrat Charlie Crist as governor? A lot depends on whether Republicans not only retain control of the Legislature, but regain a super majority -- making their policy decisions veto-proof.

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News
9:42 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Municipalities Pass Local Ordinances In Case Voters Approve Medical Marijuana

Key West, Boca Raton, and Plantation are among the municipalities around the state that are discussing or taking preemptive action against medical marijuana - just in case voters approve Amendment 2.
Credit BoQunabo/flickr

Local governments are taking preemptive action in case voters approve Amendment Two, legalizing medical marijuana.

Municipalities around Florida have passed their own regulations before the Legislature can enact statewide rules.

City leaders in Naples voted to ban the sale and growth of medical marijuana. But if Amendment Two passes, the Legislature may overrule that decision.

If that happens, Naples Mayor John Sorey says another ordinance will keep the sale of the drug in a small medical zoning area.

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Education
1:32 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

South Florida State House Candidates Agree There's Too Much Testing

Republican, Democrat and independent candidates were unanimous Tuesday -- Florida schools test too much.
Credit shinealight / Flickr

The candidates running for three South Dade state House seats -- Republican, Democrat, independent -- all agree that Florida students and schools spend too much time testing.

Candidates running for the Florida House of Representatives in the 112th, 114th and 115th districts gathered for an education forum Tuesday night at Palmetto Middle School.

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Common Core
3:36 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Palm Beach School Board Member Says Lawmakers Set "Unrealistic Expectations"

Jennifer Prior Brown is stepping down from the Palm Beach County school board, but she says teachers won't have enough time to prepare students for the state's new math standards.
Credit freedigitalphotos.net

An outgoing Palm Beach County school board member says the state’s new math standards are too tough, and that schools don’t have enough time to get kids up to speed.

Palm Beach County school board member Jennifer Prior Brown brought a fourth grade homework problem to Thursday’s board meeting.

Wayne and Cheryl have 72 marbles between them, the problem asked. Cheryl has two more than four times as many as Wayne. How many marbles does Cheryl have?

“So I quickly came up with an algebraic equation, right?" Prior Brown asked, before meticulously walking through the steps.

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School Supplies
1:25 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Miami-Dade Teachers Still Waiting On School Supply Debit Cards

Miami-Dade teachers are still waiting to use $281 state-funded debit cards for school supplies. The school district said they wanted to wait until they knew which teachers would last through the school year.
Credit vamapaull / Flickr

Miami-Dade teachers are still waiting to cash in their $281 debit cards for supplies -- six weeks into the school year.

Gov. Rick Scott pushed the state-funded cards last year. Lawmakers said they intended the cards to be used prior to the school year.

"Basically it’s an issue of making sure that the teachers who spend the money will be the teachers who spend the year in the classrooms," said Miami Herald education reporter Christina Veiga.

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Politics
12:32 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Sen. Detert: Lawmakers Will Fix Extended Foster Care

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

  The sponsor of Florida's 2013 law extending foster care to age 21 is working on a legislative fix to resolve confusion about which state agency is responsible for severely disabled young adults in the program.

Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, is meeting with children's advocates and service providers about the issue, which involves whether the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities or the Department of Children and Families should pay for disabled people in foster care between ages 18 and 22.

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Bright Futures
5:14 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Lawmaker Says Financial Aid Could Depend On Classes, Not Just Test Scores

Senate Education Chairman John Legg said lawmakers may discuss ways to make state financial aid depend more on classes and less on test scores.
Credit zack Mccarthy / Flickr

A key Senate lawmaker may put less emphasis on test scores to determine which students qualify for state financial aid for college -- possibly including Bright Futures.

Instead, scholarships  and grants would depend more on taking tougher classes in high school.

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Education
6:04 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Undocumented Students Get Help With In-State Tuition

Undocumented students blanketed the halls of the Capitol last spring pushing a law that grants them in-state tuition.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

As colleges and universities begin the fall semester, some undocumented students are paying the same tuition rate as Florida residents.

A handful of schools like Miami Dade College have been doing this for a while, but now the cheaper tuition is being offered statewide.

A law that went into effect July 1st grants in-state tuition to those who meet certain requirements.

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News
6:36 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Florida Starts First Human Trafficking Council

Florida is among the busiest states for calls to the Human Trafficking Hotline. The number is 888-373-7888, and it's free.
Credit Imagens Evangelicas/flickr

Millions of people around the world are being forced into sex and hard labor. It's even happening here. 

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Politics
9:33 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

House Speaker: We'll "Get It Right" On Redistricting

The special session will continue until August 15th. It may end earlier if lawmakers approve a new congressional map.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

The Florida Legislature met for less than 15 minutes on the first day of the special session on redistricting. Lawmakers are back in Tallahassee after a circuit judge tossed out the map they drew two years ago of Florida’s 27 congressional districts.

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StateImpact Florida
3:55 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Applications For New School Choice Program Higher Than Expected

An advertisement for the new scholarship programs.
Credit Step Up For Students

If you want one of the roughly 1,800 new scholarships for students with disabilities that allows parents to mix and match services for their children, you better get an application in soon.

More than 1,200 families applied for a Personal Learning Scholarship Account, or PLSA, in the first week of applications. The scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and are intended for students autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other significant learning challenges.

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