Florida Legislature

The Florida Elections Commission is once again calling foul on State Democratic Senator Dwight Bullard.

Chris Eger

Gov. Rick Scott signed 34 bills into law Thursday, including a slungshot bill and another requiring law enforcement agencies that use body cameras to follow specific guidelines, in relation to the shooting death of Corey Jones last October by a plainclothes police officer who was not wearing a body camera.

HB 4009 allows  individual sto carry  slungshots in their pockets without  concealed weapons permits.

Thousands of children of legal immigrants will be closer to obtaining subsidized health insurance this summer, after the Legislature passed a long-debated expansion of the state's KidCare program.

Until this year, children of legal immigrants were technically eligible for KidCare --- the low-cost federal-state health insurance program --- but had to wait five years to actually start receiving services.

That changed on Thursday, when Gov. Rick Scott signed the state budget into law. Contained in an accompanying bill (HB 5101) was language eliminating the five-year wait.

Gina Jordan/WLRN

House minority leader Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, is finishing up his last regular legislative session.

He's leaving because of term limits. "This process is better when you have new minds and fresh ideas," Pafford says. For the record, he doesn't like term limits and calls his departure an "involuntary constitutional resignation." 

The Florida House of Representatives last week wrestled with key education proposals. 

 

Flickr

The Internet allows savvy consumers to comparison shop for big ticket items. Those items may soon include medical procedures.

The Florida House is ready to consider a bill (HB 1175) that would enable consumers to see what hospitals around the state charge for similar surgeries and courses of treatment.

 

In a sign of increased harmony in the Florida Legislature, top priorities for the leaders of each house - a water bill pushed by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and a package on education aid for the disabled pushed by Senate President Andy Gardiner - received quick final passage in the House Thursday.

Eliza Brown/ Flickr

A state Senate redistricting plan favored by voting-rights organizations was approved Wednesday by a Leon County judge in a move that could shake the Republican Party's grip on power in the Capitol.

In choosing the new map, Circuit Judge George Reynolds also rejected a plan put forward by Senate Republican leaders as the best configuration of the chamber's 40 seats. The proposal chosen by Reynolds would lead to a roughly even number of districts favoring each party.

WUSF News

The Florida Senate rested its case in support of a proposed map during the second day of a redistricting trial Tuesday, as lawyers for voting-rights organizations prepared to grill the chief map-drawer for the chamber.

The main witness Tuesday was University of Utah political-science professor Baodong Liu, who questioned whether plans offered by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida would offer Hispanic and African-American voters a chance to elect candidates of their choice in some districts.

Cammy Clark / Miami Herald

  A bill making its way through the Florida Legislature would target backyard gun ranges, like the one on Big Pine Key that made national headlines in 2014. 

The bill, which has versions in both the state House of Representatives and the  Senate, would require at least an acre of land before you could set up a gun range. It was inspired, in part, by the backyard gun range set up by Doug Varrieur.

A Democratic House member and a Republican Senator want voters to expand term limits for state lawmakers from eight to 12 years.

House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford and Sen. Rene Garcia announced Thursday that they'll ask the Legislature to place a measure on the 2016 ballot asking voters to loosen the current term limits.

They said the measure wouldn't allow any current lawmakers to stay in officer longer, but rather is aimed at future senators and representatives.

Amendment Could Reshape Florida School Districts

Nov 5, 2015

Right now, school districts in Florida are pretty simple. One county; one school district.

But Florida lawmakers have proposed a constitutional amendment that could reshape school districts across the state.

The bill from Pinellas County Sen. Jeff Brandes and Lee County Representative Matt Caldwell could make things more complicated.

The proposal would allow the legislature to disband some school districts, while allowing cities, counties and others to create new school districts.

Campus Carry Measure Advances In House

Nov 5, 2015

A proposal that would allow concealed-weapon permit holders to bring handguns onto college and university campuses continued moving forward Wednesday in the state House, despite opposition from academic leaders.

Senate President Targets Fantasy Sports

Oct 21, 2015
Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Miami Herald

Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner is exploring what the state can do to shut down daily fantasy sports, even as federal prosecutors are probing the online industry that has taken the nation by storm and drawn accusations of illegal gambling.

Gardiner has asked his lawyers to look into fantasy sports, in which players pay entry fees to draft "teams" that compete against each other for cash prizes based on the actual performance of players.

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