Florida Legislature

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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Politics
2:51 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Miami-Dade Has Most To Lose In State Budget

Widening of the Homestead extension of the Florida Turnpike is among hundreds of Miami-Dade projects slated for funding in the next state budget.
Credit Florida Turnpike

Miami-Dade County is eligible for more money than any other county in the state budget -- $1.8 billion. That makes the county more susceptible to budget vetoes before the budget goes into effect in July.

The Florida Legislature handed Gov. Rick Scott a record election-year budget of $77.1 billion. Scott has the final say over the budget and can cut funding for programs at will. Miami-Dade has more line items in the budget than any other county, but all of them could be slashed with the veto pen.

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Arts
6:18 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Florida Arts Programs Get Highest Funding Ever From Lawmakers

From "The Hobbit" at Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre
Credit Fort Lauderdale Children's Theatre

The Actors' Playhouse executive director Barbara Stein says most of the Coral Gables theater's paid performers are from South Florida.

“We hire some people out of New York, too, but our goal is to hire as many capable and qualified for each production Florida based actors that we can,” Stein says.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

How South Florida Voters Are Changing Political Culture

The almanac includes insider information, like why so many domestic and foreign affairs are negotiated in Coral Gables.
Credit News Service of Florida

The Political Almanac of Florida 2014 gives us a detailed look at the state’s House districts -- all 120 of them.

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Politics
8:43 am
Fri May 9, 2014

In Washington, Millennial Lawmakers Are Reaching Across The Aisle

The four youngest members of the Washington legislature are two Democrats and two Republicans who find generational common ground in spite of their political differences. (Austin Jenkins/Northwest News Network)

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 4:17 pm

Nine of the 147 members of the state legislature in Washington are under 34 years old — putting them in the “millennial” generation.

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News
3:24 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Judge Says Florida Teacher Evaluations Are Unfair, But Constitutional

Florida teachers are being evaluated on the performance of students in other classrooms.
Credit cooldesign/freedigitaldownloads.net

Florida teachers and education groups sued over a change in state law that enables districts to tie evaluations to student performance. A federal judge says the state’s way of evaluating teachers is constitutional.

The law was passed in 2011. It allows some teachers to be evaluated based on test scores of students who aren’t in their class.  They can also be judged based on test results in subject areas they don't even teach.

Starting next year, their pay will be impacted.

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Topical Currents
1:00 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Watchdog Report Publisher, Dan Ricker; A Call To Serve: Florida Jews And The U.S. Military

www.watchdogreport.net

05/05/14 - Monday’s Topical Currents looks at the 2014 Florida Legislative Session with Watchdog Report Publisher, Dan Ricker.  What was accomplished and what wasn’t? And more, a new WLRN original television documentary pays tribute to Florida Jews who served in military campaigns from the Seminole Wars through Afghanistan.  We’ll discuss “A Call to Serve: Florida Jews and the U.S.

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The Sunshine Edition
1:56 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Why Florida Lawmakers Can Negotiate The State Budget In Private

Florida House of Representatives
Credit Steve/flickr

The Florida Legislature will pass a flurry of bills this week. But the only thing they’re constitutionally required to do is pass a state budget.

Lawmakers settled on a budget worth slightly more than $77 billion – the largest in state history. They’ll vote on the spending plan Friday night to close out the legislative session.

In spite of Florida’s laws regarding open government, much of the budget negotiations have taken place in private.

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The Sunshine Edition
1:48 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

LISTEN: Rep. Gaetz On Marijuana, His Mugshot, And Political Culture In Tallahassee

Rep. Matt Gaetz goes over notes before his next meeting at the Capitol.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

Ft. Walton Beach Republican Representative Matt Gaetz is helping carry on the family name in politics.

One week shy of 32 years old, he’s one of the state’s youngest lawmakers. He’s now running for the state Senate. His dad is Senate President Don Gaetz, also a Panhandle Republican.

But Matt Gaetz is an attorney who is not just sitting in his dad’s shadow.

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The Sunshine Edition
11:59 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Confederate Flags On Display At Florida's Capitol

A Confederate flag used to fly over the Capitol from 1978 to 2001, until then-governor Jeb Bush had it taken down.
Credit hculligan / flickr

Last week, Florida's Capitol hosted confederate flags in its rotunda. 

The Sons of Confederate Veterans group got clearance to display the flags in commemoration of their ancestors, who died during the Civil War. April 26 was Confederate Memorial Day, an official state holiday since 1895.

Kelly Crocker is one of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who put up the display. 

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Session 2014
4:19 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

A Day In The Life Of A Tallahassee Lobbyist

Jack Cory waits outside the House chambers on the 4th floor of the Capitol. Lawmakers often come out for brief chats with lobbyists during the final days of the session.
Credit Jack Cory / WLRN

Tallahassee is full of lobbyists, and they’re in high gear at the Capitol for the final week of the legislative session.

A lobbyist is someone who is hired by a company or organization to convince lawmakers to pass legislation benefiting their clients.

Long-time lobbyist Jack Cory doesn’t stop moving much during the session. His firm’s two-dozen clients include the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, Florida Citrus Sports, and the Florida and National Greyhound Associations.

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Politics
12:01 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Florida Lawmakers Ready To Strike Popular Energy Rebate Program From The Books

Homes and businesses using solar panels like these were eligible for rebates under a state program that ended in 2010.
Credit lkarrowhead26/flickr

An energy bill that is nearing passage in the Florida Legislature would strike an old solar rebate program from the books.

The program was more popular than expected, and when it ended in 2010, thousands of rebate holders hadn’t received all of the money they were due.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has recommended that lawmakers clean up state statutes by eliminating the rebate program. Since the program has ended, he says it's no longer needed on the books.

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Politics
7:13 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Lawmakers Ban Biometric Data Collection In Florida Schools

Kids won't get their eyes scanned or any other other biometric information collected at school under a bill approved by the Florida Legislature.
Credit dash.null/flickr

Schools won’t be able to collect the fingerprints or other biometric information of students under a bill approved by the Florida Legislature.

The new requirement is part of a broad package designed to protect kids’ privacy.

When lawmakers in Tallahassee talk about biometrics, they’re talking about hands and eyes being scanned or fingerprints being collected.

For Senator Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, it’s a slippery slope.

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