Florida Legislature

Click here to listen to the interview The Florida House of Representatives last week wrestled with key education proposals.

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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. Under the bill, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration would oversee a database that contains cost information from hospitals, surgical centers and insurance companies. But Rep....

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.

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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. It also means that two of...

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...

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 H ouse 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. That range, which was close to homes and a busy canal, led to national media attention, including a...

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. They argued that...

REBECCA CRUZ/FLICKR

The Florida Legislature will convene its regular legislative session in January, a couple of months earlier than usual. Lawmakers are allowed to set their own start date in even numbered years, enabling them to get their work done early when elections are looming. Legislators are holding committee meetings in Tallahassee to get ready for the work ahead, but there hasn't been much in the way of results so far. A lot of the committees have met very little, if at all. "They've been sort of...

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. Some...

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. The fast-growing daily fantasy sports industry is...

Health care has been a hot-button policy issue for years in the Florida Legislature, and it’s starting to look like the session scheduled to start on Jan. 12 will be no different.

CHARLES TRAINOR JR / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The debate over raising the minimum wage is not a fight being waged so much on the federal level. It's a series of battles being waged in cities and states all across the country. In Florida the current minimum wage is $8.05 per hour. But there's a movement, led by Democrats, trying to change that to something they believe is more livable. They believe it should be $15 an hour. Right now there are anywhere from 180-190,000 Floridians living at or below the minimum wage. That's from the U.S....

Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, who said he would rule sometime in October, must recommend a new map to the state Supreme Court. Click here to learn more. A three-day trial that could decide the fate of Florida's political landscape ended Monday as lawyers for both sides accused each other of recommending changes to the state's 27 congressional districts that could benefit either Republicans or Democrats.

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Men and women who live together as couples outside of marriage are breaking the law in Florida. The state statute was enacted in 1868 , and an effort is back in Tallahassee to repeal it. A bill that would end the prohibition against men and women living together "lewdly and lasciviously" passed a House panel Wednesday. Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Palatka, voted against the bill after asking the sponsor, "Why are you married?” “Because we think it’s the right thing to do,” replied Rep. Michelle...

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