Florida Legislature

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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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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