Florida Legislature

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.

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. 

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.

George Venios/flickr

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?”

Michael Laughlin / South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Former Gov. Charlie Crist appears likely to run for a Pinellas County congressional seat in 2016, two years after losing a comeback bid for the governor's mansion.

Crist said Monday he will run for Congress if, as expected, he is included in a newly redrawn district that would be friendly to Democrats.

"If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again,'' said Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat who was elected governor in 2006 as a Republican but later switched parties.

401(K) 2012/Flickr

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Nearly a third of state lawmakers are millionaires, with two members of the Senate having net worths that top $20 million, according to newly filed disclosure reports.

Almost half of the Senate is in the millionaires club, and more than two dozen senators saw their net worths grow in the past year. Some reports remain to be filed, but so far no senator sits in the red financially, according to the reports posted on the Florida Commission on Ethics website.

The Obama administration and the state have reached an agreement to continue funding the hospital Low-Income Pool for two more years but at a much lower cost.

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