Florida Senate

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

State lawmakers are facing renewed pressure to pass gun control legislation following last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — and the Legislature is only scheduled to be in session for another two and a half weeks after it returns from the Presidents' Day recess.

State Sen. Gary Farmer, who represents nearby Fort Lauderdale, is pushing the Legislature’s Republican leadership to hear bills he and his Democratic colleagues have introduced in past years.

Florida will get a one-time boost in tax money as residents across the state slowly rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

Associated Press

A new report paid for and released by the Florida Senate finds that while the state is sending fewer people to prison than in the past, those who end up behind bars are staying there for a longer time.

The study from the Crime and Justice Institute based in Boston says there are nearly 100,000 inmates housed in Florida prisons, and the per capita incarceration rate in the state is more than 20 percent higher than the national average.

With two members leaving in disgrace this year, the Florida Senate is facing a barrage of questions about sexual harassment policies in the Capitol. 

Courtesy of Florida Senate

Two weeks after pulling off a major victory in a special election, Annette Taddeo was sworn in Tuesday as the first Hispanic Democratic woman to serve in the Florida Senate.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince administered the oath of office to Taddeo, who was joined by her 11-year-old daughter, Sofia, husband, Eric Goldstein, and mother, Elizabeth Taddeo. Annette Taddeo defeated former Republican House member Jose Felix Diaz during a Sept. 26 special election in Miami-Dade County's Senate District 40.

Special election primaries for Florida State Senate District 40 and House District 116 will take place Tuesday. Mail-in voting is already underway, and early voting began July 15th.

'He-Man' Now In The Running For Florida Senate

May 31, 2017

"He-Man" is running for the Florida Senate in Miami — and no, he says he did not make up his nickname for the sake of politics.

Christian "He-Man" Schlaerth qualified Tuesday for the Senate District 40 special election. His name will appear that way on the Sept. 26 ballot.

Schlaert filed a sworn affidavit attesting that his nickname is real: It's what his rugby teammates have called him for years, he told the Miami Herald.

Florida Senate Apologizes For Abuses At The Dozier School For Boys

Apr 27, 2017

With one senator pointing Wednesday to "violations of fundamental human decency," the Florida Legislature has formally apologized for the mistreatment of juveniles held at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.

The Senate on Wednesday joined the House and unanimously approved a resolution (SR 1440) acknowledging the physical and sexual abuse of boys who were sent to the now-closed reform school, and a related facility in Okeechobee, from 1900 to 2011.

Kate Stein / WLRN

A controversial plan to build a reservoir that would help address damaging water discharges in the Everglades ecosystem is one step closer to being enacted — thanks to revisions that take into account the concerns of farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area.

On Wednesday, Florida’s Senate Appropriations Committee approved a revised version of Senate Bill 10. The bill aims to alleviate blue-green algae on Florida’s coasts by reducing the amount of water that's discharged to the coasts from Lake Okeechobee.

Senator Seeks Stronger Penalties For Refusing DUI Tests

Feb 14, 2017

Ignition interlock devices would be required for individuals who repeatedly refuse tests for driving under the influence under a Senate proposal strengthening penalties for those who decline the tests.

Gun Proposal Might Have Easier Path In Senate

Dec 22, 2016

A measure that would expand how and where Florida's more than 1.67 million concealed-weapons license holders can carry handguns may have an easier path through the Senate in 2017 than in the past.

The Florida Education Association’s continued lawsuit against the state’s de-facto school voucher program continues to rile program supporters. But the teacher’s union isn’t backing down until it’s forced to.

Miami-Dade, 'Focus Of The Political Universe' In Senate Races

May 31, 2016
Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla
Florida State Senate

Miami-Dade County --- long the epicenter of Florida's bloodiest political battles - is hosting three key state Senate races whose outcomes could help reshape the chamber.

The Senate seats are up for grabs for the first time since a fresh map went into effect this year, the result of a legal fight over the anti-gerrymandering "Fair Districts" standards approved by Florida voters in 2010.

Allison Diaz / Miami Herald

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, wants Senate leaders to establish a select committee to review the recent discovery of a radioactive isotope in Biscayne Bay linked to a nuclear power plant in southeast Miami-Dade County.

Flores' request to Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, follows the March 7 release of a study by Miami-Dade County that indicated tritium --- a radioactive isotope of hydrogen --- has leaked from Florida Power & Light's Turkey Point plant's cooling canals into groundwater and toward Biscayne National Park and the Biscayne aquifer.

Caitlin Granfield / WLRN

The Senate sponsor of a controversial bill about the regulation of "fracking" in Florida withdrew it from consideration Tuesday, saying he didn't have the votes to get through a key committee.

Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee that the opposition of environmentalists played a key role in thwarting the measure (SB 318).

"Emotions tend to magnify the controversy," he said.