politics

Ten Big Issues Remain as Regular Session Ends

May 4, 2015

Ordinarily, the last week of the annual legislative session is a blur of deal-making, with bills bouncing back and forth across the Capitol's fourth floor. But with the House adjourning Tuesday amid a battle with the Senate about budget and health-care issues, the 2015 session will be remembered for its messy end --- and the piles of bills that died in the crossfire. Lawmakers will come back sometime in May or June for a special session to negotiate and pass a budget. But with the 60-day regular session formally ending Friday, here is where 10 major issues stand:

Mr Spil/flickr

The Seminole Tribe of Florida wants to keep its exclusive rights to blackjack and other banked card games, but the Legislature's abrupt adjournment this year might have dealt the tribe a bad hand. 

Ron Magill

Zoo Miami's mediagenic spokesman, Ron Magill, is a celebrity in Latin America thanks to his appearances on Spanish-language TV. But Magill had no idea he was famous in Cuba – until he finally visited the island last month. 

Communist Cuba is still a controversial subject in Miami. And because he’s such a high-profile Miami-Dade County employee, Magill had been hesitant to go there. But like so many Cuban-Americans, Magill resolved to see where his late Cuban father was from when President Obama announced last December the U.S. and Cuba were normalizing relations.

myfloridahouse.gov

The Florida Supreme Court has sided with the House of Representatives in a lawsuit filed by Florida Senate Democrats. The House left Tallahassee three days before the scheduled end of session because no agreement could be reached on a budget. 

Democrats in the Senate wanted the court to force House members back to Tallahassee for more session work, but the court denied the motion.

Children's Advocates Mourn Dead Bills

May 1, 2015
John Liu / Flickr CC https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

  Children's issues had a rocky legislative session, thanks in part to its abrupt ending.

One proposal that would have boosted health and safety standards for early-education programs (SB 7006 and HB 7017) died for the second straight year. Supporters said the proposal's failure means leaving some kids in risky situations.

"It was a major disappointment," said Ted Granger, executive director of the United Way of Florida. "The failure to pass these bills ensures that those children are going to be staying in unsafe places for another year."

In response to the Florida House abruptly adjourning its 2015 session three days early, the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times invited their audiences to modify movie titles and tweet them with the hashtag #FLHouseMovieTitles.

Here are some of the ones that stood out to us:

Panelists discussed the legislative session on the Florida Roundup Friday, May 1.

Steven Martin / Flickr/Creative Commons

A twist to the end of the state legislative session means lawmakers need to reconvene again. 

Legislative Session

It will be illegal to post sexually explicit photos and videos of exes on websites without their consent under a bill going to Gov. Rick Scott.

The Senate passed a bill Wednesday on a 38-2 vote to outlaw revenge porn. The Senate accepted a weaker version of the bill they originally passed because the House changed it and then ended their session three days early. The original bill would have applied to any electronic dissemination, such as email.

Florida officials debuted a new proposal Wednesday to try and keep a $2.2 billion dollar health fund for the uninsured. The fund is coming with significant changes. But first, a quick magic trick to demonstrate how LIP works.

Florida takes 40 cents, waves a magic federal wand over, and ta-da: We now have a shiny $1 bill.

The Florida House has adjourned for the 2015 lawmaking session. The move comes as the legislature was gridlock over whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

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