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:
The Seminole Tribe of Florida wants the state to extend a portion of its gambling compact that expires this summer. It allows banked card games like baccarat exclusively at five Seminole casinos and generates more than a $100 million a year for the state.
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 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.
Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 9:00 am
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.
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli surprised lawmakers Tuesday when he abruptly adjourned the chamber three days before the legislative session was scheduled to end. He did so because the House and Senate are far apart on a budget plan.
Two big financial questions remain unanswered as the state Legislature enters its last days of the 2015 regular session – how will Florida's government spend money on health care and the environment?
Billions of dollars are on the line.
The dual debates over Medicaid and Amendment 1 are not linked except for the disagreement between Republicans, who control both houses of the Legislature, over how much money to spend on the health of Floridians and Florida's environment.
Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 1 last November. The citizen-led initiative is also known as the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment. It sets aside 33 percent of the revenue from documentary stamps - a real estate transaction fee - for the next 20 years to fund environmental protection.
The fees are worth $750 million next year. But the Florida Legislature is dragging its feet on setting rules to divvy up the funds.
Most South Florida lawmakers cringed when they saw President Obama shake hands with Raul Castro at the Summit of the Americas. But the momentary cringe turned into revulsion when the president shared to Congress his intent to remove the island nation from the state sponsor of terrorism list.
South Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speaks for many in the delegation.
The Florida House has passed a bill that creates the “Right to Try Act.” The legislation gives dying patients a chance to try treatments that have undergone clinical trials but haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Patients who’ve been diagnosed as having less than a year to live would be eligible for the experimental treatments.
It’s been two years since Florida passed a law shutting down Internet cafes. Now, the Florida House has approved a bill clarifying that family-friendly amusement centers are perfectly legal, and the Senate version is also close to a vote.
The state was in a hurry to get rid of Internet cafes. The storefront shops were multiplying rapidly because many of them were getting away with illegal slot machine gambling.