With two weeks to go in the lawmaking session, open government and ethics measures favored by watchdog groups are stalled in the Florida Legislature. There is a two-part concern about citizen access to public records.
The first worry is about the number of public-record exemptions that are pending this year. Barbara Petersen of the First Amendment Foundation says it's a dozen.
"It will be a record number of new exemptions and push the total number of exemptions to both the public records law and the open meetings law close to 1,100," Petersen said.
Join the Miami Herald and WLRN-Miami Herald News for a town hall on how to fix the child welfare system at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 17 at the Doral headquarters of the Herald. Learn more at MiamiHerald.com.
TALLAHASSEE -- A high-profile healthcare bill moving through the Florida House could strip the Miami-Dade County Commission of its authority to make the final decision on labor union contracts at the county’s public hospital system.
The bill originally sought to create new rules for trauma centers, allow skilled nurses to practice independent of physicians, and pave the way for hospitals to use virtual healthcare services.
Florida lawmakers are more than half finished with the legislative session. Will they deliver on Governor Scott’s goal of $500 million in tax cuts?
Support has been building for allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. And how are lawmakers responding to the deaths of hundreds of kids involved in the state child welfare system?
No one will mistake law writing for poetry, but April is National Poetry Month. WLRN listeners celebrate our slice of the Sunshine State in verse for our This Is Where poetry contest.
In Tallahassee, legislative Democrats are facing a time of store brands and junk food -- or so they say -- as they begin a week of subsisting on the state's $7.93 minimum wage. It's all in support of an effort to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. But the bill that would do that is stalled in the Legislature and it's very unlikely to pass this year.
Dramatic increases in state incentives to lure film and entertainment production to Florida may be on the way. But this time, local governments would have to pay to play. A bill approved in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee would charge counties where the productions take place 10 percent of the face amount of the producers' tax incentives.
A sweeping charities reform package is breezing through the Florida Legislature despite earlier concerns that legitimate philanthropies might be harmed by new rules.
The House bill received unanimous support in three committees and is now ready for a vote on the floor. The Senate bill has one more committee, and members who had been worried about reputable charities now say their issues have been addressed.
The Florida Senate's Select Committee on Gaming makes its last stand in Tallahassee this week with a couple of bills that could end greyhound racing in the Sunshine State. It's the only gambling issue that still remains within the committee's grasp.
On the day his successor takes power, a defeated or departing Florida governor would be allowed to appoint replacements for state Supreme Court justices whose terms expire on the same day. That's in a controversial bill the state Senate passed on Thursday. And that governor could be Rick Scott four years from now, when the court's liberal majority face mandatory retirement all at once.