Tallahassee

myfloridahouse.gov

A bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation is back in Tallahassee.

Florida law prohibits discrimination based on everything from race to religion. But the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community doesn't have that protection.

The Florida Competitive Workforce Act would change that, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Pilot Program Gives Parents Tools For Coping With Kids

Nov 20, 2014
Brevard County Sheriff's Office

On their first full day as leaders of the Legislature, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner appeared at a news conference highlighting a pilot program they have thrown their weight behind.

The program, called "It's Time To Be A Parent Again," is already underway in Brevard County. But with support from Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, and Gardiner, R-Orlando --- both of whom represent parts of Brevard --- the program will now be piloted in Polk, Osceola and Seminole counties.

wyllieforgovernor.com

The Libertarian candidate for governor of Florida is getting some attention in a race where there's little excitement about the front-runners. 

Adrian Wyllie is former chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida and a former syndicated radio host. Aside from campaigning, he owns an IT consulting firm.

Wyllie may not get a lot of votes, but he might impact the race. The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows incumbent Republican Gov. Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, are virtually tied. Wyllie is getting about 8 percent of voter support.

NextGen Climate

Scientists say much of Florida will be underwater within a century if nothing is done about climate change. Now, a wooden ark is taking that message on a tour around the state.

The ark is 22 feet long and 8.5 feet tall. It belongs to NextGen Climate, a political action committee taking aim at Gov. Rick Scott for not taking action against climate change. 

Gina Jordan/WLRN

The Florida Legislature met for less than 15 minutes on the first day of the special session on redistricting. Lawmakers are back in Tallahassee after a circuit judge tossed out the map they drew two years ago of Florida’s 27 congressional districts.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM/flickr

Now that Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist have released details about their finances, the front runners in what is expected to be a very close governor's race are goading each other to be more transparent.

Governor Rick Scott's net worth is well over $100 million. The businessman and former health care executive does not accept a salary as governor.

News Service of Florida

The Political Almanac of Florida 2014 gives us a detailed look at the state’s House districts -- all 120 of them.

cooldesign/freedigitaldownloads.net

Florida teachers and education groups sued over a change in state law that enables districts to tie evaluations to student performance. A federal judge says the state’s way of evaluating teachers is constitutional.

The law was passed in 2011. It allows some teachers to be evaluated based on test scores of students who aren’t in their class.  They can also be judged based on test results in subject areas they don't even teach.

Starting next year, their pay will be impacted.

Steve/flickr

The Florida Legislature will pass a flurry of bills this week. But the only thing they’re constitutionally required to do is pass a state budget.

Lawmakers settled on a budget worth slightly more than $77 billion – the largest in state history. They’ll vote on the spending plan Friday night to close out the legislative session.

In spite of Florida’s laws regarding open government, much of the budget negotiations have taken place in private.

Gina Jordan/WLRN

Ft. Walton Beach Republican Representative Matt Gaetz is helping carry on the family name in politics.

One week shy of 32 years old, he’s one of the state’s youngest lawmakers. He’s now running for the state Senate. His dad is Senate President Don Gaetz, also a Panhandle Republican.

But Matt Gaetz is an attorney who is not just sitting in his dad’s shadow.

Jack Cory / WLRN

Tallahassee is full of lobbyists, and they’re in high gear at the Capitol for the final week of the legislative session.

A lobbyist is someone who is hired by a company or organization to convince lawmakers to pass legislation benefiting their clients.

Long-time lobbyist Jack Cory doesn’t stop moving much during the session. His firm’s two-dozen clients include the Florida Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs, Florida Citrus Sports, and the Florida and National Greyhound Associations.

Meredyth Hope Hall / Courtesy of the Florida Governor's Office

 

 

For two months each year,160 men and women elected by Florida voters gather in Tallahassee to make state policies. Everyday during this final week of the legislative session, WLRN-Miami Herald News will be reporting and examining what Florida lawmakers have accomplished, what’s been ignored, and how it will affect you for our special Session 2014: The Sunshine Edition.

lkarrowhead26/flickr

An energy bill that is nearing passage in the Florida Legislature would strike an old solar rebate program from the books.

The program was more popular than expected, and when it ended in 2010, thousands of rebate holders hadn’t received all of the money they were due.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has recommended that lawmakers clean up state statutes by eliminating the rebate program. Since the program has ended, he says it's no longer needed on the books.

HECTOR GABINO / EL NUEVO HERALD

    

For more than a year, the Miami Herald dug through Department of Children & Families records and police reports to find out how and why nearly 500 children died over the past six years after falling through the Florida Department of Children & Families’ protective net.  

The investigative series, Innocents Lost, uncovered the disturbing stories and found that the agency had embraced a family preservation philosophy without ensuring all the necessary social services were in place to keep children safe in troubled homes.  

dash.null/flickr

Schools won’t be able to collect the fingerprints or other biometric information of students under a bill approved by the Florida Legislature.

The new requirement is part of a broad package designed to protect kids’ privacy.

When lawmakers in Tallahassee talk about biometrics, they’re talking about hands and eyes being scanned or fingerprints being collected.

For Senator Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, it’s a slippery slope.

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