Tallahassee

Law
7:00 am
Mon September 16, 2013

How Florida Could Save The U.S. Equal Rights Amendment

Suffragist Alice Paul wrote the Equal Rights Amendment. It was introduced in every session of Congress from 1923 until 1972, when it finally passed.
Credit Network 355/flickr

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) may be making a comeback.

A proposed resolution filed in Tallahassee asks lawmakers to ratify a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment stating that civil rights may not be denied based on one's sex.

For now, the move is largely symbolic.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Gov. Scott Tries New Strategy To Boost Business, Jobs

Gov. Rick Scott cuts the ribbon on the new Sand Blaster roller coaster on the Daytona Beach boardwalk. Scott has been traveling the state calling attention to his efforts to boost the economy.
Credit Florida Governor's Office

Gov. Rick Scott is pulling out all the stops to lure companies to Florida.

He convinced lawmakers to cut the sales tax on manufacturing equipment and do away with regulations that could hinder economic growth.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Jobs

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Politics
8:00 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Florida To Replace 'Mental Retardation' With 'Intellectual Disability' Throughout State Law

Derrick Sneed asked the Florida Legislature to end use of the R word - “retardation” - in state law.
Credit Gina Jordan/WLRN

Thirty-seven-year-old Derrick Sneed testified before Florida lawmakers last spring for a new law that removes all references to “mental retardation” in state law. 

“The more I learn about the R-word (the more I want) to get rid of this R-word and stop this R-word right now. It’s very important to me,” Sneed said. “People say retarded – and I said respect someone.”

The term “mental retardation” is being removed from more than 400 Florida statutes and being replaced with “intellectual disability.”

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Crime
9:00 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Florida Ranks Third In Human Trafficking But Can't Prosecute Many Cases

The Florida Attorney General's Office says Florida is third in the nation for the number of human trafficking cases. 27 million people are enslaved worldwide, and most victims are female.
Credit Andrea Waldrop/flickr

Three children in Tampa were among 105 children rescued nationwide last month during a FBI sex trafficking sting operation.

“Operation Cross Country” focused on underage victims of prostitution and led to more than 150 arrests.

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Public Sector
7:00 am
Wed August 14, 2013

State Contractors Fret About New Public Records Requirements

Florida lawmakers passed a measure this year requiring a higher level of public record keeping by private companies that contract with the state.
Credit 401(K) 2013/flickr

Some state contractors are worried about new public records requirements that cost them money and put them at risk of legal trouble.

Vendors acting on behalf of state agencies are now subject to a higher level of record keeping because of a bill passed by the Florida Legislature this year.

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Politics
8:28 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Florida's Vetoed Alimony Bill Likely To Return In 2014

Rep. Ritch Workman (left) chats with Rep. Doug Broxson in the House chamber.
Credit Mark Foley/myfloridahouse.gov

A bill that would have ended permanent alimony in Florida was vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott a few months ago. But plans are already being made to bring it back next year.

Members of the group Family Law Reform will hold a summit and fundraiser in Orlando on August 17, focused on reforming what they say are outdated permanent alimony laws.

Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, told a House Committee last March it's not about getting rid of alimony – it's about being fair.

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Labor
9:02 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Who Should Define A Living Wage In Florida: Your State Or County?

Rich Templin of the Florida AFL-CIO is fighting a bill in the state legislature that would ban county living-wage ordinances. The bill has already passed the House and a less sweeping version is moving through Senate committees.
Credit Jordan Michael/WLRN

The Florida House has passed a bill that would preempt local living wage ordinances and a similar version is making its way through the Senate.

The House measure would not allow local governments to mandate that their vendors pay employees more than a set minimum or provide them with special work-related benefits.

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Business
11:11 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Lawmakers Hope Sales Tax Cut Brings Manufacturing Boom

Florida ranks among the bottom states for the number of manufacturing jobs. Lawmakers eliminated the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, hoping to lure more companies.
Credit freedigitaldownloads.net/dan

Manufacturing isn't a booming industry in Florida, but many hope that will change thanks to a vote by the state Legislature.

Starting next spring, manufacturing companies will be able to buy equipment in Florida without paying sales tax on it.

That means less revenue initially for the state, but supporters say the move will help boost the industry and create jobs in Florida.

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Politics
4:26 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Clock Ticking For Governor To Veto Mental Health Gun Bill

Floridians who voluntarily get mental health treatment could find themselves on a gun ban list.
Credit Gualberto107/freedigitalphotos.net

The only gun control measure passed by the Florida Legislature this year is finally on Gov. Rick Scott's desk.

It puts people who are committed for mental health treatment on a list that prevents them from being able to buy a gun.

The National Rifle Association usually fights any proposal that could erode a person's right to bear arms – also known as the U.S. 2nd Amendment -- but the association strongly supports this bill.

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Labor
8:00 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Critics Say Sick Leave Law Good For Corporations, Bad For Families

Under a law that takes effect next month, local governments no longer have the option of passing a paid sick leave ordinance.
Credit marin/freedigitalphotos.net

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a bill that prohibits local governments from crafting their own sick leave policies for private employers.

Supporters say the new law will prevent an array of ordinances that could be confusing for businesses.

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Education
6:37 am
Mon June 10, 2013

WLRN Teams Up With FIU To Tell Radio Stories In A Digital Age

FIU students work with WLRN staff to produce their own radio reports.
Credit Photo by Doug Garland

The class is gathered around a conference table in the newsroom shared by the Miami Herald and WLRN public radio. On the screen in front of them is a reporter, John O’Connor, connected via Skype. This class often covers how multimedia platforms are taking over newsrooms, so it makes sense that today’s speaker is streaming live from the Internet.

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu May 30, 2013

Why A New Gun Bill Ticks Off Mental Health Advocates

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
Credit faxpilot/flickr

The Florida Legislature passed a gun control measure this year that would prevent more people with mental illness from buying guns. 

It essentially closes a loophole that enables people who seek mental health treatment to buy guns.

The bipartisan bill even got strong support from the National Rifle Association.

But some critics think it may do more harm than good.

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Politics
2:59 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Gov. Scott Signs Florida Budget; Explains Vetoes

Gov. Rick Scott signs the 2013-14 state budget. He told reporters he vetoed a tuition hike because it will help Florida families.
Credit Tom Urban/News Service of Florida

Gov. Rick Scott signed the 2013-14 state budget into law today.

He also sent a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner explaining his decision to veto a tuition hike. “We are also holding the line on tuition by vetoing the Legislature’s recommended 3 percent tuition increase on our college and university students,” the governor wrote.

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Education
1:06 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

FAU President Resigns After 'Significant Controversies'

FAU President Mary Jane Saunders resigned effective immediately from her top post at the university. She'll stay on as a member of the faculty.
Credit fau.edu

Mary Jane Saunders has quit.

The president of Florida Atlantic University says bad publicity splashed across national headlines was too much.

Next month would have been Saunders’ three-year anniversary as president.

While the university is showcasing her string of accomplishments, there was no way to get around a spate of missteps in recent months.

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Florida Legislature
7:00 am
Thu May 2, 2013

It's All About 'Mary' The Auto Reader In Tallahassee

'Mary' was introduced in the House this week. The-auto reader has its own Twitter account with hundreds of followers.
Credit Twitter

Speaker Will Weatherford introduced a new member of the Florida House this week.

“Members, we have an auto-reader. We had it in the closet just in case we ever had to actually read the bills,” Weatherford said amid laughs from the chamber. “It may be a little bit faster than normal.”

Weatherford's communications director announced on Twitter that the auto-reader's name is Mary.

Within an hour of her debut, Mary had her own Twitter handle - @HouseAutoReader. Some of her tweets include “I'm so bored” and “Anybody have a cure for the hiccups?”

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