Tallahassee

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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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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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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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.

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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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.

Gov. Scott Signs Florida Budget; Explains Vetoes

May 20, 2013
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.

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.

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?”

Mark Foley/myfloridahouse.gov

With just a few days left of the legislative session, we're working to get as many answers as possible to questions posed during our last WLRN-Miami Herald Town Hall meeting in February.

This question comes from Steve Moyer of Cooper City:

"I have a disabled child that attends public school and feel the education provided to most ESE (Exceptional Student Education) students in Broward County as well as other districts is inadequate.

Are You A Dirty Politican? Play Our Ethics Game

Apr 26, 2013
Martin Tews / Creative Commons/Flickr

Everyone loves to complain about political corruption.  But would you do any better?  Play our interactive game, Tallanasty, and find out if you would be a cleaner Florida politician.

Jordan Michael/WLRN

Around this time of year, a lot of people walk to achieve the highly coveted yellow-polka-dot-bikini body.

Lauren Book walks to help mend lives.

Book ended her fourth annual trek on Tuesday, walking 1,500 miles from Key West to Tallahassee.

She was joined on the last mile of the trip by an army of supporters in blue shirts adorned with footprints and the words “Walk In My Shoes 2013.”

Gina Jordan/WLRN

Education was a hot topic at the WLRN-Miami Herald Town Hall meeting in February.

Only a small portion of the questions that came in were asked during the panel discussion. But we're working to get as many answered as possible.

Deborah Nix from Delray Beach wanted to know:

billmontford.com

Sen. Bill Montford, a Democrat from North Florida, doesn't like the Parent Empowerment in Education bill. It's much better known as the parent trigger bill.

“We know overall that the majority of students that are successful have parents that are involved,” Montford said. “It's critical to have parent support and involvement in the schools.”

Montford is CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents.

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Florida lawmakers are doing something they haven't done in years: adding money to state programs.

The recession sent the state into multi-billion-dollar budget shortfalls that led to big cuts in education and state government payrolls.

But this year, lawmakers have money to play with. Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a budget of more than $74 billion for the fiscal year that starts in July. That's about a $4-billion increase in spending over the current year.

So where did the extra money come from?

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