Florida Legislative Session 2013

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Questions From Town Hall
10:00 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Bookseller Wonders, Why Doesn't Florida Get Sales Tax For Stuff You Buy On The Internet?

FIVE YEARS, FIVE TRIES: State. Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda says no-new-tax sentiment has blocked her attempts to pass an Internet sales tax bill.
Credit Rick Stone

Florida's sales tax is a huge competitive downside for local retailers who sell the same products as their Internet competitors.

Because online sellers rarely collect the sales tax, it leaves the brick-and-mortar shops at a roughly 7-percent price disadvantage. And that's why business and retail lobbies have been demanding sales tax collection for online sales for years.

The issue arose during the WLRN-Miami Herald Session 2013 Town Hall last month, where we heard from Fort Lauderdale bookseller Donna Mergenhagen.

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Education
7:01 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Referendum Would Give Miami Dade College A Half-Cent Tax

Miami Dade College would benefit from a proposed half-cent tax.
Credit Photo from Miami Dade College's Facebook page

Lonnie Robinson fell on hard times in the early 80s with drugs and alcohol. Addiction kept him out of college for decades, and he found himself living under a bridge. During the day, Robinson found solace at a Miami Dade College library in Liberty City, where a reading program changed the future course of his life. He graduated from the college in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

"No other college would accept me," said Robinson, who’s 59. Today, Robinson visits the same library daily, where he hopes to mentor and inspire younger students.

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Community Contributor
2:02 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Floridians Would Get Right To Speak Before Public Boards Under Proposed Legislation

Floridians would have the right to speak at public meetings under proposed laws.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Citizens do not have the right to speak before a public board or commission takes official action, according to Florida’s Constitution. Though Florida citizens have a right to access public records and meetings, they do not have a right to be heard before governmental bodies take official action any given proposal.  This means that city council members, county commissioners and other officials could vote on issues without letting citizens have their say.  

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Medicaid Expansion
1:00 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Florida Republican Leaders Under Fire For Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Plan

After rejecting Gov. Rick Scott's plan to expand Medicaid in both the Florida House and Senate this month, Republican legislative leaders were hit with criticism from their Democratic counterparts.
Credit Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

When they voted on Medicaid expansion in Florida this month, Florida legislative leaders mostly organized along party lines. Now, the Republicans are getting heat from their Democratic counterparts in the House.

According to the News Service of Florida,

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Session 2013
10:00 am
Mon March 18, 2013

The Best App To Keep Tabs On Your State Legislators

It would be nice to know more about state politics.  But who can keep track of all those committees and subcommittees, you say.  And all the House and Senate bills with long names and random numbers – and who is my legislator anyway?

You could go to the official state websites to find your legislators and proposed laws

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

A New Pope And Allied Veterans: What You Should Know From This Week's News

Jennifer Carroll resigned from her post as lieutenant governor after an investigation uncovered that a charity she had worked for had defrauded the public and government agencies.
Credit Gage Skidmore

On the week's The Florida Roundup:

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Jennifer Carroll
10:00 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Internet Cafe Gambling Scandal Overshadow Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll's Resignation

Jennifer Carroll has stepped down from her role as Lieutenant Governor in Florida.
Credit www.flgov.com/meet-the-lt-governor/

Jennifer Carroll's days as lieutenant governor and presumed running mate for Gov. Rick Scott's reelection campaign may already have been numbered when she resigned this week because of her connection to an Internet gambling scandal.

Meanwhile, the investigation of  a purported charity called Allied Veterans of the World promises to overshadow the political shakeup in Tallahassee and lead to a big change in Florida's gambling landscape.

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Politics
6:00 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Technically, There's Nothing Stopping You From Texting And Driving In Florida – Yet

Florida is one of only 11 states that doesn't prohibit texting and driving. But drivers whose texting leads to an accident and death would be guilty of homicide under a bill filed this week in the Senate and expected to soon show up in the House.
Credit poka0059 / Flickr

After several failed bills and a decade’s worth of debate, texting and driving remains legal in Florida – and the most recently proposed bill wouldn’t change that. But drivers could be charged with vehicular homicide in the case of an accident.

According to the News Service of Florida,

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The Two-Way
12:07 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Florida Lieutenant Governor Resigns, After Investigation Of Nonprofit

Former Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 3:00 pm

Florida's lieutenant governor abruptly stepped down on Wednesday, two days after Florida law enforcement officials questioned her involvement with a non-profit under investigation.

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Medicaid Expansion
10:00 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Florida Hospital Association Won't Accept That Medicaid Will Not Be Expanded

CAREGIVERS: The delegation from Ocala's Munroe Regional Medical Center. Lynette Johnson is third from the left.
Credit Rick Stone

Burdened with the expense of medical care for more than a million uninsured Floridians, the Florida Hospital Association isn't ready to accept that Medicaid won't be expanded in Florida under Obamacare.

Scarcely a day after a Florida Senate Select Committee voted down the Medicaid plan, the association had mobilized healthcare providers and patients under the banner "The Florida Remedy" to make their case public.

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Teacher Evaluations
8:41 am
Wed March 13, 2013

How Florida's Senate President Would Change Teacher Evaluations

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 5:02 pm

Florida’s Senate President says the state’s teacher evaluation system is confusing and should be reworked so teacher ratings more closely match those of the schools they work in.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Listen: Youth Activists Go To Tally To Talk Immigration Reform, Voting Rights, Juvenile Justice

Phillip Agnew leads a news conference with the Dream Defenders inside the Capitol. Group members came to Tallahassee from Miami and cities in between.
Credit Barbara Corbellini Duarte/WLRN

College students from Miami and elsewhere around the state are trying to keep the dream alive.

They came by bus to Tallahassee during the opening week of the legislative session. The group is known as the Dream Defenders.

Phillip Agnew, Executive Director of Dream Defenders, led a news conference inside the Capitol then spoke with us about the group’s legislative agenda.

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Florida Legislature
11:00 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Democrats In Tallahassee Less Outnumbered Than They Used To Be

REVIVAL: They still don't have a majority in the capitol but Democrats felt new confidence at their recent Awake the State rally.
Credit Rick Stone / WLRN

The election results and new leadership in the Florida legislature have made life a little easier for the state's elected Democrats.

Not that that there's been a substantial change in how the state's laws are made. The elections may have stripped House and Senate Republicans of their super-majorities, but Democrats remain profoundly outvoted and relatively powerless.

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Domestic Partnerships
9:00 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Florida Lawmakers Consider Domestic Partnership Bill

A Tallahassee committee is considering a domestic partnership bill.
Credit arztsamui / freedigitalphotos.net

For News Service of Florida

A senator who last month opposed a bill that would create domestic partnerships for unmarried couples will support a new, narrower version when it comes up Tuesday in the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

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