Florida Legislative Session 2013

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Florida Legislature
8:00 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Youth Is No Barrier To Power In Tallahassee

MR. CHAIRMAN: Very young guys run very powerful committees in the Florida House. How did that happen?

Number crunching by a Florida university professor has led to an odd conspiracy theory about the Florida House of Representatives.

Not that Prof. Mark Soskin actually subscribes to the theory himself. As you hear on TV a lot, he's just sayin'.

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Session 2013
9:00 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Scott's $74.2 Billion Budget Sets The Record

RECORD BREAKER: Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget would put more than a billion new dollars into education.
Credit St. Petersblog

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott unveiled a record-breaking $74.2 billion budget Thursday, pouring hundreds of millions of additional dollars into public schools, colleges and universities in a proposal that Democrats knocked as a public-relations gimmick.

Scott's plan would boost spending by almost $4 billion in the coming budget year, which begins July 1, with much of the increase heading to education. He said the bump reflected more incoming tax revenue brought on by an economic recovery after the fallout from the Great Recession clouded the budgets of his first two years.

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Public Insight Network
10:00 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Do You Know Who Your State Legislators Are?

Redistricting last year may have had a role in making it more difficult for PIN members to name their state legislators. Above, a map showing pre-redistricting Senate district boundaries (in red) and current Senate district boundaries (in black).

The state Legislature, perhaps more than Congress, passes laws that have a direct impact on the day-to-day life of a Floridian: how much you pay in sales tax, how much time you have to vote, how you obtain a gun.

Tallahassee is in our lives every day. It's only 480 miles away. And yet, for many in South Florida, it might as well be on another continent. 

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Public Insight Network
11:00 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Texting While Driving And Other Sins Of Florida's Drivers

39 states - including libertarian-leaning New Hampshire - ban texting while driving. Florida isn't one of them.
Credit taestell

Florida is one of only 11 states that does not prohibit texting while driving.  Though state legislators have already introduced 3 texting ban bills for the upcoming session, similar bills have failed in the past several years. 

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Session 2013
12:01 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Hager's Bill Could Ban Smoking At The Beach

NOT AT THE BEACH: State. Rep. Bill Hager of Boca Raton wants to let cities and counties ban smoking at beaches and parks.
Credit billhager.com

A determined Palm Beach County teenager is gaining ground on a big goal -- stopping people from smoking at Florida's beaches and public parks.

Caitlyn Johnston's campaign caught the eye of State. Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, who filed a bill (HB 439) giving cities and counties the power to ban smoking on their own public lands.

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The Art Of Politics
11:00 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Limericks Inspired By Florida's Muddy Politics

Can you explain a state policy in a limerick?
Credit Public Domain Pictures

Politics can be quite the poetic muse - especially statehouse politics, it turns out.

We recently challenged members of the Public Insight Network to write about politics in the Sunshine State - in a limerick.* 

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Higher Education Costs
3:58 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Eleven More Colleges Sign On To Gov. Scott's $10K Degree Challenge

Governor Rick Scott first challenged Florida colleges to create $10K degree programs in November.
Credit 401(K) 2013/Flickr

Governor Rick Scott was at Miami-Dade College's North campus today to announce that eleven more state colleges have accepted his challenge to create bachelor’s degree programs costing $10,000 or less.

That means all 23 Florida state colleges offering four-year degrees have signed on. 

Broward College is developing a bachelor's degree program in teacher education and business. President David Armstrong told the News Service of Florida that the goal is to open doors for more students.

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Session 2013
9:30 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Florida Mental Illness Programs Leave Most Patients Untreated, House Panel Hears

DEEPENING CRISIS: Florida lawmakers are hearing that too little money is appropriated for mental illness programs and too much of that is misspent.
Credit healthyplace.com

Florida's system for the mentally ill is an underfunded shambles that leaves most people untreated and settles for locking up many of the rest.

Officials and experts told a House committee in Tallahassee on Thursday that system funding levels, in real terms, are below what they were in the 1980s and that the crisis is "deepening."

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Session 2013
6:30 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Fast, Slow And Distracted Motorists Are Focus Of Two Proposed Bills

District 27 Senator Jeff Clemens wants slow drivers to stay out of the left lane.
Credit J. Clark/Flickr

Safe driving is the focus of two proposed bills being filed in Tallahassee this session. One bill addresses texting while driving. The other bill deals with slow people in the fast lane.

According to the News Service of Florida, Senator Nancy Detert, a Venice Republican, believes this year will be the year her texting-while-driving ban passes.

This will be her fourth attempt.

Although the bill has passed the Senate twice before, Detert says it has never been heard in the House.

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Economic Incentives
3:00 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Florida Gave Tax Breaks To Industries Blamed For Mass Shootings

The National Rifle Association has blamed violent video games and films for recent mass shootings. The state of Florida gives economic incentives and tax breaks to both industries as well as gun manufacturers.
Credit Jon Worth/Flickr

Q&A with Miami Herald political reporter Toluse Olorunnipa

Florida taxpayers are helping subsidize three industries that have been blamed for recent mass shootings: violent movies, bloody video games and high-powered assault weapons.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Bill Would Give Ethics Commission More Power With Expansive Overhaul

A bill, which would give the Ethics Commission more power to collect fines and strengthen conflict-of-interest laws, unanimously passed a Senate committee Tuesday.
Credit adamr / freedigitalphotos.net

A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that supporters called the most expansive overhaul in decades of the rules elected officials must follow, even as the measure obscured what could be a battle with the House over campaign finance laws.

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Session 2013
8:30 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Senate Gambling Committee Sets Glacier Pace For New Casino Legislation

PATIENCE: The Florida Senate serves notice it may be a year and a half before it even starts thinking about gambling legislation.
Credit Panama City News-Herald on Facebook

Florida's gambling future won’t be settled  in the 2013 session of the Florida Legislature -- and maybe not even in the one after that.

The divide between competing stakeholder visions remains very wide. And, at a hearing before the Florida Senate Gaming Committee on Tuesday, chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said it could be 18 months before the work on developing legislation even begins.

"I want to do something deliberative and thoughtful," Richter told reporters after the meeting.

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri January 18, 2013

Miami Dolphins Fishing For A Stadium Renovation

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross says Miami is unlikely to get the 2016 Super Bowl unless the Sun Life stadium is updated.
Credit Photography MC

On the Florida Roundup: The Miami Dolphins ask the public to go halfsies with them in a $400 million proposition to improve the Sun Life Stadium. But is hosting a Super Bowl really worth it? A skeptical public might be tougher to persuade after the Marlins ballpark deal.  

We take your calls on whether public money fund the stadium facelift.  

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Sun Life Stadium
9:30 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Tax Funds For Dophin Stadium Would Be 'Welfare For Billionaires,' Braman Says

Divided opinions may make Dolphins' stadium renovations a hard sell.
Credit Nathan Rupert (flickr)

South Florida businessman Norman Braman is calling the  proposed plan to renovate Sun Life Stadium with the public dollars "plain welfare for a multi-billionaire."

He contends that Miami Dolphins owner Shephen Ross’ football team is a private asset and should not receive any public money. 

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