Florida Legislative Session 2013

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Session 2013
9:00 am
Fri January 18, 2013

'Transparency' Losing Ground In Tallahassee

SKITTISH: Sen. Alan Hayes doesn't want his 'itty bitty' staff memos disclosed. The Transparency 2.0 web site is in trouble.
Credit Florida Senate

TALLAHASSEE -- Senators looking into the state's efforts to make budget information available online are expressing skepticism about Transparency 2.0, a site developed under a $5.5 million no-bid contract that is nonetheless endorsed by some ethics advocates.

The hesitance by members of the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, which surfaced at a Thursday meeting, raises questions about whether the project has any prospects for revival.

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Town Hall on Session 2013
2:17 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Online Chat On Jan. 22, 4pm: Who Runs Tallahassee?

In our first online discussion for the Town Hall project, we take a behind-the-scenes look at how laws are made in Tallahassee.
Credit Auntie P

To kickstart our Town Hall project, we start with the question: Who runs Tallahassee?  

Our guests are: The Miami Herald's Tallahassee bureau chief Mary Ellen Klas and Dan Krassner, executive director of Integrity Florida, an ethics watchdog group, which proposes the unconventional idea we can make the government more accountable if we get rid of limits on state campaign donations

Join us on this site on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 4pm or tweet us at #FL2013.  To read more about the Town Hall project, click here.

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Rick Scott's Dog
7:48 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Scott's Missing Campaign Dog Is Safe And Living On A Ranch With A New Name

HAPPIER DAYS: Gov. Rick Scott and Reagan during their brief partnership.
Credit Scott campaign

Gov. Rick Scott's 2010 campaign dog, Reagan, has been located -- safe, but probably a little bitter -- on a horse ranch somewhere in southwest Florida. Tampa's WTSP Ch. 10 reports he's now known as Pluto.

This should close out a week of speculation about whatever happened to the rescued Labrador that Scott acquired, named through a Facebook contest and campaigned with...

...before the dog mysteriously disappeared!

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Stand Your Ground
7:30 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Trayvon Martin's Mom Calls For A Repeal Of Stand Your Ground Law

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, is calling for the repeal of Stand Your Ground.
Credit News Service of Florida

With lawmakers taking a new look at Florida's "stand your ground" law, the mother of the young man whose death brought the law back into focus urged lawmakers Wednesday to repeal it.

"How many lives do we have to lose?" Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, asked outside the legislative chambers. "How many children have to be killed? How many times are we going to bury our loved ones and not do anything about it?" 

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Session 2013
1:08 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Bill May Aid Job Search For Floridians With Rocky Credit History

Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, said a new measure may ease the job search process for Floridians.
Credit James Barker / freedigitalphotos.net

Rocky credit history? A bill that would prevent potential employers from weighing a job applicant's credit history unanimously passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee Tuesday.

Some say the bill (SB 100), sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, is an effort to ease the job search process for Floridians.

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Session 2013
10:01 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott, Black Caucus Find Little Common Ground As 2013 Session Nears

PERRY THURSTON: House minority leader says Gov. Scott 'doesn't relate well to others.'
Credit myfloridahouse.gov

Gov. Rick Scott's hour-long sit-down with the Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday was frostily correct and almost completely nonproductive for the black lawmakers, according to two accounts of Tuesday's session in Tallahassee.

The Tampa Bay Times and the Palm Beach Post described the governor as almost completely unyielding on voting rules, ex-felon rights and appointments to the judiciary and other state positions.

As to the 2011 voting law that many say turned the 2012 election into a Florida disaster, the governor said he should not be blamed for that.

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Session 2013
7:34 am
Wed January 16, 2013

In Tallahassee, A Dim View Of NRA Gun Bills

Gun policy is back in the Florida Legislature this year.
Naypong freedigitalphotos.net

Indications are growing that the gun lobby might face unusual difficulties in the Florida Legislature this year.  

In Tallahassee on Monday, the Republican chairman of the Senate Education Committee announced his opposition to arming Florida school teachers as a defense against school shooters and a Democratic senator filed a bill to repeal one of the National Rifle Association's trophy bills from 2011, the law forbidding doctors to ask patients whether they have guns at home.

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Session 2013
12:30 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Senate President Don Gaetz Has Ethics, Voting Proposals To Take To Legislature

DON GAETZ: He says ethical behavior is so rare the public is losing respect for elected officials.
Credit Orlando Sentinel

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) is ready to toughen ethics laws, reform campaign finance, streamline the Florida ballot...just about every issue of timely significance, he told the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, except for gun control.

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Session 2013
8:59 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Uninsureds' Midnight Fears Raise Curtain On Obamacare Legislative Session In Florida

COST ESTIMATES: Senate select committee chairman Joe Negron says lawmakers must plan with better numbers.
Credit Florida House

As lawmakers decide how --- or whether --- to move forward with parts of the federal Affordable Care Act, House and Senate select committees plunged Monday into issues such as a potential expansion of the Medicaid program and the law's effects on Florida businesses.

In back-to-back meetings, lawmakers heard testimony from people with far-different perspectives about the controversial health overhaul, which Florida Republican leaders resisted for more than two years.

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Florida Insurance
11:00 am
Sun January 13, 2013

Why Florida Session Will Be Dominated By The Affordable Care Act And Other Insurance Issues

It's raining insurance policy in Tallahassee this spring.
Credit digitalart / freedigitalphotos.net

Affordable Care Act issues are expected to dominate discussions of insurance in the Legislature in the weeks ahead but lawmakers will also take swipes at workers compensation, hurricane preparations and Citizens Property Insurance Corp when they return.

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The Florida Roundup
12:00 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Anniversary Of The Earthquake In Haiti And Spotlight On Poet Richard Blanco

Above is a neighborhood in Haiti before the earthquake. One caller, Henryka of Coral Gables, who has worked in Haiti for the past 4 years, says the focus should not be on reconstructing what was there, but building something better.
Credit waterdotorg

On The Florida Roundup:  Saturday marks the third anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti.  How has it affected us in South Florida, home to the nation’s largest Haitian diaspora?   We take your calls on what you have seen in Haiti and what responsibility we have to this country less than 700 miles away.   Why has development been so slow after so many promises?

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Session 2013
8:00 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Eleanor Sobel's New Domestic Partnership Bill Will Be 'Lucky' To See Debate, Critic Says

CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUE: Sen. Eleanor Sobel's domestic partnership bill is seen as a challenge to Florida's one-man-one-woman requirement.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) has filed a "domestic partnership" bill for the March session of the Florida Legislature. It would allow same-sex couples to establish recognized relationships that provide at least some marital benefits.

One opponent of the bill said it would not get far in the Republican-dominated Legislature.

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Town Hall on Session 2013
6:42 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Happening Tonight: Help Us Make Tallahassee Accountable At Session 2013 Town Hall

Credit Flickr/ StevenM_61

 

Tallahassee may be hundreds of miles away, but WLRN and The Miami Herald will bring it to you. 

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Higher Education
8:20 am
Wed January 9, 2013

Second Florida Bill Allows In-State College Rates For Kids Of Undocumented Parents

RESIDENT RIGHTS: Bills in Tallahassee would grant in-state college rates to children of some undocumented parents.
Credit Florida Immigrant Coalition

Another relief bill is being offered by a Miami-Dade legislator for Florida residents who have been denied in-state college tuition rates because of their parents' immigration status.

Republican State Sen. Anitere Flores' bill (SB 180, filed Monday) is similar to a measure (HB 17) that Miami State Rep. Carlos Trujillo filed early in December.

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Working
8:30 am
Tue January 8, 2013

Bill Aims To Bar Local Government From Ordering Employers To Offer Sick Leave

WORKING SICK: Tallahassee lawmakers this spring will decide whether to prohibit cities and counties from ordering employers to pay for sick days off.

Advocates for working folk haven’t had a lot of luck establishing a right to paid sick leave in Florida.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan's proposal was defeated last year and, in Orlando, Orange County commissioners found a way to avoid a sick time referendum, even though 50,000 residents had won a ballot spot, fair and square, with their signatures on a petition.

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