Florida Legislative Session 2013

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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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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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