Capital Report: 03-04-2014

Mar 4, 2014

As Florida Senate President Don Gaetz promised, his chamber passed several bills on the first day of session aimed at denying convicted sex offenders the chance to hurt children.  But, as Jessica Palombo reports, critics of the crackdown say it does nothing to prevent first-time offenses, which they say make up the majority of crimes against kids.

A measure inspired by the story of a Jacksonville woman who received a lengthy prison term for firing a warning shot unanimously cleared another Senate hurdle Tuesday. As Sascha Cordner reports, it’s the second time around for the so-called “Warning Shot” bill in that same committee.

 A revamp of Florida’s troubled school grading system is now moving through the legislature after receiving approval from the Senate’s education committee today.  But, as Lynn Hatter reports, even the bill’s sponsor says he has more work to do to make sure the end product is better than the system that exists now.

In this, the Sunshine State, there are financial incentives for putting solar panels on homes.  A state constitutional amendment already stops counties from charging higher property taxes on homes whose value is increased when solar cells are installed.  Now, as Regan McCarthy reports, clean energy advocated are backing a bill, which would extend that tax relief to commercial property.

Florida lawmakers may be averse to raising state taxes, but they could be a bit more friendly towards local tax hikes.  The Florida Senate is looking at allowing local governments more freedom to use tax revenue to combat homelessness.  Stan Jastrzebski reports on a bill heard for the first time on the opening day of the 2014 session.