2017 Florida Legislature

Regan McCarthy WFSU News

The FBI is investigating Tallahassee’s Community Redevelopment Agency, while questions of cronyism swirl around city hall. The state’s CRAs missed the chopping block this legislative session, despite previous reports of mismanagement. WFSU looks into how the agencies’ loose structure is fueling their current predicament.

Bryan Jones via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwjones/albums

Florida’s Democratic lawmakers are joining the call to reject the president’s request for voter information. 

Shelby U via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/heavyymetal/4539604112/

The deadline is approaching for Florida’s governor to sign off on a bill aimed at tracking the use of addictive prescription drugs. Some medical professionals see the measure as key to fighting the opioid epidemic.

Historic Capitol
Tom Flanigan / WFSU News

This week’s special legislative session is expected to cost taxpayers more than $100,000. But the three-day long process could be a boon for Tallahassee’s local economy.

melystu via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/melystu/

The City of Tallahassee is beginning budget talks for the coming fiscal year. Commissioners want to contrast their spending process with that of state lawmakers, which primarily took place behind closed doors. The board wants to continue investing in infrastructure and public safety. Mayor Andrew Gillum says that could come in the form of social services.

Trulieve / http://trulieve.com/

Florida’s Senate President is considering bringing lawmakers back to Tallahassee to strike a deal on medical marijuana. A plan to roll out the state’s new rules unraveled at the end of session.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) says it's time for Florida to have an independent redistricting commission.
Nick Evans

Poor Floridians may see less access to medical care. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, said the state is turning down billions of dollars in federal funding for health care this year because it is not expanding Medicaid. Florida lawmakers are also planning to cut Medicaid and hospital funding.

College of the Mainland Library / https://www.flickr.com/photos/comlibrary/

Florida lawmakers want to make it easier for parents and residents to challenge school textbooks. Depending on who you ask, the bill is a slippery slope towards book burning, or a step towards community control. But with just days left in the Session, lawmakers face a tight deadline to pass the measure. At the time of publishing, the Senate was scheduled to consider the measure, but had not yet taken it up.

Tonichi Costas via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nichpics/8306111016/

After years of debate, the legislature is on the brink of deregulating a slate of professions. Cosmetologists to geologists to boxing announcers could have a better shot at starting a business. But some of those same workers have doubts about the reforms.

Rep. Kionne McGhee in 2015.
Mark Foley via FL House website / Florida House of Representatives

The Florida House passed a measure calling for the state to create a slavery memorial. Bill sponsor Democratic Rep. Kionne McGhee said he’s hopeful Senate will agree to hear it on the floor.

Joe Gratz via Flickr

Florida lawmakers are considering letting local officials meet one on one, outside of the public eye. But a first amendment advocate says the change could encourage corruption.

smarterparenting.com / http://www.smarterparenting.com/blog/single/5-dos-and-donts-for-grieving-parents

Florida lawmakers want to issue special certificates to families who experience miscarriages. Supporters say the bill is meant to comfort grieving parents. But there are concerns the bill could affect access to abortions.

Michael via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lostinangeles/

The Florida House has voted to tear down the so-called liquor wall by a razor-thin margin. It’s a rare issue that doesn’t fall along party lines, giving a brief glimpse into lawmakers’ individual beliefs.

Sarah Mueller

The Florida legislature has a new caucus: lawmakers under 41 years old. 

Ep Jhu via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ep_jhu/

A bill aimed at criminalizing the deadly drug fentanyl is heading to the Senate floor. The measure comes as the Legislature is struggling to respond to the state’s opioid crisis. But the plan has lawmakers questioning whether they should combat addiction with punishment or treatment.

Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, House Speaker Richard Corcoran
State of Florida, Florida Senate, Florida House of Representatives

Can Florida Lawmakers leave Tallahassee on time? The mood in the state capital has gone from one of pessimism, to cautious optimism that leaders can strike key deals in time.

Jonathan Kos-Read via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathankosread/

Florida lawmakers want to preempt local ordinances for projects that get mostly state funding. Despite a litany of complaints from cities and counties, the bill is now heading to the Senate floor.

Uber / https://newsroom.uber.com

A plan to regulate ridesharing companies statewide is heading to the Governor’s desk. After years of debate, the bill flew through the Senate Wednesday with virtually no complaints.

Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart) speaks to members of the Florida Board of Governors Tuesday, 6/21/16
Florida Channel

Florida Senate President Joe Negron said he appreciates Governor Rick Scott’s support for water storage south of Lake Okeechobee. But he’s concerned about Scott’s request to include $200 million to fix the Herbert Hoover dike. Negron said he doesn’t trust the federal government to reimburse the state for repairs to the federally-operated levee.

Tony Vincelli via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/42957538@N03/

A slate of changes to Florida’s guardianship law is heading to the governor’s desk. The updates legislators want are meant to protect some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, but critics worry they're missing the mark.

Florida Memory / https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/152989

Florida lawmakers want to put a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune in the U.S. Capitol. But the internationally renowned educator and activist isn’t the only contender.

Christopher Schmidt via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/xmatic/

A top priority of Florida’s Senate President is now ready for a floor vote. But after some political maneuvering, the bill also contains a controversial amendment targeting the state Supreme Court. The change could challenge lawmakers’ loyalties.

Florida Memory / https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/31967

The Constitution Revision Commission will hold a public hearing in the state capital.

BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig on fire in 2010.
US Coast Guard

Almost seven years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Florida lawmakers are finalizing a settlement plan. There’s still some distance between the house and senate versions, but top lawmakers say a compromise is on the way.

Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala speaks with reporters about her decision to not pursue the death penalty during her administration.
Renata Sago / WMFE

Florida lawmakers are again urging the governor to suspend a prosecutor who won’t pursue the death penalty. But constitutional lawyers argue Aramis Ayala’s actions don’t warrant removal. 

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