2017 Florida Legislature

Audubon of Florida / http://audubonoffloridanews.org/?p=11408

Florida Senate President Joe Negron is hopeful he’ll win support for a Lake Okeechobee reservoir. But his proposal still faces strong opposition from fellow lawmakers and residents south of the lake.

MGN Online

The Florida House has voted to expand autism awareness training for law enforcement. Support for the issue amped up this session after a North Miami officer shot at an autistic man he thought was dangerous.

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

Florida lawmakers want to set new statewide standards for public contracts. But local governments say the plan threatens their independence.

Rep. Mike LaRosa (St. Cloud)
Florida House of Representatives

A proposal to halt local regulation of vacation rentals passed in committee Tuesday after a heated debate over private property and community rights.

MHP Salud / http://mhpsalud.org/who-we-serve/farmworkers-in-the-united-states/

State lawmakers want to cut fees for the manufacturers of harmful pesticides. That could make it cheaper for chemical companies to sell their products in the state. But a critic of the measure is worried how the change could affect farmworkers’ health.

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

Lawyers, judges and professors are pushing back against Governor Rick Scott’s decision to reassign a death penalty case. The move comes after the Orlando State Attorney announced she won’t pursue capital punishment.

liquor
Thomas Hawk via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/

The Florida Senate has approved a bill to tear down the regulatory wall between grocery stores and liquor stores. But the plan has independent retailers worried.

Monticello-Jefferson County / https://monticellojeffersonfl.com/

State lawmakers are advancing a plan to allow gun owners to check their weapons at the courthouse door. The bill is moving forward even as top politicians are taking a stand against gun expansion.

ball of hemp twine
Emilian Robert Vicol

Across the country, advocates are hailing industrial hemp as a miracle crop. Some Floridians even think the plant could surpass oranges as an agricultural powerhouse. But lawmakers in the capitol are urging caution.

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

A contentious plan to let grocery stores sell liquor is still alive in the Florida statehouse. But some are dismissing the issue as insider baseball, and not a real public priority.

Florida Memory / https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/254907

The Florida House has passed a six year lobbying ban on former lawmakers. Under current state law, legislators and elected officials can’t lobby their former colleagues for two years. The new plan would extend the waiting period, and block officials from lobbying any state agency.

Florida Supreme Court
Urban Tallahassee

House lawmakers got an earful this week on proposed workers' compensation measures. Business groups and health care advocates complain the draft legislation doesn’t do enough to address attorney fees, premium costs, physician fees and patient choice.

The Florida Capitol Building from Adams Street
Steven Martin via Flikr / WFSU News

The 2017 Legislative Session is off to a tense start, with politicians already butting heads over the all-important budget. The fight could spell disaster for freshmen lawmakers hoping to earn their keep in the statehouse.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran
Richard Corcoran via twitter / https://twitter.com/richardcorcoran

One of the big debates taking shape this legislative session is about state involvement in economic development. The capitol’s powerbrokers are picking sides in the battle, which is threatening to derail session before it even begins.

The Oz Blog / http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/myths-lies-and-hysterectomy

President Donald Trump wants to streamline the U.S. Food and Drug Administration so people with rare diseases can get medication faster. But one Florida resident says the state's government needs to make improvements too.

Tallahassee Democrat

At least 157,000 kids in Florida could lose food stamps under legislation moving in a Florida House committee Thursday.

Legislation by Frank White, R-Pensacola, sends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility requirements back to pre-recession levels.

The Oz Blog / http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/myths-lies-and-hysterectomy

If state lawmakers get their way, patients could soon be able to sue their abortion doctors over emotional distress. But physicians say the plan will worsen Florida’s doctor shortage. For many Florida doctors, medical malpractice complaints are part of the territory. After years of discouraging frivolous lawsuits, legislators are now trying to expose abortion doctors to more litigation.

Gun Safety Activists to Florida Legislature: Reject Gun Bills

Feb 21, 2017
Joseph Zeballos-Roig for WFSU News

Dozens of gun safety advocates gathered at the Florida Capitol Tuesday to pressure state lawmakers to reject a raft of bills loosening gun restrictions. 

Lauren Book's ad screenshot

Florida parents could see cheaper diapers through legislation being considered by lawmakers. The measure by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, exempts diapers and incontinence products from sales tax.

Buzzle.com

Florida is a prime breeding ground for invasive species that can threaten the state’s ecology and economy. For every lionfish or Burmese python that’s captured, thousands remain. And the sheer scope of the problem is pushing some lawmakers to ask how much of a difference state funding actually makes.

A state lawmaker says it should be easier for candidates to get a quick ruling from the Florida Elections Commission when their opponents spread false campaign messages. 

iStockphoto

A South Florida lawmaker wants patients to be able to donate their healthcare data in the same way they donate their organs. Republican Senator Jeff Brandes of St Petersburg is passionate about innovation, and champions self-driving cars and drone technology. Now he’s turning his sights on electronic health records.

The Florida Senate
https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Redistricting/MapStats

A Republican lawmaker is trying to speed up legal challenges against the state’s redistricting process. The measure comes after a marathon of contentious court cases.

Florida State Sen. Bill Montford, R-Tallahasee, wants to encourage college students to make a career in education. He's proposing creating a scholarship to help pay for teacher certification.

Lauren Book's ad screenshot

A new measure by a Florida senator could make it easier for pregnant and nursing mothers to shop.

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