Florida Politics

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mary McLeod Bethune
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.

Florida Supreme Court / http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/justices/lawson.shtml

Florida’s Supreme Court marked the official installment of Justice Alan Lawson on Wednesday. The ceremony gave a rare glimpse into the most cloistered of our branches of government.

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. 

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.

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.

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

The Constitution Revision Commission has scheduled a series of public meetings throughout the state. Voter input will shape any amendments the group proposes.

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.

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