Florida Senate

Senate President Don Gaetz said he hopes the bills he sees as a priority this year will make it through the Senate. But he said he plans to get that done by making solid arguments, not just by relying on his new position of power.

Gaetz met with the Senate Committee chairs Tuesday to lay out a plan for the coming session. The new Senate President laid down the law, reminding committee members, under Senate rules, more than two unexcused absences from their committee would mean getting kicked out of the group. And he told leaders to pass only the good bills.

WFSU

In the coming months, the Florida legislature will decide whether to go forward with optional parts of the Federal Healthcare Law. The state’s Republican leaders have adamantly opposed implementing health insurance exchanges and expanding the Medicaid program for low income people.  But after the re-election of President Barack Obama and a Supreme Court ruling, state lawmakers are now taking up the issues.

Democrats could have more influence in the Republican-led Florida Legislature this year. Senate President Don Gaetz appointed several Democrats to top leadership positions in the Senate. And, some say that’s good news for efforts to find more bi-partisan solutions.

Gaetz Proposes Ethics Reform in Florida Senate

Nov 19, 2012

Florida’s incoming Senate President, Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, plans to require all senators to complete at least an hour of ethics training prior to lawmaking.  It’s all part of a set of proposed rules to improve the ethical standards in the chamber. 

The Florida Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on the Senate’s new voting district maps. The court ruled the first maps constitutionally invalid, now Regan McCarthy reports the justices are reviewing the senate’s second try.

The attorney representing the Senate in the case, former Florida Supreme Court Justice, Raoul Cantero says the Senate addressed everything the justices asked to be done during their last review.

The Republican-led Florida Legislature finished its redistricting do-over on Tuesday and is sending a revised Senate map back to the state Supreme Court for final action. James Call reports the House vote 61-47 in favor of the plan, and ended a scheduled 15 day special redistricting session a day early.

Senate Democrats are looking to get a few more votes to defeat a controversial education bill. The proposal gives parents with children in failing public schools the option of converting that school into a charter. Lynn Hatter reports the measure has already cleared the House, but the Senate vote is a toss-up.

The fight over the proposed “parent trigger” bill started last week, when a bi-partisan coalition of Senators headed by Republican Jack Latvala, blocked an attempt to fast-track the bill by pulling it out of its last committee hearing:

Governor Rick Scott says he’s looking into privatizing the state’s South Florida prisons on his own, even though a proposal to do as such died in the Legislature. Sascha Cordner has more.

Scott says even though the proposal was not one of his legislative priorities, he feels lawmakers let Florida taxpayers down by voting against the prison privatization bill.

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