House Speaker Will Weatherford

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

A former Republican lawmaker is taking fellow Republican Governor Rick Scott to task over an attack ad, and he along with another Charlie Crist supporter are calling on Scott to take it down.

Former Senator Mike Fasano and former Corrections Secretary under Crist, Walt McNeil, did so during a press conference at the Florida Press Center in Tallahassee, attempting to set the record straight about the ad linking Crist to a convicted Ponzi schemer.

Meanwhile, right across the street, a group of young activists held up signs and chanted “Charlie Swindled Florida.”

Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) says there's not much time for drawing new districts but it can be done in time.
The Florida Channel

Florida’s special legislative session to redraw the state’s congressional districts got underway Thursday.  The proposed schedule for the session doesn’t leave much room for error.

Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis invalidated two of Florida’s congressional districts early last month and has called on the Legislature to present a new map by Aug. 15.  But that doesn’t leave much time for the process.  

Just after the House’s first hearing, Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) described the compressed timeline.

This is the Florida congressional district map.
National Atlas of the United States via Wikimedia Commons

The Florida legislature announced Tuesday it will not appeal a court decision finding the state’s congressional districts unconstitutional.  Legislative leaders are now asking for permission to conduct this year’s election according to existing boundaries.

Florida Channel

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford testified on Day 2 of the two-week redistricting trial looking at whether Florida lawmakers broke the law in drawing Congressional districts in 2012. reports.

Part of Weatherford’s testimony Tuesday centered around the district occupied by Democratic Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

Florida House

A couple of political experts are weighing on whether the Republican-led Legislature as well as the Governor moved more to the center this year with some of the bills that passed this Session.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

The sponsor of a measure aimed at overhauling the state’s pension system says that effort’s dead, but bill supporters and opponents alike say they won’t declare the win or loss until the 2014 Legislative Session comes to an end.

It’s Day 59 of the 60-day legislative Session. But, with session coming close to close, a procedural move by Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala Wednesday may have blocked this year’s effort to overhaul the state’s pension system.

Getty Images / Getty Images

Overhauling the Florida Retirement System could be up in the air, after a procedural move in the Senate may have blocked that chamber from taking up a similar effort that merges both the state pension overhaul and a non-controversial effort to fix a troubled local pension system.

Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee)—who has the biggest number of public employees in his North Florida district—says he questions the need for an effort to overhaul the state’s pension system, which he says Legislature tries to do almost every year.

chartingyourfinancialfuture.com

The Florida House passed a bill Friday that merges two pension reform proposals: one dealing with local pensions and another dealing with the state’s pension system. But, it’s unclear what will happen in the other chamber now that the combined bill is still two separate proposals in the Senate.

Rep. Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) is one of the sponsors of the merged House proposal. He contributed the part of the proposal that deals with overhauling the Florida Retirement System.

The Florida House is now poised to vote on a newly merged pension reform proposal—a huge priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford. The bill that passed its only committee earlier this week was taken up on the floor Thursday over the objections of Democrats who oppose the measure.

MGN Online

A Senate proposal to overhaul the Florida Retirement System could have its first official committee hearing later this week. But, The recently scaled-back proposal—already starting to move in the House—could still be in trouble in the Senate.

Last week, the House State Affairs Committee agreed to advance a measure aimed at overhauling the state’s retirement system.

Florida Channel

A House panel has agreed to advance its version of overhauling the Florida Retirement System, despite much opposition from public employees and Democrats. The newer pension reform proposal is similar to a plan that died in the Senate last year.

Nick Evans

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed four sex offender bills into law Tuesday during a public ceremony at the Capitol.  The event brought together a number of Republican lawmakers to show off the first bills passed by the Legislature.

Flanked by lawmakers, sheriffs and victims’ advocates, Scott said the package of bills will make the state safer.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

State lawmakers are looking at overhauling the Florida Retirement System, ahead of a study that could show whether exempting a certain group of state employees from the pension change is financially sound. But, the so-called special-risk employee “carve-out” is not swaying the opinion of thousands of police officers, who spoke out against the proposal for the first time Thursday.

Pelican Post

As Florida lawmakers look to overhaul the state’s retirement system, there are multiple hurdles ahead for the pension reform proposals now before the Senate. The two chambers haven’t agreed on a plan yet, a special exemption is splitting employee unions, and a study with the necessary numbers is not yet complete—pitting some Republicans against one another.

Trilby Republican Senator Wilton Simpson, who’s leading his chamber’s effort, says he’s particularly proud of the “Deferred Compensation” program.

LHatter / WFSU News

A fight over the future of Florida’s state pension program is back -- and groups are already lining up to fight some proposed changes.

Trilby Republican Senator Wilton Simpson’s bill would steer state workers hired after July of 2015 into so-called cash-benefit plans.

R.Benk / WFSU-News

House Speaker Will Weatherford kicked off the ceremonial swearing in of former Republican lawmaker Carlos Lopez-Cantera as the next Lieutenant Governor of Florida but, Monday evening’s ceremony wasn’t the first time Cantera took the oath of office. He had been officially sworn in hours before in a private ceremony in the Governor’s office, making him the first Hispanic and first Miamian to ever be appointed to that position. Governor Rick Scott, whose support among Latinos in the state has all but dried up, may be hoping to use that to bolster his reelection campaign.

Florida Channel

Two top Republican legislative leaders are revisiting a failed attempt to make changes to the Florida Retirement System. It’s one of five top legislative goals for House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz.

Florida House / Florida Senate

Florida legislative leaders are pushing a big education agenda this year that features revamped higher education funding proposals and an overhaul to the state’s embattled school grading formula.

AJ Cann via Flickr

When Floridians of a certain age go for a health checkup, one lawmaker wants their doctors to be required to offer a hepatitis C test.  But House Speaker Will Weatherford is encouraging the bill sponsor to remove the mandate because insurance companies wouldn’t like it, she says.

Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) says Centers for Disease Control statistics about hepatitis C and baby boomers are compelling.

“Baby boomers are five times more likely to have hepatitis C," she says.

Kaiser Family Foundation / kff.org

Tampa Bay resident Victoria Stout is 57. She’s self-employed, healthy, works odd jobs, and is uninsured. She’s been without health insurance most of her adult life. She’s healthy, and takes measures to ensure she stays that way. And while she doesn’t have health insurance, she does get healthcare: paying for it out-of-pocket.

Florida Senate

As some lawmakers call on the Florida Legislature to repeal the state’s Stand Your Ground law, one Democratic lawmaker has filed a bill seeking to clarify the controversial law.

While a special session reviewing Florida’s Stand Your Ground law isn’t likely, one lawmaker hopes to start a discussion about the controversial law with a bill of his own. Tallahassee Democratic Representative Alan Williams has filed legislation to repeal the law.

It’s Williams’ second consecutive year filing the legislation, and he says his goal hasn’t changed.

Dream Defenders

Just how much support is there really for Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law? Did the failure of a poll that could have triggered a special session lead to the Dream Defenders ending a month-long protest? We'll take a look at what led up to this point.

“I think their time has kind of run out,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford.

Florida Department of Children and Families

A majority of Florida lawmakers say there will be no special session to review Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. The preliminary results of a procedural move led by a group of Democrat lawmakers show they don’t have enough votes to trigger a special session. But, that’s still not deterring those who want another look at the law.

Florida House

Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to hold a special session reconsidering the state’s Stand Your Ground law is not dissuading a group of Florida Democratic lawmakers. In a procedural move, they’ve bypassed Scott and the Republican leaders of the House and Senate to initiate a poll among their colleagues.

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