Matt Gaetz

Matt Gaetz Facebook page

A North Florida Congressman is calling on his fellow Republicans across the U.S. to not cancel their town halls due to angry protestors.

Republican members of Florida’s Congressional Delegations have found themselves confronting angry constituents at recent town hall meetings. The move is part of a backlash from Democrats over the Presidential election. But how long will that anger last?

Kaiser Family Foundation / kff.org

Top Florida Republican lawmakers are heading to Washington D.C. soon to discuss potential healthcare changes with their Congressional counterparts. They want President Donald Trump’s administration to blockgrant Medicaid funding. But some Floridians worry the sick and the poor will lose their health insurance.

Al Lawson via facebook / https://www.facebook.com/AlLawsonJr/

The 115th Congress took their oaths Tuesday, becoming the most diverse class of lawmakers yet. The cohort includes North Florida’s brand new delegation: Republicans Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach, Neal Dunn of Panama City, and Democrat Al Lawson of Tallahassee. All are freshmen members of Congress, though Gaetz and Lawson both served in the Florida Legislature. Paul Ryan, the newly re-elected Speaker of the House, swore in the representatives together.

Kate Payne / WFSU News

Two North Florida congressional candidates are hoping to reach voters who are turned off by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Democrats Steve Specht and Walt Dartland are running in the predominantly conservative Florida Panhandle, Specht in District 1 and Dartland in District 2.

A House panel today approved $436 million in proposed tax cuts.

MGN Online

The losses Democrats took during the 2014 midterm election are causing rifts within the party ranks. Still the general consensus is for the party to unite and move forward. But, some political scientists say that can only happen once what’s called the “blame game” phase is over.

Losing Florida’s gubernatorial race was a big blow to Democrats in this election. They also lost a number of races across the state and the nation.

Among the losses were several seats in the Florida House—which created a GOP supermajority.

Crist's "Restore the Cuts" kickoff event brought supporters and opponents
Nick Evans

Charlie Crist is touring the state in a school bus touting his stance on education. His kickoff event got hijacked by opponents on the right and the left.

Charlie Crist is attacking Gov. Rick Scott’s record on education, notably targeting budget cuts of more than $1 billion under Scott’s watch.  Crist says this policy has crippled Florida’s schools.

beachguide.com

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is no longer seeking applicants to provide vendor services at one of their state parks in Walton County.

Last month, DEP officials put out a request asking for business proposals to help enhance visitor services at Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach. That includes food and beverage services, recreational equipment rentals, and event management services.

But, those plans were later quashed after Senate President Don Gaetz, and his son, State Representative Matt Gaetz stepped in.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Taxes on hurricane supplies and defense contractors interested in locating in Florida would be scuttled under bills that received a first hearing Thursday.

The state has inaugurated several sales tax “holidays” in recent years and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) wants to add another on hurricane preparedness supplies.

On Thursday, fellow House member John Tobia (R-Melbourne Beach) asked how much an average generator costs and how Gaetz chose to tax only those generators which cost more than $700.

Greyhounds racing
Rainer Hungershausen

Lawmakers from around the state gathered Wednesday to urge members of the House and Senate to pass greyhound protection laws in this year’s legislative session.

According to a report from GREY2K USA, a greyhound protection agency, and the ASPCA, there were 74 documented racing dog deaths in Florida in the last eight months of 2013. 

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs), who’s filed a house bill calling for the decoupling of gambling and racing industries, spoke out against Florida’s dog racing industry.

House Says No To Tracking Sickness Caused By Toxic Algae

Apr 30, 2013

An amendment to a water pollution bill wanting to track toxic algae deaths and illnesses failed in the Florida House Tuesday. It didn’t pass because opponents say it’s unnecessary and wouldn’t help the bill’s job improving the state’s water quality. Those behind the bill say, not voting for the bill was a big mistake.

Criminals sentenced to die in Florida could wait less time until their executions under a bill the House passed on Thursday. The capital punishment speed-up passed after a debate filled with scripture and emotional pleas.

Thursday’s House debate sounded like a church service at times, with quotes like “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the lord,” “Genesis 9:6. If man sheds blood, by man shall his blood be shed,” and “Those of you who are without sin, cast the first vote yes” echoing through the chambers.

Florida lawmakers are looking to streamline the death penalty process to avoid the lengthy appeals they say are currently plaguing the system. Two measures aiming to do just that cleared another committee Thursday, and are one step closer to coming up for a vote by the full Legislature.

Most states in the nation impose the death penalty. Florida is one of them, but it’s also a state that’s known for its lengthy death penalty process. It’s behind only California, the state in the nation with the most number of people facing the death penalty.

As National Sexual Assault Awareness Month fast approaches, child abuse sex survivor Lauren Book is partnering with Florida lawmakers and state attorneys in advocating for passage of a bill that would expand Florida’s Victimless Prosecution Law. The bill would extend the age for child abuse victims to have an alternative to having to face their abuser in court.

“Often times, it feels to the victim that you’re the one who’s on trial and that’s why I’m really excited about this bill,” said Lauren Book.

Florida is one of the top states in the nation with the most number of people facing the death penalty—Close to half of which have been on death row for at least 20 years. And, a group of lawmakers is now trying to streamline the death penalty process through a couple of measures, but it’s facing much opposition.

The death penalty lives on in Florida…at least through this Legislative session. A bill that would have abolished capital punishment in the state died in its first subcommittee hearing on Thursday. The bill’s sponsor had been trying to get it heard for three years, and she’s vowing to bring it back next year.

Florida is known as a hub in the nation for human trafficking. With Human Trafficking Awareness Month coming to a close, lawmakers are continuing efforts to curb the practice, by putting more measures and penalties in place to shut down illegal massage parlors.

“After drugs, humans are the second most trafficked item in the world. And, this is happening right in your own backyard. Who would have ever have guessed some ugliness would ever live among such beauty?"

Amendment 12, if passed, will change the way the student member of Florida’s public university governing board is picked. The amendment is straightforward. The change would require creating a new council and shutting out the longtime student advocacy group, Florida Student Association. Its history is not. The issue revolves around the student member of Florida’s Board of Governors. It’s a 17 member board overseeing the state’s university system. One member is a university student.

A bill that would have granted sovereign immunity to emergency room doctors is changing as it moves through the legislature. Lynn Hatter reports a House panel has approved a series of amendments that supporters say would bring down the cost of healthcare. But the move has opponents arguing it would limit a patient’s right to sue for medical malpractice.

A 2007 Florida Senate report concluded that too many doctors are refusing emergency room on-call duty, due to increased exposure to lawsuits and higher medical malpractice insurance costs. So, as Sascha Cordner reports, one Florida lawmaker is hoping to alleviate those concerns by granting emergency room doctors immunity from medical malpractice lawsuits.