Senator Arthenia Joyner

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Governor Rick Scott has signed a bill into law that’s meant to be an update to the Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Act. The aim is to help exonerees have an easier time receiving compensation for a wrongful conviction. It’s because over the past decade, few have been compensated due to a provision that blocks those with a prior felony record.

Florida’s political and corporate elite are nervously anticipating Monday, when  House Speaker Richard Corcoran has promised to name his picks to the Constitution Revision Commission.

Florida Channel

Florida lawmakers may be looking at getting rid of the state’s so-called “Clean Hands” provision. That provision stops those with a prior felony record from automatically receiving compensation, even if they were wrongfully imprisoned for a new crime.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

A new Florida law allows the state to pay for the reburial of boys’ remains found on the grounds of the now-defunct Dozier School for Boys as well as helps take care of the unclaimed remains.  Some stakeholders are now looking toward next steps associated with the new law.

Edmund D. Fountain / Tampa Bay Times

A bill to help provide closure for families impacted by the now-closed Dozier School for Boys is now headed to Governor Rick Scott. That’s the former North Florida reform school surrounded by allegations of abuse and deaths over a span of decades.

Florida Channel

The Florida Senate has passed a bill allowing the state to provide financial help to the families who want to rebury the remains of their loved ones, found on the Panhandle property of the former Dozier School for Boys. Its House counterpart is also heading to the floor.

Florida Channel

Bills seeking to compensate the families who want to rebury their loved ones found on the property of the now-closed Dozier School for Boys are continuing to move in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. One bill is already headed to the Senate floor.

asonefoundation.org

About a week after friends and family of a former college football player advocated on behalf of their loved one’s claims bill, it passed its first committee hearing in the Senate.

Florida Channel

A bill seeking to help the families impacted by the now closed Dozier School for Boys is still gaining traction in the Senate. And, the measure now includes some new changes.

MGN Online

A bill seeking a three percent pay raise for state employees unanimously passed its first Senate panel Monday. And, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are mulling over the issue as well.

The Florida Senate passed a series of gun bills Thursday.

Florida Channel

Just off the heels of Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet receiving their final report on the Dozier School for Boys, another Florida Governor is throwing his weight behind reburial efforts in the form of two bills that passed Tuesday.

Florida Channel

A claims bill to further compensate a young special needs rape victim has passed its first Senate committee. But, not without some controversy.

MGN Online

A Florida lawmaker is hoping to bring back a discussion about the best way to prevent skin cancer in younger people. Her measure bans minors from using tanning beds.

MGN Online

A bipartisan effort is underway to relax Florida eligibility requirements for a wrongfully incarcerated inmate with a prior record to be compensated. But, some say they’d like to see that effort go further.

Florida State University

The first bills of the 2016 Florida Legislative Session have been filed in the Senate, and it includes three claims bills.

MGN Online

The state’s court system will be a top priority next year in Florida’s criminal justice budget. That’s what a group of Florida lawmakers have vowed to do.

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Florida’s criminal justice budget issues cover a broad spectrum of agencies from Florida’s troubled prison system to the state’s courts system. While some areas of the budget got funded, other areas seen as priorities were lacking.

Florida Channel

A bill that would require a woman to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion has passed another hurdle in the Senate, despite continued opposition.

Florida Channel

A panel of Florida lawmakers grilled the head of Florida’s troubled prison system, before unanimously confirming her during a Senate hearing Thursday.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

A controversial abortion bill passed its first Senate committee Tuesday, despite much opposition.

Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) listening to Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner on her thoughts on his omnibus prison reform bill Wednesday..
Florida Channel

A comprehensive prison reform package cleared another Senate committee Wednesday. But, at the bill’s next stop, the measure may look a little different due to some bipartisan concerns with the omnibus bill.

The Florida Senate Democratic Caucus.
Nick Evans

Florida’s Senate Democrats will face strong opposition in the coming session.  The caucus met Wednesday to discuss how best to organize their legislative efforts in the coming year.

After a 2014 session in which Democratic projects were often met with apathy if not outright hostility, the minority party returns to the capitol with many of the same concerns.  But Senate Minority leader Arthenia Joyner struck an optimistic tone Wednesday at the first of her party’s caucus meetings.

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Bringing stability and consistency to the troubled Florida Department of Corrections is at the forefront of several lawmakers’ and prison reform stakeholders’ minds as the 2015 legislative session draws near. And, the discussion may start at the top.

That’s especially after Governor Rick Scott still has to name a permanent head to lead the troubled agency—after Scott’s third Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary recently resigned.

On Monday, the Florida Senate easily elected Sen. Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) as its new Democratic leader.

She says her goals for the 2015 legislative session include working across the aisle with Republican leadership on water, education and prison reform. Still, she says there will be some partisan issues.

“It’s to be expected because we’re the loyal minority, and we’re going to fight for our people,” said Joyner. “I mean, it’s only natural that ideologically wise we’re on different points on some of the issues.”

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