Senator Bill Montford

Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee)
Nick Evans

A sweeping and contentious education measure may be on its way to court, but a Democratic Senator wants to double down on what he sees as good provisions in the bill.

lewisfuneralhomes.net via the Evers family

The memorial service as well as the funeral for former Senator Greg Evers is planned for next week. The North Florida Republican was recently killed in a single car wreck when his pickup truck crashed through a guardrail near his Baker home. Now, some of his colleagues and friends are taking the time to remember Evers and the legislative legacy he left behind.

Rep. Alexander and Sen. Montford (3rd and 4th from right) with local officials.
Nick Evans

Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty and Franklin Counties are teaming up to improve regional infrastructure.  The partnership connects the Gulf of Mexico to Interstate 10.

(L-R) Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-Miami), Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) and Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart).
Nick Evans

Gov. Rick Scott has about 10 days to sign legislation appropriating money to counties hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A settlement deal gives the state about $2 billion over several years.

Florida Channel

State employees will be getting a pay raise this year, under a proposal now heading to the Senate floor. But, it’s tied to a controversial pension reform issue and health insurance reform package backed by the House.

Steeleman204 via flickr

Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) is pushing a claims bill for a local woman through the legislature. Montford says the bill would give $1.15 million dollars to Angela Sanford who was involved in crash with a Leon County ambulance in 2013. 

Citrus greening (Huanglongbing) is reeking havoc on Florida's citrus industry.
A. Barra via Wikimedia commons

Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) wants to get rid of abandoned citrus groves, which he says can contribute to the spread of citrus greening.

This spring’s Florida Standards Assessment was plagued by technical glitches and some questions didn’t align with state standards. Florida’s accountability system uses the test results to determine school grades, teacher pay and student promotions but educators say it’s time to re-evaluate.

MGN Online

Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) has filed a claims bill on behalf of a Tallahassee woman severely injured in an ambulance crashed into the car in which she was the passenger.

Florida Senate/halseybeshears.com

An effort to fully compensate a local man for severe injuries he suffered in a bicycle accident years ago is now before Governor Rick Scott.

Local lawmakers want $250,000 to renovate the St. Marks lighthouse.
By Mosamiazaz / wikimedia Commons

Florida lawmakers are heading back to Tallahassee June first to pick up where they left off on budget negotiations. The Big Bend’s regional delegation is banking on the special session to get some local projects funded.

jeffersonschooldistrict.org

As the 2015 Legislative session quickly approaches, local lawmakers are asking constituents for their thoughts throughout the week. Wakulla County legislative delegation met Tuesday.

Sen. Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) and Rep. Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) led Tuesday’s Wakulla County legislative delegation meeting. Montford says education popped up among the biggest concerns.

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.

Florida Channel

A pension reform proposal is now heading to the House floor, while its Senate companion just cleared its first official committee. While both now scaled-back bills have their differences, they have an equal amount of opposition from public employees and most Democrats stacked against them.

Trilby Republican Senator Wilton Simpson’s bill has gone through several changes, and Thursday, during the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, it was no different.

Andrew Ressa

When lawmakers passed a measure last session to crack down on internet cafes running illegal gaming operations, some worried the bill also meant “game over” for family arcades. A measure filed this year is aimed at backing off some of those rules so those businesses can stay open without gambling on the possibility of a lawsuit.

Capital Lanes in Tallahassee is more than just a bowling alley. It also houses a bar and sizeable arcade

Florida Association of District School Superintendents

A proposal calling for a “time out” in Florida’s school accountability system has been filed in the Legislature, but faces long odds. So do proposals calling on the state to repeal Common Core standards.

R.Benk / WFSU-FM

Big Bend Hospice has been caring for the region’s terminal and end of life patients since 1983, supported by its own not-for-profit foundation and community partners, now it’s getting ready to expand. Florida State Senator Bill Montford spoke about the facility’s three-decade long reputation for compassionate care at the ground-breaking ceremony Tuesday.

State workers may soon get their first pay raise in more than six years. Both House and Senate budgets include funding for the salary increases. The House version of plan gives state employees about $1,400, and some are hoping the Senate may top that.

Democratic Senator Bill Montford’s district is full of state workers. He represents the Capital City and surrounding counties. He’s been pushing for raises for state workers for years, and says the House’s $1,400 figure is a good start.

Local school superintendents are up in arms over a proposal in the House requiring public school districts to hand over facilities if charter schools ask for them.  The issue came up repeatedly at a meeting of North Florida superintendents in Leon County with education officials and Democratic lawmakers calling it a power grab.

Gov. Rick Scott’s $74 billion proposed budget includes lowering the corporate tax rate to exempt another 2,000 businesses and getting rid of sales taxes on manufacturing equipment. He also wants to increase education spending by $1.2 billion, which includes a $2,500 pay raise for full time teachers. State employees would get a $1,200 bonus.

“On top of that, we have a variable pay component. So 15 percent of workers can get $5,000, and another 20 percent can get $2,000 in variable pay annually, going forward. I want to reward the most effective employees," Scott said Thursday.  

It’s been more than five years since Florida's state employees got a raise. Now  Senator Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, says he’s prepared to offer budget language to give state employees salary increases.

Florida’s required three-percent pension contribution law and the expiration of federal tax breaks has meant fewer dollars in the pockets of state employees. Senator Bill Montford, Democratic Whip,  sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee. He says he can’t predict the state’s budgetary future, but that he’s prepared to put an offer on the table for state workers: