Senator Chris Smith

AFP/Getty Images

A bill putting guidelines in place for law enforcement agencies using body cameras is now heading to the Governor, after passing the Florida Legislature unanimously.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

A body cameras-related bill is now headed to the Senate floor.

The Florida Senate passed a series of gun bills Thursday.

AP Photo

Before the House quickly adjourned, two body cameras bills were quickly moving through the legislative process, with one already headed to the Governor—which means the status of one of the measures is unknown.

MGN Online

Florida lawmakers passed a series of bills affecting law enforcement agencies this week, and at least two are headed to the Governor’s desk for approval.

MGN Online

A body cameras-related bill is now heading to the Senate Floor. The committee bill’s main sponsor is Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) in his capacity as chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Florida Channel

A bill that would ensure all law enforcement agencies using body cameras establish set policies and procedures passed a Senate panel Tuesday.

AFP / Getty Images

An ever-changing measure initially mandating all law enforcement wear body cameras is now heading to the Senate floor, after passing its final committee Thursday.

MGN Online

A bill allowing people to carry a firearm without a concealed carry permit during the evacuation of a declared state of emergency is now teed up for a vote in the Senate, despite opposition from several Democrats.

Florida Channel

A bill now making sure law enforcement agencies across the state that use body cameras have set guidelines passed another hurdle in the Senate Tuesday. It’s the same bill that originally mandated all officers wear the devices.

Rainer Hungershausen

Greyhounds are taking the lead with an injury reporting bill already rounding the corner. It’s one of the first bills Senate President Andy Gardiner has said he wants to see cross the finish line this session. The measure requires the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to track injuries greyhounds sustain while racing. Officials say, a racing greyhound dies in Florida every three days. But Jack Cory who represents the Florida Greyhound Association says the bill won’t help.

Florida Channel

A bill that previously mandated law enforcement wear body cameras, which passed its first Senate panel Monday, has a new change. It’s a measure that now allows law enforcement agencies to decide whether to use the cameras and puts forth standard guidelines.

The newest change to Sen. Chris Smith’s (D-Fort Lauderdale) bill—made Monday—is aimed at addressing residents’ privacy concerns.  

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Florida is one of seven states with greyhound racing. Many tracks are struggling to meet costs, but continue because a law requires them to hold races in order to keep their card races. But, a group of lawmakers is pushing for “decoupling” the tracks and the cardrooms, some are not too happy about the idea.

“Florida is the leading state for Greyhound racing. We have more tracks, more races than any other state remaining in the country,” said Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs).

MGN Online

Some top legislative leaders say they’re keeping an eye on a current bill mandating law enforcement agencies across the state wear body cameras.

Senate President Andy Gardiner says while there’s already been some dialogue over the bill filed by Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) and Sen. Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale) in his chamber, he has some concerns.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

The sponsor of a bill requiring law enforcement across the state to wear police body cameras calls his bill a win-win for everyone. But, at least one group representing thousands of Florida police officers disagrees with the proposed mandate.

Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) filed the bill. Former Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith is set to file the Senate companion.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Should the Florida Supreme Court or the state Legislature have the power to shift the burden of proof to a defendant or the state prosecutor in a Stand Your Ground case? That question was recently before the high court as well as the Legislature earlier this year. So, could that come back into play again next legislative session?

The Case Before The Court

Two bills dealing with how Florida prosecutes and punishes sex offenders passed their first legislative hurdle Monday. One bill deals with statutes of limitations while the other stiffens penalties for sex offenses.

Florida lawmakers are now sending their election reform package to Governor Rick Scott. And, the bill passed the full legislature with bipartisan support.

The House has passed an election reforms package again that will expand early voting days and sites.

“Mr. Speaker, we started the first day of Session with this bill. And, in between a lot of hard work, we end today with this bill,” said Democratic Representative Janet Cruz.

The Florida Senate’s Election reform bill is one step closer for a floor vote, after it passed another committee Tuesday. But, things grew tense as the measure’s Republican sponsor faced off against Democrats, who say the measure does not go far enough.

The vetting process of the election reform bill in the Senate Community Affairs Committee started off like any other committee meeting with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Jack Latvala of Clearwater, explaining parts of the bill.

Gov. Rick Scott is calling for a $1.2 billion increase in the K-12 education budget, but the proposal is being met with skepticism from Democrats and legislative leaders.

Scott made his remarks before a room full of reporters Wednesday, ahead of his planned budget proposal rollout. The governor wants to boost the state’s K-12 education spending by about $400 per student. Included in the billion dollar proposed increase is the $480 million Scott  previously announced he wants to fund $2500 dollar pay raises for full-time Florida teachers.

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.

Florida lawmakers are gearing up for the next legislative session which starts in March and in meetings this week Republicans and Democrats are formalizing their leadership teams and outlining their agenda for the 2013 legislative session.

Following Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin, Florida Senator Chris Smith (D-Oakland Park) is pushing a bill to allow recalls in the Sunshine state.

Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker went up against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, in a recall contest Tuesday, and won. That makes Walker one of the only governors in U.S. history to survive a recall. Now Florida Senator Chris Smith is wondering whether the outcome in favor of a Republican will be enough to persuade House Speaker-designate Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) to give his recall bill a hearing.

Governor Rick Scott’s “Stand Your Ground” task force is rejecting claims from some Democrats that it is biased in favor of the law. Lynn Hatter reports, the group pushed back against the bias claims at its first meeting Tuesday.

Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll is chairing the group, officially called the “Task force for Citizen Safety and Protection".  And she takes issue with its critics, who say the makeup of the group is biased.

Pages