Senator Darren Soto

MGN Online

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says Florida ranks as number one in the nation for vehicle-related drownings. And, that’s why one Florida lawmaker says he’s happy the Governor signed “Chloe’s Law.”

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.

deputyscottpine.com

A bill stemming from the death of a fallen sheriff’s deputy is putting the House and Senate at odds over a pension reform proposal.

chloeslaw.org

A bill aimed at cutting down the number of drowning deaths associated with car accidents in Florida has passed its first House committee. “Chloe’s law” stems from the death of a University of Central Florida student last year.

iStockphoto

A bill expunging the criminal records of certain minors when they become an adult has passed the full Florida Senate.

Sen. Soto's twitter/Florida House

Two state lawmakers are hoping to offer more to help deaf Floridians, who are facing arrest.

Red Huber, Pool

The names of several Florida law enforcement officers who died while on duty are expected to be etched into a Washington D.C. Memorial next week, after remembrance ceremonies were recently held at the state Capitol. Those honored include a former Sheriff’s deputy, whose family has been awaiting the passage of a bill that would have helped them out financially, but died during the last days of session.

MGN Online

Two bills aimed at protecting victims of sex-related crimes are now headed to Governor Rick Scott.

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.

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.

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.

MGN Online

Both chambers of the Florida Legislature laid out their criminal justice budgets Wednesday. The House and Senate spending plans are similar—driven by a goal of helping Florida’s troubled prison system.

Sen. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange)
The Florida Channel

Gov. Rick Scott wants to cut over half a billion dollars in taxes in the coming fiscal year—much of that coming from a reduction in taxes on cell phone and cable bills.  The plan is moving forward in the Senate.

Zoute Drop via Flickr

Sen. Darren Soto (D-Orlando),  is trying to save the day with a bill that would keep Florida clocks from falling back this November. The “Sunshine Protection Act” would keep daylight saving time in place year round.

Soto wants to make the change for economic and environmental reasons. He says Floridians and the tourism industry will benefit from being outdoors.

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.

MGN Online

In the last several days, a number of bills aimed at helping Florida’s criminal justice and juvenile justice systems have passed in either chamber of the state Legislature. They range from a measure to prevent inmate escapes to another that aims to revamp the juvenile justice system.

Bill Addressing Inmate Escapes

Making sure prison release orders are properly verified is the goal of bill authored by Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) in his capacity as chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Michael Fleshman via Flickr

Hispanic Democratic Florida lawmakers are rallying to change state professional-licensing requirements after the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday undocumented immigrants cannot be admitted to the Florida Bar as lawyers. At the same time, undocumented students called on President Barack Obama to push federal immigration reform as he visited Miami today.

Fiscal Impact Of Tech Agency Still Uncertain

Mar 5, 2014
br1dotcom / Flickr Creative Commons

Florida lawmakers are hoping the creation of a new state information technology agency might save taxpayers money. But, despite a unanimous vote of support, not everyone is certain that it will and some are questioning the bill’s chances of becoming law.

Margate Democratic Senator Jeremy Ring gave the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government a deluge of reasons for consolidating the state’s technology within a single, standalone agency. Ring mentioned how Florida is the only state without a Chief Information Officer.

Governor's office

Florida Governor Rick Scott spent the week releasing details of his proposed 2014 budget in dribs and drabs. He’s expected to unveil the full plan next week, but some say it’s already clear the governor is courting votes from certain groups of people.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Former House Majority Leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera has been hailed as a person who can help get Governor Rick Scott’s 2014 legislative agenda off the ground as Scott’s new Second-in-Command. But, it’s the fact he’ll be Florida’s first Hispanic Lieutenant Governor that has all sides talking.

FAU Harbor Branch Institute

A group of Florida lawmakers is deciding how much money to spend cleaning Florida waterways polluted by Lake Okeechobee runoff. A Wednesday committee hearing focused largely on helping the Indian River Lagoon, but some presenters differed over funding requests.

Before listening to presenters stating why the funds were needed, Umatilla Republican Senator Alan Hays set the tone of the meeting by describing how his Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on General Government could be swayed.

Environmentalists Praise Proposal To Track Algae-Caused Sickness

Apr 16, 2013
EarthJustice

When nutrient levels – nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen – are too high in Florida’s waterways, toxic algae blooms erupt damaging the ecosystem. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a bill moving through the legislature that would put the State in charge of the problem. But environmentalists worry the bill won’t help as much as it should. So a new amendment to the bill is piquing their interest.

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation is pushing back against critics who say it’s not doing a good job of running the state’s billion-dollar support program for homeowners facing foreclosure.