Senator David Simmons

Florida Channel

Bills to help some of the state’s most vulnerable Floridians as well as youthful offenders have passed their first Senate committee.

Florida Carry Inc. Facebook page

A Stand Your Ground-related bill is now teed up for a vote in the full Florida Senate. But, a bipartisan push to water down the bill Thursday is angering some gun rights groups.

Florida Channel

A bill that enhances the penalties for passing a stopped school bus is heading to the Senate floor, after passing its last committee Monday. But, proponents of “Gabby’s Law” aren’t too happy with a recent change to the original bill.

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The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled on a case relating to Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law. The matter—which pit State prosecutors against public defenders and defense lawyers—was also a matter of contention during last year’s legislative session.

MGN Online

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

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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

R.Benk / WFSU-News

Going into Florida’s 2014 legislative session, water issues seemed to take center stage. But, the political will to solve problems with the state’s degrading springs, wetlands and aquifers dried up before session’s end. Now, one Tallahassee scientist is hoping to bridge the political divide with a free market solution.

Getty Images

A couple of NRA-backed priorities died in the Florida Senate Thursday. The issues centered around one bill that that would allow people to legally carry a concealed weapon without a permit during a mandatory evacuation and another issue relating to tweaking Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

Emergency Concealed Carry Bill

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.

Sen. David Simmons' district facebook page

Is a measure aiming to tweak Florida’s Stand Your Ground law dead this year? While some believe that effort is over, others—including the law’s main author—don’t seem to think so.

Last month, a proposal aimed at tweaking the controversial law began to move again, when it passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee—the bill’s second stop.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

The bipartisan bill to tweak Florida’s Stand Your Ground law appears stalled in the Florida Senate. And, several groups, including the so-called Dream Defenders, joined the measure’s author in calling for further discussion to changing the controversial law.

Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith has been working side by side with Altamonte Springs Republican Senator David Simmons in trying to make changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.

Smith says the legislation is needed to address some of the recent decisions associated with the law.

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.

State Attorney's Office

State Attorneys say they’re against Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.  At least one of those prosecutors says he’s also dead set against the so-called bipartisan tweak bill now moving in the Senate.

Tallahassee State Attorney Willie Meggs is railing against an NRA-backed provision in the bill that he insists would “make a bad policy a lot worse.” He says he opposes Stand Your Ground because Florida residents no longer feel they have the duty to retreat in a situation that could call for it.

MGN Online

A slew of measures passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with some now heading for floor votes. That includes the so-called "revenge porn" ban and a bill aiming to address the state's inmate escapes.

"Revenge Porn" Ban

Florida is one step closer to joining New Jersey and California on the list of states with their own so-called “revenge porn” bans on the books.

Altamonte Springs Republican Senator David Simmons says his bill deals with a crime directed mainly at women.

MGN Online

Over the next few weeks, Florida lawmakers are slated to take up a series of gun-related measures, from fixes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law to enhancing penalties for insurers who discriminate against gun-owners. But, while some bills appear to be moving quickly through the Legislature, others appear to be stalled in the legislative process.

"Right To Be A Kid" Bill

MGN Online

A bill making so-called “revenge porn” illegal in Florida passed its first Senate committee Monday.

Altamonte Springs Republican Senator David Simmons’ bill initially made it a third degree felony for intentionally posting a sexually explicit image of someone on a website or social media site, like facebook, without their consent. And, if the victim’s a minor, it’s a second degree felony.

But, he’s since changed it, at the request of Baker Republican Senator Greg Evers, the chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee whose committee heard the bill Monday.

Wen Tong Neo

Following the suicide death last year of a Florida teenager who’d been cyber bullied, lawmakers are looking for ways to crack down on online harassment. But Regan McCarthy reports a measure to do just that raises questions about free speech rights and saddling teens with criminal records.

Teenagers can have a reputation for being well… mean. And Altamonte Springs Republican Senator David Simmons says the anonymity and far reach that comes with social media has only magnified that.

What The Water 'Declaration' Actually Does

Jan 24, 2014
Gaz Haywood / Flickr Creative Commons

Water issues are taking center stage in the run up to Florida’s 2014 legislative session, and this week environmental activists joined together to declare that every Floridian has the right to clean water. They’re pressuring politicians to sign a recently-drafted “declaration” of water rights that was the subject of statewide rallies this week. But, since the declaration is neither petition, nor legislation, some wonder: to what end?

Florida Channel

Florida lawmakers are reconsidering a failed legislative effort last year aimed at reducing the chances of former inmates coming back into the state’s prison system. But, while most consider getting ex-inmates on the path to getting a job and a house a good thing, others say some parts of the bill need more work.

Identification Cards

Florida Channel

A group of Florida senators unanimously passed a bill Monday that aims to make life easier for ex-inmates upon their release from prison.

Upon their release from prison, Altamonte Springs Republican Senator David Simmons says it’s difficult for many inmates to get an ID card.  And, he says making it easier would lower recidivism. Under his bill, Florida-born inmates can get an ID card as well as a copy of their birth certificate upon their release.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

A Florida state senator is on a mission to replace the state’s no-fault auto insurance system with one he says will lower drivers’ premiums and pay more in compensation when they’re injured. The call for insurance reform comes just as a court has allowed the state insurance regulator to start enforcing some controversial insurance changes the Legislature made last year.

Florida Senate

Another Florida lawmaker has filed a bill to make changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Miami Senator Dwight Bullard says his goes further than a bipartisan proposal starting to move through the Florida Legislature.

MGN Online

Should Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law be tweaked?  A bipartisan proposal that would make some changes to the controversial measure passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-2 during this legislative committee week.  But, the bill has its share of critics, including a powerful House member who could hold the key to its survival.

Florida Channel

A bill that aims to clarify Florida’s Stand Your Ground law passed its first committee Tuesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee was initially set to consider two similar bills seeking to tweak the law.

Florida Senate

A state lawmaker seeking to make changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law says he’s optimistic ahead of a hearing set to review his bill. It’s one of two bills a group of legislators are expected to take up in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning.

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