Senator Maria Sachs

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

A state lawmaker wants Florida students to be taught about boating safety in schools.

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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.

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New public safety legislation is hitting the table this session with distracted drivers at the top of the list. When it comes to texting while driving, State Sen. Maria Sachs (D-Broward) says slow your roll or ante up.

A bill regulating the parasailing industry is among 32 new laws set to take effect Wednesday. And, the head of Florida’s water sports association says the state’s parasailing industry is ready.

The "White-Miskell" Act

In January, Sen Maria Sachs (D-Delray Beach) said she’d never go up in a parasail with an industry that doesn’t have any uniform standards.

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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


A bill regulating Florida’s parasailing industry and another helping foster kids obtain driver's licenses are among the measures now heading to Governor Rick Scott.

Parasail Bill

The measure—which never had a hearing for several years—got one this year, following a parasailing accident that happened in Senate President Don Gaetz’ district and received national attention.

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The Florida Senate teed up several measures Wednesday, unanimously passed a number of measures, and sent some over to the Governor for his signature. That includes a bill addressing juvenile life sentencing, a pair of gun-related measures, and another increasing speed limits.

Speed Limit Bill

About 50 bills got teed up for a vote Wednesday, including a bipartisan bill allowing Florida Department of Transportation officials to change the speed limits on certain highways.

Water Sports Industry Association (

A measure aimed at regulating Florida’s parasail industry is heading to the House floor. But, the newly expanded bill almost became collateral damage, after an initial attempt to pass the bill in its last committee failed.

The Original Bill

Florida’s parasailing industry gained national attention, after two Indiana teens were seriously injured in a Panhandle parasailing accident last year. Authorities say bad weather and heavy winds played a main role in that particular incident.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

This week is Road Safety Week in Florida, and to commemorate the week, state lawmakers joined by law enforcement gave an update Wednesday on several traffic safety bills that are moving—and may not be moving—in the Legislature.

Road Safety Week Highlights Traffic Safety

Florida Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Steve Casey says Road Safety Week is a time to honor and remember traffic accident victims who have been killed or injured.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

After several years of never being taken up in the Florida Legislature, a bill seeking to regulate the state’s parasailing industry is now heading to the Senate Floor. It’s a popular water sport in the Sunshine State that’s ended in tragedy for some.

It was in 2007 when Crystal White and her little sister Amber went parasailing in Pompano Beach.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

A couple of victims of Florida parasailing accidents and their families traveled to Tallahassee Thursday. They advocated on behalf of a bill aiming to regulate Florida’s parasailing industry, which unanimously passed its first Senate hearing.

Alexis Fairchild Recalls Her Accident

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

An Indiana teenager who was injured in a Panama City Beach parasailing incident last summer is suing the company responsible, and is expected to testify at a committee hearing next month in favor of a bill that could help put uniform safety standards in place for Florida’s parasailing industry.

Parasail Bill Hearing

If you asked Delray Beach Democratic Senator Maria Sachs if she’d parasail now, her answer would be “no.”

A Florida House bill would double the penalty for texting while driving through school zones. One of the bill’s sponsors says, although he’d like to enact a texting ban with more teeth, a small change to last year’s texting ban has a better chance of passing the Legislature.

The state’s texting ban is too weak, according to Rep. Richard Stark (D-Weston), because it allows ticketing only after drivers are pulled over for something else. But he says because that watered-down ban barely passed the Legislature, he doesn’t foresee a full-on ban passing just months later.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

For the fourth time, a state senator will try to enact uniform safety standards for the state’s parasailing industry. A provision in the bill that states that all parasail operators must have insurance has some saying that’s just the teeth the legislation needs to keep the unregulated industry from blowing in the breeze.

On the docks behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar in Destin, the wind causes flags to flap and large boats anchored to the dock to sway left and right—not ideal weather for parasailing.

Water Sports Industry Association

A bill aiming to make the parasailing industry safer will look different than in years past when it’s next discussed by the Florida Legislature. The bill’s sponsor says instead of having the government regulate the industry, parasail operators would regulate themselves.

It’s the fourth consecutive year the legislation has been filed. In years past, the bill has allowed for government regulation of the parasailing industry, but Delray Beach Senator Maria Sachs says she worked out a compromise to give the bill a chance of passage.

U.S. Coast Guard Investigators are confirming that severe weather conditions and the boat’s closeness to shore were major contributors in a Panhandle parasailing accident in early July. The two girls injured in the incident are recuperating in Indiana, but their story is prompting Florida lawmakers to revisit regulating the state’s parasailing industry.

The Parasailing Crash

The two girls involved in a recent Panhandle parasailing crash are now back home in Indiana. But, their story may foster more discussion in Florida. The incident is spurring a couple of Florida lawmakers to renew their push to regulate the parasailing industry.

Legislation aimed at regulating parasailing in Florida is set to be filed for next year’s 2014 Legislative Session. It’ll be the fourth consecutive year such a bill is written. But, Deerfield Beach Democratic Representative Gwendolyn Clarke-Reed says she believes this time her measure has a better chance.

A bill that would speed up the state’s death penalty process is on its way to the governor’s desk. Some say the bill ensures justice for victims and their families, while others worry it could block justice for the accused.

You might have heard the name William Michael Dillon. He was in the news quite a bit last year when the state approved his claims bill giving him $1.35 million for the time he spent wrongfully in prison for a crime he did not commit.

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Florida lawmakers have filed more than 60 bills dealing with firearms this legislative session. Some urge the President to protect citizens’  Second Amendment rights. One creates a three-day waiting list to purchase a gun. And another prohibits the sale of ammunition to anyone who hasn’t completed an anger management program. Now there is one more bill is up for discussion – this one creating background checks for all firearm purchases.