Senator Rene Garcia

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The Florida House has now teed up gun safety legislation for a vote, in response to last month’s mass shooting at a South Florida high school. They agreed Tuesday to take up the Senate version of the bill that narrowly passed Monday. While language was stripped from that bill to exclude most classroom teachers, opponents argue the “compromise” could still arm school staff, like coaches.

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The Florida Senate has passed a school safety bill putting new restrictions on rifle sales and allowing some teachers to carry guns. It's dubbed the "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act."

Governor Rick Scott in his office in front of a Florida flag
Office of Gov. Rick Scott

Governor Rick Scott is calling on the FBI Director to resign after the agency didn’t take action on information received about the 19-year-old who killed 17 people at a South Florida High School.

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A bill that would allow sex-trafficking survivors to sue hotels that turn a blind eye to their abuse is moving in the Florida Senate. Some lawmakers worry that Senate Bill 1044 would create a new area of the law – or grounds for fraud.  Monday the testimony of four survivors moved the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs to a unanimous vote in favor of the measure.

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With a new change, a bill has narrowly passed its first Senate committee giving religious institutions the right to allow guns on their property, if they’re attached to a school. That’s after it’s failed twice before in that same committee for the 2018 legislative session.

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Opioid abuse may grab the headlines, but drug related deaths overall are on the rise.  And when it comes to helping people kick an addiction, one lawmaker believes Florida is rejecting some of the best people for the job.

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The official start to the 2018 legislative session is about a month away, and already, some high profile gun bills appear to be dead. Discussion surrounding the proposals not only pit Republicans against one another, it’s led to sparring between gun rights groups as well.

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A bill building on Florida’s anti-human trafficking efforts is now heading to both the House and Senate floors.

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

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The newest chairman of the committee that looks at children and elder affair issues is outlining some of his top priorities for the 2017 legislative session.

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The Florida Legislature has passed a number of claims bill, sending them onto the Governor. But, some lawmakers are upset one claims bill to compensate a surviving child of abuse did not survive the legislative process.

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Bills aimed at helping Florida’s youth have passed the state Senate Wednesday.

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A pair of juvenile justice reform bills is continuing to gain traction in the Florida Legislature.

Rene Garcia
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Twin bills floating through Florida’s legislature would make it easier for immigrant children to receive health care. Expanding KidCare for Florida children would cost just under five million dollars.

Leroy Carter is a recent immigrant to the U.S. About a month ago, he tried and failed to get health insurance for his child who is here. Carter says he makes too much as a part-time worker to qualify for some care. But his problem is also that he just arrived.

Rene Garcia
Florida Senate / FLSenate.gov

  Florida’s public schools could get a break on the fines they pay to the state. A bill in the Senate would give schools more flexibility when it comes to the number of kids who can be in a classroom.

A state lawmaker is trying to improve the situation by recalculating how penalties are assessed. The bill would determine average enrollment by using entire schools for averages rather than individual classrooms. This could lessen the burden School Board Chairman Gary Chartrand says is unduly placed on schools.

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Based on two separate Supreme Court decisions, state lawmakers are now tasked with reforming Florida’s juvenile sentencing laws. But, the Senate’s latest revamp is drawing mixed reviews.

According to the federal court decisions from 2010 and 2012, juveniles cannot be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole or some kind of review. That’s regardless of their crime whether they committed a serious felony or convicted of murder. But Florida’s state laws haven’t caught up.

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Florida has stood on the sidelines for more than a year as other states have taken the federal government up on its offer to provide more funding if more people are added to Medicaid rolls. Last year, the House and Senate flirted with the idea but failed to reach an agreement. But the conversation continued even after lawmakers went home.

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A bill that would allow certain Florida nursing homes to bypass state rules to create new nursing home beds has cleared another committee. But, the Republican backed proposal that could create a special exception for one retirement community in particular is raising concerns among other Republicans and nursing home stakeholders.

Since 2002, nursing home providers must go through what’s called a Certificate of Need, or a CON review process before establishing a new nursing home or adding nursing home beds.

Florida Channel

A bill that would make it easier for people with certain disabilities to keep their disabled parking permit passed its first committee Thursday. But, a group of lawmakers say the measure still has more changes in store.

Under current law, someone who’s classified as having “long-term mobility impairment” must get their disabled parking permit issued and renewed by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles every four years. But, Democratic Senator Arthenia Joyner says she wants to eliminate that requirement.

Florida Senate

Lawmakers in the Florida Hispanic Caucus are blasting the Florida Chamber of Commerce for opposing a law that prohibits the state from doing business with oppressive regimes. As Jessica Palombo reports, the Florida Chamber voiced its opposition in a brief it filed in a lawsuit seeking to block the law.

The law prohibits Florida from doing business with countries like Cuba and Syria. On Monday, the Chamber filed a brief, saying the law would possibly harm the state’s economy.

Governor Rick Scott says the state is asking an appeals court to reverse a federal judge’s ruling that blocks a law that stops state and county governments from doing business with companies that also do business with Cuba and Syria.

Florida Senator Rene Garcia is asking the Senate President to look into whether the Governor’s claims that Garcia’s bill can’t be enforced are true. As Sascha Cordner reports, the Governor made those claims, after he signed the measure Tuesday regarding Cuba-Syria trade restrictions.

A Florida Senator is urging Governor Rick Scott to sign a bill into law that he says would send a message that Florida doesn’t do business with countries on the U-S terrorist list. As Sascha Cordner reports, he wants Florida taxpayers to stop investing in corporations and companies, that are doing business with Cuba and Syria.