Senator Rob Bradley

MGN Online

Florida lawmakers are hoping to continue moving a bill forward aimed at changing Florida’s minimum mandatory sentencing rules. It comes on the heels of a recent decision by the state’s Executive Board to reject a request to release a Florida man early from prison, who fired a warning shot and received a 20 year prison sentence.

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After recently issuing an Executive Order reforming Florida’s prisons, proponents of prison reform are weighing in on Governor Rick Scott’s order.  Still, some lawmakers say prison reform bills could still be in the works for 2016.

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Prison reform may be officially dead this session, but prison reform advocates remain hopeful there will be some meaningful reform for Florida’s troubled prison system.

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The House’s prison reform package is now on its way back to the Senate for approval, before it can head to the Governor’s desk for the final OK.

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A bill blocking all law enforcement agencies—including local—from establishing traffic ticket quotas could be close to hitting the Governor’s desk, if it soon passes the House.

Let the games continue!

Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming) is pushing for a year extension of an agreement between the Seminole Tribe of Florida  and Florida that gives the Tribe exclusive rights for some games.  

The Seminole Tribe  wants to renew an exclusive gambling contract with the state. The Florida Senate is preparing a plan to extend part of the agreement with the Tribe to allow games such as blackjack at six tribe-owned casinos for another year.

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As the Florida Senate began to consider an omnibus bill to reform Florida’s troubled prison system, a Florida House committee has now also started to look into its own comprehensive reform package. But, there’s already one major difference between the two measures.

Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) listening to Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner on her thoughts on his omnibus prison reform bill Wednesday..
Florida Channel

A comprehensive prison reform package cleared another Senate committee Wednesday. But, at the bill’s next stop, the measure may look a little different due to some bipartisan concerns with the omnibus bill.

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A bill making it illegal for local law enforcement agencies to require officers to issue certain number of tickets may have some changes in store, after it passed another Senate panel Wednesday.

Sen. Rob Bradley’s (R-Fleming Island) bill wants to prevent what occurred at the small North Florida town he represents called Waldo. It’s seen as one of the nation’s worst speed traps and eventually had to disband its police force over the issue.

MGN Online

A Senate panel unanimously passed an omnibus package aimed at reforming Florida’s troubled prison system Monday. It includes creating a nine-member oversight board that can do surprise inspections, convene public hearings, and conduct independent investigations of correctional facilities. That part is authored by Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island).

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.  

Florida Channel

In the coming weeks, a Senate panel is slated to take up a comprehensive prison reform proposal aimed at fixing Florida’s troubled prison system.

It’s been months since Senate President Andy Gardiner tasked Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker)—the Senate Criminal Justice Committee chairman—with writing a comprehensive prison reform package to help fix a system plagued by inmate deaths and inmate abuse allegations. Gardiner says these are serious issues.  

The Florida Channel

Senators are issuing a stern warning to the state’s beer distributors: check your opposition at the door.  Lawmakers seem determined to settle ongoing disputes between the craft brewing and distribution industries.

What craft brewers need is the ability to serve their beer where they brew it, in what’s known as a tap or tasting rooms.  What they really want is the growler.  The 64 ounce refillable bottle is illegal in Florida, but the state’s craft brewers think it’s the perfect size for their growing industry. 

MGN Online

A panel of lawmakers have unanimously passed a bill prohibiting local law enforcement agencies from establishing traffic ticket quotas.

Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island) says his bill stems from the small north Florida town of Waldo known as one of the nation’s worst speed traps. That area’s police force later disbanded.

Florida Department of Corrections

Prison privatization has been a contentious issue in Florida—even costing one Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary his job. But, after the latest DOC head made some candid remarks on the topic, could she now be backtracking?

Florida Channel

Lawmakers are hoping the newly appointed head of Florida’s prison system can clean up the troubled agency plagued with suspicious deaths and allegations of inmate abuse.

Julie Jones, the fourth permanent Florida Department of Corrections Secretary under Governor Rick Scott, has only been in her post for a couple weeks. But she says she’s ready to make some changes.

MGN Online

During their first week back, Florida lawmakers discussed some ways to reform the state’s prison system—currently plagued by allegations of inmate abuse by prison guards and cover ups.

Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) chairs the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. And, during a recent hearing, he briefed lawmakers on an overview of what’s been going on with the troubled prison system.

Florida Channel

Some Florida lawmakers are questioning whether the state’s prison agency plagued by allegations of inmate abuse can be trusted to accurately report suspicious inmate deaths. That issue arose in a Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing Monday.

MGN Online

During the week after New Year’s, Florida lawmakers are slated to come back into Tallahassee for the start of committee weeks. And, on their first day back, one Senate panel is looking at ways to help Florida’s troubled prison system.

First, Senate Criminal Justice Committee members will hear introductory remarks from the panel’s chair: Republican Senator Greg Evers.

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Pension reform is slated to come up during the 2015 legislative session. So, could this be the year local pension reform actually comes to pass? What about overhauling Florida’s Retirement System that opponents say is already sound? We'll take a look at what stakeholders are hoping for in the New Year.

Robert Weissert is the Chief Research Officer for Florida TaxWatch, a government watchdog group, which recently released its annual cost savings report. One area Weissert says state government could save some money is by overhauling the Florida Retirement System.

Florida Senate

A bipartisan local pension reform bill has been filed for the third year in a row. The measure died earlier this year after it was tied to a controversial effort to overhaul Florida’s Retirement system.

Bloximages

Bringing stability and consistency to the troubled Florida Department of Corrections is at the forefront of several lawmakers’ and prison reform stakeholders’ minds as the 2015 legislative session draws near. And, the discussion may start at the top.

That’s especially after Governor Rick Scott still has to name a permanent head to lead the troubled agency—after Scott’s third Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary recently resigned.

After the issue died during the 2014 session, should Florida lawmakers revisit a push to make changes to municipal pensions largely affecting police and firefighter unions? A coalition made up of mainly business-backed groups say yes. But, some say while they agree, the recent formation of the coalition pushing for local pension reform is disingenuous.

Bill To Be Filed In 2015

Department of Juvenile Justice

Florida’s counties say the state owes them money. They claim they’ve been overcharged for helping pay the cost of juveniles in detention centers. The two sides appear close to reaching a deal on how to split the costs going forward—but a conflict is brewing over whether the state should have to reimburse the counties for past expenses.

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.

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