State News

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Despite past failed legislative attempts, a bipartisan pair of lawmakers is vowing to continue their work on criminal justice reform—particularly within Florida’s prison system.

Chris Yarzab via wikimedia commons

The Department of Justice is promising a return to the law and order enforcement policies of the war on drugs.  Some Republican lawmakers are worried those policies might undermine state laws.

USA Today

Education advocates went to court this week to argue that Florida isn’t complying with a 20-year-old constitutional mandate to provide a “uniform” and “high quality” education. But the legal tug of war is raising questions about the power of petition drives to effect meaningful change.  

North Florida Democratic Congressman Al Lawson says he’s fighting for a bi-partisan agreement to rescue the Affordable Care Act, even as a Republican effort to repeal and replace continues to falter in the Senate.

Piccolomini holding Butters making her way out to the release site.
Nick Evans

The eastern indigo snake is back in North Florida, at least that’s what a group of scientists is hoping.  Reintroducing the species caps off three decades off environmental restoration efforts.

Pete Antonacci To Be New CEO Of Enterprise Florida

Jul 20, 2017
Enterprise Florida website

The business-centered agency, Enterprise Florida has found itself a new leader. Former Executive Director of South Florida’s Water Management District and General Counsel to Governor Rick Scott, Pete Antonacci is taking over the reins. 

Scott headshot
Governor Scott's Office

Governor Scott has responded to the League of Women Voters’ petition to bar him from appointing three new Supreme Court justices in 2019.   

Clean Water Network

Environmentalists are hoping a recent state appellate ruling will make it easier to challenge Florida’s controversial new water quality standards.

Tim Donovan / FWC's Flickr

Starting Thursday, blue crab harvesters can no longer have their traps in North Florida waters. The goal is for Florida wildlife officials to use that 10-day period to get rid of lost and abandoned blue crab traps, which can have a negative impact on the environment and boaters.

Julia Kaye speaking after the hearing.
Nick Evans

The Florida Legislature and the American Civil Liberties Union are again squaring off in a Tallahassee courtroom over a 2015 law requiring women wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.  With the measure already on hold, the judge granted the state’s request for two additional months to work on its case.

Lawsuit To Challenge Florida 24 Hour Abortion Ban

Jul 18, 2017
MGN Online

A Tallahassee court will hear arguments Wednesday on the constitutionality of a Florida law imposing a waiting period of women who are seeking an abortion.

MGN Online

While Florida’s fight against human trafficking is far from over, officials say one tool is helping combat the modern-slavery practice.

Florida Channel

Education advocates ran into a buzz saw of tough questions Tuesday in their fight to revive an adequacy lawsuit based on a 1998 constitutional amendment.   Appellants cited test scores, but a three-judge panel with the First District Court of Appeal appeared skeptical.

Citizens for Strong Schools attorney Jodi Siegel argued Florida’s public schools can’t possibly be meeting the “high-quality” and “uniform” standard voters demanded when testing shows thousands of poor and minority students are lagging behind.

Commissioner Adam Putnam, flanked by state officials and Florida guard members, speaking at an armory in Tallahassee.
Nick Evans

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is touting a two year old program fast tracking concealed weapons permits for veterans and National Guard members.  And the Republican is mulling whether he’d expand where those licenses are valid if he wins the governor’s race.

Florida Guardian Ad Litem Facebook

Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program may have thousands of volunteers, but agency officials say they need more male role models, who can advocate on behalf of the state’s abused and neglected children.

The Nature Conservancy's David Printiss showing off one of the sires who fathered some of the snakes released Monday.
Nick Evans

Scientists are re-introducing indigo snakes for the first time in decades to a stretch of forest outside Tallahassee.

Florida Highway Patrol Cracks Down On Dangerous Driving

Jul 17, 2017
FHP Flickr

The Florida Highway Patrol is partnering up with southeastern states and local law enforcement to reduce crashes. 

iStockphoto

A new report on how Florida handles young human trafficking victims is receiving mixed reviews.

Bryan Jones via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwjones/

As lawmakers return to Washington to debate healthcare, they’ll have new ways of communicating with voters back home, through Facebook. But it’s not yet clear how the social media giant’s new tools could affect the political conversation.

Todd Huffman via Wikimedia Commons

States across the country are struggling to hold off a rising tide of opioid abuse and Florida is no exception.  But the return of harsh penalties for possession—a hallmark of the war on drugs—is frustrating a broad spectrum of advocates and officials.

BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig on fire in 2010.
US Coast Guard

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council is unveiling its plan for 2017 and looking for public feedback.

FWC FWRI's Flickr

Florida wildlife officials say lionfish harvesters are crucial to getting rid of the invasive species. But, lionfish removal divers are urged to safely remove the fish without causing any natural habitat damage.

Florida Guardian Ad Litem Facebook

Florida’s Guardian ad Litem Program has received a $40,000 grant to help older youth aging out of foster care better transition into adulthood.

Nick Evans

There’s $85 million burning a hole in Florida Governor Rick Scott’s pocket and he’s looking for projects to spend it on.  The new Job Growth Grant Fund was part of a last minute budget compromise.

joelmckennzie via wikimedia

Bay County health officials are offering a two week immunization clinic ahead of students returning to school.  

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