State News

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The first bill introduced Tuesday to the Florida House would create the so-called Hope Scholarship Program. It would give victims of bullying the chance to transfer to another public school, or get a scholarship to a private one. Advocates say the bill is primarily an anti-bullying measure. Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna sees it differently.

Republican Sen. Anitere Flores (l) and Democratic Sen. Oscar Braynon (r) admit, apologize for affair. 1/9/17
Florida Senate

The 2018 legislative session opened Monday with the lingering conduct of sexual misdeeds hanging over it.  The latest lawmakers caught in the web are two of the Senate’s most powerful leaders.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran
Florida House Media

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran says he won’t raise taxes—either directly or indirectly. Corcoran took aim at the Florida Senate, stating he will also fight any plan that allows an increase in property tax revenue through higher property values to be counted toward public school funding.

FWC Monitors Ocean Life Through Cold Weather

Jan 8, 2018

Florida experienced shocking lows this past week. A shock not just for land lovers, but ocean life that surrounds the Sunshine State.

Kate Payne via WFSU

The U.S. Supreme Court appears sympathetic to Florida’s complaints in a decades-long water dispute with Georgia. The court heard oral arguments in the case Monday.

Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee)
Florida House of Representatives

Shortly after lawmakers gavel in the 2018 session they’ll start working on measures in committee.  A Senate Criminal Justice panel will take up a raft of reforms including Sen. Randolph Bracy’s (D- Ocoee) bill raising the threshold for felony theft.

Florida Channel

The Florida House is wasting no time pursuing one of Governor Rick Scott’s session priorities.  One committee will take up a tax and fee measure on the opening day.

iStockphoto

As part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, law enforcement officials and other stakeholders are coming together to make sure Floridians know what to look for to help combat the modern day slavery practice.

jvoves/ flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jvoves/

Florida’s Speaker of the House is promising to pass a bill restricting sanctuary policies in the first week of this year’s legislative session. That’s despite arguments that the plan is unconstitutional. 

Trump Admin's Offshore Drilling Plan Raises Bipartisan Ire In Florida

Jan 5, 2018
The Trump Administration will consider allowing up to 47 new oil leases in the outer continental shelf--areas, such as the eastern Gulf of Mexico, have previously been off limits.
wikimedia commons

The Trump administration says it plans to open most U.S. waters to offshore oil drilling, and that’s raising bipartisan hackles in Florida.

Deepwater Horizon drilling platform on fire in 2010.
US Coast Guard

Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott are in agreement: a plan to allow offshore oil drilling by President Donald Trump's administration isn't good for Florida, and it comes as Nelson is also asking the Trump administration to pull back from repealing safety regulations made in response to the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

MGN Online

Floridians have until Sunday to file a claim against three rental car companies for wrongfully charging them for its e-Toll services.

Emma Langdon Roche via the New York Public Library / http://abolition.nypl.org/images/us_slave_trade/4/38

More than fifty years after her death, a new work by Zora Neale Hurston will hit the presses. Barracoon is her account of the last known survivor of America’s Transatlantic slave trade. The Florida anthropologist and author is known for her celebration of black life and culture in the rural South. This latest manuscript will reinforce that legacy.

Hurricane Irma at about 9 Monday morning.
NOAA

As the state House plows through a long and potentially expensive menu of options to recover from Hurricane Irma and brace for Florida's next hurricane, Senate President Joe Negron is confident the storm that walloped the state in September won't blow a hole in the upcoming budget.

Department of Economic Opportunity

Florida's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6 percent from October to November, according to numbers released Friday by the state Department of Economic Opportunity. The state's  jobless rate betters the national mark of 4.1 percent, which also remained unchanged in the month to month comparison.

State Reopens Search To Fill PSC Post After Workman Withdraws

Dec 23, 2017
From the left Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, and Rep. Douglas Vaughn "Doug" Broxson, R-Midway, debates on the House floor March 22, 2013.
Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

The state has reopened a search to fill a spot on the Florida Public Service Commission, after appointee Ritch Workman withdrew this month following a sexual misconduct allegation.

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)
The Florida Channel

A powerful Florida Senator who is also vying to be the GOP candidate for governor has been toppled over accusations of public corruption and sexual harassment.

The Florida Channel

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.

Sean Locke / iStockphoto

Fighting contraband has been an ongoing issue within the state’s prison system. Florida’s prison chief is exploring some innovative ideas to address that issue.

Charlotte90T via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/charlotte90t/

Florida lawmakers are once again trying to reform the state’s food stamp program, which has more than doubled since the Recession. But unlike in previous years, the Republican-led effort could be making some in roads with Democrats. 

Children in Prison Project

A quartet of Tallahassee law students has been advocating two changes to Florida’s Constitution. The Constitution Revision Commission is now weighing those among hundreds of other public proposals.

Bill Nelson via facebook

Florida’s U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is slamming the Republican tax bill. Both houses of Congress passed the measure Wednesday on largely party line votes. Nelson says the package benefits corporations more than working people. 

Healthcarelist.com

Time is running out for Congress to reauthorize a federal program that helps insure more than nine million children nationwide. Florida has the fourth highest enrollment of low-income kids in the children’s health insurance program called CHIP.

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)
Nick Evans

Senator Jack Latvala is resigning after two separate reports condemned his behavior toward women in the legislative process.

iStockphoto

The Florida Senate has received a report that concludes there is probable cause for some of the sexual harassment allegations against state Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater). The Special Master’s report also opens the door to other investigations, including a possible criminal one.

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