State News

jostens.com

One of the first major pieces of legislation is moving forward—an effort to expand both merit and need-based financial aid programs and revamp the way students pay tuition at universities. The measure has bipartisan support despite concerns about part of the plan pushing the schools to get kids out within four years.

Rep. Jones, Gillum Speak Out Against Preemption Law

Jan 11, 2018
Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU-FM

Democrats Rep. Shevrin Jones (D-West Park) and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum are speaking out against preemption policies. They’re pushing back against what they view as quote “the war on local communities.”

CFO's Press Office

Ever been the victim of a data breach? Maybe you were part of last year’s breach involving one of the largest credit agencies, Equifax. But, in Florida, if you wanted to place a freeze on your credit report, Equifax could still charge you a fee. Now, a bill is starting to move in the Florida House to eliminate that cost to consumers.

DXR via wikimedia commons

As the 2018 legislative session gets under way Republicans are forging ahead with a plan to make it harder for future lawmakers to raise taxes.  The initiative has broad support among GOP leaders, and they’ve got enough members to send the idea to the ballot.

peoriapublicradio.org

For the past several years the Florida House and Senate have battled over how to pay for public schools. Now the House is drawing a red line over what it will and won’t do when it comes to deciding how to appropriate those funds.

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

Florida waters were removed Tuesday from White House plans to open previously protected parts of the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico to offshore oil and gas drilling.  The move was hailed by Governor Rick Scott, while drawing questions about whether the quick decision and manner of announcement by the Trump administration were done to further Scott’s political career.

MGN Online

A bill making texting while driving a primary offense passed its first committee Tuesday. It also drew some concerns.

Kate Payne

After Florida’s Republican leaders laid out their plans Tuesday, the state’s liberal-leaning advocates and lawmakers outlined their priorities in what one activist called "the people's State of the State". In Florida’s Republican-led state capitol, Democrats’ priorities often don’t get very far. This year the state’s liberal-leaning activists are trying to block efforts the House of Representatives could pass as early as this week. 

Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart)
Nick Evans

Senate President Joe Negron is trying to stake out a strong position against sexual harassment in the state Legislature after the resignation of two members.  It was the first thing he addressed in his session opening speech.

iStock Photo

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.

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