State News

MGN Online

Two Florida lawmakers are already looking ahead to next year’s legislative session to revive a bipartisan effort to reform the state’s claims bill process. It allows those who sue a government agency over things like injuries or negligence to receive the rest of the money awarded to them—a process that can often take years.

Olly Newport via Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nyllo/

After a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community worked to translate grief into political action. Even though attempts to pass civil rights protections in the statehouse failed again this year, LGBTQ activists are claiming a victory.

Apalachicola River
USDA

The Florida legislature directed funding toward water projects instead of land conservation this year. But environmental groups complain that the state has still not fully implemented the land conservation constitutional amendment passed in 2014.

Palm Beach Post

Anti-gambling forces are claiming a partial victory now that the Florida Supreme Court is blocking slot machines at a Gretna pari-mutuel facility.

Elections experts say Florida lawmakers dropped the ball when it comes to improving voter security.

Tim Donovan / FWC's Flickr

This Saturday is not only Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day, it’s also the kick off for Florida’s Lionfish Challenge—an incentive program to encourage people to remove the nonnative species. State wildlife officials are doing a bit of a revamp this year.

Nick Evans

Florida service providers are wasting no time taking advantage of nearly $30 million in federal money for addressing the opioid epidemic.

Tallahassee Community College

This year’s Florida Legislative Session provided millions of dollars to the state’s universities. But the state’s 28 colleges saw their funding slashed and the president of Tallahassee Community College is urging Governor Scott to block the cuts with his veto pen.

The Accent via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/theaccent/4030077886/

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is filing suit against a ban on panhandling in downtown Pensacola. The organization argues the rule is a threat to first amendment free speech.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commisison

Spring is in the air, hungry Florida black bears are looking for love, and state game officials are urging caution.

Governor Rick Scott suggested a chainsaw but lawmakers preferred a scalpel when it comes to the latest round of tax cuts. 

Marco Rubio Senate Website

Florida Republican members of Congress are calling for former FBI director James Comey to testify about alleged White House interference into its Russia investigation. But Sen. Marco Rubio said people shouldn’t rush to judgment on media reports.

The Constitution Revision Commission came under fire Wednesday as a working group met in Tampa to hammer out rules and procedures for the coming year.

DXR via wikimedia commons

Florida Governor Rick Scott is tapping a former aide and water management district chief to head up the state’s environmental agency.

Privacy SOS.com

The Florida Supreme Court will weigh in on red light cameras after the Legislature decided not to pull the plug.

Bokske via Wikimedia Commons

While lawmakers weigh whether to call a special session for medical marijuana, dispensaries are pushing ahead.  One grower is preparing to open its first retail outlet.

Orlando Weekly

Progressive groups are keeping a close eye on the Constitution Revision Commission, and this week, they’re more worried than ever. It's the prestigious panel that meets every 20 years to put measures directly on the ballot.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

The war chest for Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam continues to swell as the leading GOP contender for governor wraps up his official first week of campaigning.

Apalachicola River
USDA

Environmental groups want the state to buy nearly 40,000 acres of land along the Apalachicola River.

Rep. Matt Caldwell speaking on the House floor.
Mark Foley via FL House website

A Republican state representative is launching his bid for agriculture commissioner.

Karen Parker / FWC's Flickr

To lower the potential spread of disease, state wildlife officials want Florida residents to keep their bird feeders clean. They’re already getting multiple reports about sick or dead songbirds of a certain species in the North Florida area in the last month.

Open government advocates are urging Governor Rick Scott to veto a measure that would seal nearly three million criminal records from public view.

The bill started as a non-controversial proposal to crack down on internet publishers of police booking photos. But Sarasota Republican Greg Steube quietly added an amendment on the Senate Floor.

“This amendment addresses the concerns from FDLE and would enable the department to administratively seal the criminal record of a person found not guilty or where the charges against that person have been dismissed.”

MGN Online

Governor Rick Scott has signed a body-camera related bill into law. But, while it has the support of Florida law enforcement groups, others continue to have reservations.

Florida Channel

The Florida Fire Service says firefighters from South Carolina are coming to Central Florida to help battle wildfires.

The Oz Blog / http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/myths-lies-and-hysterectomy

Florida hospitals are intently watching the negotiations between the state and federal government over health care funding. The state has been talking to the federal government about renewing a wavier for health care services for low-income Floridians.

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