Representative Charles Van Zant

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A bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers say a gun bill filed for the 2016 legislative session is a good start, but it needs more work.

Construction workers
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In 2007 the Berkman Plaza parking garage in Jacksonville collapsed killing a construction worker and injuring dozens. Tom Grogan, the Florida Structural Engineers licensure committee chair says that’s due in part to a novice engineer.

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Pro-choice advocates rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday in response to three abortion bills currently making their way through the Legislature.

Barbara Devane addressing a Roe v. Wade rally on the Capitol steps.
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Some say time heals all wounds.  But this week saw the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, and all these years later, the ideological canyon separating opponents in the fight over abortion seems just as impossible to bridge.   

In the US House of Representatives Thursday, the temptation to use Roe v. Wade’s anniversary as a chance to vote on anti-abortion legislation was simply to great to pass up.  But it was the legislation they didn’t vote on that made the nightly news.

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A bill that could raise the speed limits on certain Florida highways is now on its way to Governor Rick Scott, after it passed the House in a very close vote.

Rep. Matt Caldwell’s (R-Lehigh Acres) bill is not a partisan issue. In fact, whenever the bipartisan bill gets taken up by either chamber, Republicans and Democrats vote in favor and against the bill. And, Wednesday’s 58-56 vote in the House was no different, as members debated passionately on the issue.

Bills Address Derelict Vessels On Land And At Sea

Apr 8, 2014
A map of florida showing derelict vessel locations
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Imagine a map of Florida. Now ask yourself: what’s the most prominent geographical feature of the state? You might have said: it’s surrounded on three sides by water. That makes it a haven for boaters. But what about the boats themselves – what happens when they’re not in use? The boats are often abandoned -- but there’s legislation aimed at fixing that.

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A couple of abortion-related measures are moving in the Florida Legislature, while others appear stalled. One bill inspired by the so-called “abortion pill victim” is already heading to the House floor and its companion could be taken up on the Senate floor next week. Another measure dealing with late-term abortions just cleared its first House panel, but has yet to get its first hearing in the Senate.

Unborn Victims of Violence Act

Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) is the Senate sponsor of the “Florida’s Unborn Victims of Violence Act.”

Lawmakers Push For More Juvenile Sentencing Guidelines

Mar 25, 2014
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Though it likely won’t become law this session, lawmakers are considering a proposal which would change the way prosecutors decide whether to charge kids as adults. Its supporters say the state needs more rules to protect juveniles. But detractors say prosecutors need leeway to do their jobs – and may be doing it better year after year.

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A bipartisan bill that revises the penalties for trafficking certain prescription drugs cleared its first House committee Wednesday. But, some say the measure is too lenient.

Several abortion bills are now headed to the Florida House floor, after clearing their last committee stop Wednesday. They include a bill that seeks to ban abortions based on the sex or gender of the unborn child. But, lawmakers had mixed feelings on the issue, at times voting against their own party.

The abortion issue is always a controversial one, and each year, at least one abortion bill inflames passions among Florida lawmakers as they vet the issue.

A couple of House panels took up several bills Wednesday that were abortion-related. They include a ban on having an abortion based on sex or gender and another that would require the care for infants born alive after an abortion procedure. While all the bills passed out of their respective committees, it was not without controversy. 

A Florida lawmaker is working to overturn an historic U.S. Supreme decision from 40 years ago called Roe v. Wade. It essentially establishes the right to have an abortion. But, some say now may not be the right time for the state to move forward with legislation that would essentially ban abortions.

“I didn’t do that intentionally. Had I finished the bill early last week, I would have filed it last week. It just happened to fall on the 40th anniversary, which I’m actually glad,” said Representative Charles Van Zant.