Representative Darryl Rouson

Edmund D. Fountain / Tampa Bay Times

A bill to help provide closure for families impacted by the now-closed Dozier School for Boys is now headed to Governor Rick Scott. That’s the former North Florida reform school surrounded by allegations of abuse and deaths over a span of decades.

Governor Rick Scott's office

Governor Rick Scott signed a number of bills into law Wednesday. Among them are a pair of gun-related bills that have the backing of law enforcement and gun rights groups.

Florida Channel

The Florida Department of Corrections is moving forward with finding new private prison health care providers to run those services in the coming months. That’s after the state’s main prison health care provider recently terminated its contract with the state.

MGN Online

Several gun-related bills have already been filed for the 2016 legislative session. But, it includes a non-controversial bill agreed to by both the Florida Police Chiefs and the National Rifle Association.


Another gun-related measure has been filed in the Florida Legislature.

MGN Online

The state’s court system will be a top priority next year in Florida’s criminal justice budget. That’s what a group of Florida lawmakers have vowed to do.

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Florida’s criminal justice budget issues cover a broad spectrum of agencies from Florida’s troubled prison system to the state’s courts system. While some areas of the budget got funded, other areas seen as priorities were lacking.


The House’s prison reform package is now on its way back to the Senate for approval, before it can head to the Governor’s desk for the final OK.

Florida Channel

A bill aimed at using technological devices to help track missing people with special needs and dementia-related issues is moving through both chambers of the Florida Legislature.

Florida Channel

The House’s prison reform package passed its first committee Tuesday. Several opposed the measure, hoping it would do at least as much as its Senate counterpart.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

A comprehensive prison reform package is now headed to the Senate, but is the House getting ready to start making its own move to reform Florida’s troubled Department of Corrections?

Florida Department of Corrections

Prison privatization has been a contentious issue in Florida—even costing one Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary his job. But, after the latest DOC head made some candid remarks on the topic, could she now be backtracking?

MGN Online

A measure seeking to revamp the state’s juvenile life sentencing laws passed the full House Tuesday.

For several years, Florida lawmakers have struggled with how to bring state law into compliance with a couple U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Those rulings say it’s unconstitutional to give a juvenile a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

“This bill has been something that the Legislature has failed to pass for at least the past four years, and it has taken someone like Representative Grant to bring us to this point,” said Representative Matt Gaetz.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

One new Florida law that took effect this week outlaws the sale of several kinds of drug paraphernalia, including smoking devices commonly referred to as bongs. But smoke shop owners say, the way the new law is phrased takes the teeth out of the legislation.

Rep. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) has been spearheading the effort to shut down Florida’s smoke shops for years.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

A new Florida law taking effect today outlaws the sale of several kinds of drug paraphernalia, including smoking devices commonly referred to as bongs. But smoke shop owners say, the way the new law is phrased takes the teeth out of the legislation.

The sponsor of Florida’s so-called "bong ban" law, Rep. Daryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), has said he wants to put smoke shops out of business by outlawing the sale of pipes.


Efforts to legalize medical marijuana have gotten a lot of attention in Tallahassee this year.  But that hasn’t slowed down a bill to ban bongs and other devices used to consume pot and other mind-bending substances.  That bill is garnering overwhelming approval in the Florida Senate. 

Democratic Representative Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg is the sponsor of the bill to outlaw the sale of certain smoking pipes and devices across Florida.

Florida lawmakers are looking to streamline the death penalty process to avoid the lengthy appeals they say are currently plaguing the system. Two measures aiming to do just that cleared another committee Thursday, and are one step closer to coming up for a vote by the full Legislature.

Most states in the nation impose the death penalty. Florida is one of them, but it’s also a state that’s known for its lengthy death penalty process. It’s behind only California, the state in the nation with the most number of people facing the death penalty.

Another Florida Democrat is aiming for a state House leadership role in 2014. State Representative Alan Williams is making a bid to be the next Florida House Democratic leader.

Representative Alan Williams of Tallahassee is the latest Democrat to vie for the role, joining the ranks of Representatives Darryl Rouson of Tampa and Mia Jones of Jacksonville. House Democratic Spokesman Mark Hollis says even though all three are aiming for House Minority Leader, all candidates have to formally file to be House Speaker in 2014.

Between long lines at several Florida polling locations, delayed ballot counts, and late results, Florida has been called “embarrassing” and has become the butt of many election jokes. The Governor and state election officials are now looking into what could be done to improve the state’s elections process, but some say that’s not enough.