Representative Jose Oliva

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Florida’s House and Senate leaders ushered in the 2019 Legislative Session Tuesday with their opening remarks – but their respective speeches differed in tone.

Health care florida
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As health care continues to take up a growing slice of the state’s budget, House Speaker Jose Oliva has set his eyes on market reform. 

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Leaders in state government gathered Wednesday as they do every year for the Associated Press’ Legislative Planning Session. Each came to voice priorities for the coming session and field questions from the Capital press corps. From education to medical marijuana to infrastructure, WFSU was on hand to catch it all. The following is an overview of what speakers, including the entire Florida Cabinet, brought to the table:

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Florida’s new Governor Ron DeSantis hosted state lawmakers for a luncheon shortly after his inauguration Tuesday. The leaders of both legislative chambers say they want to help DeSantis realize his agenda.

Florida Legislature

The Florida Legislature convened in Tallahassee before the Thanksgiving holiday for an organizational session. New lawmakers were sworn in, and new leaders were installed.

Chief Justice Charles Canady administered the oath of office to senators in groups of five. Then,  Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) was nominated unopposed to be the 88th Florida Senate President. Galvano was elected to the chamber in 2012 and previously served in the Florida House. 

On a 67-50 vote, the Florida House passed the gun safety bill, already approved by the Florida Senate earlier in the week. Governor Rick Scott won’t say whether he will sign the bill, now heading to his desk. He says he’ll weigh input from those who lost loved ones in last month's mass shooting at a South Florida high school.

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The Florida House has now teed up gun safety legislation for a vote, in response to last month’s mass shooting at a South Florida high school. They agreed Tuesday to take up the Senate version of the bill that narrowly passed Monday. While language was stripped from that bill to exclude most classroom teachers, opponents argue the “compromise” could still arm school staff, like coaches.

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With about a week left of the 2018 legislative session, lawmakers are facing increased pressure to pass gun safety legislation—in response to last month’s mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. But, the process is pitting people within the same parties against one another.

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A number of public safety proposals have passed their first House committee, allowing them to now head to the floor. Like the Senate version bill, it does not include an assault weapons ban. Still, more people are starting to agree that while this isn’t the best bill, it’s not totally bad either.

Gov. Rick Scott, Broward Superintendent Rob Runcie and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel discuss Parkland school shooting.
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In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting that left 17 people dead, politicians on the state and national level are weighing in on what can be done legislatively.

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After a bare knuckle legislative fight, lawmakers are revisiting their decision to slash funding for Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida.  The governor sees the agencies as vital to growing the state economy.

Nick Evans

Committee meetings for the state legislature are right around the corner, and House leaders are hoping to make sure new and returning lawmakers are ready.  The House is holding a two day series of seminars it calls Legislator University.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Now that Florida has its 19th Lieutenant Governor, many people want to know what his goals will be moving forward. But the position, which usually becomes whatever the Governor wants it to be, is now the subject of bipartisan legislation. And, it’s also a topic of discussion among members of the Hispanic Legislative Caucus, who wonder how the state’s first Hispanic Lieutenant Governor will work to help their agenda.