Sen. Jeff Brandes

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A national campaign successfully placed Marsy’s Law on the books in Florida last year. The amendment put a crime victim bill of rights in the state Constitution. When the measure took effect in January, supporters argued it was self-implementing. But eight months later, there’s still no consensus on the amendment’s vague language. It even pits parts of the state constitution against each other.

A hallway of jail cells
viperagp / Adobe Stock

Florida lawmakers this year passed a criminal justice reform package. But advocates and researchers doubt it will have a real impact on the state’s justice system. 

florida criminal justice
Matthew Ansley / Unsplash

The Florida House passed a comprehensive criminal justice reform package Monday. But major differences still exist between the Senate and House versions.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

A provision in the Senate’s big criminal justice reform bill could make a big impact early on, if signed into law. That impact would come in the form of fewer people incarcerated, and significant savings for the state.

Matthew Jones/flickr

Lawmakers are being asked to consider two competing proposals surrounding access to dental care. One would allow mid-level practitioners to be licensed, while the other would provide incentives to would-be dentists.

A coalition called Floridians for Dental Access wants the Florida Legislature to allow licenses for dental therapists.

Therapists have more training than a dental hygienist and less training than a dentist. They can perform services like filling cavities and pulling teeth.

medication
Elise Amendola / AP

A new bill would allow psychologists in Florida to prescribe medication. If passed, Florida would be the sixth state to make the change. 

A boy in black sitting on a ledge with his legs hanging down
Redd Angelo / Unsplash

A new Florida law took effect Sunday requiring the creation of civil citation programs across the state.

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Pro Photography Network
RAND Corporation

The Florida Legislature is moving ahead with a plan to provide prisoners with an education. The bill is headed to the Senate floor.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

A bill allowing certain Florida officials to make announced and unannounced visits to the state’s juvenile justice facilities is now heading to the House floor.

David_Rey / iStockphoto

A bill allowing Florida prison officials to recruit more young correctional officers is continuing to move in both chambers of the Florida Legislature.

MGN Online

Already, the Florida Supreme Court has rejected more than three dozen appeals involving death row inmates, who received their sentences before 2002 and did not require unanimous juries. A panel of Florida lawmakers is now trying again to make a fix to that part of the state’s death penalty process.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

If Florida lawmakers don’t do anything policy wise soon, the state’s prison population could increase. That’s according to a report commissioned by the Florida Senate to promote the need for prison reform.

iStockphoto

You haven’t done anything wrong, but you’re pulled over anyway. The law enforcement officer asks to search your car. Should that officer be required to tell you about your right to decline the search? Florida lawmakers have started discussions about that very topic for the 2018 legislative session.

Florida Channel

Florida lawmakers are expected to soon take a deeper look into the Miami Herald investigative series, which detailed abuses within the state’s juvenile facilities. A panel of legislators this week gave the head of the Florida’s juvenile justice system a preview of what’s to come.

Leon County Judge Layne Smith

Leon County Judge Layne Smith thinks too many Big Bend motorists are circling the financial drain because their license was suspended or revoked.

Then Rep. Randolph Bracy (D-Ocoee) debating on the House floor.
Mark Foley via FL House website / Florida House of Representatives

Florida lawmakers are cracking down on the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Legislation punishing its possession is heading to the governor.

Lance Cheung

Advocates are hopeful they’ll see legislation implementing tax breaks on solar energy pass the legislature this session. But they’re not happy with different parts of the House and Senate bills.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health via wikimedia commons

A Senate panel is discussing how to re-envision Florida’s affordable housing system. 

DXR via wikimedia commons

A Senate panel is giving the thumbs up to a measure establishing state-wide regulations for ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

Republican Representative Jason Brodeur of Sanford wants to get rid of a few more speed bumps he thinks are slowing the development of driverless cars.

Voters didn’t hesitate to expand tax breaks for renewable energy, but some smaller counties are raising concerns as the Legislature decides how to implement Amendment 4.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)
State of Florida

State Senator Jeff Brandes, a Republican  from St. Petersburg,  wants to reduce the number Floridians who get their drivers licenses suspended because they can’t pay fines.

James Clarke Ash

House and Senate Republicans say this is the year Florida joins 37 other states in adopting regulations for so-called transportation network companies, like Uber and Lyft.

Tony Vincelli via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/42957538@N03/

After experiencing the death of his grandparents, a South Florida lawmaker wants to the change how patients are treated at the end of life. 

@pitbull / Twitter

Florida lawmakers are hoping to shed light on a contract between the state’s tourism agency and the rapper Pitbull.  His production company claims compensation is a trade secret.

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