State News

Ricardo's Photography / Flickr

For years the Florida legislature has funded Visit Florida – a group charged with advertising and marketing tourism for the state. It works overseas, and around the country and also keeps track of the state’s tourism number. Now the agency is set to dissolve in October unless the legislature decides to keep it going.

But both chambers are at odds on whether it’s needed.

people laying down as if they have been shot in protest of gun laws.
Tom Flanigan / WFSU-FM

A bill in the Florida legislature would remove from public record video, audio, or images of mass violence victims.

Jessica Hill / AP Photo

The Florida State University men’s basketball team has advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

Clinger Holsters / Flickr

Just over a year since the Parkland school massacre, a comprehensive response on how to best prevent a future tragedy remains a work in progress, at least in the Florida Legislature. Before a key committee Thursday, the question boiled down to this: would parents be comfortable with placing their children’s safety in the hands of an armed teacher with eight hours of active shooter training? Although some insisted the answer to that question would most likely be “No!”, lawmakers kept moving in that direction.

Barbara Devane addressing a Roe v. Wade rally on the Capitol steps.
Nick Evans / wfsu.org

Longtime lobbyist and familiar face in the Florida Capitol Barbara DeVane has seemingly seen it all during the decades she’s spent in the Process. But until this week, DeVane says she had never been asked to leave a committee meeting.

Ryan Dailey recently spoke with DeVane about an exchange with a legislator that led to her being asked to leave.

The 2018 Florida Constitution Revision Commission. Group photo.
Constitution Revision Commission

State lawmakers appear heading toward abolishing the state’s Constitution Revision Commission. This after the latest incarnation of the group was roundly criticized for being overtly political.  The effort has generated a rare point of bipartisanship between lawmakers and advocacy groups who don’t normally agree on anything.

myfloridahouse.gov

A bill (HB 1335) requiring minors to get a parent’s consent for abortions passed a House committee this week. The debate was mostly civil, but some audience members had to be escorted out.

Florida law says parents have to be notified when their daughters seek abortions. Under the proposal, parents would have to give their permission.

The House Health Quality Subcommittee heard from a string of women who’ve had abortions, but who have differing opinions about the bill.

Chris Potter / Flickr

One bill could cost stubborn city and county governments more money if they don’t follow state rules.

Steve Helber) / AP Photo

A House proposal would fine local governments and law enforcement agencies for not cooperating with federal immigration enforcement. Immigrant advocates say the bill is overbearing and goes too far.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

The Florida House of Representatives has rolled out its proposed K-12 education budget for the coming fiscal year. Ryan Dailey spoke with Florida Education Association president Fedrick Ingram, who says the House should follow the Senate’s lead with respect to a funding proposal.

A number of pill bottles
Florida Department of Health's Take Control Website

Florida lawmakers want to create a task force to crackdown on the state’s opioid epidemic.

John Raoux / AP Photo

Public commenters gave lawmakers an earful today when the implementing bill for 2018’s Amendment 4 came up in a House committee meeting. The amendment allows certain felons to vote. But that raises the question which felons can’t vote?

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Several controversial measures related to education are moving forward in Florida’s House and Senate.

Governor's Press Office

Tuesday was Coding Day at the capitol as part of an initiative to promote computer science education.

Students, some in elementary school, are lined up at computers getting ready to show off their work to state leaders.

“We need more computer scientists. We need more data scientists, and in the state of Florida alone there are 8,000 computing jobs open, not necessarily all for computer scientists," says Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President of Philanthropies for Microsoft. "Some of them are for individuals who might have a philosophy degree or a poetry degree and take a one-year certificate class.”

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Photo

Governor Ron DeSantis has been adamant about wanting to import medications, to bring down prescription costs. But others aren’t on the same page.

Scott Goodwill / Unsplash

A bill to provide zero-interest loans to farmers whose crops are impacted by natural disasters is advancing through the Florida Senate. Backed by Republican Senator Ben Albritton, the measure is intended to help farmers whose livelihoods have been threatened by Hurricane Michael. Ahead of its first committee stop, Ryan Dailey spoke with the Florida Farm Bureau’s head of legislative affairs Adam Basford, and a Holmes County farmer whose crop was decimated by the hurricane.

Capitol building at night
Erich Martin

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano is the driving force behind a new transportation plan coming up for another committee discussion in the Senate Tuesday. But the measure could face a bumpy road in the House.

Florida watchdog TaxWatch has released it’s assessment of the Florida College System. Their research found the schools raise wages for their graduates and boost the state’s economy.

Nikki Fried is dressed in a business suit clutching a podium with microphones resting close to her.
Ryan Dailey / WFSUNews

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried wants the legislature to provide 77 full time employees to help process background checks for gun licensing.

Florida Municipal Electric Association

A bill looking to exempt municipal utility customers’ usage data from public record has cleared its final committee stop in the Florida House. Ryan Dailey recently spoke with Florida Municipal Electric Association director Amy Zubaly about why her organization supports what she sees as a measure for consumer protection.

Florida Capitol
Nick Evans / WFSU News

Lawmakers have been voting on bills, and we’ve been following them closely. But Thursday, during the Senate session North Florida Democratic Senator Bill Montford took a moment to talk about something that hit close to home for him.

Large Machinery is ready for use in front of a row of metal objects used in the distilling process.
Cpper Bottom Distillery Instagram

A number of bills that would make changes to Florida’s alcohol rules are moving through the legislature. But many of them make exceptions to the state’s three tier system that separates manufactures, distributors and vendors.

peoriapublicradio.org

The Florida House and Senate are at odds over how to make good on Governor Ron DeSantis’s promise to eliminate a 13,000 student wait list for private school scholarships. 

alyssa BLACK / Flickr

Lawmakers want to get rid of a process that determines where facilities like hospitals and nursing homes can be built and what services can be offered. That process is called certificate of need. It was created to keep health care costs low. But lawmakers believe it no longer works.

"I do believe what we’ve seen with CON with hospitals particularly has not fulfilled its purpose and it’s time for this regulation to go," said Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers.)

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Supporters and opponents of Republican Senator Dennis Baxley’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill had a showdown of sorts Thursday in the Capitol. Baxley, who held a press conference alongside members of an anti-abortion group, wants an opportunity for the bill to get a committee hearing — and its detractors hope the measure never gets there.

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