State News

Capitol building at night
Erich Martin

A controversial bill that bans local governments from adopting or practicing sanctuary city policies is moving forward, but it comes with some new amendments.

The Senate amended its sanctuary city legislation to include a carve out for state prosecutors and the Department of Children and families. Miami Democratic Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez says those exemptions are important for protecting some of the state’s most vulnerable people. He gives the example of a recent incident.

Gabrielle Monroe wears a pony tail and blue polo shirt. She stands at a podium with papers in her hands. Monroe looks off to the side as she addresses the committee.
The Florida Channel

Survivors of human trafficking are divided on two bills in the legislature.

In Satellite Beach homes perch atop a sand dune, left exposed after a series of storms and hurricanes washed away a sea wall (April 2019)
Amy Green / WMFE News

A ban in Florida on the words “climate change” appears to be ending. The DeSantis administration is showing new leadership where state government has been absent in the past.

Children's Home Society

A large number of lawmakers support at least one provision of the controversial Senate bill 7070, which passed the Florida Senate Thursday on a party-line vote. It awaits a vote by the House.

The measure would establish a new K-12 voucher program, the “Family Empowerment Scholarship," while raising the income eligibility limit to include some middle-income families.

This building is surrounded by the type of barbed wire that makes it difficult to climb over a fence. (Undated image)
Hédi Benyounes / UnSplash

Complaints about incarcerated women being denied basic hygiene products like pads and tampons has caught the attention of state lawmakers. Now Florida is poised to approve a bill making those products and others available to women at no cost.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

The Florida Senate has passed its marquee school choice bill, SB 7070. The controversial measure that creates a new voucher program narrowly got by on a 23-17 party-line vote.

State Leaders Study Late Proposal For A Gambling Compact

Apr 25, 2019
Patxi Goicolea/flickr

Gov. Ron DeSantis and his staff continued Wednesday to scrutinize a proposed gambling agreement, but the odds of closing out what some lawmakers have called a “three-dimensional game of chess” grow dimmer as the clock winds down on the legislative session.

After weeks of negotiations, Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and representatives of the Seminole Tribe reached a tentative deal on Tuesday. DeSantis and House Speaker José Oliva received an outline of the agreement, known as a “compact,” on Tuesday.

Florida Channel

The Senate punted on voting on its big school choice bill Wednesday, as amendments to the measure continue to pour in. But, the chamber did make a significant change to its PreK-12 education budget, moving closer to the House.

red tide
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida lawmakers are set to vote on research funding for toxic algae blooms. However some environmentalists are saying this funding may only solve part of the problem. 

Andrew Gaines / Unsplash

After a 16-year battle, a bill concerning cancer coverage for Florida’s firefighters is heading to the Governor’s desk.

A divided Florida House has approved a bill that bans sanctuary cities for immigrants. It was met with heated debate from Democrats.

The bill would ban so-called “sanctuary cities” for immigrants in Florida counties and punish local officials who don’t cooperate with federal authorities. Municipalities that enforce such policies may be fined up to $5,000 per day.

The bill was proposed by Rep. Cord Byrd (R-Nassau) with the intention of reducing crime in Florida.

The St. Johns River
FL Division of Tourism via Florida Memory / Florida Memory

Tourism is Florida’s largest industry yet the agency that markets the state could soon be going away. As lawmakers hammer out details of a roughly $90 billion  spending plan, Visit Florida could find itself left out.

Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Florida’s firefighters are a step closer to gaining cancer coverage. Blaise Gainey reports it’s the culmination of a 16-year-effort.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

As Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposed Canadian drug importation plan looks poised to pass into law this legislative session, he and other proponents are mocking its critics as fearmongers. The Governor’s defense comes amid attack ads that are ramping up in Florida markets.

The March For Our Lives protest in Parkland, Florida, on March 24, 2018.
Casey Chapter / WFSU

An effort to let school districts choose whether to allow more classroom teachers to carry guns, has cleared the Senate. The broader bill incorporates recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission, which was tasked with examining the response and lead up to last year's Valentine’s Day School shooting in Parkland. 

A person texting while driving
Andrey Popove / Adobe Stock


A bill that requires drivers to use hands-free devices has one step left to go in the senate.

designer491 / Adobe Stock

Tuesday, lawmakers took a big step in addressing what property insurance companies have called fraud for nearly a decade. It’s called assignment of benefits. The fix makes several changes that lawmakers believe will help lower the cost of homeowner’s insurance.

ottawawebdesign / Adobe Stock

Voters across Florida will likely have a chance to raise the minimum wage during the 2020 election if a constitutional amendment petition gains enough signatures. Florida’s Financial Impact Estimating Conference met today to find out what impact it would have on the state.

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.

energy choice
Matthew Henry / Unsplash

A push to give Floridians greater choice over energy providers is heating up. Proponents say it will increase competition and drive down costs. But not everyone feels the electricity.

Gabrielle Bolden / WFSU

Environmental groups gathered at the Capitol, Monday, to suggest ideas on how Governor Ron DeSantis can help advance clean energy. 

rick scott
J Pat Carter / AP

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) is demanding the FBI turn over information about Russian hacking.

Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center
Veterans Affairs Administration

The Senate is moving forward with certificate of need repeal. But some call the move a dramatic shift that reneges on weeks of work. The plan to scrap hospital regulations points to a bigger picture about the legislative process.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Hurricane Michael devastated Florida’s Panhandle in October as the most powerful storm ever to make landfall in the region. The storm has been reclassified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a category 5.

Gorodenkoff / Adobe Stock

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is throwing his weight behind the firefighter cancer relief bill, one of the main priorities this session.One part of the bill gives a one-time cash payout of $25,000 to firefighters upon their initial cancer diagnosis.

Blaise Gainey talks with the CFO what the bill means for the state’s first responders.