State News

Visit Florida's budget has grown since 2004. So has the state's tourism numbers.
Visit Florida

Florida’s tourism and marketing agency could be going away if the Florida House has its way. It comes as tourism remains the state’s dominant industry, and the state continues recovering from toxic algae blooms and hurricanes. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

New Agency for Health Care Administration secretary Mary Mayhew got her second positive vote of confirmation from a Senate committee Monday. Mayhew faced more tough lines of questioning from Health Policy committee members, but won over one key Democratic vote.

Planend Parenthood, abortion
Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU

A bill requiring minors to receive parental consent before having an abortion cleared its first state Senate Committee Monday. 

Don Ryan / AP Photo

Last month Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that allowed medical marijuana flower to be sold in Florida. Now a sponsor of that bill is trying to cap the potency levels of marijuana sold at treatment centers, and also waive license fees for veterans. Opponents say it’s a double-edged sword. 

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

The Sadowski Housing Coalition wants the state to spend money in an affordable housing trust fund on affordable housing. While that is the plan in the Senate, the House has other ideas.

More than a year after the Parkland school massacre, a comprehensive response on how to best prevent a future tragedy remains a work in progress. For many the question boils down to this: Are parents comfortable with placing their children’s safety in the hands of an armed teacher who has eight hours of active shooter training?

Joel Page / AP Photo

Governor Ron DeSantis’ pick to head the Agency for Health Care Administration, Mary Mayhew, passed her first Senate confirmation hearing Thursday. Mayhew briefly oversaw Medicaid for the Trump administration, and was over the program in Maine for seven years prior. Some Senators grilled Mayhew on her noted opposition to Medicaid expansion.

Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

When amendments are made to the constitution sometimes they need legislation to be passed that would implement the change. Well this year lawmakers are doing that with 2018’s Amendment 4 which allows certain felons the right to vote after completing their sentence. There’s debate over whether implementing legislation is needed and WFSU’s Blaise Gainey reports both sides clashed during Thursday’s bill hearing.

sample ballot
Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Florida’s elections once again made headlines last year amid several hotly-contested races. Now the state house and senate are pushing bills to change the process for the future.

Lush Florida River On A Cloudy Day At Dusk
The Nature Conservancy

As the legislative session continues in the Florida Capitol, advocates question if lawmakers are making climate change a priority. 

abortion florida parental consent
Evan Vucci / AP

A measure (HB 1335) that would require minors to receive parental consent before getting an abortion cleared its second state House committee Wednesday. 

CDC.gov

Mental health has been a frequent topic at the Capitol following more tragic news from Parkland. Two students who survived last year's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre took their own lives last month. 

The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald bureau reports that while the Legislature allocated $69 million for student mental health after the tragedy, almost none of it went to suicide prevention. But some lawmakers have begun to study prevention programs.

Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee. He's troubled by a recent report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. In mid-February as his panel heard a presentation on suicide, he pointed to data showing Americans' life expectancy had dropped for the third year in a row.

Bryan Woolston / AP Photo

While low-THC cannabis or hemp is available in stores, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says it’s not legal …. Yet. Legislation proposed in both Chambers would change that. Tuesday the House bill passed its second committee.

Florida State University

The Senate Education Committee has advanced a bill to explore what it calls “intellectual freedom” on college campuses, drawing the most debate of any item at its meeting. Other measures had an easier time being pushed through the committee Tuesday.

flgov.com

Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a proclamation making April Child Abuse Prevention Month. 

At a news conference at the Capitol Tuesday morning, the governor also announced the appointment of the First Lady to chair the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet.

Casey DeSantis says she’ll work with residents who relied on state services growing up.

alamosbasement / Flickr

In 2017 the legislature decided to give greater incentives to charter schools to serve students in low-performing traditional schools. Today an attempt to expand where the schools of hope could open up was approved in the House.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

A year out from the 2020 U.S. Census, some Florida Democratic lawmakers are calling for a question concerning citizenship to be scrubbed from the census form. And one bill waiting for a committee hearing looks to push for an accurate count.

Florida lawmakers want to educate students about human trafficking and child abuse. In 2018, Florida ranked 3rd in the nation for reports of human trafficking, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Nick Morrison / Unsplash

Lawmakers hope allowing state colleges impacted by Hurricane Michael to waive out of state tuition for 3 years will spur economic growth. 

DeSantis Rivkees DOH
Governor's Press Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis is tapping a doctor from the University of Florida to lead the state Department of Health. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A measure moving through Florida’s House and Senate looks to add student immunization records to the Department of Health’s existing database. Amendments to the bill would let parents opt out of being listed on the registry, but critics are still skeptical on whether their privacy is protected.

Wakulla County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

Florida legislators are likely to pass a bill this session that would allow classroom teachers to carry guns while in school. But the Wakulla School Superintendent doesn’t support it.

Margie Menzel/WFSU

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program represents abused, abandoned, and neglected children in the state's dependency courts. Minority children are disproportionately represented there. So the program is turning to Florida A&M University's School of Journalism and Graphic Communications for help in recruiting volunteers who are male, young, or members of minority groups.

Last year, Guardian ad Litem (GAL) represented more than 39,000 children with about 13,000 volunteers. The average volunteer tends to be older, female, and white.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

A committee bill in the Florida house looking to make sweeping changes to the state’s election laws has cleared a key committee stop. A number of them would modify the state’s vote-by-mail procedure, which sparked a partisan debate about voter access.

Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

Legislators want to close a loophole they say bad actors are exploiting, ultimately leading to insurance rates increasing across the state. A bill heading to the House floor would address the issue. Lawmakers and the Chief Financial Officer of Florida are both focused on stopping the so-called bad actors.

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