State News

Rich Pedroncelli, File / AP Photo

State estimates show Florida could save hundreds of thousands of dollars if it were to allow certain inmates to be released from prison early.

Colorful boxes are bundled together and ready for recycling
Photo by Michael Jin on Unsplash

A little more than ten years ago, Florida set a goal to recycle 75% of its waste by this year. The state reached 60% in 2016, but since then it’s been backsliding. Now about 50% of the state’s trash is recycled. And for the past few years, recycling markets have been getting worse—leading the recycling programs in some communities to close. Now officials say Tallahassee’s program could be next.

Victoria Dominguez

Visit Florida is fighting for its existence after last year’s legislative session brought devastating budget cuts to the tourism agency. However, its pleas for survival aren’t swaying one powerful lawmaker- House Speaker Jose Oliva.

Riley McCullough / Unsplash

Florida lawmakers want to protect student athletes from sweltering temperatures, which can pose risk of heat strokes. The Senate Education committee heard from a parent whose son died as a result of overheating.

Children’s Week in Tallahassee is Jan. 26 through 31. Among the events will be Monday evening’s (Jan. 27) of the Lawton and Rhea Chiles Advocacy Award. This year’s honoree has been standing up for the state’s kids for more than 40 years and his name is Jack Levine.

Florida Memory Project

A museum is in the works to commemorate a piece of Tallahassee history that helped shape the city – the Dale Mabry airfield. That’s thanks to a collaboration with Tallahassee Community College, which sits on the old base property.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Governor Ron DeSantis is announcing the state Department of Education’s replacement for Common Core standards.

Under the proposal, Florida health practitioners would be banned from giving transgender kids hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgery. It’s one of many bills LGBTQ rights advocates are targeting in a press conference Monday. 

The FL Supreme Court took up arguments in this week in a high profile death penalty case.
Nick Evans / WFSU News

The Florida Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that could restart debate over capital punishment. The state’s high court says a unanimous jury is no longer needed to impose the death penalty.

Bear clamps his jaw over a watermelon and uses his paw to hold the melon down.
Phil Coale / AP Photo

Killing a Florida black bear would cost poachers a minimum of $750 under a proposal pending before the legislature. According to the state, there are more than 4,000 black bears living in Florida.

Florida Supreme Court building in front of blue sky
Nick Evans / WFSU

The Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Committee has forwarded its list of top nominees to Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis will choose two to fill the vacancies created by Justices Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck.

Among the many public exemption bills that could come up in the Florida Legislature, some could have major implications on the First Amendment rights of Florida residents.

For Rep. Anthony Sabatini, (R- Clermont) house bill 615 is personal. “I actually went to teen court myself when I was sixteen for a fist fight and now I sit on the criminal justice committee. So I’m a very firm believer in rehabilitation,” Sabatini said.

Florida lawmakers want to create a “disqualification list” for teachers who commit sexual misconduct with a student. Bills in both chambers are moving, after dying last session.  

A man in a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie sits at a table surrounded by microphones
Ryan Dailey / WFSU News

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano has been under fire for accepting campaign contributions from gun control advocates and for supporting a universal background check bill. Now his colleagues—Republicans and Democrats, are coming to his defense. 

Ira Glass, host of "This American Life," will be at the Mahaffey Theater in St Petersburg Saturday.

Part of his visit includes a workshop with student journalists. When asked why it's important for him to pay attention to younger journalists, Glass says he remembers what it was like to be starting a career.

Governor Ron DeSantis unveiling his fiscal year 2019-2020 budget to the media.
Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to strengthen his authority over two big state agencies. He wants the Legislature to give him exclusive control over two of the biggest bureaucracies that serve Florida motorists and are responsible for environmental protection -- and not everyone thinks it's a good idea. 

Molecule of DNA forming inside the test tube in the blood test equipment. 3-D rendering,conceptual image.
Connect world / Adobe Stock

Rep. Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) says life insurance companies can use your genetic test against you. He wrote about those tests in a recent op-ed and is pushing a bill in the legislature that would stop the practice. His proposal passed its last stop before the full chamber Thursday.

Young man stands at podium speaking into several microphone. A crowd is in the back. Reporters are in the front with cameras.
Aileen Perilla / AP Photo

On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a bill requiring parental consent for a minor’s abortion passed its last committee stop. The measure will now be heading to the Senate floor. 

Woman applying sunscreen on her shoulder
paultarasenko / Adobe Stock

One of the first bills ready for a vote by the full Senate would stop local governments from regulating sunscreen. It’s one of several preemption bills that has been filed this session.

Richard Villalon / Adobe stock

Republican state legislators are trying to abolish Florida’s ‘permanent’ alimony system. A bill in both chambers would place caps on the duration of payments, but a Florida Bar section is opposing the changes.

Vaping device and cigarettes in the man's hand, concept of choosing the type of cigarette
Balint Radu

A new federal law bans anyone less than 21-years-old from purchasing tobacco products--including vaporizers. Meanwhile, state lawmakers are considering new legislation aimed at enforcing that law. But some say the state's proposed penalties aren’t harsh enough to be effective.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

State Senator Joe Gruters invited a Florida congressional candidate who’s been banned from most social media sites to speak alongside him as he rolled out a new bill he says fights censorship.

Man speaks at podium. He's surrounded by women, one of which holds a sign that reads, "Justice 4 Tammy."
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU-FM

Dignity Florida is backing bills aimed to change how pregnant incarcerated women are treated. The push comes after a woman gave birth alone in a jail cell. 

Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami) chairs the Senate Banking and Insurance committee.
Nick Evans / WFSU News

Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores wants to change what she sees as an overly political and broken claims bill process. These bills are how people who’ve sued the state or local governments get the money they’re owed. Right now, the state caps how much money it pays out, often leading to long, drawn out legal battles and years of waiting for claims bill approval. 

Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nunez speaks during a press conference in 2019.
Governors Press Office / Executive Office of the Governor

Florida’s Lieutenant Governor has been making the rounds, promoting Governor Ron DeSantis’ legislative agenda. WFSU's Lynn Hatter sat down with Nunez recently to get her take on some of the big decisions state lawmakers are facing.