State News

Shaquille Dukes' attorney Ben Crump speaks during a news conference in Chicago, Thursday, July 11, 2019. Dukes stated that he believes he was wrongfully arrested last month outside FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport, Ill., while still attached to an IV.
Amr Alfiky / AP Photo

Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump is joining the office of Attorney Lee Merrit to represent the family of Jamee Johnson. Johnson was a former student at Florida A&M University who was killed Sunday in Jacksonville during a traffic stop.

First Amendment Foundation

The Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation has a new leader. Pamela Marsh took over this month from the retiring Barbara Petersen, who will stick around for a while as a consultant.

Marsh is the former U-S Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. She has more than 20 years of legal experience and is a shareholder at the Ausley McMullen law firm in Tallahassee.

Florida lawmakers are interested in addressing climate change. But they’re not setting any sort of renewable energy goals—which is something  democrats have proposed in the past. Instead, the Republican-led majority is focusing on making the state more adaptable to rising sea levels.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Senate President Bill Galvano had breakfast with members of the Capitol press corps Tuesday, fielding questions on (just about) everything under the Sunshine. Here are a few of the matters Galvano weighed in on:

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

The full U.S. House of Representatives could vote on President Donald Trump’s impeachment Wednesday. North Florida Congressman Al Lawson spoke with WFSU about how he will vote.

The Florida Senate chambers.
Nick Evans / WFSU-FM

State workers in Florida haven’t gotten an across-the-board pay raise since before Gov. Rick Scott took office. State senators are looking at how they may be able to fit a pay raise into this year’s budget.

Child plays piano
Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) held a summit Tuesday to discuss its high turn-over rates, heavy workloads, and low recruitment. 

Richard Vogel / AP Photo

Regulate Florida says it won’t make a February 1 signature deadline for a marijuana legalization amendment on the state’s November 2020 ballot.

House rests in middle of frame. Two sidewalks merge in front of the door. Trees and clouds.
Banter Snaps / Unsplash

When someone dies without a will, their land goes to family. But it can lead to some sticky situations. A group of Democratic lawmakers is looking into the issue.

Steve Cannon / AP Photo

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Florida’s legislature are taking aim at mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent offenders. Bills dealing with the rigid sentencing guidelines are advancing, and still being filed ahead of the 2020 session.

Person wearing white doctor's coat stands with arms crossed holding a stethoscope.
Online Marketing/Unsplash

For years, Florida’s Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) have tried to convince lawmakers to let them set up offices independent of physicians. Doctor groups have largely opposed the move, but a lawmaker who happens to be an emergency medicine physician isn’t giving up.

Leon County Supervisor Mark Earley says the state and election officers are nowhere close to removing felons that have not paid fines, fees and restitution from voter rolls.

Right now, if a doctor or nurse falls behind on paying their student loans, Florida can revoke their license.  Rep. Mike Beltran (R-Valrico) says the practice doesn’t make sense.

Children sitting on a bench look out at a park
Piron Guillaume / Unsplash

Florida senators are pushing forward with a change to family law. The proposal focuses on situations where relatives spend years caring for children left with them by family members. However, the bill has stalled in the House.

Two bloody fins rest on the ground.
Adobe Stock

Rep. Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) is pushing a proposal that would ban Floridians from selling shark fins. It’s part of an effort to crack down on shark finning. The practice involves chopping fins off sharks and throwing them back into the ocean. 

gray and brown dog with chain leash lying on floor
Tra Nguyen / Unsplash

Under a bill moving through the Florida Senate, leaving a dog chained up outside during a natural disaster, like a hurricane, tropical storm or tornado warning, would be a first degree misdemeanor. It would be punishable by up to one year in jail or a fine of $5,000. The rule would also apply during a mandatory evacuation order.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a committee meeting
Andrew Harnik / AP

Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday Florida is officially partnering with ERIC or the Electronic Registration Information Center. It's a non-partisan organization that essentially creates a multi-state database.

Auto mechanic changing car glass in garage
industrieblick / Adobe Stock

A bill to limit litigation tied to auto glass repairs died in committee Tuesday. The unexpected failure caught insurance watchers by surprise but one key lawmaker says the issue isn’t dead yet.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Republican Senator Jeff Brandes has a group of criminal justice reform bills already moving ahead of the 2020 session. Several of them passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday.

Religious, political and social beliefs are key to the debate over whether to require parental consent for abortions in Florida. After an initial stall, the Senate’s Health Policy Committee voted Tuesday along party lines to approve the measure.

Man in suit and tie stands at a podium. A woman in a blazer stands next to him.
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU-FM

Florida Democratic lawmakers are pushing a bill to help owners of heir property keep their land. 

Affordable Housing Crisis news
zimmytws / Adobe Stock

A lack of affordable housing will soon be a problem in more parts of Florida. According to a Florida Housing Coalition report, 921,928 very low-income households are spending more than half of  what they earn on housing.

Capitol building at night with glowing lights of city.
Erich Martin

Florida lawmakers seem agree—something needs to be done about the state’s Constitution Revision Commission. But they’re not on the same page yet about what should happen.

It's been the subject of derision and lawsuits. Even Gov. Ron DeSantis has been critical of the program. Now the lights could be dimming on Florida's Best & Brightest teacher bonus program. A Florida Senate education panel got started on a repeal Monday.

Thousands of people gathered at the Florida Capitol (2/21) demanding action on gun control in wake of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
Lydell Rawls / WFSU News

Gun safety advocates say more needs to be done to prevent mass shootings. But some say those proposals could be hard to enforce.