State News

P. Solomon Banda / AP Photo

North Florida’s timber industry suffered a more than one-billion-dollar loss in result of Hurricane Michael. To replace the loss many have proposed hemp farming. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has been an advocate of hemp but understands getting North Florida ready to accept it is a process.

paul79uf / Flickr

Hialeah Representative Bryan Avila filed a bill for the second year in a row that would repeal the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, reorganize the local Transportation Planning Organization, and require all toll revenue collected in the county to be spent in the county.

A Day in the Bite / Flickr

It could become even tougher for Florida students to get bright futures scholarships. A senate proposal would match the state score requirements for the SAT and ACT tests to match the national percentile rankings.

Mark Wallheiser / AP File

Last year a pilot-program established a court aimed at handling child welfare cases involving zero to three year olds. Today a bill took the next step to expand the program statewide.

hemp florida
Don Ryan / AP

Hemp in Florida is one step closer to legality. A measure legalizing hemp production passed its first legislative hurdle Wednesday.

brianandtristan / Flickr

Local governments would no longer be able to prevent residents from growing vegetable gardens in their front yard if a senate proposal becomes law.

Steve Cannon / AP Photo

Senate President Bill Galvano’s transportation bill passed its first committee today but not without debate from those who are opposed to the proposal. And they’re not the only ones who don’t see eye to eye with Galvano, Governor Ron DeSantis is also opposed to a plan that would more toll roads to be built in Florida.

After years of failure, Florida is trying again to address insurance reform this session. It’s targeting a practice known as assignment of benefits.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Florida’s House and Senate leaders ushered in the 2019 Legislative Session Tuesday with their opening remarks – but their respective speeches differed in tone.

Mexico Beach is far from recovered after Hurricane Michael walloped the shore last fall. Now lawmakers are hoping to help speed that recovery along.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

The Florida Health Care Association is against a Florida House bill that would eliminate the “certificate of need” process for healthcare facilities. Currently nursing homes are among the facilities that must demonstrate sufficient need in a location before building a new site.

This antique store in Blountstown was severely damaged by Hurricane Michael. (October 2018)
Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Hurricane Michael has caused an estimated $25 billion in damages, according to the federal government. Efforts to get dollars into North Florida are slow and causing frustration.

Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) found himself under siege Thursday as he attempted to gain passage for a new Senate map.
The Florida Channel

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano is paving the way for a new transportation plan as the legislative session kicks into gear. But a bumpy road could lie ahead.

Prescribed Burns Could Help Cleanup Hurricane Debris

Mar 1, 2019
Two men in yellow jackets walk through a smokey forest.
Tall Timbers Facebook page

The state is looking to prescribed fires to clean up the massive amount of timber left after Hurricane Michael. Tall Timbers’ Wildland fire scientist, Kevin Hiers , says salvaging is not going to be a viable option for most landowners in North Florida.

Markus Spiske

The rising use of biometrics by private companies is pushing Florida lawmakers to ensure consumers are aware and protected when giving up their information. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Heading into the 2019 Legislative Session, state lawmakers on either side of the aisle aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on education. Like they have in previous years, school choice and school safety remain polarizing issues.

Health care florida
Martin Brosy / Unsplash

As health care continues to take up a growing slice of the state’s budget, House Speaker Jose Oliva has set his eyes on market reform. 

Monroe County Board of County Commissioners / facebook

Florida’s insurance industry has tried for years to reign in a practice known as assignment of benefits—where a property owner signs over payment of a claim directly to a contractor or service provider. The fight is back. This time, spearheaded by state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Republican–controlled Legislature will be tasked with an unexpected job: deciding whether to allocate funds for environmental causes championed by the governor.

The environment wasn’t a priority under former Governor Rick Scott. Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, is taking a different approach - and raising eyebrows - as he seeks massive dollars to clean up the state’s water ways.

Now it's up to the Legislature to consider his funding request.

BigBendPBA.org

The Big Bend Police Benevolent Association's board of directors is retracting the chapter president's call for an investigation into Tallahassee Police Department Chief Michael DeLeo. The move comes a day after the group requested a probe.

school safety
Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU

The Florida Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday its turning its sights to a new topic: public safety. It is bringing a coalition of leaders together to address school and workplace safety.

Tom Flanigan

Associated Industries of Florida’s Brewster Bevis says affordable housing is good for both business and the economy.

Robbie Gaffney / WFSU-FM

The Florida Panhandle is having a rough time recovering from Hurricane Michael, and an even harder time finding ways to fund reconstruction. 

New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft speaks to fans during the first half of an NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, in Charlotte, N.C.
Chuck Burton / Associated Press (AP)

Prostitution charges for the owner of the New England Patriots and the former CEO of Citibank are just the surface of an investigation into a human trafficking ring in Central and South Florida. The arrests of 25 men including the two businessmen is once again drawing attention to sex trafficking in massage parlors.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has rescinded even more of Governor Rick Scott’s appointments. So far, more than 200 people have taken off of state boards and commissions by the new governor. 

Pages