Monday, July 16, 2018

What passed, what failed in Florida's 2015 legislative session

Bills that passed and failed in the 2015 legislative session. To become law, bills must not be vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott.

Criminal justice

CAPITAL FELONIES (FAILED): Requires unanimous verdict of all 12 jurors in capital felony cases to recommend death sentence. (SB 664/HB 139)

CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANTS (FAILED): Requires police to tell confidential informants their legal rights and makes negligence of informants a felony. (SB 372/HB 267)

CIVIL CITATIONS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Allows police officers to issue civil citations to young people who have already committed a nonviolent offense. (SB 378)

DEATH PENALTY (FAILED): Abolishes capital punishment in Florida. (SB 1322/HB 4003)

'GROVELAND FOUR' (FAILED): Apologizes to families of four unarmed black men and boys killed by white sheriffs' deputies in Groveland in 1949. (SB 1332)

PRISONS (FAILED): Increases oversight of state prisons and creates penalties for guards who abuse inmates. (SB 7020)

TICKET QUOTAS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Prohibits police departments from using ticket quotas to generate revenue. (SB 264)

SEXUAL OFFENSES (SIGNED INTO LAW): Extends statute of limitations for rape cases. (HB 133)

BODY CAMERAS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Shields video taken by police body cameras on private property from disclosure under public record laws. (SB 248)


ECONOMIC INCENTIVES (FAILED): Limits use of state money for incentives to attract jobs and prohibits incentive payments until goals are met. (SB 1214/HB 5401)

AMERICAN FLAGS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Requires state, counties and cities to buy only American-made U.S. flags by 2016. (HB 225)

BEER GROWLERS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Allows Florida craft breweries to sell beer in 64-ounce "growlers." (SB 186)

EQUAL PAY (FAILED): Requires that women get equal pay with men on state contracts. (SB 98/HB 25)

ENTERPRISE ZONES (FAILED): Extends program of tax incentives to businesses that create jobs in areas with high unemployment, poverty and crime. (HB 903/SB 392)

FILM INCENTIVES (FAILED): Restructures tax credits for movie and TV productions and eliminates the first-come, first-served system in place now. (HB 451/SB 1046)


CAMPUS GUNS (FAILED): Repeals an existing law banning concealed weapons from college campuses. (HB 4005/SB 176)

CHARTER SCHOOLS (FAILED): Requires school districts to share construction and maintenance money with charter schools. (HB 7037)

CHOICE (FAILED): Allows students to attend any school in the state that has space. (HB 1145/SB 1552)

CLASS SIZE (FAILED): Gives school districts flexibility to meet the constitutionally mandated limits on class size. (HB 665/SB 818)

COLLEGE PRESIDENTS (FAILED): Creates public records exemption for state college and university presidential searches. (SB 182/HB 223)

COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY (FAILED): Eliminates the sales tax on textbooks; requires colleges and universities to publish the price of each class before the semester begins. (HB 7125/SB 938)

COACHES (FAILED): Requires the immediate termination of any coach who is ejected from an organized athletic event involving children 12 or under. (HB 479/SB 238)

CONSERVATIVE MOVIE (FAILED): Requiring all middle schools and high schools to show students the film "America: Imagine the World Without Her." (HB 77/SB 96)

DIGITAL CLASSROOMS (FAILED): Requires the development of a five-year plan to address technology needs in public schools. (HB 1264/SB 7050)

K-12 GUNS (FAILED): Allows designated schools employees to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. (HB 19/SB 180)

PRINCIPAL AUTONOMY (FAILED): Creates a pilot program giving certain principals more freedom over budget and hiring decisions. (HB 357/SB 1552)

TESTING (SIGNED INTO LAW): Scales back testing in public schools, puts school grades on hold until the new Florida Standards Assessments are deemed valid, enables districts to start school as early as Aug. 10. (HB 7069)

UNIFORMS (FAILED): Encourages school districts to adopt mandatory school uniform policies for grades K-8 by providing a cash incentive. (HB 7043/SB 1474)

TEACHER SALARIES (FAILED): Sets $50,000 minimum salary for new teachers. (SB 280/HB 261)

COLLEGE NAMES (FAILED): Changes names of some Florida colleges by dropping the word "state" from their titles. (SB 1252)


ONLINE REGISTRATION (SIGNED INTO LAW): Requires state to create online voter registration system by October 2017. (SB 228)

MAIL BALLOTS (FAILED): Allows cities to hold elections in which all ballots are cast by mail. (SB 7064/HB 1161)

CIVIL RIGHTS (FAILED): Allows constitutional amendment so that convicted felons can automatically regain the right to vote. (SB 208)

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (SIGNED INTO LAW): Sets March 15, 2016 as date of next presidential preference primary in Florida. (HB 7035)

WRITE-IN CANDIDATES (FAILED): Repeals requirement that write-in candidate reside within the district represented by office sought at time of qualification. (SB 840/HB 4043)

General government

IMMIGRANT DRIVERS (FAILED): Allows undocumented immigrants to obtain Florida driver licenses. (SB 300)

SEXUAL ORIENTATION (FAILED): Prohibits state-licensed counselors from attempting to change a minor's sexual orientation. (SB 204/HB 83)

PLANNING COUNCILS (FAILED): Reduces regional planning councils from 11 to 10 and abolishes Withlacoochee council in Ocala. (SB 484/HB 873)

MELON HAULERS (FAILED): Exempts operators of melon hauling vehicles from having to obtain commercial driver licenses. (SB 1072/HB 831)

TUPELO HONEY (FAILED): Designates tupelo honey as official state honey. (SB 556)

PUBLIC UTILITIES (SIGNED INTO LAW): Reforms Public Service Commission, including setting term limits. (HB 7109)

TAX CUTS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Cuts about $400 million in taxes, including through sales tax holidays. (HB 33A)

TAXPAYERS' EMAILS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Keeps confidential the email addresses of taxpayers who receive electronic tax notices from county tax collectors. (SB 200)

INSPECTORS GENERAL (SIGNED INTO LAW): Requires national searches to replace vacant inspector general positions in agencies under control of governor. (HB 371)


BACKYARD GUNS (FAILED): Prohibits backyard recreational gun use. (HB 623)

EVACUATIONS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Allows people to carry concealed weapons without a license during emergency evacuations. (SB 290)


ABORTIONS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Requires 24-hour waiting period and at least one in-person doctor appointment before an abortion. (HB 633)

KIDCARE (FAILED): Eliminates five-year waiting period for lawfully residing immigrant children seeking to enroll in Florida's subsidized health insurance program. (SB 294/HB 829)

MEDICAID EXPANSION (FAILED): Creates a state-run marketplace for private health insurance available to low-income Floridians who work and pay small monthly premiums. (SB 2A)

NURSES (FAILED): Allows advanced registered nurse practitioners to prescribe and dispense medications. (HB 27A)

RIGHT MEDICINE (FAILED): Creates a commission to review insurance plans that limit therapies and pharmaceuticals. (SB 784/HB 863)

RIGHT TO TRY (SIGNED INTO LAW): Allows terminally ill patients to try experimental treatments. (HB 269)

TELEMEDICINE (FAILED): Creates standards for telemedicine and using web and videoconferencing technology to treat patients. (HB 545/SB 478)

TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS (FAILED): Prohibits transgender people from using restrooms aligned with their gender identity. (SB 1464 /HB 583)


CUBA (PASSED): Memorial to rebuke President Barack Obama's decision to open diplomatic relations with Cuba, opposes the potential opening of a Cuban consulate in Florida. (SM 866)

DRONES (SIGNED INTO LAW): Bans surveillance of private property using unmanned flying drones. (SB 766)

GUARDIAN ROTATION (SIGNED INTO LAW): Encourages courts to use a rotation system to appoint guardians to manage the affairs of incapacitated senior citizens. (SB 318)

GUARDIAN RULES (FAILED): Establishes a new Office of Public & Professional Guardians to review allegations of fraud and abuse involving guardians who manage the affairs of incapacitated senior citizens. (HB 1225/SB 1226)

PLASTIC BAGS (FAILED): Allows coastal communities with fewer than 100,000 residents to develop pilot programs to limit the use of plastic bags. (HB 661/SB 966)

POOL SAFETY (FAILED): Establishes a commission to study potential electrical hazards around swimming pools. (HB 795/SB 926)

TEXTING (FAILED): Makes texting while driving a primary offense, allowing officers to pull people over for doing so. (HB 1/SB 192)

RENTAL CARS (FAILED): Requires non-residents who rent cars in Florida to buy liability insurance. (SB 976/HB 819)

ADOPTION (SIGNED INTO LAW): Allows gay people to adopt children. (HB 7013)

RELIGIOUS PROTECTIONS (FAILED): Allows adoption agencies to refuse service based on religious convictions. (HB 7111)

WATER (FAILED): Changes regulations for water pollution and springs. (HB 7003)

Times/Herald staff writers Steve Bousquet, Mary Ellen Klas, Michael Auslen, Michael Van Sickler, Kathleen McGrory and Jeremy Wallace contributed to this report.


Pasco Political Notebook

Hunter, Murphy speak to Democratic ClubThe Trinity Democratic Club will host candidates Chris Hunter (running for U.S. Congress in District 12) and Amanda Murphy (running for state Senate in District 16) as guest speakers at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sacha Baron Cohen still knows how to punk America, but his new show erodes what little trust we have left

Sacha Baron Cohen still knows how to punk America, but his new show erodes what little trust we have left

Sacha Baron Cohen’s return to incognito trickery is, in current conditions, a little like pouring rubbing alcohol into the nation’s open wounds.Employing the same ingenious commitment and subterfuge that made him famous in the guise of Ali G., Borat ...
Published: 07/15/18
Trump tweets, hits links before high-stakes Putin meeting

Trump tweets, hits links before high-stakes Putin meeting

TURNBERRY, Scotland — Two days before a high-stakes summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump played golf and tweeted Saturday from one of his namesake resorts, blaming his predecessor for Russian election meddling and lash...
Published: 07/14/18
March column: Transit petition has

March column: Transit petition has "steep hill"

Leaders of an effort to put a Hillsborough County transportation sales tax referendum on the November ballot say they’re confident they’ll gather enough petition signatures in time.But they may have to work fast. As of Thursday, All for Transportatio...
Published: 07/13/18
Updated: 07/15/18
Scott taps former Pinellas GOP chair to fill commission vacancy left by late John Morroni

Scott taps former Pinellas GOP chair to fill commission vacancy left by late John Morroni

Gov. Rick Scott appointed real estate investor and former Redington Shores Mayor Jay Beyrouti to the Pinellas County Commission on Friday, filling the vacancy created when Commissioner John Morroni died of cancer in May.In a short news release, the G...
Published: 07/13/18
His Ph.D is from a diploma mill. But candidate stands by his work

His Ph.D is from a diploma mill. But candidate stands by his work

The three letters were displayed prominently on George Buck’s campaign website, right after his name: Ph.D. Check his campaign finance records and those, too, display his doctorate. There’s no question that Buck, a Republican primary ca...
Published: 07/13/18

Fiat workers call for strike after owner buys Cristiano Ronaldo

Fiat factory workers in Italy can think of a few things they’d rather see their owner spend $130 million on than Cristiano Ronaldo.A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles union in the south of the country called for a strike to protest the purchase of star playe...
Published: 07/12/18
Carlton: Forget politics — we’ve got a mayor-governor bromance going here!

Carlton: Forget politics — we’ve got a mayor-governor bromance going here!

There’s a difference between Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.And no, I don’t mean the fact that Buckhorn is a Democrat who stuffed envelopes in the fourth grade for Robert Kennedy and later stumped for both Bill and Hillary. And ...
Published: 07/10/18
Updated: 07/11/18
Hawkes, Compton lean on public service roles in Pasco’s only contested judicial race

Hawkes, Compton lean on public service roles in Pasco’s only contested judicial race

Of the five Pasco County judgeships up for election this year, voters will decide only one race: a lone contested showdown between the Sheriff’s Office’s top civilian employee, Jeremiah Hawkes, and former Zephyrhills city councilman Kent Compton.Hawk...
Published: 07/10/18
Trump picks Kavanaugh for court, setting up fight with Dems

Trump picks Kavanaugh for court, setting up fight with Dems

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh, a politically connected conservative judge, for the Supreme Court Monday, setting up a ferocious confirmation battle with Democrats as he seeks to shift the nation’s highest court further to ...
Published: 07/09/18