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Florida Legislature

  1. Challengers ask court to take over Florida's redistricting

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Equating the Legislature's redistricting failure to a strikeout, the challengers to the state's congressional map on Thursday called on the Florida Supreme Court to redraw the districts it invalidated and reject the Legislature's call for more time.

  2. Trial judge asks Florida Supreme Court for guidance in resolving redistricting dispute

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court will now decide the best way to resolve the impasse over Florida's redistricting maps after a trial judge said Tuesday he "has no authority" to resolve the dispute between the House and Senate.

  3. As Gov. Rick Scott lays low, his poll numbers go higher

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Avoiding the political spotlight in the Capitol is doing wonders for Gov. Rick Scott's poll numbers.

    Rick Scott can take solace in a new statewide poll showing that his job approval has inched upward and is more good than bad — by 1 percentage point — for the first time since soon after he took office in 2011. [Associated Press]
  4. Tampa Bay lawmakers featured in anti-Medicaid expansion ad

    Blogs

    Several Tampa Bay area legislators are featured prominently in a new TV and digital ad by Americans for Prosperity, "thanking" them for blocking Medicaid expansion during the 2015 session.

  1. Gov. Rick Scott signs bill that scales back testing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Responding to a parent-driven charge to scale back testing in public schools, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed legislation to eliminate at least one exam and delay the release of school grades until the other exams are deemed valid.

    Gov. Rick Scott Gov. Scott says he “will keep working to make sure Florida students are not overtested.”
  2. Bill to address Florida testing concerns headed to Gov. Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A proposal that would reduce the testing requirements for Florida schoolchildren — and delay the release of school grades until an independent agency reviews the new assessments — is headed to Gov. Rick Scott's desk.

    "To me, that was the one education bill we needed to resolve this year," said Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg, R-Trinity.
  3. PolitiFact Florida: Do uniform policies improve school safety and truancy?

    State Roundup

    More Florida school districts might soon have millions of reasons to start requiring students to wear uniforms, thanks to a bill that just passed the House.

    The House passed a bill to give school districts $10 per child to adopt uniform policies for kindergarten through eighth grade. Can school uniforms help reduce violence and truancy.
  4. After a dozen years, Florida class-size foes may finally prevail

    K12

    For the eighth time in 12 years, Florida lawmakers are looking to roll back voters' wishes for smaller class sizes.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in February that the Class Size Amendment was “done for a political purpose.”
  5. Florida Senate moves to temporarily suspend school grades

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate took a critical step Wednesday toward temporarily suspending school grades in response to the outcry statewide among parents, teachers and superintendents who want a smoother transition as the state shifts to new standards and tests.

  1. In GOP-dominated Legislature, black lawmakers caucus struggles

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — When the last cocktail had been poured and the last guests had floated away from the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators' annual Scholarship Gala last month, thousands of dollars had flowed into the nonprofit foundation, courtesy of five-figure checks from a variety of special interests …

    As Rep. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, left, looks on, the chairman of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, is interviewed at the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators’ 21st annual Scholarship Gala in Tallahassee.
  2. Watchdog report says power companies wield too much influence in Florida Legislature

    Energy

    TALLAHASSEE — To understand the influence of Florida's largest electric companies in Tallahassee, look no further than your monthly bill.

  3. Big money, powerful lobbying groups push Florida voucher proposal

    K12

    TALLAHASSEE — Nearly 200 schoolchildren greeted Senate President Don Gaetz last month when he visited a Catholic school in Pensacola to get a firsthand look at the impact of Florida's controversial school voucher program.

  4. Capitol's dash for cash: Florida lawmakers race against time, picking up checks

    Elections

    TALLAHASSEE — The race for campaign cash shifted into high gear Monday as dozens of state legislators sought contributions from lobbyists before today's start of the legislative session when such fundraising is banned for two months.

    Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, receives a campaign contribution from veteran lobbyist Paul Jess of the Florida Justice Association, at a fundraiser Monday in Tallahassee, the last day he could raise funds before the 2014 session begins.
  5. Times/Herald special report: Tallahassee's torrent of campaign contributions

    Elections

    TALLAHASSEE — When Florida legislators open their annual 60-day session on Tuesday, many of the decisions about what issues make it onto the agenda have already been made — thanks in large part to the powerful special interest groups and a torrent of cash flowing into the coffers of legislative political …

  1. Feds say Florida needs $1 billion in hospital funding for poor next year

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Federal health officials told Florida Thursday that the state should expect big reductions in future years for a hospital payment program that's at the crux of a political stalemate blocking passage of a new state budget.

    Gov. Rick Scott speaks to members of the media after a meeting with Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell on May 6 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
  2. Florida House leaders threaten budget battle over Medicaid expansion

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The gloves are off inside the Capitol.

    "They want us to come dance?" said House Appropriations Chair Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes. "We're not dancing. We're not dancing this session; we're not dancing next session; we're not dancing next summer. We're not dancing.
  3. Despite budget constraints, hometown pork still popular with Florida lawmakers

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Though the Florida Senate unanimously passed its $80.4 billion budget Wednesday — and the House appears unified to approve its own version today — there's plenty of behind-the-scenes wrangling among members when it comes to pet projects.

    State Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, said that the outlook is good for the University of South Florida’s downtown Tampa medical center to receive at least partial funding in next year’s budget.
  4. Florida House and Senate battle over tax cuts

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE -- The tax cut battle lines have been drawn.

  5. Gov. Rick Scott's tax cuts and education spending at risk in House and Senate budgets

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Less than two months ago, an enthusiastic Gov. Rick Scott, fresh off his re-election victory, unveiled his plan to spend Florida's $1 billion surplus.

    Gov. Rick Scott proposed a budget of $76.98 billion.
  1. Ideas emerge to bridge Florida's legislative divide

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida legislators may have ended their stalemate last week when they agreed to convene a three-week special session to resolve the budget crisis in June, but they didn't agree on the hard part: how to resolve stark differences over health care.

  2. Florida Gov. Rick Scott asks hospitals to consider profit sharing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott is pitching a new idea to help Florida hospitals handle the potential loss of federal funds for treating indigent patients: profit sharing.

    Gov. Rick Scott unveiled an ambitious environmental plan that promises to spend $5 billion over the next 20 years. [Getty Images]
  3. Meet the Arizona doctor House Republicans like to quote

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Dr. Jason Fodeman may not be a household name in Florida.

  4. Gov. Rick Scott calls for special session, says tax cuts may be sacrificed to end stalemate

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Blaming the federal government for Florida's financial woes, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday said he was prepared to call Florida lawmakers back for a special session to complete the budget — and even encourage them to pass a bare-bones budget if necessary.

    Gov. Scott says his tax cuts are in jeopardy.
  5. Florida Legislature heads toward special session because of Medicaid impasse

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Republican leaders said Wednesday that they won't approve a budget by the scheduled end of the legislative session in 15 days because of a showdown over Medicaid expansion.

    House speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, center, said Wednesday, "I would assume most likely we're looking at a special session" of the Florida Legislature. [Associated Press]
  1. Take 3: Florida lawmakers try to fix 'tainted' lines for Congress

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — They look like simple lines on a map, but they will make and break political careers.

    Former Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist, shown here during a West Palm Beach event  last year, is among the politicians who stand to gain the most from changes in congressional districts. The state Legislature meets in a special session beginning Monday to redraw congressional maps. Crist is considering running in a redrawn 13th District. [GETTY IMAGES]
  2. Activists question Gov. Rick Scott's rush job on environmental appointment

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott's decision to speed up the reappointment of Florida's top environmental regulator is drawing suspicion from grass roots activists across the state.

    Jon Steverson may be reappointed as the head of DEP today.
  3. For 2015 Florida Legislature, simply no end in sight

    Legislature

    It's a good thing for Florida taxpayers that state legislators don't get paid by the hour.

  4. Being a Florida lawmaker a path to wealth for many

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — In the wake of the Great Recession, which left the average Florida family struggling to make ends meet, at least one group of people continues to get richer: It pays to be elected to the state House or Senate.

  5. Embattled Florida elections chief goes on the defense

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Under fire once again for lapses in oversight of Florida's voter database and lax communication, Gov. Rick Scott's top elections official says he'll "over-communicate" in the future.

    State auditors recently said Ken Detzner needs to improve his management of the voting system.
  6. In paying late claims for jobless, why did Florida wait so long?

    Business

    TALLAHASSEE — It took Florida officials more than three months to decide to pay overdue jobless benefits to about 10,000 unemployed workers, many of whom went without checks since October because of a defective online registration system.

  7. Talk of budget turkeys ruffles some feathers

    Legislature

    For the past three decades, Florida TaxWatch has been a self-appointed fiscal watchdog, blowing the whistle on what it considers wasteful pork-barrel spending by the Legislature.

    Florida TaxWatch President Dominic Calabro brings out his giant stuffed bird for the organization’s post-legislative selection of “turkeys” from the budget passed in Tallahassee in 2007.
  8. Gov. Rick Scott wants $1.2 billion more for schools, bonuses for state workers

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will send the Legislature a $74 billion budget today that he says would boost spending in schools by $1.25 billion, but some of that money will never reach students.

  9. State wants bad $20M investment in movie company back

    Economic Development

    TALLAHASSEE — Call it another unfortunate plot twist in an already upsetting script.

  10. Gun makers, violent film and video creators benefit from tax breaks in Florida

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — What do violent video games, gory movies and high-powered assault weapons have in common? They have all been blamed for tragic mass shootings, including last month's at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — and are all subsidized by Florida taxpayers. With Florida's tax code more …

    Parker, a violent action movie starring Jason Statham, received $424,820 in tax credits for production in South Florida last year.
  1. School guns proposals stalled in Florida Senate

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A proposal that would allow certain teachers to carry guns in public schools is on life support after the Senate Education Committee declined to vote on it for the second meeting in a row.

  2. Bill for concealed carry in evacuations headed to Gov. Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Floridians soon could be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in the first two days of an emergency evacuation, even if they don't have a concealed license to do so.

  3. Gun advocates score victories in Florida House, Senate (w/video)

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida gun rights activists had a victorious day in the Capitol as the Republican-controlled Legislature considered two St. Petersburg lawmakers' bills, passing one through the Senate and shooting down the other.

    State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, sponsored the bill allowing lawful gun owners to carry a weapon while evacuating in an emergency. The bill passed. 
  4. Guns on campus opponents decry concealed-carry bills

    State Roundup

    Rallying around the slogan "Bullets and backpacks don't mix," about 30 people gathered on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol on Monday to protest a slate of bills that would allow concealed weapons at college campuses and schools.

  5. PolitiFact Florida: Suicide statistics used in guns on campus debate

    State Roundup

    A shooting incident at Florida State University late last year has reopened a debate in the Florida Legislature about whether to allow guns on college campuses.

    A fatal shooting at Florida State University’s library last year has rekindled the debate on allowing guns on campus.