Florida Legislature

  1. Legislators want to steer Citizens policies to unregulated alternative

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — In their zeal to shed policies in the state-run Citizens Property Insurance, the Florida Senate is poised to approve a bill that gives homeowners a low-cost — though unregulated — insurance alternative.

  2. Florida Senate approves raising speed limit to 75 mph on most highways

    Roads

    TALLAHASSEE — Drivers should be able to travel at 75 mph on most interstate highways in Florida, the Senate voted Thursday.

  3. Florida Senate supports landmark bid for law license by noncitizen

    Business

    TALLAHASSEE — A closely divided Florida Senate on Thursday championed the landmark case of Jose Godinez-Samperio of Largo, who can't practice law in Florida because he's not a U.S. citizen.

    Jose Godinez-Samperio of Largo was born in Mexico and came to the States with his parents when he was 9.
  4. Romano: Florida House's charter school bill would surrender local control

    Legislature

    Try to follow the logic here:

    (You'll know you're on the right track when you start feeling dizzy.)

  5. Florida House votes to regulate e-cigarette sales

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — A bill that would make electronic cigarettes off limits to young people won unanimous support on Wednesday in the Florida House.

    Dominic Crupi, 24, of Clearwater smokes an e-cigarette at Vape Joe in Largo earlier this year. Crupi has been vaping for two years, and is venturing to get into the industry.
  1. Charter school bill wins support in Florida House

    K12

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House approved a bill Tuesday that could limit school districts' control over privately managed charter schools.

  2. Voucher bill revived, while immigrant tuition stalls in Senate

    K12

    TALLAHASSEE — A Senate panel used a procedural maneuver Tuesday to put a controversial school voucher bill back in play.

  3. Sen. Jack Latvala works to keep immigrant tuition bill alive

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — A procedural maneuver could save a bill seeking to grant in-state college tuition rates to undocumented immigrants.

    Sen. Jack Latvala has a plan to save the immigrant tuition bill.
  4. Florida charter school management company under federal scrutiny

    K12

    TALLAHASSEE — The state's largest charter school management company has come under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Education for potential conflicts of interests in its business practices, federal authorities have confirmed.

  5. Flurry of education bills dominate debate in Legislature

    K12

    TALLAHASSEE — As schoolchildren prepared to take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests for the last time, the state Senate put its unanimous support behind a proposal that would simplify the school grading formula for next year.

  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. Plan to split FSU-FAMU engineering school stirs political waters

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — An effort by Florida State University and its well-connected allies to get its own engineering school could be turning into an election-year liability for Gov. Rick Scott.

    The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering was created at Florida State University in 1982. FSU supporters say having a separate school would lift the university’s profile.
  2. Senators want public to help pay for legal battle between car dealers and manufacturers

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Taxpayers may help foot the bill for a bitter legal battle between a consortium of the nation's largest auto manufacturers and Florida's local car dealerships.

  3. Juvenile justice funding snared in state budget dispute

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — For years, county officials say, they've had to shoulder too much of the cost of dealing with young offenders. In recent years, they say, the state has erroneously billed them $140 million for juvenile justice costs, sparking legal action.

  4. House, Senate approve budget plans; now the dealing begins

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — With broad bipartisan support, lawmakers approved rival $75 billion state budgets Thursday that include a $500 million package of tax cuts and fees and the highest overall spending on education in Florida history.

    At center, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, asks for applause to be lowered after leading a budget bill into passage Thursday on the floor of the Senate in Tallahassee.
  5. PolitiFact Florida: As tax collections grow, Scott gives undue credit to his policies

    State Roundup

    Florida is set to collect more tax money next year than ever before, state officials say. And not only is Florida Gov. Rick Scott proud of the accomplishment, but he is taking credit.

  1. Florida House votes to regulate e-cigarette sales

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — A bill that would make electronic cigarettes off limits to young people won unanimous support on Wednesday in the Florida House.

    Dominic Crupi, 24, of Clearwater smokes an e-cigarette at Vape Joe in Largo earlier this year. Crupi has been vaping for two years, and is venturing to get into the industry.
  2. Florida lawmakers pass bill to shield nursing home investors from lawsuits

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — Investors in nursing homes in Florida would be shielded from lawsuits when residents are abused or neglected under broad new provisions authorized in a bill the Florida House sent to the governor on Wednesday.

  3. Florida lawmakers make one more push to extend health care to immigrant children

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — A bill to extend subsidized health insurance to the state's youngest legal immigrants has stalled in the Florida Legislature, due largely to the initial $27.5 million price tag.

  4. Legislator seeks to go easier on struggling nursing schools

    Medicine

    TALLAHASSEE — A proposal winding its way through the Florida Legislature seeks to raise the bar for nursing education programs.

  5. Legislators target 'renegade' Tampa law firm with bill to limit nursing home lawsuits

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — Jim Wilkes has a target on his back.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. State wants bad $20M investment in movie company back

    Economic Development

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

  6. Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls for more early voting days, sites

    Elections

    TALLAHASSEE — After months of defending the status quo, Florida Gov. Rick Scott drew praise and criticism Thursday as he endorsed early voting changes pushed by county election supervisors.

    Steve Bozsanyi of Spring Hill checks his watch while waiting in line with his wife, Dorothy, left, to vote at a supervisor of elections branch office on Forest Oaks Boulevard in Spring Hill on Oct. 30.
  7. Interest groups, donors spent $306 million on state political campaigns in 2012

    Elections

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's sputtering economy did not stop interest groups and donors from spending $306 million this election cycle on state political campaigns, according to final election year tallies released Friday.

  1. Over sheriffs' objections, House approves bill to allow concealed weapons during emergencies

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Evacuations caused by hurricanes, toxic spills and riots could be grounds for people to conceal guns in public without a permit, according to a bill backed by the National Rifle Association that passed the Florida House 80-36 on Friday.

    Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri calls the bill “crazy, it’s absurd.”
  2. Florida House bill would allow carrying guns without a permit during riots

    Public Safety

    TALLAHASSEE — Under a bill backed by the National Rifle Association and other gun groups, riots could be the newest safe haven for those carrying firearms without a permit.

  3. Senate advances bill to allow concealed guns during evacuations

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A bill that allows legal gun owners to conceal their weapons without a permit during mandatory evacuations continued to gain support in the Senate Tuesday despite concerns from law enforcement.

  4. 'Warning shot' bill championed by NRA on its way to governor

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The state Senate passed a bill Thursday that grants immunity to people with clean criminal records who fire a warning shot or threaten to use deadly force in self-defense. It also seals court records of those charged with firing a weapon, but later have those charges dropped.

  5. Stand Your Ground, Pop-Tart gun measures clear Florida House

    Crime

    TALLAHASSEE — A pair of high-profile, NRA-supported gun bills won the support of the Florida House on Thursday.

    Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, backs the so-called Pop-Tart bill.