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Florida Legislature

  1. Florida prisons have toilet paper, but they're not supplying it to some inmates

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The four wings of Florida's Tomoka Correctional Institution's E cell block is home to some of the prison's most menacing inmates. They have arrived there because of administrative and disciplinary problems but, in addition to restricting them to confined, two-man cells, the prison also deprives them …

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, continues to find shocking lapses in how state prisons treat inmates.
  2. Florida gets another 60 days to prove why an abortion waiting period is needed

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Attorney General Pam Bondi's Office has 60 more days to gather evidence and testimony to defend a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortions, which lawmakers enacted in 2015 but blocked from taking effect amid a two-year legal battle.

    Florida Circuit Judge Terry Lewis.
  3. Florida's abortion waiting period back in court

    State Roundup

    The Florida Supreme Court put a temporary block on a 2015 law requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting abortions, but a Tallahassee judge is holding a hearing today on a request by opponents to find the law unconstitutional.

    Florida Circuit Judge Terry Lewis.
  4. As run for governor looms, Putnam pushes for guns on campus, open carry in public

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a top Republican contender for governor next year, said he would support proposed changes in Florida law to let "law-abiding gun owners" carry firearms on college and university campuses and openly in public places.

    Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor, speaks at a press conference Tuesday at the Florida National Guard Armory in Tallahassee. [Kristen M. Clark | Miami Herald]
  5. Auditors find millions in 'questionable costs' at water district, but will it matter?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Officials in charge of the smallest water management district in Florida were making a big mistake: they appeared to be keeping millions of dollars acquired from land sales instead of returning it to the state's general fund — and they had no paper trail.

    Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. His previous job?  Executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District, which was flagged by state auditors for $22.5 million in "questionable costs". The audit covered the time Valenstein led the district. He oversees the district in his new job.  [Special to the Times]
  1. Rick Scott for President?

    Blogs

    Reubin Askew tried. So did Bob Graham. And Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. When you've shown an ability to win statewide elections in America's biggest swing state, you're almost automatically a credible contender for president.

    Rick Scott
  2. Florida prisons have toilet paper, but they're not supplying it to some inmates

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The four wings of Florida's Tomoka Correctional Institution's E cell block is home to some of the prison's most menacing inmates. They have arrived there because of administrative and disciplinary problems but, in addition to restricting them to confined, two-man cells, the prison also deprives them …

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, continues to find shocking lapses in how state prisons treat inmates.
  3. Gov. Scott's ability to reshape SCOFLA could depend on Monday or Tuesday

    Blogs

    The future of the Florida Supreme Court could all come down to Monday or Tuesday.

    Gov. Rick Scott wants to appoint the next three justices of the high court. A challenge awaits.
  4. A reliable Rick Scott ally, Pete Antonacci, named CEO of Enterprise Florida

    State Roundup

    Pete Antonacci, who last week made headlines when he advised scientists to stay in their lane rather than criticize his water agency's work on Everglades restoration, is getting a new job.

    Pete Antonacci, an attorney seen here in 2009, has served many roles for Gov. Rick Scott: general counsel, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District and now, CEO of Enterprise Florida.  [
COLIN HACKLEY | Special to the Times]
  5. Florida gets another 60 days to prove why an abortion waiting period is needed

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Attorney General Pam Bondi's Office has 60 more days to gather evidence and testimony to defend a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortions, which lawmakers enacted in 2015 but blocked from taking effect amid a two-year legal battle.

    Florida Circuit Judge Terry Lewis.
  1. Florida prisons have toilet paper, but they're not supplying it to some inmates

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The four wings of Florida's Tomoka Correctional Institution's E cell block is home to some of the prison's most menacing inmates. They have arrived there because of administrative and disciplinary problems but, in addition to restricting them to confined, two-man cells, the prison also deprives them …

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, continues to find shocking lapses in how state prisons treat inmates.
  2. Florida gets another 60 days to prove why an abortion waiting period is needed

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Attorney General Pam Bondi's Office has 60 more days to gather evidence and testimony to defend a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortions, which lawmakers enacted in 2015 but blocked from taking effect amid a two-year legal battle.

    Florida Circuit Judge Terry Lewis.
  3. Florida's abortion waiting period back in court

    State Roundup

    The Florida Supreme Court put a temporary block on a 2015 law requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting abortions, but a Tallahassee judge is holding a hearing today on a request by opponents to find the law unconstitutional.

    Florida Circuit Judge Terry Lewis.
  4. Auditors find millions in 'questionable costs' at water district, but will it matter?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Officials in charge of the smallest water management district in Florida were making a big mistake: they appeared to be keeping millions of dollars acquired from land sales instead of returning it to the state's general fund — and they had no paper trail.

    Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. His previous job?  Executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District, which was flagged by state auditors for $22.5 million in "questionable costs". The audit covered the time Valenstein led the district. He oversees the district in his new job.  [Special to the Times]
  5. Florida Supreme Court says 'no' to overruling governor's citrus canker veto

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Homeowners in Broward and Lee counties who lost their citrus trees to canker or the state's eradication program were told by Florida's highest court Thursday that because of the governor's veto, they'll have to go back to court to get the money they are due.

    The Florida Supreme Court's ruled Thursday that residents who want the state to pay damages for lost citrus trees must go back to court for the money they are due.  [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  1. Florida prisons have toilet paper, but they're not supplying it to some inmates

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The four wings of Florida's Tomoka Correctional Institution's E cell block is home to some of the prison's most menacing inmates. They have arrived there because of administrative and disciplinary problems but, in addition to restricting them to confined, two-man cells, the prison also deprives them …

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, continues to find shocking lapses in how state prisons treat inmates.
  2. Legislators quietly dish no-bid $3 million contract to private prison group

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones was visiting Graceville Correctional Facility, the private prison in North Florida run by The Geo Group, when she spotted a paperweight with a picture of handcuffs imprinted on it and the words "Continuum of Care."

    Julie Jones, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, said she wanted to avoid sharing information with The Geo Group, the state's prison contractor, after she says she was convinced the vendor had taken one of her department's ideas and branded it as its own.  [SCOTT KEELER    |  TIMES]
  3. Settling gambling dispute with Seminole Tribe means Florida is $340 million richer

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Blackjack will continue uninterrupted at casinos run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, pari-mutuels will be ordered to stop offering controversial competing card games, and the State of Florida will have access to more than $340 million in new money, under a settlement agreement reached late …

    Blackjack games underway at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. [MARTHA RIAL, Times]
  1. As run for governor looms, Putnam pushes for guns on campus, open carry in public

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a top Republican contender for governor next year, said he would support proposed changes in Florida law to let "law-abiding gun owners" carry firearms on college and university campuses and openly in public places.

    Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor, speaks at a press conference Tuesday at the Florida National Guard Armory in Tallahassee. [Kristen M. Clark | Miami Herald]
  2. Legislators quietly dish no-bid $3 million contract to private prison group

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones was visiting Graceville Correctional Facility, the private prison in North Florida run by The Geo Group, when she spotted a paperweight with a picture of handcuffs imprinted on it and the words "Continuum of Care."

    Julie Jones, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, said she wanted to avoid sharing information with The Geo Group, the state's prison contractor, after she says she was convinced the vendor had taken one of her department's ideas and branded it as its own.  [SCOTT KEELER    |  TIMES]
  3. Charter schools could get $96M in capital aid from Florida school districts next year

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's 650 charter schools could see as much as an extra $96.3 million coming their way in 2017-18, thanks to a controversial provision in a sweeping education bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law that forces school districts to hand over some of their local tax dollars.

    Florida House education budget chairman Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr., R- Hialeah, who was instrumental in passing HB 7069 that steers as much as an extra $96.3 million into charter schools. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  1. Auditors find millions in 'questionable costs' at water district, but will it matter?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Officials in charge of the smallest water management district in Florida were making a big mistake: they appeared to be keeping millions of dollars acquired from land sales instead of returning it to the state's general fund — and they had no paper trail.

    Noah Valenstein got the job as secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection on Tuesday May 23rd, on a unanimous vote by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet. His previous job?  Executive director of the Suwannee River Water Management District, which was flagged by state auditors for $22.5 million in "questionable costs". The audit covered the time Valenstein led the district. He oversees the district in his new job.  [Special to the Times]
  2. Florida Supreme Court says 'no' to overruling governor's citrus canker veto

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Homeowners in Broward and Lee counties who lost their citrus trees to canker or the state's eradication program were told by Florida's highest court Thursday that because of the governor's veto, they'll have to go back to court to get the money they are due.

    The Florida Supreme Court's ruled Thursday that residents who want the state to pay damages for lost citrus trees must go back to court for the money they are due.  [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Legislators quietly dish no-bid $3 million contract to private prison group

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones was visiting Graceville Correctional Facility, the private prison in North Florida run by The Geo Group, when she spotted a paperweight with a picture of handcuffs imprinted on it and the words "Continuum of Care."

    Julie Jones, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, said she wanted to avoid sharing information with The Geo Group, the state's prison contractor, after she says she was convinced the vendor had taken one of her department's ideas and branded it as its own.  [SCOTT KEELER    |  TIMES]
  1. Legislators quietly dish no-bid $3 million contract to private prison group

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones was visiting Graceville Correctional Facility, the private prison in North Florida run by The Geo Group, when she spotted a paperweight with a picture of handcuffs imprinted on it and the words "Continuum of Care."

    Julie Jones, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, said she wanted to avoid sharing information with The Geo Group, the state's prison contractor, after she says she was convinced the vendor had taken one of her department's ideas and branded it as its own.  [SCOTT KEELER    |  TIMES]
  2. Charter schools could get $96M in capital aid from Florida school districts next year

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's 650 charter schools could see as much as an extra $96.3 million coming their way in 2017-18, thanks to a controversial provision in a sweeping education bill Gov. Rick Scott signed into law that forces school districts to hand over some of their local tax dollars.

    Florida House education budget chairman Rep. Manny Diaz, Jr., R- Hialeah, who was instrumental in passing HB 7069 that steers as much as an extra $96.3 million into charter schools. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Get to know the new law of the land in Florida as of July 1

    State Roundup

    Rideshare services, such as Lyft and Uber, will have to comply with statewide rules, and students and teachers will be allowed to express their religious beliefs at public schools, under new laws that will go into effect Saturday.

    Among 125 revisions to hit Florida statutes on July 1 is a new intended to prevent school districts from discriminating against students, parents, or school employees on the basis of religious viewpoints or expression. [TAMPA BAY TIMES]