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Florida Legislature

  1. House and Senate want to cut Orlando prosecutor's budget over death penalty comments

    Blogs

    State lawmakers are trying to cut the budget of State Attorney Aramis Ayala, the Orlando-area prosecutor who said she would not pursue the death penalty while in office.

    In a press conference on the steps of the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, March 16, 2017, Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala announces that her office will no longer pursue the death penalty as a sentence in any case brought before the 9th Judicial Circuit of Florida.
  2. Florida considering slavery memorial at state Capitol

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida may construct a memorial on state Capitol grounds reminding visitors that slavery was once allowed in the nation's third-largest state.

  3. FPL's fracking investment bill passes committee despite objections

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A House committee overlooked opposition by residential and commercial utility customers Tuesday and approved a proposal sought by Florida Power & Light to allow the company to expand its rate base by charging customers for investments in natural gas fracking operations in other states.

    Fracking.
  4. Hoodwinked! Lawmaker says prison privatization is scamming Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Numbers don't lie and Florida's private prisons are not saving money as promised, according to an investigation by Rep. David Richardson, a retired forensic auditor.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, has become a one-man wrecking crew in forcing the state to provide more oversight of its state prisons. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Medical marijuana bill moves in Florida House, but draws critics for being too restrictive

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A powerful Florida House Republican said Tuesday he'll consider revising his plan for medical pot after drawing criticism from marijuana supporters.

    The medical marijuana legislation being shepherded by House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, includes bans on smoking, vaping edibles. Pictured is vials of medical marijuana oil. [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]
  1. FPL's fracking investment bill passes committee despite objections

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A House committee overlooked opposition by residential and commercial utility customers Tuesday and approved a proposal sought by Florida Power & Light to allow the company to expand its rate base by charging customers for investments in natural gas fracking operations in other states.

    Fracking.
  2. Hoodwinked! Lawmaker says prison privatization is scamming Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Numbers don't lie and Florida's private prisons are not saving money as promised, according to an investigation by Rep. David Richardson, a retired forensic auditor.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, has become a one-man wrecking crew in forcing the state to provide more oversight of its state prisons. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Parents want daily school recess. The Florida House won't give them that.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida parents seeking more recess time for their children suffered a setback Tuesday, when state lawmakers significantly watered down a proposal that was supposed to require 20 minutes of daily recess for all public elementary students.

    Fifth grade students at John M. Sexton Elementary School, St. Petersburg, participate in field games during a 15 minute recess, each school day. The students also have Physical Education class three times a week at the school. In Miami-Dade County, elementary children are supposed to get it at least two to three days a week, with a few schools testing out the five-day model. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Florida House won't count computer coding as foreign language for high school students

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House isn't supporting a controversial proposal to let high school students count computer coding as a foreign language course, likely stalling the concept for the second straight session.

  5. Fighting City Hall: Push for more state control angers cities and counties

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — You can fight City Hall. The state Legislature does it all the time.

    Cities and counties are fighting legislation this year that would dramatically limit their home rule powers. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Wesley Chapel, left, says states have powers over local governments that are guaranteed in the Constitution. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, is pushing legislation that would increase the homestead exemption on property taxes from $50,000 to $75,000. If passed, it would cost cities and counties in Florida about $700 million. ([

Steve Bousquet | Tampa Bay Times]
  1. Hoodwinked! Lawmaker says prison privatization is scamming Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Numbers don't lie and Florida's private prisons are not saving money as promised, according to an investigation by Rep. David Richardson, a retired forensic auditor.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, has become a one-man wrecking crew in forcing the state to provide more oversight of its state prisons. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Florida House won't count computer coding as foreign language for high school students

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House isn't supporting a controversial proposal to let high school students count computer coding as a foreign language course, likely stalling the concept for the second straight session.

  3. Fighting City Hall: Push for more state control angers cities and counties

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — You can fight City Hall. The state Legislature does it all the time.

    Cities and counties are fighting legislation this year that would dramatically limit their home rule powers. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Wesley Chapel, left, says states have powers over local governments that are guaranteed in the Constitution. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, is pushing legislation that would increase the homestead exemption on property taxes from $50,000 to $75,000. If passed, it would cost cities and counties in Florida about $700 million. ([

Steve Bousquet | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. How Walmart's decision to leave Midtown played into a Darryl Rouson vote

    Blogs

    The Florida Senate's vote on the so-called "whiskey to Wheaties" bill was a tight one, narrowly passing 21-17.

    Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg
  5. Caught in crossfire between Rick Scott and Richard Corcoran, group fights for survival

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — While the prospect of another round of military base closures is getting more talk in Washington, the Florida Legislature is taking steps to kill off a non-profit created to help keep Florida bases off the chopping block.

    A flight crew boards a KC-135 R Stratotanker at the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Airforce Base. [Scott Martin | Associated Press]
  1. Hoodwinked! Lawmaker says prison privatization is scamming Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Numbers don't lie and Florida's private prisons are not saving money as promised, according to an investigation by Rep. David Richardson, a retired forensic auditor.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, has become a one-man wrecking crew in forcing the state to provide more oversight of its state prisons. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Fighting City Hall: Push for more state control angers cities and counties

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — You can fight City Hall. The state Legislature does it all the time.

    Cities and counties are fighting legislation this year that would dramatically limit their home rule powers. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Wesley Chapel, left, says states have powers over local governments that are guaranteed in the Constitution. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, is pushing legislation that would increase the homestead exemption on property taxes from $50,000 to $75,000. If passed, it would cost cities and counties in Florida about $700 million. ([

Steve Bousquet | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Tampa Bay's legislators aren't asking for state transportation money; a fractured approach doesn't help

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Tampa Bay leaders aren't shy about proclaiming the need for more transportation dollars.

    It's not just that Hillsborough County's haul of state dollars has been dwarfed by other similar-sized counties over the past three years. It's that state lawmakers aren't working to close that gap, either. Lawmakers from HIllsborough have requested only $1.9 million in transportation projects next year, a tiny fraction of the $700 million in statewide requests for transportation money. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  1. Two Republican lawmakers are pivotal in Legislature's gun debate

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Two Miami-Dade Republican senators are positioned to be the deciding factors this year in the perennial debate the Florida Legislature has over controversial proposals to expand gun-owners' rights in Florida.

    Florida Senators Rene Garcia and Anitere Flores talk on the floor of the Florida Senate on March 8, 2017.
  2. Florida Cabinet could get special exemption to carry concealed guns almost anywhere

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Three of Florida's four highest-ranking elected officials — and potentially the lieutenant governor and the state's 160 lawmakers, too — could be able to carry guns almost anywhere in the state under a special carve-out in Florida law being considered by the Legislature.

    Sen. Greg Steube said he was approached about the exemption.
  3. In Harm's Way: What could Florida lawmakers do to keep kids from being shot?

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — When the annual 60-day legislative session gets under way next month, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will be looking for ways to keep Florida's kids safe from guns.

    Proper storage of firearms, including the use of a trigger lock, can help prevent gun accidents among children. [Associated Press file photo]

  1. FPL's fracking investment bill passes committee despite objections

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A House committee overlooked opposition by residential and commercial utility customers Tuesday and approved a proposal sought by Florida Power & Light to allow the company to expand its rate base by charging customers for investments in natural gas fracking operations in other states.

    Fracking.
  2. Five budget fights to watch as Scott, lawmakers collide on spending $83.5 billion

    Legislature

    By STEVE BOUSQUET

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

      Students take their seats before the start of the USF St. Petersburg fall commencement ceremony at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 13, 2015. Universities are in the House's crosshairs for the 2017-2018 state budget. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  3. Are Florida voters getting burned by lawmakers on last year's solar amendment?

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — A bill moving through the Florida House to implement the August ballot initiative by giving tax breaks to businesses that install solar energy panels is under fire for doing what the utility industry could not do in the last election cycle — impose impediments to rooftop solar installation.

     A human art installation, designed by artist John Quigley, forms for a "Hands Across the Sand" event on the beach in front of the Bilmar Beach Resort in Treasure Island, Fla., on Saturday, May 21, 2016. The event, organized by the Sierra Club and fellow environmental groups, aimed to promote solar energy in place of fossil fuels such as coal and gas.
  1. Parents want daily school recess. The Florida House won't give them that.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida parents seeking more recess time for their children suffered a setback Tuesday, when state lawmakers significantly watered down a proposal that was supposed to require 20 minutes of daily recess for all public elementary students.

    Fifth grade students at John M. Sexton Elementary School, St. Petersburg, participate in field games during a 15 minute recess, each school day. The students also have Physical Education class three times a week at the school. In Miami-Dade County, elementary children are supposed to get it at least two to three days a week, with a few schools testing out the five-day model. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Florida House won't count computer coding as foreign language for high school students

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House isn't supporting a controversial proposal to let high school students count computer coding as a foreign language course, likely stalling the concept for the second straight session.

  3. Florida Senate takes 'stand for liberty' in passing religious freedom bill for schools over Democratic concerns

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's public schools would have to let students lead religious prayers during the school day and at school-sanctioned events under a controversial proposal that the state Senate approved Thursday.

     Cambridge Christian and Clearwater Academy players join in prayer after the game between Clearwater Academy and Cambridge Christian at Skyway Park in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. A Clearwater player had to be evacuated late in the fourth quarter of the game after possibly suffering a spinal injury. Cambridge beat Clearwater 44-34.