Jim Turner - News Service of Florida

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Jim Turner is a reporter for The News Service of Florida.

handgun
Robert Nelson / Flickr

Failed efforts to allow people to carry concealed weapons on Florida college campuses and to allow some public-school employees and volunteers to be armed will be back before lawmakers next year.

Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, said Wednesday those measures will return despite running into opposition in the Senate this year.

"The things that were worth working on this year will be worth working on next year," Hammer said. "All of these good pieces of legislation will be back until they pass."

US Environmental Protection Agency

The House on Monday approved a measure that would require oil and gas companies to inform the state of chemicals being injected into the ground as part of a controversial drilling process known as "fracking."

The bill (HB 1205) also would prohibit permits from being issued until a study is completed on the potential impacts of fracking.

Lyft car
Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Proposals to create new insurance requirements for app-based transportation services like Uber and Lyft appear to be idling as the legislative session nears the end.

The House and Senate have moved forward with bills that have differences, including about whether local governments should be prevented from regulating the services. The House bill includes what is known as "pre-emption" of local regulation.

Wikimedia Commons

Despite opposition from the governor's top elections official, legislation that would allow Floridians to register to vote online was sent to the Senate floor Thursday.

Meanwhile, the House delayed a floor vote on a similar measure because of a question about $1.8 million that would be needed to fund creation of the new high-tech application.

The Senate Appropriations Committee, in a 10-4 vote, backed a measure (SB 228) that would require the state Division of Elections to develop an online voter-registration application by Oct. 1, 2017, a year later than proposed earlier.

Palcohol.com

Spirits aren't high on the future of powdered alcohol being mixed in Florida.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Monday unanimously supported a measure (SB 998) that would prohibit the sale and possession of powdered alcohol throughout the state.

The effort to ban powdered alcohol comes shortly after the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the sale of a powdered alcohol called Palcohol by the privately held company Lipsmark LLC.

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles / FLHSMV.gov

Lawmakers took steps Thursday that could cancel a fifth of the specialty license plates available in Florida but also advanced 26 more designs for motorists to pre-order.

House and Senate committees backed higher thresholds for plates to qualify to be produced and for the current 122 tags to remain on the road.

At the same time, the Senate Transportation and House Economic Affairs committees moved a wide range of tags toward pre-sale for Panhellenic organizations, non-profits, environmental endeavors and professional sports teams.

tax cut chart
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

House members backed Gov. Rick Scott's push to reduce taxes on cell-phone bills and pay TV on Tuesday.

And they bettered the governor, by $17 million, in rolling out a $690 million tax-reduction package that offers a slew of sales-tax holidays and eliminating taxes on gun-club memberships, college textbooks, materials purchased at book fairs and vehicles purchased overseas and brought to Florida by military members.

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

With the state's unemployment rate holding steady as Gov. Rick Scott's second term got underway, he focused Tuesday on private-sector job growth since he first took office.

The jobless rate stood at 5.7 percent in January, equaling a revised unemployment mark for December, the state Department of Economic Opportunity said Tuesday.

The December figure had initially been posted at 5.6 percent. The national unemployment rate stands at 5.5 percent.

The January figure represents approximately 551,000 Floridians qualifying as unemployed from a work force of 9.7 million.

Ines Hegedus-Garcia / Flickr

A plan that would make changes to the management of the state's natural springs and address drinking-water issues across Central Florida and the flow of pollution in and out of Lake Okeechobee was approved Thursday by the House on the third day of the legislative session.

Jacksonville Jaguars

A much-anticipated decision about divvying up sales-tax dollars to sports-stadium projects was handed-off to the full Legislature on Thursday.

And now, a process that was intended to reducing lobbying may do the opposite.

The Joint Legislative Budget Commission, comprised of seven senators and seven representatives, agreed to move any funding decisions regarding the stadiums --- Daytona International Speedway, the Miami Dolphins' home of Sun Life Stadium, EverBank Field in Jacksonville and a soccer stadium in Orlando --- to the regular legislative session.

JAXPORT / Flickr

The top lobbying group for Florida's seaports wants the state to establish a marketing campaign to help lure cargo-shipping companies from major ports in other areas of the country.

A study released this week by the Florida Ports Council calls for lawmakers to create an advertising effort to entice shipping firms to move cargo through the Sunshine State rather than ports in Savannah, Houston, New York or even Los Angeles.

handgun
Robert Nelson / Flickr

  Florida's university system wants state lawmakers to holster the idea of allowing guns on campus.

A joint statement from the university system's Board of Governors, university police chiefs and the 12 public universities expresses opposition to a legislative proposal (SB 176 and HB 4005) that would allow people with concealed-firearms licenses to carry guns at state colleges and universities.

Rick Scott
The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott, who environmentalists said was reluctant to support wildlife and conservation efforts for most of his first term, will ask lawmakers to designate money for the next 20 years for Everglades restoration.

Scott on Tuesday outlined a $5 billion plan for the Everglades that would begin with $300 million in the upcoming year. The plan, which includes money for building water-retention reservoirs and maintaining the upland habitat of endangered Florida panthers, was announced as Scott prepares to release his proposed 2015-16 budget this week.

Wikipedia

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — A nearly 6-foot-tall pole made from emptied beer cans, marking a parody holiday, will be put up in the Florida Capitol this week as a not-so-subtle protest to the recent placement of a Christian nativity scene.

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