Margie Menzel - News Service of Florida

Reporter

Margie Menzel is a reporter for The News Service Of Florida.

The White House

TALLAHASSEE — President Barack Obama — in what is becoming an all-too-familiar role as the consoler-in-chief — spent Thursday afternoon in Orlando, comforting the family members of victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub massacre.

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TALLAHASSEE — Florida taxpayers are on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees for the state's failed attempt to fine four abortion clinics accused of performing second-trimester abortions without proper licenses.

Hey Paul Studios / Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — Suicide rates are rising for children and young adults, both nationally and statewide — and Florida policymakers are trying to reverse the trend.

Rick Scott speaking
The Office of Governor Rick Scott

TALLAHASSEE — A key federal health agency on Tuesday notified Florida and other states that they may not ban Medicaid funding for family-planning services at clinics that also offer elective abortions.

That likely blocks a controversial provision of a new Florida abortion law (HB 1411) signed last month by Gov. Rick Scott.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

TALLAHASSEE — After decades of legal battles between Florida, Georgia and Alabama over a river system they share, an environmental group on Tuesday warned that the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Basin is "at the breaking point."

American Rivers — which releases a yearly list of the country's 10 most-endangered rivers — named the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint system its number one for 2016.

gay pride flag
Ted Eytan / Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Children and Families is under fire for backing off of part a proposal that would protect LGBT kids who live in group homes from discrimination — including so-called "conversion therapy" aimed at changing their sexual orientation.

Rick Scott speaking
The Office of Governor Rick Scott

TALLAHASSEE — A new Florida abortion law seeks to ban Medicaid funding for family-planning services at clinics that also offer elective abortions — such as clinics run by Planned Parenthood — but the federal government appears unlikely to allow that part of the law to take effect.

Planned Parenthood clinic in Jacksonville
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TALLAHASSEE — Citing a new abortion law signed by Gov. Rick Scott, the state Agency for Health Care Administration has dismissed cases alleging that three Planned Parenthood clinics performed second-trimester abortions without proper licenses.

Contributed photo

TALLAHASSEE — In the waning hours of the 2016 legislative session, Florida lawmakers Friday approved wide-ranging reforms to the state's mental-health and substance-abuse treatment systems.

Rick Scott in Jacksonville
Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed nine bills, including a high-profile measure requiring local law-enforcement agencies to submit "rape kits" to be tested and another allowing the creation of a needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

Duval Academy sign
Duval County Schools

After years of controversy, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is ending its relationship with Youth Services International, a for-profit firm with state contracts totaling roughly $90 million to run seven juvenile lockups.

Gregory Todaro / WJCT News

An appeals court Friday overturned a temporary injunction that has blocked a new law requiring women to wait 24 hours before having abortions in Florida.

As a result, the law went into effect immediately after the ruling.

Baker County Health Department
Google Maps

  In a 5-4 vote, a Senate panel on Tuesday approved the confirmation of Surgeon General John Armstrong as secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Members of the Senate Health Policy Committee spent an hour peppering Armstrong with questions, nearly all dealing with Floridians' access to health care, before signing off on his nomination.

Questions centered on cuts to county health departments, the state's high rate of new HIV infections and a drop in enrollment in the Children's Medical Services program, which serves youngsters with "chronic and serious" conditions.

Virginia National Guard

As the Jacksonville City Council debates bills dealing with LGBT discrimination, a similar proposal in the Florida Legislature has died.


church exterior
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A debate is again building in the state Capitol about same-sex marriage as conservative lawmakers back a proposal known as the "Pastor Protection Act."

The proposal, which was approved this week by a Senate committee, would prevent clergy members from being forced to perform marriage ceremonies contrary to their beliefs. Religious conservatives are backing the bill in the wake of last year's landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry.

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