State

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

With two weeks left in the legislative session, some Jacksonville elder care providers are rallying supporters against a Senate-proposed change to how nursing homes are funded.


Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, is officially out of the Florida legislature. Artiles has resigned just days after saying that he would not not step down, and announcing plans to run for re-election.  He has been under fire for insulting his colleagues during a not-so-private conversation earlier in the week.

Mark Foley / The Florida House

A Miami state Senator apologized Wednesday for using racist and sexist language to describe a number of his colleagues, including Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville.


Pixabay / Creative Commons

Florida’s smoking rate is at an all-time low, and state officials attribute the precipitous drop to aggressive anti-smoking campaigns. But some North Florida counties are struggling to keep pace with statewide success.


River Garden Senior Services

Florida Senate budget chiefs Wednesday greenlit a spending plan that includes a new formula for reimbursing nursing homes.

Opponents say the proposal would cut Medicaid dollars for top performing homes, while proponents argue it’ll result in a more equitable distribution of state funds.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

For the fourth time since the start of the legislative session, Governor Rick Scott held a roundtable Tuesday in Jacksonville defending the state’s business-incentive program.

This time the two-term Republican governor focused on the intersection of employment and education, joining Mayor Lenny Curry and leaders from the city’s largest college and university.


Florida Coastal School of Law

Lawyers from around Jacksonville are offering to help get the city’s immigrant residents on the road to citizenship this weekend.

It’s all in advance of Florida Coastal School of Law’s annual Citizenship Day. And for many of the counselors, the charity work is intensely personal.


Florida Psychological Associates/Carlos Slay

Fernandina Beach Republican Senator Aaron Bean helped secure $1 million in state money for a friend’s mental health program, as reported last week by the Naples Daily News.


County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

The health of Duval County’s residents has continued to decline over the past three years, while St. Johns County residents remain the healthiest in Florida — that’s according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.

Premature deaths resulting from opioid overdoses were one factor in Duval’s slide, researchers said. But changes to the survey’s methodology could also be to blame for the county’s poor showing.

Researchers combine data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the census to create the annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps survey.


Dank Depot / Flickr Creative Commons

At least six competing plans ranging from the most restrictive to the most permissive expansions of medical marijuana in Florida are working their way through the state Legislature. And the division is wearing down the patience of state residents, who overwhelmingly supported the measure.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, is under an ethics investigation for potentially profiting off a budget item he requested for a friend.

The $1 million request for a mental health project was tucked into the budget for Florida State University’s medical school — which is not subject to Governor Rick Scott’s veto pen.

Scott told reporters he’d like to have more oversight on similar spending requests going forward.


Department of Economic Opportunity

The head of Florida’s economic and workforce agency is pushing back against claims business subsidies don’t spur economic development.


torange.biz / Creative Commons

After battling for years over how to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, Florida lawmakers landed on a compromise. Instead of expanding Medicaid to cover more people, they decided during last year’s session to attack the cost of care directly, creating a database to make procedure pricing transparent.

Awake the State

Shortly after Governor Rick Scott finished his state of the state address to lawmakers in Tallahassee Tuesday, demonstrations were held in cities across Florida, including one in downtown Jacksonville’s Hemming Park.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

The annual Florida legislative session begins next week. Among the bills lawmakers will consider is one giving property tax breaks to people who suffered damage as a result of hurricanes last year.

The measure would reimburse certain First Coast homeowners for property taxes paid on houses destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.


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