State News

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Eighteen bridges and roads in the Jacksonville area are on a funding list that’s headed to President Obama’s desk.

The bipartisan measure earmarks $12 billion for Florida projects.

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, helped negotiate the bill’s passage.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

A powerful Florida Republican lawmaker is voicing doubts about Governor Rick Scott’s proposal to permanently cut $1 billion in taxes.

Senate Budget Chief Tom Lee says Scott’s cuts may be unsustainable — and not necessary considering how much the economy has already improved.


Florida Attorney General's Office

For the second year in a row, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has created a guide to help Floridians know the gifts they’re buying this year are safe.

The attorney general’s holiday shopping guide has tips on how to safely shop online, how to tell whether or not a charity is legitimate and how to stay within a budget. It also lists items that have been recalled by manufacturers during the past year due to health or safety concerns.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Florida Governor Rick Scott is asking the Legislature to pass a $79.3 billion state budget next year.

At a news conference in Jacksonville Monday morning, Scott went over some of the highlights of his Florida First Budget.

One of those highlights is a substantial revision to how the state doles out money for indigent health care.

All this week, Nick Vujicic is taking his “save lives, end bullying” message to students across Florida. Vujicic is an Australian YouTube personality who was born without limbs. Tuesday morning the 32 year-old spoke to more than 2,000 students at Ocoee High School.

“Because from a personal story, I was affected by bullying too and attempted suicide at age 10, so that’s why I’m passionate,” said Vujicic.

Today, he is married, has kids and swims, surfs and skydives. Students from other Florida schools also watched his inspirational speech via simulcast online.

Bear killed during hunt
WKMG-TV

After just two days, Florida ended its controversial black bear hunt because a higher than expected number of bears had been killed.

Wildlife authorities said late Sunday that 295 bears taken overall, nearing the official limit in what was supposed to be. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted a statement on its website saying it had closed the 2015 hunt because it was approaching an agency "objective" of 320 bears overall.

"The 2015 bear hunt is officially over," the statement said.

stacks of money
Jericho / Wikimedia Commons

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is proposing more than $673 million in tax cuts for next year’s state budget. But that’s about $20 million more than the state’s expected surplus. And a $400 million  shortfall is looming in health care funding as a result of losing federal money for indigent health care.

Senate seal
Florida Senate

Without a formal vote, the Florida Senate on Monday agreed to strip the Confederate battle flag from its official seal, removing one of the few remaining vestiges of the infamous icon in state government.

After some hesitation when the change first came up, senators—back in Tallahassee for a redistricting special session—agreed without objection to adopt a new rule removing the controversial emblem from the chamber's insignia. Approving the change without objection avoided the need for even a voice vote on the emotional issue.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Natural gas took center stage at the Florida Energy Summit in Jacksonville Thursday, sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and hosted by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. 

Energy company execs and government officials called the fuel source integral to the state’s energy independence.

But a recent study says Florida and the rest of the country are too reliant on the fuel.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Central and North Florida springs are getting an extra $4 million to help supplement ongoing water conservation efforts.

The St. Johns River Water Management District board voted Tuesday to allow the district’s executive director to use the funds the Florida Legislature allocated.

Some environmentalists worry the board signed away its authority to choose which projects get the funds, which could hinder transparency.

In a ruling that could reshape the state's political landscape, a Leon County judge recommended Friday that the Florida Supreme Court adopt congressional districts proposed by a coalition of voting-rights groups.

The decision by Circuit Judge Terry Lewis was a blow to House and Senate leaders who argued for other maps of the state's 27 congressional seats in a three-day hearing last month. Lewis was charged with recommending a plan to the Supreme Court, which will make the final decision, after the House and Senate failed to agree on a new map during an August special session.

Judge Affirms Florida Bear Hunt

Oct 5, 2015

A judge has ruled Florida's first bear hunt in two decades may proceed later this month. The judge ruled against environmentalists who argue the hunt will damage the population of the animal that was removed from the state's threatened list in 2012.

Judge George Reynolds' decision came after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission appeared to shift its stance on a rule environmentalists had complained about.

Representatives of the state agency testified its executive director can end the hunt after the first day if its goal of 320 slain bears is met. Reynolds was satisfied.

Capital Report: 10-02-2015

Oct 5, 2015

Governor Rick Scott is pushing for greater healthcare cost transparency in hospitals. Lynn Hatter reports the move comes as Florida faces the loss of more federal health care funding next year, and growing concerns about the state’s healthcare costs.

President Barack Obama has his foreign policy objectives, and Florida has its. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is leaning on the Florida Legislature to strengthen the state’s economic sanctions against Iran just as Obama prepares to lift America’s trade restrictions against the Mid-eastern nation. Jim Ash has more.

Florida’s first bear hunt in more than 20 years should be able to proceed later this month says Leon Circuit Judge George Reynolds III. Reynolds denied an environmental group’s request for a temporary injunction Thursday.

church
giveawayboy via Flickr

The next Florida legislative session doesn’t start until January, but committees are already meeting to consider bills. One measure up for discussion next week would shield churches when clergy refuse to perform same-sex marriages.


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