State News

baby holding adult's hand
Kenyaboy7 via Flickr

A ban on gay adoption was struck from Florida law Thursday with Gov. Rick Scott’s signature.

The controversial measure also reinstates an incentive program giving benefits to state employees who adopt children out of foster care. And it begins a new performance-based incentive program for adoption agencies.

"Abortion is forever" sign
Teofilo via Flickr

In a widely expected move, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed a measure that will require a 24-hour waiting period before women can have abortions. But before the ink was dry on Scott's signature, two groups filed a lawsuit Thursday aimed at blocking it. 

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit in Leon County circuit court, a day after Scott signed the requirement into law. As the News Service of Florida reports, the suit cites part of the Florida Constitution that guarantees privacy rights. 

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

The Florida Commission on Ethics has found probable cause that former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll did not properly report income from consulting work that led to her 2013 resignation, but it cleared Carroll of potentially more-serious allegations regarding her dealings with Allied Veterans of the World.

In response, Carroll said the decision vindicated her, and she called again for Gov. Rick Scott to publicly apologize for pushing her out of office in the wake of an illegal gambling probe.

Meredyth Hope Hall & Sara Brockmann / The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott's call for more money to attract businesses to Florida put an unexpected halt Monday to budget talks on transportation, tourism and economic-development issues.

Senators claimed a "lack of respect" as they sought what they considered an adequate explanation about why the House wanted to boost funding for Enterprise Florida, the state's public-private economic development agency.

Capitol building
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

A second day of negotiations between House and Senate lawmakers over a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1 seemed to highlight longstanding divisions between the two chambers even as legislators tried to come to agreement.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Florida Senator Bill Nelson has asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to look into the possibility an immigration visa program has gone awry.

Nelson talked to reporters at Jacksonville’s Hyatt Regency hotel Friday.

Nelson says he asked for the investigation after receiving thousands of letters claiming the H-1B visa program is being misused.

The purpose of the visa program is place immigrants in U.S. jobs where there are labor shortages. Nelson says it’s not to take jobs away from Americans, but he says he thinks that could be happening.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

In a move echoing recent congressional budget showdowns, Florida Governor Rick Scott is asking state agency heads how much money is essential to simply keep running.

The information gathering is for next month, when state lawmakers return to Tallahassee to try again at making a budget.

The first stab at crafting a state budget didn’t work. In an extremely rare move last month, the Florida House of Representatives went home early instead of reaching agreement with the Senate over state funding. A special session in June is planned to finish the job.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Rules for the state's first bear hunt in more than 20 years have been published as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected next month to give final approval to the hunt.

The posting of the rules came as the Humane Society has reached out to Gov. Rick Scott to halt the pending hunt because the commission has yet to determine how many bears are in Florida.

"This is very premature," said Kate MacFall, the Humane Society's Florida director. "They haven't even finished the count. They don't even know about the bear population."

UF Health

On Dec. 17, almost three months before the annual legislative session began, new Senate President Andy Gardiner met with reporters in the conference room of his Capitol office. He talked with the press for 30 minutes, touching on a wide variety of issues, including a plan by business groups and others that would use Medicaid expansion dollars to help lower-income Floridians purchase private health insurance.

Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

 Updated 4/29 at 9:40 a.m.: 

The legislative session collapsed Tuesday amid an increasingly bitter budget fight over health-care funding, with the House abruptly adjourning and going home in a move that killed scores of bills and deepened the divide between the House and the Senate.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott filed suit against the federal government to try to stop the Obama administration from linking $2.2 billion in funding for health-care providers to a potential expansion of Medicaid.

A controversial abortion bill is now headed to the Governor, after receiving final passage from the Florida Senate Friday.

The Florida Legislature may be at odds over Medicaid expansion, but at least it agrees on the long-awaited growler.  The House approved the measure Friday.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida consumers filling up at the gas pump may have had their credit card information stolen.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Thursday that a sweep of roughly 6,100 gas stations in the last few weeks led to the discovery of "skimmers" in 81 locations. The devices enable someone to illegally obtain credit card and debit card information.

The devices were found inside gas station pumps stretching from Miami-Dade County all the way to Florida's Panhandle.

Two reports presented to lawmakers last week criticized the Florida Department of Children and Families for poor oversight of the privatized agencies that deliver child-welfare, substance-abuse and mental-health services statewide.

The reports arrived as the Legislature is considering further changes to all those services.

The Florida Office of the Auditor General published its findings last month and reviewed them Thursday with members of the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

Anna Hamilton

This week, Florida Governor Rick Scott and his Cabinet approved a conservation easement on more than 200 acres in Putnam County. That land belongs to one family who’s been farming there for decades. 

Mr. Smith go to Tallahassee

It’s Tuesday morning, and Jared Smith waits patiently to address Governor Scott and the Cabinet. Jared is speaking on behalf of his grandparents, Wayne and Patsy Smith, who are selling a conservation easement on 238.45 acres in Hastings.

“It’s just another day in the office of a farmer, I reckon,” Smith said.