News stories that impact the state of Florida.

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

TALLAHASSEE — For the first time since shortly after the Civil War, it is no longer a crime for unmarried men and women to shack up in the Sunshine State.

Gov. Rick Scott signed 20 bills into law Wednesday, including a long-discussed repeal of the state's rarely enforced ban on unmarried men and women living together.

World Relief Jacksonville

A bill to slow the flow of refugees may not have reached the governor's desk, but its impact will still be felt by those looking to resettle in Florida.

Republican Representative Lake Ray’s measure was aimed creating stricter guidelines before allowing Syrian refugees to relocate to Florida.

marijuana plants
eggrole / Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — State health officials on Monday paved the way for Gainesville-based San Felasco Nurseries to join five other dispensing organizations authorized to grow medical marijuana in Florida.

San Felasco's approval came after an administrative law judge ruled in February that health officials wrongly rejected the nursery's application last year because of a decade-old drug crime.

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.


TALLAHASSEE — A proposal to crack down on people using electronic "skimmers" to steal credit-card or debit-card information at gas pumps was among 14 bills signed into law Friday by Gov. Rick Scott.

Office of Governor Rick Scott

County supervisors of elections will see their salaries rise, under a bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Rick Scott.

Planned Parenthood clinic in Jacksonville
Google Maps

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.,creative commons

A report released earlier this month by U.S. News & World Report lists the best 100 places to live in America based on factors such as job market, cost of living and average temperatures.

And the best region in the country, according to business website Business Insider, is the South

police tape
eloriane72 / Flickr


Ryan Backmann doesn’t know who killed his father.

His dad, Clifford Backmann, 56, was a construction worker. He was working a side job in the middle of the day six years ago when it happened.

“Detectives think that a random person was crossing through the parking lot, saw my dad in there by himself and he walked in. My dad was vacuuming up drywall dust, (the person) put the gun in his back, pulled the trigger and reached in and pulled the wallet out of my dad’s back pocket,” he said.


bear sleeping
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — Florida has a "robust" and growing bear population, according to the latest state estimate.

cigarette butt on sidewalk
Sudipto Sarkar via Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — For the second week in a row, Florida Supreme Court justices have ruled against the tobacco industry's attempts to fend off costly lawsuits about illnesses and deaths linked to smoking.

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.

Florida Everglades plants and water
Keo the Younger via Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — The House accepted a long-term Senate proposal to sink more than $250 million a year into Everglades restoration, the state's natural springs and Lake Apopka, as the Legislature concluded its regular session Friday.

State of Florida

TALLAHASSEE -- The state's new $82.3 billion budget, approved by lawmakers Friday, isn't all about the big expenses of government, such as education, health care, law enforcement and transportation.

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.