State

News stories that impact the state of Florida.

Virginia National Guard

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


Capitol building
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

Florida's 60-day legislative session is halfway done.

Most of the major issues remain unresolved after weeks of lawmakers debating bills in committees. 

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

A coalition of voting rights groups is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Jacksonville Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL5).  

money
401kcalculator.org

Two Florida Senate committees have OK’d a bill allowing Jacksonville to vote whether to extend a sales tax to cover pension debt.

But the bill is moving forward with a few changes from the original proposal by Mayor Lenny Curry.


Attorneys for a man convicted of two Jacksonville murders, who’s scheduled to be put to death on St. Patrick's Day, are asking the Florida Supreme Court for a stay in his execution. They’re arguing that case records —including some stored in an insect-infested shed — were destroyed.

Death Row inmate Mark James Asay hasn't had a lawyer to represent him in state court for nearly a decade and had no legal representation when Gov. Rick Scott signed the warrant ordering his execution, Asay's new attorney wrote in a motion filed two weeks ago.

protesters holding "no fracking way" signs
Progress Ohio via Flickr

After an intense debate spread over two days, the Florida House last week approved a bill that would revamp regulation of the controversial oil and gas drilling process known as "fracking."

The bill, in part, would bar local governments from imposing moratoriums on fracking, while requiring the state Department of Environmental Protection to undertake a wide-ranging study that would include looking at potential risks and economic benefits of the process.

syringe
ZaldyImg via Flickr

A Florida House panel is slated to take up a death-penalty proposal Tuesday, three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Florida's death-penalty system giving judges, not juries, the power to impose death sentences is unconstitutional.

The 8-1 ruling in the Hurst v. Florida case was centered on what are known as "aggravating" circumstances that must be found before defendants can be sentenced to death. A 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in a case known as Ring v. Arizona, requires that determination of such aggravating circumstances be made by juries, not judges.

church exterior
Google Maps

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.

Jameis Winston
David July / Flickr

Florida State University announced Monday that it has agreed to pay almost $1 million to settle a lawsuit by a woman who accused the school's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback of sexual assault in a case that sparked a national conversation on athletics and rape.

woman with sign that says, "Stop State Killing"
Kurt and Sybilla via Flickr

Florida lawmakers are pledging to remedy the state's death-penalty sentencing structure after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the state's method of giving judges the power to impose death sentences is unconstitutional.

Via Tsuji via Flickr

A proposal that would prevent local governments from regulating popular app-based transportation services such as Uber and Lyft continues to roll through the Florida House.

jury box
John Jackson via Flickr

Hundreds of Florida death penalty sentences are in limbo Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the way the state sentences people to death.

The ruling could lead state lawmakers to require unanimous juries.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Florida lawmakers are again descending on Tallahassee for another regular session of the Legislature, and some First Coast delegates are at the center of what promise to be some of the year’s most contentious debates.


solar panels on roof
Marufish via Flickr

A coalition trying to expand who can provide solar energy in Florida formally shifted its focus Monday toward trying to pass a ballot initiative in 2018.

Members of the group "Floridians for Solar Choice," which had fallen behind in qualifying for the November 2016 ballot and remains in the midst of a contract dispute with a petition-gathering firm, announced the change during a news conference at the Florida Press Center in Tallahassee.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

An election-year budget that includes huge tax cuts, record funding for public schools and a new initiative to bring jobs to Florida might be good politics for lawmakers. The question is whether they can afford it.

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