State

News stories that impact the state of Florida.

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  In a 5-4 vote, a Senate panel on Tuesday approved the confirmation of Surgeon General John Armstrong as secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Members of the Senate Health Policy Committee spent an hour peppering Armstrong with questions, nearly all dealing with Floridians' access to health care, before signing off on his nomination.

Questions centered on cuts to county health departments, the state's high rate of new HIV infections and a drop in enrollment in the Children's Medical Services program, which serves youngsters with "chronic and serious" conditions.

Law enforcement officers would need "reasonable suspicion" to stop and inspect boats sporting state safety stickers, under a measure that sailed through its final House committee last week.
 
The Economic Affairs Committee voted 12-3 to approve the proposal (HB 703), which would revise a state law about reckless and careless operations of vessels.
 

From muck removal to paying for a dolphin pool or beef advertising, the House and Senate have a lot to hash out as they negotiate a roughly $80 billion spending plan for next year.

The Senate last week approved a package (SB 2500) that stands at $80.97 billion, while the House's spending plan (HB 5001) comes in at $79.98 billion.

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The daughter of one murder victim and the mother of another pleaded with Florida lawmakers last week not to require unanimous jury recommendations before death sentences can be imposed, pointing to their family members' cases as proof that unanimity is a bad idea.

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The Florida Legislature is calling on Congress to limit the terms its members can serve. In memoranda passed by both Florida chambers Thursday, Florida lawmakers lamented the prevalence of so-called “career politicians.”

Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) says he’s confident the measure will get the support of the 33 other states required to change the country’s constitution.

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


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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).  

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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.

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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.

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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.

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