Florida Legislature

Florida House of Representatives / Via Wikimedia Commons

Two months away from home in a highly competitive environment that is fueled by money, power and booze and in which careers are made or broken based on relationships built mainly after hours.

'Small Business Saturday' Proposed By Florida House Member

Nov 3, 2017
Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

With a Senate committee scheduled to take up the issue Monday, a House Democrat has proposed creating a “Small Business Saturday” sales-tax holiday in November 2018.

RCB / Wikimedia Commons

Nearly three years after same-sex marriages began in Florida, two Democratic lawmakers have filed proposals to repeal an outdated state law that banned gay marriage.

More Than 60 Changes Proposed For Florida's Constitution

Nov 1, 2017
Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

From banning the death penalty to creating an elected secretary of state, members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission have filed more than five-dozen proposals to change the state Constitution.

gas pump
Mike Mozart via Flickr

Florida could be moving closer to stockpiling fuel for future hurricanes or other disasters.

Donn Dughi / Wikimedia Commons

Former State Senator Girardeau represented Jacksonville in the Florida Senate from 1982-1992, rising to Senate President Pro Tempore from 1988-1990.

Gov. Scott Looks To Boost Money For Teacher Supplies

Oct 25, 2017
Rick Scott
The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday he will seek to increase the annual grants that Florida teachers receive to buy classroom supplies.

Intel Free Press / Wikimedia Commons

A bipartisan group of lawmakers embarked Tuesday on a road that has resulted in a dead end in the past: getting the House and Senate to make texting while driving a “primary” traffic offense in Florida.

The Florida Senate

State Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, is sponsoring a measure that would allow Florida residents to petition a judge for a protective order against a family member who owns a gun, if that person is proven to be a danger to themselves or others.

Telehealth Final Report and Legislative Recommendations Approved

Oct 17, 2017
NEC Corporation of America / Creative Commons

The state Telehealth Advisory Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a final report and legislative recommendations to remove barriers to the use of telehealth.

Kayla Davis

Although election day is still more than a year away, the 2018 State Attorney’s face in Florida is already in high gear when it comes to fundraising.

Hurricanes Leave Uncertainly In Florida Schools Enrollment

Oct 12, 2017
Carlos Giusti / Associated Press

The impact of hurricanes may be a complicating factor as lawmakers try to figure out how many students are in Florida's public schools this year and how many might show up next year.

Nursing Homes Can Seek Variances From Generator Rules

Oct 12, 2017
Westwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
NICK TOMECEK / NORTHWEST FLORIDA DAILY NEWS VIA AP

Shortly before attorneys for the state prepared to defend emergency regulations calling for nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators that can power air-conditioning systems, Gov. Rick Scott's administration Thursday released a new emergency rule that lays out a variance process for facilities that cannot comply with the requirements.

House Panel Backs Red-Light Camera Repeal In Florida

Oct 11, 2017
Genesis12 / Wikimedia Commons

The House is on a fast track to try to repeal Florida's red-light camera law, with the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voting to back elimination of the devices by July 1, 2021.

Executive Office of the President of the United States / Wikimedia Commons

A Senate Republican on Tuesday proposed a measure that would create a President Ronald Reagan specialty license plate.

Florida Senate Pushes To Expand Bright Futures

Oct 10, 2017
Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

An additional 44,000 Bright Futures students would have their scholarships expanded under a bill approved Monday by the Senate Education Committee.

Jacksonville flooding
Robert Torbert

A key economist offered a sobering message Friday to state lawmakers: Forget having extra cash for next year's budget.

Irma May Extend Her Destructive Reach To Florida's Next State Budget

Sep 14, 2017
Jacksonville flooding
Robert Torbert

A long-range financial report, which will be reviewed Friday by the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, shows lawmakers working with only a projected $52 million surplus as they craft the 2018-19 budget early next year. It's a fiscal pittance in an overall $82 billion budget.

Lyft car
Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Ride-for-hire services like Lyft and Uber will have to comply with statewide rules, and religious expression at public schools will be explicitly protected in Florida, under new laws that go into effect Sat., July 1.

The changes are among 125 revisions the state Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Scott approved this year.

It took an extension to the regular session and a special session on top of that to finally get a state spending plan for the new fiscal year, but the budget that tied up lawmakers for months finally takes effect Saturday.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Duval County School Board will continue budgeting for the upcoming school year without knowing how much money it’s working with.

Florida Governor Rick Scott hasn’t said whether he’ll sign a massive education bill, HB7069, that would increase teacher bonuses but significantly cut capital dollars for traditional public schools and encourage charters to replace failing schools. Duval board members are calling for Scott to veto it.

  Today on "First Coast Connect" we spoke with Florida State College at Jacksonville President Cynthia Bioteau and recent graduate Lyse Medina (01:08) about state budget cuts to the college. University of North Florida professor Parvez Ahmed (22:50) spoke about the terrorist attack Monday at a concert in Manchester, England. This month’s Women With Heart segment featured Volunteers in Medicine board member Helen Morse (39:40) and we heard about an upcoming female skateboarding event with Void Magazine photographer Elise Crigar (44:30).    


   

Monday on “First Coast Connect” it’s Sine Die in the Florida State Legislature. We spoke with Florida Times-Union Tallahassee bureau chief Tia Mitchell (1:09). We learned the warning signs of stroke with Dr. Nima Aghaebrahim (28:11), interventional neurologist with Baptist Health and the Baptist Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center. We discussed an upcoming trip to Jacksonville’s Sister City of Nantes, France, with Sheila Kloc (34:34) of Alliance Francaise and Richard Shieldhouse with the Nantes Committee. THE PLAYERS Championship volunteer chairman Kevin English (43:03) talked about the 2,000 volunteers at TPC this week, and Cole Pepper (46:33)  talked local sports.   

Lucélia Ribeiro / Flickr

A state proposal would cut back on standardized testing in Florida, but the bills would also make several other changes to education.

A House testing bill cuts a requirement that high school students have to take an end of the year algebra II exam. Duval School Board member Becki Couch said she supports the idea, but prefers the Senate version, eliminating even more end-of-year exams.

  Monday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Florida Times-Union reporter Tia Mitchell, who covers the state legislature. North Florida Transportation Planning Organization Executive Director Jeff Sheffield told us about its upcoming alternative fuels expo and Communities in Schools director of resource development director Erin Morgan and Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology student Elijah Heppner talked about the Rising Stars fundraising event where students, including Heppner, will perform in a talent show. 


     

Wikimedia Commons

A bill seeking to protect the freedom of religious expression in public schools cleared Florida Senate on Thursday in a vote that largely cleaved along party lines.

The bill, aiming to create the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” passed by 23-13 vote on the floor. It intends to unify existing religious rights in a single legislation that would be simple to implement and heed.

 


Lucio Eastman / WIkimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE — Rejecting arguments by Second Amendment supporters, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a longstanding state ban on people openly carrying firearms in public.

Wikimedia Commons

Smaller restaurants in historic Jacksonville neighborhoods could soon serve liquor under a bill heading to the Florida Legislature.

headshot
Center for Immigration Studies

A Florida House panel's decision to hear Thursday from a speaker with a history of inflammatory statements about minorities and immigrants roiled the normally peaceful legislative committee week in Tallahassee and prompted Democrats to walk out of the hearing.

Flikr / Creative Commons

TALLAHASSEE — The 2016 Florida Legislature appears to have been the richest in recent history.

And a couple of incoming freshmen, recently elected without opposition, could help make the 2017 class even wealthier.

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