Florida Senate

Ray Troncoso / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney has announced his 2022 candidacy for Florida State Senate.  

Sen. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford
News Service of Florida

Despite opposition from Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida senators plowed ahead Thursday with a proposal to increase state unemployment benefits, which are among the lowest in the nation. 

Masked woman outside of an unemployment office with a "now hiring" sign.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

An effort to increase Florida’s much-criticized unemployment benefits, boosting the amounts and lengths of payments, continued to advance Thursday in the state Senate.

A man wades through flood water as he check out damage from Hurricane Matthew Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in St. Augustine , Fla.
John Bazemore / Associated Press


Tens of millions of dollars a year would go to fight the effects of rising sea levels under bills passed by the Florida House and Senate this week.

Residents walk a flooded street to reach their homes, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, where Tropical Storm Eta caused severe flooding in areas already saturated from previous downpours.
Marta Lavandier / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis would get more than he requested for Everglades restoration and water projects in the coming year under an initial Senate budget proposal that also would set up a grant program to address sea-level rise.

The Florida Legislature
The News Service of Florida


As Florida’s 2020 legislative session comes to a close, lawmakers can celebrate the bills they passed. But hundreds of other proposals died along the way, including a bill that would have established a state-wide office of resiliency.

Florida Lawmakers Weigh Whether To Ban Discrimination In Organ Transplants

Feb 17, 2020
Florida Senator Aaron Bean.
Sam Thomas / Fresh Take Florida

Florida's Legislature is moving toward ensuring new protections for disabled people who may need organ transplants, part of a national trend among states.

Tiffany Carr, then executive director of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, speaks at a news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Phil Coale / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida House on Thursday intensified an inquiry into Florida’s domestic violence agency, calling for additional investigations and issuing subpoenas over the former head of the taxpayer-backed organization’s compensation.

Opioid Alternative Education Bill Ready For Governor

May 1, 2019
Close-up of Oxycodone bottle.
Cindy Shebley / Flickr.com

The Florida Department of Health will be required to develop and distribute an educational pamphlet regarding the use of non-opioid alternatives to treat pain, under a bill that received final approval from the Florida Legislature on Tuesday.

Underground Power Line Bill Cruises In Florida Senate

Apr 29, 2019
Power pole leaning over a road after Hurricane Irma.
Michael Rivera / Wikemedia Commons

The Florida Senate on Friday overwhelmingly passed a measure that could lead to more underground power lines, as backers point to massive outages in recent years after hurricanes hit the state.

The late Sen. Dorothy Hukill (left) with her friend and colleague Sen. Travis Hutson (right) at the Coke Zero 400 in July, 2017.
From the late Dorothy Hukill's Facebook page

A Northeast Florida state senator has filed a proposal that would require high-school students to take financial-literacy courses in honor of the late state Sen. Dorothy Hukill, who died this year after battling cancer.

Florida Senator Rob Bradley.
Rob Bradley

Several amendments placed on November’s midterm ballot by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) tackled multiple unrelated issues. A Republican state Senator is trying to make sure that never happens again.

KEVIN MEERSCHAERT / WJCT NEWS

Florida Senate Democrats last week selected Jacksonville’s Audrey Gibson as their leader for the next two legislative sessions. The incoming Democratic leader said she hopes to be a bridge builder.

Florida’s new house speaker and senate president are Republicans, as are the majority of state lawmakers and the governor-elect.

New Minority Leader Gibson said there is room for bipartisanship in the Senate.

Colleges Decry Budget Cuts

Apr 7, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE — As the House and Senate prepare to take up their budget plans next week, state college leaders and students said Thursday the proposals contain unsustainable cuts for the 28-college system.

Colleges Balk At Budget Cuts

Mar 13, 2017
wad of cash
401 (k) 2013 / Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — State college presidents on Friday expressed dismay that the 28-school system is being targeted for three-quarters of the cuts in the Florida Senate's initial plan to trim $131 million in higher-education spending.

“It is of great concern that the first thing out of the chute is a 74 percent reduction impacting the Florida college system and it is directed at programs that support our most at-risk student populations,” said Ed Meadows, president of Pensacola State College and the chairman of the Council of Presidents, which represents all the state colleges.

State College Legislation Could Limit Expansion Of 4-Year Degree Programs

Jan 30, 2017
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Florida Senate is considering a bill that could shift control away from state colleges and cap its ability to expand four-year degree programs.

Florida State College at Jacksonville offers 13 types of four-year degrees. But under a new Senate bill, it might become harder for state colleges to add or expand bachelor's degree programs.


Florida Senate

Florida Democrats are celebrating a recently approved state Senate map drawn by voting rights groups.

Democrats say the new maps could make it easier for them to win seats in upcoming elections.

But area Republicans seem unfazed and say they’re confident they can hold on to their jobs.


Florida Senate

A state Senate redistricting plan favored by voting-rights organizations was approved Wednesday by a Leon County judge in a move that could shake the Republican Party's grip on power in the Capitol.

In choosing the new map, Circuit Judge George Reynolds also rejected a plan put forward by Senate Republican leaders as the best configuration of the chamber's 40 seats. The proposal chosen by Reynolds would lead to a roughly even number of districts favoring each party.

swing set
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

 

It’s winter break for most public school students. Some of them spent one of their last days of freedom at Kona, a Jacksonville skate park.

Fifth-grader Sam Myers was practicing some tricks Wednesday afternoon.

 


Florida Senate

The final state redistricting trial in a nearly four-year legal battle over Florida's political boundaries ended with both sides trading charges of partisan gerrymandering, some of them the same accusations that have been hurled in court since the beginning.

In closing arguments Thursday before Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds, lawyers for the state Senate and a coalition of voting-rights groups made final pitches for their versions of a map for the Senate's 40 districts.

State of Florida

The decisions prompting state Senate leaders to choose a redistricting plan they recommended to a Leon County judge took center stage Monday, the first day of a trial to determine whether that map should go to the Florida Supreme Court.

State of Florida

Lawmakers took a step toward removing the Confederate battle flag from the Senate's official seal Thursday, as a committee unanimously voted to establish a new seal without the Civil War banner.

The Senate Rules Committee's recommendation, which follows a request by Senate President Andy Gardiner and Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner to re-examine the flag's place on the seal, is another sign of a backlash against the symbols of the South's rebellion in the 1860s. The backlash has come after a white supremacist massacred nine black churchgoers in South Carolina this summer.

Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court has denied Florida Senate Democrats’ request to force the House of Representatives to get back to Tallahassee and finish the lawmaking session.

n a unanimous ruling, the justices said requiring the lower chamber to continue working until the end of the day Friday would provide no real benefit.

Peter Haden / WJCT

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday revamping how local pensions for police officers and firefighters are funded, bringing closer to resolution a long-running debate over the retirement plans.

The bill (SB 172), which now heads to the House, cleared the upper chamber 36-0 after less than 10 minutes of debate. It relies on a deal struck between cities and unions last year &mdash one that cities have backed away from after the re-election of Gov. Rick Scott in November.

handgun
Robert Nelson / Flickr

  Florida's university system wants state lawmakers to holster the idea of allowing guns on campus.

A joint statement from the university system's Board of Governors, university police chiefs and the 12 public universities expresses opposition to a legislative proposal (SB 176 and HB 4005) that would allow people with concealed-firearms licenses to carry guns at state colleges and universities.

Rick Scott
The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Making good on a campaign promise, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday he will ask lawmakers to provide the highest per-student funding for education in state history during the legislative session that begins in March.

Scott said his "Keep Florida Working" budget would include $7,176 per student, about $50 above the previous high in the 2007-08 budget year. That spending plan was approved before the financial crisis that caused the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.