Florida State Legislature

The St. Johns River.
The University of North Florida

In a blow to environmental groups, an appeals court Monday overturned a circuit judge’s ruling that said state lawmakers improperly diverted money that flowed from a 2014 constitutional amendment designed to boost land and water conservation.

Migrant workers at Kirby Farms in Mechanicsville, VA.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Florida businesses would have to use a federal database to verify the immigration status of new employees, under proposals filed in the House and Senate for the 2019 legislative session.

Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis Campaign / Twitter

In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, Florida Governor-elect, Ron DeSantis, said that Amendment 4, approved by 64.55 percent of the state’s voters, should not go into effect until “implementing language” is approved by the Legislature and then signed by him.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry speaking to the Duval County Legislative Delegation at City Hall.
Brendan Rivers / WJCT News

In their Monday morning meeting at City Hall, the Duval County Legislative Delegation unanimously elected both their next chair and vice chair before ceding the floor to constituents as they look for input before heading to Tallahassee for committee meetings ahead of the 2019 legislative session.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

About 20 Jacksonville students from Jean Ribault, Atlantic Coast, Mandarin, Sandalwood and Englewood high schools gathered in Ribault’s media center Wednesday to meet with state lawmakers about school safety.

Today on “First Coast Connect,” it was our weekly Media Roundtable featuring Florida Times-Union reporter Tessa Duvall, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk (01:08). Jacksonville’s Director of Military Affairs and Veterans Services Bill Spann, administrative aide Kenneth Johnson and Jeff Shuford (32:15) from Tech From Vets told us about the upcoming Jacksonville Vetrepreneur Summit. Florida State College at Jacksonville philosophy professor Nick Michaud (39:08) talked about the cultural impact of the hit movie “Wonder Woman” and Apex Theatre Studio Managing Director Ian Mairs (46:03) told us about their Summer Theatre Series kicking off Saturday with “The Ultimate 80’s Dance Party.”  


Wikimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE — To the extent that any legislative session is remembered, the 2017 edition might be remembered as much for what lawmakers didn't do as for what they did.

Kevan Westenbarger / Flickr

A former Duval County School Board member and current state representative is co-sponsoring legislation that some school board members and the superintendent oppose.

Jacksonville Rep. Jason Fischer’s “Schools-of-Hope” bill would encourage private charter companies to replace struggling neighborhood schools.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Federal Communications commissioners came to Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic Thursday to discuss telemedicine.

The discussion touched on ways to expand telehealth in rural areas that lack access to reliable Internet.

The biggest roadblock to telemedicine in Florida has more to do with political will than technology.


Edward Waters College

Jacksonville’s historically-black college, Edward Waters may soon have a police academy.

The Florida Legislature has approved nearly $2 million dollars to start the program.

If the academy is funded, Edward Waters College plans to allow students to take criminal justice and forensic science classes, while simultaneously attending police academy.

Edward Waters Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Wanda Willis says she can see many students taking advantage of the program.

After abruptly adjourning three days early, the Florida House and Senate have tentatively agreed to a special session in June to hash out lingering budget issues. But will the two chambers be able to resolve their lingering dispute on health care funding? We speak with Marty Fiorentino, principal at the Jacksonville government relations firm The Fiorentino Group.

Jacksonville Film and Television Office

Jacksonville officials are asking the state Legislature to double a tax credit they hope will bring more film productions to Northeast Florida. The state offers a 5 percent credit to producers to film in so-called "underutilized regions" including North Florida. That's on top of a 20 percent base incentive for filming in the state. 

Senate, House Elections Today In Northeast Florida

Jan 27, 2015

Voters in Northeast Florida are heading to the polls today to choose Republican nominees for three legislative districts expected to be easily carried by the GOP in special elections in April.

The highest-profile race pits Rep. Travis Hutson (R-Elkton), Rep. Ronald "Doc" Renuart (R-Ponte Vedra Beach) and Flagler Beach Republican Dennis McDonald for the nomination in a Senate district vacated by Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine). Thrasher resigned from the Legislature last year to become the president of Florida State University, his alma mater.

NicoleKlauss / Flickr

Republican primaries will be held tomorrow in Northeast Florida for three spots in the state legislature.

Florida political juggernaut John Thrasher stepped down from his senate seat after 30 years to become the president of Florida State University last year.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown

Lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Thursday for a rare August special session, hoping to quickly redraw congressional districts before returning to the campaign trail in an election year.

As a sign of how quickly the process was moving, the chairmen of the House and Senate committees working to revise the map released a joint proposal Thursday, hoping to hold committee votes on Friday and gain approval from the full Legislature early next week.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown

On Friday, Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ordered lawmakers to fix two districts he had previously declared unconstitutional, including that of Jacksonville Congresswoman Corrine Brown.

Pedro Bravo, Shad Khan and the Tropical Storm Bertha are in the headlines today.

For the past two years, Florida’s top state lawmakers have opposed expanding the Medicaid program for low-income people under the federal health law. The state has rejected more than $51 billion under the federal Affordable Care Act to increase income eligibility limits and add more people to the rolls. Now one of the state’s most powerful physician groups, the Florida Medical Association is backing a Medicaid Expansion, but it may not be enough to change state lawmakers' anti-ACA stance.

Kevin Daniels, Rayne Perrywinkle and climate change are in the headlines today.

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

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — On Tuesday, the state's record-setting, $77 billion election-year budget goes into effect, along with 157 other bills approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

The laws range from the "Florida GI Bill" which is intended to make Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation, to lowering college costs and banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

Rep. Charles McBurney, Nippers Beach Grille, and the World Cup are in the headlines today.

Legislature Makes Final Redistricting Argument

Jun 15, 2014

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — A coalition of voting-rights groups failed to prove during a recent trial that congressional districts drawn by lawmakers in 2012 violated constitutional standards for redistricting, according to a filing by attorneys for the Legislature.

The brief, released late Friday, amounts to a closing argument by the Legislature in the 12-day trial that ended last week. Opponents of the map filed arguments Wednesday and have an opportunity to respond next week to lawmakers' final brief.

The Washington Post has an open letter posted by a former Orlando-area school teacher on her blog telling Gov. Rick Scott and state lawmakers why she is pulling her children out of Florida's public school system.

Closing Arguments Set In Redistricting Trial

Jun 4, 2014

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — Closing arguments are expected Wednesday in a high-stakes trial that could define the boundaries of the state's congressional districts and the effectiveness of the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts constitutional amendments.

The Florida Channel

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — A state Republican staffer, tagged as a "genius map drawer," denied discussing or sharing proposed new district lines in 2011 with national GOP officials, as the second week of a trial over the state's redrawn congressional maps concluded Friday.

The Actors' Playhouse executive director Barbara Stein says most of the Coral Gables theater's paid performers are from South Florida.

“We hire some people out of New York, too, but our goal is to hire as many capable and qualified for each production Florida based actors that we can,” Stein says.

State Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) says he’s looking forward to addressing the concerns of Florida State University faculty and students when he interviews for the school's top job.

Thrasher has risen to the top of a slim list of candidates in a presidential search process  many on the university’s search committee agree is unusual. The decision to interview Thrasher is controversial because of his political ties and how the search process has gone. The first thing Thrasher will have to address is why he never formally applied for the position.

Florida Supreme Court exterior
Tim Ross / Wikimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — Overturning an appellate court ruling, the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a Tallahassee judge to allow a GOP consultant's documents to be considered in a trial about the Legislature's 2012 redistricting effort, a move one justice called "unprecedented."

Memorial Day, taxes, and Michael Dunn are in the headlines today.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown

TALLAHASSEE (The News Service of Florida) — Senate President Don Gaetz and an aide involved in the Senate's push for a larger number of African-American voters in U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown's sprawling district explained their logic Wednesday as testimony continued in a lawsuit challenging the state's political map.

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