State News

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union want to block an abortion waiting period law that takes effect July 1.  The state-mandated delay would require two trips to a doctor.

Tree Hill Nature Center

Supporters of Amendment 1 filed a lawsuit Monday claiming state lawmakers in a newly approved budget misappropriated more than $300 million of the money voters wanted for environmental land management and acquisition.

Also, supporters of the ballot initiative want a court to declare exactly what lawmakers can and can't do with the Amendment 1 money.

GovernorRickScott's Channel / YouTube

Florida Governor Rick Scott will be in Jacksonville Monday evening to talk up the $400 million tax cut package in this year’s budget.

Earlier Monday, Scott made a similar stop at Sergio’s Restaurant in Miami.

Scott said, “If you have a cell phone, this is a tax cut this year. We have over $200 million in tax cuts just tied to your cell phone, your TV and your cable bill.”

The News Service of Florida reports, the communications service tax cut is expected to save someone just over $20 per year if she’s paying $100 per month for cable and cell-phone service.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

  A conservative-advocacy group is telling Gov. Rick Scott it'll have his back if he vetoes projects crammed into the state budget just before the nearly $80 billion package was completed last week.

"We are making everyone aware that we are not happy with the $301 million in last minute projects," Americans for Prosperity-Florida spokesman Andres Malave said Sunday. "AFP stands with Floridians who wouldn't be disappointed if the governor vetoed projects not beneficial to all taxpayers."

Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

House and Senate budget negotiators struck a deal on a state spending plan Monday night moments before the stroke of midnight, pouring $301 million into projects at the last minute and closing out one of the more-raucous legislative debates in recent years.

UF Health

UF Health Jacksonville hospital stands to receive nearly identical state funding as last year under a budget agreement in the Florida Legislature Friday.

Florida Times-Union Statehouse Bureau Chief Tia Mitchell talked about the deal with WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo.

 

Lindsey Turner / Flickr

In a major victory for the online travel industry, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected arguments that companies such as Expedia and Travelocity should pay more in county tourist-development taxes.

Five of the seven justices sided with the industry in a long-running legal and political battle that has involved at least 20 counties.

baby holding adult's hand
Kenyaboy7 via Flickr

A ban on gay adoption was struck from Florida law Thursday with Gov. Rick Scott’s signature.

The controversial measure also reinstates an incentive program giving benefits to state employees who adopt children out of foster care. And it begins a new performance-based incentive program for adoption agencies.

"Abortion is forever" sign
Teofilo via Flickr

In a widely expected move, Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed a measure that will require a 24-hour waiting period before women can have abortions. But before the ink was dry on Scott's signature, two groups filed a lawsuit Thursday aimed at blocking it. 

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit in Leon County circuit court, a day after Scott signed the requirement into law. As the News Service of Florida reports, the suit cites part of the Florida Constitution that guarantees privacy rights. 

Gage Skidmore via Flickr

The Florida Commission on Ethics has found probable cause that former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll did not properly report income from consulting work that led to her 2013 resignation, but it cleared Carroll of potentially more-serious allegations regarding her dealings with Allied Veterans of the World.

In response, Carroll said the decision vindicated her, and she called again for Gov. Rick Scott to publicly apologize for pushing her out of office in the wake of an illegal gambling probe.

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

Gov. Rick Scott's call for more money to attract businesses to Florida put an unexpected halt Monday to budget talks on transportation, tourism and economic-development issues.

Senators claimed a "lack of respect" as they sought what they considered an adequate explanation about why the House wanted to boost funding for Enterprise Florida, the state's public-private economic development agency.

Capitol building
Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

A second day of negotiations between House and Senate lawmakers over a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1 seemed to highlight longstanding divisions between the two chambers even as legislators tried to come to agreement.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Florida Senator Bill Nelson has asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to look into the possibility an immigration visa program has gone awry.

Nelson talked to reporters at Jacksonville’s Hyatt Regency hotel Friday.

Nelson says he asked for the investigation after receiving thousands of letters claiming the H-1B visa program is being misused.

The purpose of the visa program is place immigrants in U.S. jobs where there are labor shortages. Nelson says it’s not to take jobs away from Americans, but he says he thinks that could be happening.

The Office of Governor Rick Scott

In a move echoing recent congressional budget showdowns, Florida Governor Rick Scott is asking state agency heads how much money is essential to simply keep running.

The information gathering is for next month, when state lawmakers return to Tallahassee to try again at making a budget.

The first stab at crafting a state budget didn’t work. In an extremely rare move last month, the Florida House of Representatives went home early instead of reaching agreement with the Senate over state funding. A special session in June is planned to finish the job.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Rules for the state's first bear hunt in more than 20 years have been published as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected next month to give final approval to the hunt.

The posting of the rules came as the Humane Society has reached out to Gov. Rick Scott to halt the pending hunt because the commission has yet to determine how many bears are in Florida.

"This is very premature," said Kate MacFall, the Humane Society's Florida director. "They haven't even finished the count. They don't even know about the bear population."

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