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Florida Legislature

  1. Gauging the political fallout from Tallahassee gridlock: Will it matter?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House quit early. Senate Democrats sued. The state still has no budget, and no one has figured out a compromise on how to pay for health care.

  2. Legislature's shutdown stalls resolution on juvenile detention costs


    The abrupt end to the legislative session has stalled resolution of a long-simmering dispute between the state Department of Juvenile Justice and Florida counties — including four in Tampa Bay — over how to split the cost of housing young detainees.

  3. Timeline: How Florida's Medicaid expansion fight paralyzed lawmakers

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Medicaid expansion in Florida has been a contentious issue since 2013 when the Obama administration, through the Affordable Care Act, encouraged states to allow more people with low incomes to qualify for the health insurance program.

  4. Capitol meltdown leaves Gov. Rick Scott's agenda in shambles

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As the 2015 legislative session stumbled to a close Friday, Gov. Rick Scott's agenda lay in shambles, another victim of the Capitol's worst political breakdown in decades.

    At a time when legislative leaders desperately needed intervention to break a budget deadlock, Gov Rick Scott was far from the action - attending political fund-raisers, casting for jobs in California and dedicating a new amusement park ride in Orlando. [AP photo]
  5. Without bills to vote on, state lawmakers attend public hearing on hospital funding

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — As lawmakers continued to quarrel over the abrupt end of the legislative session, state health care officials on Friday held the last of three public hearings on the hospital funding program at the center of the stalemate.

  1. Gov. Rick Scott signs bill that scales back testing

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Responding to a parent-driven charge to scale back testing in public schools, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday signed legislation to eliminate at least one exam and delay the release of school grades until the other exams are deemed valid.

    Gov. Rick Scott Gov. Scott says he “will keep working to make sure Florida students are not overtested.”
  2. Bill to address Florida testing concerns headed to Gov. Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A proposal that would reduce the testing requirements for Florida schoolchildren — and delay the release of school grades until an independent agency reviews the new assessments — is headed to Gov. Rick Scott's desk.

    "To me, that was the one education bill we needed to resolve this year," said Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg, R-Trinity.
  3. PolitiFact Florida: Do uniform policies improve school safety and truancy?

    State Roundup

    More Florida school districts might soon have millions of reasons to start requiring students to wear uniforms, thanks to a bill that just passed the House.

    The House passed a bill to give school districts $10 per child to adopt uniform policies for kindergarten through eighth grade. Can school uniforms help reduce violence and truancy.
  4. After a dozen years, Florida class-size foes may finally prevail


    For the eighth time in 12 years, Florida lawmakers are looking to roll back voters' wishes for smaller class sizes.

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in February that the Class Size Amendment was “done for a political purpose.”
  5. Florida Senate moves to temporarily suspend school grades

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Senate took a critical step Wednesday toward temporarily suspending school grades in response to the outcry statewide among parents, teachers and superintendents who want a smoother transition as the state shifts to new standards and tests.

  1. In GOP-dominated Legislature, black lawmakers caucus struggles

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — When the last cocktail had been poured and the last guests had floated away from the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators' annual Scholarship Gala last month, thousands of dollars had flowed into the nonprofit foundation, courtesy of five-figure checks from a variety of special interests …

    As Rep. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, left, looks on, the chairman of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, is interviewed at the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators’ 21st annual Scholarship Gala in Tallahassee.
  2. Watchdog report says power companies wield too much influence in Florida Legislature


    TALLAHASSEE — To understand the influence of Florida's largest electric companies in Tallahassee, look no further than your monthly bill.

  3. Big money, powerful lobbying groups push Florida voucher proposal


    TALLAHASSEE — Nearly 200 schoolchildren greeted Senate President Don Gaetz last month when he visited a Catholic school in Pensacola to get a firsthand look at the impact of Florida's controversial school voucher program.

  4. Capitol's dash for cash: Florida lawmakers race against time, picking up checks


    TALLAHASSEE — The race for campaign cash shifted into high gear Monday as dozens of state legislators sought contributions from lobbyists before today's start of the legislative session when such fundraising is banned for two months.

    Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, receives a campaign contribution from veteran lobbyist Paul Jess of the Florida Justice Association, at a fundraiser Monday in Tallahassee, the last day he could raise funds before the 2014 session begins.
  5. Times/Herald special report: Tallahassee's torrent of campaign contributions


    TALLAHASSEE — When Florida legislators open their annual 60-day session on Tuesday, many of the decisions about what issues make it onto the agenda have already been made — thanks in large part to the powerful special interest groups and a torrent of cash flowing into the coffers of legislative political …

  1. Florida House leaders threaten budget battle over Medicaid expansion

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The gloves are off inside the Capitol.

    "They want us to come dance?" said House Appropriations Chair Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes. "We're not dancing. We're not dancing this session; we're not dancing next session; we're not dancing next summer. We're not dancing.
  2. Despite budget constraints, hometown pork still popular with Florida lawmakers

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Though the Florida Senate unanimously passed its $80.4 billion budget Wednesday — and the House appears unified to approve its own version today — there's plenty of behind-the-scenes wrangling among members when it comes to pet projects.

    State Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, said that the outlook is good for the University of South Florida’s downtown Tampa medical center to receive at least partial funding in next year’s budget.
  3. Florida House and Senate battle over tax cuts

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE -- The tax cut battle lines have been drawn.

  4. Gov. Rick Scott's tax cuts and education spending at risk in House and Senate budgets

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Less than two months ago, an enthusiastic Gov. Rick Scott, fresh off his re-election victory, unveiled his plan to spend Florida's $1 billion surplus.

    Gov. Rick Scott proposed a budget of $76.98 billion.
  5. As Florida's 2015 session begins: 5 people and 5 issues to watch


    TALLAHASSEE — The 2015 session of the Florida Legislature begins Tuesday here with new leaders facing fresh challenges and competing demands for a projected $1 billion budget surplus.

    Traffic passes Florida’s historic Old Capitol building at the intersection of Monroe Street and Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee on Saturday night. Behind it, the Capitol awaits Florida’s lawmakers, who begin their annual 60-day legislative session on Tuesday. 
  1. Meet the Arizona doctor House Republicans like to quote

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Dr. Jason Fodeman may not be a household name in Florida.

  2. Gov. Rick Scott calls for special session, says tax cuts may be sacrificed to end stalemate

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Blaming the federal government for Florida's financial woes, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday said he was prepared to call Florida lawmakers back for a special session to complete the budget — and even encourage them to pass a bare-bones budget if necessary.

    Gov. Scott says his tax cuts are in jeopardy.
  3. Florida Legislature heads toward special session because of Medicaid impasse

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Republican leaders said Wednesday that they won't approve a budget by the scheduled end of the legislative session in 15 days because of a showdown over Medicaid expansion.

    House speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, center, said Wednesday, "I would assume most likely we're looking at a special session" of the Florida Legislature. [Associated Press]
  4. In war over Medicaid expansion, Senate panel declines to confirm Gov. Rick Scott's pick for surgeon general

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — One day after Gov. Rick Scott came out against a Senate proposal to expand health care coverage to about 800,000 poor Floridians, a Senate panel declined to confirm Scott's pick for surgeon general.

    John Armstrong was first appointed in 2012.
  5. Gov. Rick Scott backs off support of Medicaid expansion

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Republican Gov. Rick Scott backed off his support of Medicaid expansion Monday, triggering a political backlash and giving the Florida House ammunition in its ongoing budget battle with the Senate.

    Gov. Scott’s reversal comes amid stalled talks with the feds.
  1. In paying late claims for jobless, why did Florida wait so long?


    TALLAHASSEE — It took Florida officials more than three months to decide to pay overdue jobless benefits to about 10,000 unemployed workers, many of whom went without checks since October because of a defective online registration system.

  2. Talk of budget turkeys ruffles some feathers


    For the past three decades, Florida TaxWatch has been a self-appointed fiscal watchdog, blowing the whistle on what it considers wasteful pork-barrel spending by the Legislature.

    Florida TaxWatch President Dominic Calabro brings out his giant stuffed bird for the organization’s post-legislative selection of “turkeys” from the budget passed in Tallahassee in 2007.
  3. Gov. Rick Scott wants $1.2 billion more for schools, bonuses for state workers


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott will send the Legislature a $74 billion budget today that he says would boost spending in schools by $1.25 billion, but some of that money will never reach students.

  4. Gun makers, violent film and video creators benefit from tax breaks in Florida


    TALLAHASSEE — What do violent video games, gory movies and high-powered assault weapons have in common? They have all been blamed for tragic mass shootings, including last month's at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — and are all subsidized by Florida taxpayers. With Florida's tax code more …

    Parker, a violent action movie starring Jason Statham, received $424,820 in tax credits for production in South Florida last year.
  5. State wants bad $20M investment in movie company back

    Economic Development

    TALLAHASSEE — Call it another unfortunate plot twist in an already upsetting script.

  6. Florida Gov. Rick Scott calls for more early voting days, sites


    TALLAHASSEE — After months of defending the status quo, Florida Gov. Rick Scott drew praise and criticism Thursday as he endorsed early voting changes pushed by county election supervisors.

    Steve Bozsanyi of Spring Hill checks his watch while waiting in line with his wife, Dorothy, left, to vote at a supervisor of elections branch office on Forest Oaks Boulevard in Spring Hill on Oct. 30.
  7. Interest groups, donors spent $306 million on state political campaigns in 2012


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's sputtering economy did not stop interest groups and donors from spending $306 million this election cycle on state political campaigns, according to final election year tallies released Friday.

  1. School guns proposals stalled in Florida Senate

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A proposal that would allow certain teachers to carry guns in public schools is on life support after the Senate Education Committee declined to vote on it for the second meeting in a row.

  2. Bill for concealed carry in evacuations headed to Gov. Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Floridians soon could be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in the first two days of an emergency evacuation, even if they don't have a concealed license to do so.

  3. Gun advocates score victories in Florida House, Senate (w/video)

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida gun rights activists had a victorious day in the Capitol as the Republican-controlled Legislature considered two St. Petersburg lawmakers' bills, passing one through the Senate and shooting down the other.

    State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, sponsored the bill allowing lawful gun owners to carry a weapon while evacuating in an emergency. The bill passed. 
  4. Guns on campus opponents decry concealed-carry bills

    State Roundup

    Rallying around the slogan "Bullets and backpacks don't mix," about 30 people gathered on the steps of the Florida Historic Capitol on Monday to protest a slate of bills that would allow concealed weapons at college campuses and schools.

  5. PolitiFact Florida: Suicide statistics used in guns on campus debate

    State Roundup

    A shooting incident at Florida State University late last year has reopened a debate in the Florida Legislature about whether to allow guns on college campuses.

    A fatal shooting at Florida State University’s library last year has rekindled the debate on allowing guns on campus.