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HOUSE SESSION, TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 10:30 a. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, presiding... Read the Session Summary

HOUSE TAKES AIM AT 'LIQUOR WALL'
JIM TURNER |
A heavily lobbied measure that would remove a Depression-era "wall" separating the sale of liquor and groceries was positioned --- after more than two hours of discussion Tuesday --- for a final House vote as soon as Wednesday... Story

MARIJUANA BILL MOVING TO FULL SENATE
DARA KAM |
Florida patients wouldn't have to wait 90 days to purchase marijuana if doctors recommend the treatment, under a proposal on its way to the Senate floor for a vote... Story

HOUSE STARTS MOVING ON 'SAFETY VALVE' BUDGET
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Even as rumors of a last-minute spending deal circulated in the Capitol, the House Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday morning to move forward with a bare-bones budget in an attempt to avoid a special legislative session --- or at least the blame for one... Story


HOUSE REVAMPS TRAUMA CARE PLAN
JIM SAUNDERS |
A key House committee Monday scaled back a plan that would have eliminated a limit on the number of trauma centers in the state --- but the panel sought to ensure that a disputed Jacksonville-area trauma center can keep its doors open... Story

PENSION, HEALTH CARE OVERHAULS ADVANCE IN SENATE
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
A Senate committee on Monday narrowly backed a controversial change in the state pension plan and endorsed an overhaul of the health-insurance program for state employees... Story

BUDGET PROSPECTS DIM AS HOUSE, SENATE FEUD
BRANDON LARRABEE |
The legislative session appeared to careen off course Monday, as the House prepared to pass its second budget of the year --- a plan Senate leaders have already ruled out as "ineffectual.".. Story

SENATE DEALS FIRST OFFER IN GAMBLING TALKS
DARA KAM |
Controversial electronic games that are the subject of a recent court decision would be outlawed under a proposal offered Monday by the Senate, as lawmakers begin to hash out differences over gambling plans with less than two weeks before the legislative session is slated to end... Story

AYALA GETS PROMINENT BACKERS IN DEATH PENALTY DISPUTE
DARA KAM |
Ex-prosecutors, former state Supreme Court justices, civil-rights organizations and families of homicide victims from across the country have filed briefs supporting embattled Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala in her legal battle with Gov. Rick Scott... Story

HOUSE SEEKS FLORIDA FOREVER CHANGES
JIM TURNER |
More money would be set aside for land conservation under a House bill rolled out Monday, with some environmentalists contending the proposal could hinder Senate President Joe Negron's push to speed construction of a water-cleaning reservoir in the Everglades... Story

LOBBYIST FILE - DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, APRIL 24, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
LISA AARON has registered to lobby for McAfee, Inc. BRIAN AUNGST has registered to lobby for Charter Communications... Story


ADVANCES: WEEK OF APRIL 23, 2017
STAFF |
Florida lawmakers enter the final two weeks of the regular legislative session with most major issues unresolved... Read the Advances

SENATOR RESIGNS AMID UPROAR OVER TIRADE
DARA KAM |
Calling his presence a "distraction" days after apologizing for a public tirade that included racially charged and vulgar expletives, Miami Republican Frank Artiles announced Friday he was resigning from the Senate, effective immediately... Story

CONTROVERSIAL PENSION CHANGE SURFACES IN SENATE
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
With two weeks remaining in the legislative session, a Senate committee will take up a new bill that could move more public workers into a 401(k)-type retirement plan rather than the traditional pension program... Story

ETHICS PANEL PUSHES BACK AGAINST LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT
JIM TURNER |
Florida's ethics arbiters claimed their "independence" Friday in response to a legislative directive that put more restrictions on their operations, from out-of-state travel spending to the hiring and firing of staff... Story

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, APRIL 21, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
CONNIE SMITH has been appointed by Education Commissioner Pam Stewart as chair of the Florida Education Foundation... Read the Personnel File

BREAKING NEWS: ARTILES RESIGNS FROM SENATE
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
State Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, resigned Friday amid a firestorm about vulgar and racially charged comments he made Monday night about other members of the Senate. Sen. Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who will be the next Senate president, confirmed that Artiles had submitted the resignation... Story

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Sometimes, apologies take a long time in public life... Read the Roundup


CORRECTIONS AGENCY SCRAPS PRISON HEALTH CONTRACT
DARA KAM |
Citing shortcomings in mental-health services at a South Florida prison, state corrections officials are terminating a contract with a private health-care provider months before the deal was set to expire... Story

LAWMAKERS TARGET LOCAL REQUIREMENTS ON CONTRACTORS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Cities and counties would not be able to require contractors to provide certain benefits and wages to workers on state-funded public works projects under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: 'SHOW US THE MONEY'
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER AND JIM TURNER |
Legendary Senate Rules Chairman Dempsey Barron is credited with the immemorial admonition when following the Florida Legislature to "assume nothing.".. Read the Briefing

HOUSE SESSION, THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 1 p. m. , Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, reporting... Read the Session Summary

LAWMAKERS MOVE CLOSER ON SOLAR TAX BREAK
JIM TURNER |
The House and Senate are set to take up proposals that would carry out a voter-approved expansion of a renewable-energy tax break, as bill language appears to have become more agreeable to solar proponents... Story

JUSTICES APPROVE FELON RIGHTS, GAMBLING INITIATIVES
JIM SAUNDERS |
In a pair of high-profile issues that could go on the ballot next year, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday approved proposed constitutional amendments that would restore felons' voting rights and restrict the expansion of gambling in the state... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


GAMBLING TALKS CONTINUE WEDNESDAY

House and Senate negotiators are scheduled to meet Wednesday morning as they continue trying to reach agreement on a closely watched gambling bill...

HOUSE READY TO VOTE ON WAITING PERIOD EXEMPTION

A proposal aimed at allowing active, certified law-enforcement officers to be exempt from waiting periods for gun purchases is ready for a vote by the full House...

DOZIER APOLOGY GETS SENATE BACKING

The Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday approved a resolution that would apologize for the mistreatment of juveniles at the now-closed Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna...

HOUSE POISED TO PASS TAX CUT PACKAGE

Up to $2.2 billion in tax breaks could be approved on the House floor Wednesday as a number of proposals, including a constitutional amendment that would expand savings on property taxes, advanced Tuesday...

UTILITY NATURAL GAS INVESTMENTS GET BACKING

A bill that would let electric utilities recoup costs of investing in exploratory natural-gas projects in other states cleared its final Senate committee on Tuesday...

LOTTERY WARNING READY FOR HOUSE APPROVAL

Lottery players in Florida would be warned about the addictive nature of the state-sponsored games, under a measure the House may scratch off its to-do list as early as Wednesday...

HOUSE POISED TO PASS 'ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS' BILL

The House could vote as soon as Wednesday on a controversial bill that deals with a practice known as "assignment of benefits" in property-insurance claims...

HOUSE SCRAPS PROPOSAL FOR MEDICAID PREMIUMS

The House on Tuesday backed away from a proposal that sought to require Medicaid beneficiaries to pay monthly premiums...

CANDIDATES FILE FOR BRODEUR, STONE SEATS

With Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, facing term limits next year, a Democrat has emerged to run for his seat...

SENATE MOVES FORWARD WITH DIRECT PRIMARY CARE

With supporters saying the proposal would provide more flexibility in health care, a key Senate committee Tuesday approved moving forward in Florida with what are known as "direct primary care" agreements...

'TAMPON TAX' CUT READY TO GO TO SENATE FLOOR

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved a proposal that would provide a sales-tax exemption for tampons and other feminine-hygiene products...

LOBBYIST BACKS AWAY FROM FLORIDA FOREVER COMMENTS

Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida and a prominent environmental lobbyist, released a statement Tuesday walking back concerns about a House measure that would alter the distribution of money for land conservation...


MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL HEADED TO FULL HOUSE

A House medical-marijuana plan sponsored by Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues is ready for a floor vote after a key committee approved the proposal (HB 1397) late Monday afternoon...

AHCA CHIEF SAYS TALKS CONTINUE ON LIP MONEY

Facing questions from senators Monday during a confirmation hearing, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Justin Senior said state officials are continuing to negotiate with the federal government about money in the Low Income Pool program...

SCOTT WILL SIGN RIDESHARING BILL

Gov. Rick Scott is on board with ridesharing...

SCOTT TO SPEAK AT NRA CONVENTION

Gov. Rick Scott and former Florida Congressman Allen West will join President Donald Trump as speakers Friday at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Atlanta...

CONSTITUTION PANEL SETS HEARING IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

The state Constitution Revision Commission on Monday released details of a public hearing May 10 in Fort Myers, as the panel continues to gather input from across the state...

GAMBLING TALKS SET TO RESUME

House and Senate negotiators are scheduled to meet Monday afternoon to resume talks on a gambling agreement...

HOUSE PANEL BACKS PRIVATE MEETINGS OF LOCAL OFFICIALS

In what would be a substantial change to the state's Sunshine Law, a House committee Monday approved a bill that would allow private one-on-one meetings of local elected officials...

FALLEN LAW OFFICERS REMEMBERED AT CAPITOL

Hundreds of law-enforcement officers from across Florida gathered Monday at the state Capitol to remember seven of their colleagues who died in the line of duty in 2016, along with three officers who died decades ago...

SENATE BALKS AT POSSIBLE 'CONTINUATION' BUDGET

With eight days to go until the deadline for a deal on the state budget, negotiations appear to have stalled over how much lawmakers will spend in the year that begins July 1...

SCOTT PITCHES FLORIDA TRADE IN ARGENTINA

After spending much of the weekend monitoring wildfires in Southwest Florida and other parts of the state, Gov. Rick Scott is slated to hold a series of meetings Monday in Argentina as part of an Enterprise Florida trade mission...


SCOTT NAMES THREE TO CIVIL RIGHTS HALL OF FAME

A former state lawmaker, an NAACP leader and a prominent civil-rights activist were named Friday by Gov. Rick Scott to the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame...

SUPREME COURT SETS ARGUMENTS IN BLOOD-ALCOHOL CASE

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments Aug. 30 in an appeal by a Palm Beach County millionaire in a high-profile case related to testing drivers' blood-alcohol levels after traffic accidents...

SECOND REPUBLICAN SEEKS GOODSON HOUSE SEAT

With state Rep. Tom Goodson, R-Rockledge, facing term limits next year, a second candidate has emerged to try to succeed him in Brevard County's House District 51...

FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 4.8 PERCENT IN MARCH

With Gov. Rick Scott using the new numbers to push his legislative priorities, Florida had a 4.8 percent unemployment rate in March, down from 5 percent in February, according to a report released Friday...

SCOTT GOING TO ARGENTINA ON TRADE TRIP

Gov. Rick Scott is departing Saturday for Argentina as part of an Enterprise Florida trade mission next week in Buenos Aires...

EARNINGS INCREASE FOR FPL, PARENT FIRM

Florida Power & Light and its parent company, NextEra Energy, saw net income jump during the first three months of 2017, according to financial results released Friday...


ARTILES' ATTORNEY SEEKS RECUSALS

An attorney for Sen. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, requested the recusals Thursday of Senate President Joe Negron and a Senate special master amid an inquiry into vulgar and racially charged comments Artiles made about other senators...

HOUSE SEEKS TO CRACK DOWN ON DEADLY FENTANYL

With bill sponsor Jim Boyd pointing to an opioid "crisis" in Florida, the House on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would increase criminal penalties related to the deadly synthetic drug fentanyl...

SUPREME COURT ALLOWS DEMOCRATS' BRIEF IN AYALA CASE

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday approved a request by five Democratic lawmakers to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala in a legal battle with Gov. Rick Scott about death-penalty cases...

PUBLIC RECORDS COMPROMISE GOES TO SCOTT

The Florida House on Thursday gave final approval to an attempted compromise in a debate about attorney fees in public-records lawsuits...

JUVENILE RECORDS BILL READY FOR HOUSE FLOOR

Legislation approved Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee would help juveniles expunge their arrest records after they complete diversion programs for misdemeanor offenses...

HOUSE BACKS DISCOUNTS ON BOAT REGISTRATIONS

The House on Thursday approved expansion of a registration-fee discount that several hundred recreational boaters in Florida have used...

EMPLOYEE INSURANCE CHANGES GET SENATE HEARING

With the issue a longtime priority of House Republican leaders, a Senate committee Monday is slated to consider a plan that would revamp the health-insurance program for state employees...

DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS SEEK TO FORMALLY BACK AYALA

Five Democratic lawmakers asked the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday for permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala in a legal battle with Gov. Rick Scott about death-penalty cases...

SECOND DEMOCRAT PLANS RUN FOR AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER

West Palm Beach Democrat Daniel Sohn opened a campaign account this week to run for agriculture commissioner in 2018, becoming the second Democrat taking steps to seek the Cabinet post...


HOUSE APPROVES 'CERTIFICATE OF NEED' REPEAL

The Florida House on Wednesday easily passed a bill that would eliminate a controversial regulatory process for the approval of new hospitals...

SCOTT PITCHES DIKE REPAIRS TO TRUMP

Gov. Rick Scott said he spoke with President Donald Trump on Wednesday about the importance of completing repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee...

HOUSE APPROVES 'PIP' REPEAL

The Florida House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a proposal that would repeal the state's longstanding "no fault" auto insurance system...

SUPREME COURT ALLOWS PROSECUTORS' BRIEF IN AYALA CASE

The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday approved a request from a statewide group of prosecutors to file a brief supporting Gov. Rick Scott in a legal battle about removing Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala from nearly two-dozen death penalty cases...

SENATE BACKS BILL ON BEER SPONSORSHIP AT THEME PARKS

Beer companies would be allowed to sponsor events and participate in other "cooperative" advertising with major Florida theme parks under a bill approved by the Senate on Wednesday...

PROSECUTORS GROUP BACKS SCOTT IN AYALA CASE

A statewide group of prosecutors is seeking to file a brief supporting Gov. Rick Scott in a legal battle about removing Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala from nearly two-dozen death penalty cases...

SENATE SIGNS OFF ON BODY CAMERA BILL

The Florida Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a proposal aimed at allowing law-enforcement officers to review footage from their body cameras before filling out reports...

RIDESHARING BILL HEADED TO SCOTT

After years of debate about the issue, the Florida Senate on Wednesday quickly passed a bill that would create statewide regulations for ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft...


HOUSE READY TO APPROVE 'CERTIFICATE OF NEED' REPEAL

The House could vote as early as Wednesday to repeal the "certificate of need" regulatory process for building hospitals, an issue backed by House Republican leaders and Gov. Rick Scott...

SENATE CRACKS DOWN ON SHARK 'FINNING'

The Florida Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill aimed at preventing illegal possession of shark fins, considered a delicacy in parts of Asia...

HOUSE READY TO PASS WORKERS' COMP PLAN

After rejecting a series of amendments proposed by Democrats, the Republican-dominated Florida House is ready to approve changes to the state's workers' compensation insurance system...

PROPOSED PINELLAS TRAUMA CENTER DRAWS CHALLENGE

Amid a legislative debate about the state's trauma-care system, a proposal by a St. Petersburg hospital to open a trauma center has drawn a legal challenge...

SCOTT UPS ANTE ON TOURISM FUNDING

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday increased his request for tourism-marketing funding to $100 million, while continuing criticism of House leaders for a proposal to slash Visit Florida's budget...

SENATE BACKS COMPENSATION IN BARAHONA CASE

With the sponsor pointing to neglect by the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would lead to paying $3.75 million in the high-profile death of a 10-year-old girl and injuries suffered by her twin brother...

 
 
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