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SENATE PANEL BACKS UNANIMITY IN DEATH SENTENCES
DARA KAM |
After hearing from a former prisoner who spent 17 years on Florida's Death Row for a crime he didn't commit, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously approved a measure that would overhaul the state's death-penalty sentencing structure... Story

LGBT PROTECTIONS STALL IN SENATE COMMITTEE
MARGIE MENZEL |
A bill that would bar discrimination in jobs and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity stalled Monday at its first-ever committee hearing in the Florida Legislature, but it is expected to be reconsidered... Story

SPRINGTIME IN TALLAHASSEE? MAYBE NOT IN 2018
JIM TURNER |
If all goes as planned, Florida lawmakers will get to enjoy springtime outside of Tallahassee this year... Story

PERSONNEL FILE - PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, FEBRUARY 8, 2016
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
HARVEY L. JAY III AND ALLEN WINSOR have been appointed by Gov. Rick Scott as judges on the 1st District Court of Appeal... Read the Personnel File


HOT-BUTTON ISSUES AND BUDGETS
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Who says lawmakers never address thorny issues in an election year?.. Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7, 2016
STAFF |
The Florida House and Senate are poised to approve budget proposals that will set the stage for negotiations on a final spending plan for the 2016-17 fiscal year... Read the Advances

SENATE SEEKS UNANIMOUS JURIES IN DEATH SENTENCES
DARA KAM |
With executions indefinitely on hold in Florida, lawmakers are hurriedly considering legislation to address a recent U. S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the state's capital sentencing law as unconstitutional... Story

LABARGA TO CONTINUE AS CHIEF JUSTICE
JIM SAUNDERS |
In a move away from longstanding tradition, the Florida Supreme Court has chosen Jorge Labarga to serve a second consecutive term as chief justice, the court announced Friday... Story


BACKROOM BRIEFING: CHALK ONE UP FOR WRITE-INS
JIM SAUNDERS AND JIM TURNER |
Write-in candidates rarely get more than a handful of votes and are often suspected of being part of political shenanigans... Read the Briefing

ALIMONY OVERHAUL ON THE MOVE IN HOUSE
DARA KAM |
A House panel signed off Thursday on a proposal that would overhaul the state's alimony laws by doing away with permanent alimony and creating a formula based on the length of marriage and the incomes of both spouses to determine payments... Story

GAMBLING BILLS LIKELY TO SPARK HIGH-STAKES DEBATES
DARA KAM |
House and Senate leaders will roll out gambling bills Friday that would allow the Seminole Tribe to add craps and roulette at its casinos, potentially do away with dog racing and most horse racing and open the door for slot machines in Palm Beach County... Story

JUDICIAL TERM LIMITS HEADED TO FULL HOUSE
BRANDON LARRABEE |
A plan that would limit Florida appellate-court judges and Supreme Court justices to two full terms in office passed the House Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote Thursday, sending the measure to the full House... Story

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA HAS: FIVE QUESTIONS FOR JOHN ARMSTRONG
MARGIE MENZEL |
State Surgeon General John Armstrong, who heads the Florida Department of Health, has faced scrutiny from lawmakers recently on a number of high-profile issues... Story

RED-LIGHT CAMERA BAN GETS INITIAL GREEN LIGHT
JIM TURNER |
Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes' latest proposal to drive red-light cameras out of Florida squeezed through its first committee Thursday... Story


HOUSE SESSION, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2016
STAFF |
CONVENED: The House convened at 3:02 p. m. , Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, presiding... Read the Session Summary

HOUSE BACKS GUN BILLS, BUT 'TROUBLE' AHEAD IN SENATE
JIM TURNER |
After more than three hours of debate --- with most Republicans in favor and nearly all Democrats opposed --- the House approved a pair of controversial gun-related measures Wednesday that may never reach the Senate floor... Story

HOUSE, SENATE COMMITTEES APPROVE BUDGET PLANS
BRANDON LARRABEE AND JIM SAUNDERS |
With arguments over everything from abortion to after-school programs, the House and Senate budget-writing committees approved competing spending plans for the year that begins July 1, setting up the endgame for the legislative session... Story

SURGEON GENERAL KEEPS 'LIVING AND WORKING' AMID CANCER FIGHT
DARA KAM |
Hundreds of activities are planned around the globe Thursday in recognition of World Cancer Day, but for Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong, the international "holiday" is personal... Story

DEAD MOTORIST'S FAMILY CALLS FOR REGULATING POLICE BODY CAMERAS
MARGIE MENZEL |
The family of a Boynton Beach man killed by an undercover officer called Wednesday for lawmakers to approve a bill that would regulate the use of police body cameras... Story

TAX CUTS ADVANCE AS DEMOCRATS TAKE A WALK
JIM TURNER |
A nearly $1 billion tax-cut package is ready to go to the House floor after getting backed Wednesday --- without Democrats voting --- by a key committee... Story

WATER PROJECT SPLITS SENATE GOP LEADERS
JIM SAUNDERS |
In a move that caused a clash among Republican leaders, the Senate budget committee Wednesday approved spending $7.5 million for a project to address what lawmakers say is an environmental "emergency" in areas around Lake Okeechobee... Story

HOUSE SESSION (LATE EDITION), TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2016
STAFF |
RECONVENED: The House reconvened at 4:11 p. m. , Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, presiding... Read the Session Summary


HOUSE AIMS TO APPROVE OPEN-CARRY BILL
JIM TURNER |
The House is expected to vote Wednesday to allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry sidearms in most public places... Story

CAMPUS-CARRY BILL POISED FOR HOUSE APPROVAL
JIM TURNER |
The House is expected to vote Wednesday to allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to keep carrying guns while strolling on college and university campuses... Story

LEGISLATURE LOOKS TO EXPAND CHARTER SCHOOL AUTHORITY
BRANDON LARRABEE |
Lawmakers in the House and Senate pushed ahead Tuesday with legislation that would chip away at school boards' control over whether to allow charter schools by giving the same authority to a statewide entity or city governments... Story

HOUSE PANEL APPROVES DEATH PENALTY FIX
DARA KAM |
A House panel on Tuesday approved proposed changes to the state's death-penalty law in an effort to address a U. S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down Florida's capital-sentencing structure as unconstitutional... Story

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS PASS HOUSE PANEL AFTER DEBATE
MARGIE MENZEL |
After a passionate debate, a House panel on Tuesday approved a wide-ranging bill that would place more regulations on abortion clinics and address issues such as the sale or donation of fetal tissue... Story

SUPREME COURT HALTS EXECUTION AMID 'CONSTERNATION'
DARA KAM |
Hours after listening to arguments about the impact of a U. S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the state's death-penalty sentencing system, the Florida Supreme Court issued an indefinite stay of execution for Cary Michael Lambrix, who had been scheduled to die Feb. 11... Story

LAWMAKERS COULD CAP LOTTERY SCRATCH-OFF GAMES
JIM TURNER |
A proposal that would cut the number of scratch-off games offered by the Florida Lottery was a big winner in a Senate committee Tuesday... Story

NURSERIES SEEK TO BLOCK POT PRODUCTION
JIM SAUNDERS |
In the latest twist in a nearly two-year struggle to offer limited types of medical-marijuana in Florida, three nurseries filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to at least temporarily block competitors from starting to produce the cannabis... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


OPEN-CARRY GUN BILL MAY NOT GET SENATE HEARING

Senate Judiciary Chairman Miguel Diaz de la Portilla may not bring up a controversial open-carry gun measure in his committee during this year's legislative session...

STATE INSURANCE REPORT SHOWS INCREASE IN WATER CLAIMS

Amid a legislative debate about a practice known as "assignment of benefits," state insurance regulators Monday released a report showing increases in water-damage claims since 2010...

GALVANO BRINGS IN $36K; WORKMAN TOPS $23K

With all 40 Senate seats up for election this year because of redistricting, Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, raised $36,350 for his campaign account in January, according to newly filed finance reports...

HOUSE MEMBERS BACK POT FOR TERMINAL PATIENTS

Continuing to consider how many nurseries should take part in the industry, a House panel Monday approved a bill that would allow patients with terminal illnesses to legally use medical marijuana...

TELEHEALTH, TRANSPARENCY MOVE FORWARD IN HOUSE

A House panel Monday approved a pair of bills aimed at increasing the use of "telehealth" to remotely provide medical services and at offering greater transparency in health-care costs...

SLOSBERG LOANS $75K TO HER SENATE CAMPAIGN

SLOSBERG LOANS $75K TO HER SENATE CAMPAIGN February 8.2016 Delray Beach Democrat Emily Slosberg last month loaned $75,000 to her campaign for a South Florida Senate seat and raised another $27,729, according to a newly filed finance report...

GALVANO, LEE COMMITTEES TOP $200K IN JANUARY

With money pouring in before the start of the legislative session, political committees led by Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano and Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee each collected more than $200,000 in January, according to newly filed finance reports...

CRISAFULLI, OLIVA COMMITTEES EACH TOP $135K

Political committees led by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and likely future Speaker Jose Oliva each collected more than $135,000 in contributions last month, according to newly filed finance reports...

JUDGE APOLOGIZES FOR USING FIRM'S BASEBALL TICKETS

Facing disciplinary action by the Florida Supreme Court, a Manatee County circuit judge has apologized for using Tampa Bay Rays tickets supplied by a firm with a case pending in his court...


UF GUNS CASE APPEALED TO SUPREME COURT

A Second Amendment group is asking the state Supreme Court to take up a legal dispute about whether guns should be allowed in residence halls and other housing at the University of Florida...

JUSTICES COULD CONSIDER 'BAD FAITH' BATTLE

The Florida Supreme Court could decide whether a physician should be able to pursue a "bad faith" claim against an insurer in a medical-malpractice case that led to a $35 million arbitration award...

FRESEN TO PROPOSE LIMITS ON SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION FUNDING

The head of the House committee responsible for the state's education budget said in a letter Friday that he will propose cracking down on school construction costs, deepening a conflict with the state's superintendents...

COURT RULES AGAINST INSURER ON 'ASSIGNMENT OF BENEFITS'

Amid a legislative debate on the issue, a state appeals court Friday ruled against a property insurer in a battle about whether a homeowner could sign over policy benefits to a contractor...

LAWMAKERS LOOK AT EARLY START TO 2018 SESSION

State House members Monday will consider an early start to the 2018 legislative session, similar to a decision that moved up the beginning of this year's session...

JUDGES SIDE WITH UCF IN PUBLIC-RECORDS FIGHT

An appeals court Friday sided with the University of Central Florida in a public-records dispute with a student news organization...


SUPREME COURT ORDERS NEW TRIAL IN TRIPLE MURDER

Pointing to poor legal representation, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new trial for a Death Row inmate convicted of killing a nightclub owner and two other people in 1994 in Broward County...

SCOTT SEEKS FEDERAL HELP WITH ZIKA

With a public-health emergency declared in a fifth Florida county, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday asked the federal Centers for Disease Control for assistance in addressing the potential spread of the Zika virus...

RELIGIOUS LEADERS DISAGREE AS 'PASTOR PROTECTION' ADVANCES

Dozens of religious leaders converged Thursday on the Capitol as the House Judiciary Committee took up a bill known as the "Pastor Protection Act."..

SENATORS MOVE FORWARD WITH 'RIGHT TO TRY' POT BILL

After a lengthy discussion about problems with a 2014 cannabis law, a Senate committee Thursday approved a bill that would allow patients with terminal illnesses to have access to medical marijuana...

VOTING-RIGHTS GROUPS SEEK TO SCUTTLE BROWN LAWSUIT

Voting-rights groups urged a federal court this week to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Congresswoman Corrine Brown that challenges a new congressional redistricting plan in Florida...

HOSPITAL OB CLOSURE BILL HEADS TO FULL SENATE

A Senate committee Thursday approved a bill that would require hospitals to give advance notice to doctors before closing obstetrical departments, readying the bill to go to the full Senate...


HOUSE BACKS REVAMPING CITY ELECTION DATES

With city elections scattered across the calendar, the House on Wednesday approved a bill aimed at holding municipal elections on the same day other races are on the ballot...

BACKYARD GUN RANGE BILL HEADED TO SCOTT

The Florida House on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill aimed at curbing recreational shooting in residential areas...

FULL APPEALS COURT TO CONSIDER 'DOCS V. GLOCKS'

The full 11th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals will take up a challenge to a controversial 2011 Florida law that restricts doctors from asking questions and recording information about patients' gun ownership...

ZIKA CASES LEAD SCOTT TO DECLARE HEALTH EMERGENCY

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday declared a public health emergency in four counties where cases of the Zika virus have been found...

 
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