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Florida Legislature

  1. House education chairman: I’ve been clear where I stand on school recess

    Blogs

    The only lawmaker on record still opposing state-required daily recess in Florida’s elementary schools wields a lot of power over education policy this session.

    Rep. Michael Bileca, R-Miami, the House education policy chairman.
  2. Senators want to spend almost $540 million more than the House next year to increase funding for K-12 public education by using extra property tax dollars gleaned from rising property values. The House calls that a ‘tax increase.’
  3. No one is showing cards yet, but a gambling compromise could be coming

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The ice is melting on Florida's gambling impasse.

    Gamblers play slot machines in the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. Its 2012 expansion made the casino's  the 6th largest in the world.  [EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Legislature tries to turn the tables on judges in redistricting cases

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — In an aggressive attempt to weaken the Fair Districts amendments to the Florida Constitution, a House committee on Wednesday passed legislation to create new hurdles to legal challenges to the maps lawmakers draw.

    Rep. Larry Ahern, R- Seminole, is sponsoring a bill that would make it harder for the courts to challenge maps of districts that lawmakers draw. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Tampa Bay Times
  5. House passes 12-year term limits for justices and judges

    Blogs

    Justices on the Florida Supreme Court and judges on state appellate courts would be forced out of office after 12 years under a constitutional amendment that the Florida House barely passed Wednesday.

    Florida House
  1. No one is showing cards yet, but a gambling compromise could be coming

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The ice is melting on Florida's gambling impasse.

    Gamblers play slot machines in the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. Its 2012 expansion made the casino's  the 6th largest in the world.  [EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Florida lawmakers consider new auto insurance system. Here's who wins, loses with changes.

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Most Florida drivers would see small savings with their auto insurance, but those who carry just the minimum amount of coverage, either by choice or because they can't afford more, would pay much higher rates under two proposals gaining traction in the Legislature.

    Under new plans being considered by state lawmakers, bodily injury coverage could be required of all drivers.
  3. FPL's fracking investment bill passes committee despite objections

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A House committee overlooked opposition by residential and commercial utility customers Tuesday and approved a proposal sought by Florida Power & Light to allow the company to expand its rate base by charging customers for investments in natural gas fracking operations in other states.

    Fracking.
  4. Hoodwinked! Lawmaker says prison privatization is scamming Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Numbers don't lie and Florida's private prisons are not saving money as promised, according to an investigation by Rep. David Richardson, a retired forensic auditor.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, has become a one-man wrecking crew in forcing the state to provide more oversight of its state prisons. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Parents want daily school recess. The Florida House won't give them that.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida parents seeking more recess time for their children suffered a setback Tuesday, when state lawmakers significantly watered down a proposal that was supposed to require 20 minutes of daily recess for all public elementary students.

    Fifth grade students at John M. Sexton Elementary School, St. Petersburg, participate in field games during a 15 minute recess, each school day. The students also have Physical Education class three times a week at the school. In Miami-Dade County, elementary children are supposed to get it at least two to three days a week, with a few schools testing out the five-day model. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  1. No one is showing cards yet, but a gambling compromise could be coming

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The ice is melting on Florida's gambling impasse.

    Gamblers play slot machines in the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. Its 2012 expansion made the casino's  the 6th largest in the world.  [EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Florida lawmakers consider new auto insurance system. Here's who wins, loses with changes.

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Most Florida drivers would see small savings with their auto insurance, but those who carry just the minimum amount of coverage, either by choice or because they can't afford more, would pay much higher rates under two proposals gaining traction in the Legislature.

    Under new plans being considered by state lawmakers, bodily injury coverage could be required of all drivers.
  3. Hoodwinked! Lawmaker says prison privatization is scamming Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Numbers don't lie and Florida's private prisons are not saving money as promised, according to an investigation by Rep. David Richardson, a retired forensic auditor.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, has become a one-man wrecking crew in forcing the state to provide more oversight of its state prisons. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Florida House won't count computer coding as foreign language for high school students

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House isn't supporting a controversial proposal to let high school students count computer coding as a foreign language course, likely stalling the concept for the second straight session.

  5. Fighting City Hall: Push for more state control angers cities and counties

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — You can fight City Hall. The state Legislature does it all the time.

    Cities and counties are fighting legislation this year that would dramatically limit their home rule powers. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Wesley Chapel, left, says states have powers over local governments that are guaranteed in the Constitution. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, is pushing legislation that would increase the homestead exemption on property taxes from $50,000 to $75,000. If passed, it would cost cities and counties in Florida about $700 million. ([

Steve Bousquet | Tampa Bay Times]
  1. Florida lawmakers consider new auto insurance system. Here's who wins, loses with changes.

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Most Florida drivers would see small savings with their auto insurance, but those who carry just the minimum amount of coverage, either by choice or because they can't afford more, would pay much higher rates under two proposals gaining traction in the Legislature.

    Under new plans being considered by state lawmakers, bodily injury coverage could be required of all drivers.
  2. Hoodwinked! Lawmaker says prison privatization is scamming Florida

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Numbers don't lie and Florida's private prisons are not saving money as promised, according to an investigation by Rep. David Richardson, a retired forensic auditor.

    Rep. David Richardson, D- Miami Beach, has become a one-man wrecking crew in forcing the state to provide more oversight of its state prisons. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Fighting City Hall: Push for more state control angers cities and counties

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — You can fight City Hall. The state Legislature does it all the time.

    Cities and counties are fighting legislation this year that would dramatically limit their home rule powers. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Wesley Chapel, left, says states have powers over local governments that are guaranteed in the Constitution. Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, is pushing legislation that would increase the homestead exemption on property taxes from $50,000 to $75,000. If passed, it would cost cities and counties in Florida about $700 million. ([

Steve Bousquet | Tampa Bay Times]
  1. Two Republican lawmakers are pivotal in Legislature's gun debate

    News

    TALLAHASSEE — Two Miami-Dade Republican senators are positioned to be the deciding factors this year in the perennial debate the Florida Legislature has over controversial proposals to expand gun-owners' rights in Florida.

    Florida Senators Rene Garcia and Anitere Flores talk on the floor of the Florida Senate on March 8, 2017.
  2. Florida Cabinet could get special exemption to carry concealed guns almost anywhere

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Three of Florida's four highest-ranking elected officials — and potentially the lieutenant governor and the state's 160 lawmakers, too — could be able to carry guns almost anywhere in the state under a special carve-out in Florida law being considered by the Legislature.

    Sen. Greg Steube said he was approached about the exemption.
  3. In Harm's Way: What could Florida lawmakers do to keep kids from being shot?

    Health

    TALLAHASSEE — When the annual 60-day legislative session gets under way next month, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will be looking for ways to keep Florida's kids safe from guns.

    Proper storage of firearms, including the use of a trigger lock, can help prevent gun accidents among children. [Associated Press file photo]

  1. FPL's fracking investment bill passes committee despite objections

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A House committee overlooked opposition by residential and commercial utility customers Tuesday and approved a proposal sought by Florida Power & Light to allow the company to expand its rate base by charging customers for investments in natural gas fracking operations in other states.

    Fracking.
  2. Five budget fights to watch as Scott, lawmakers collide on spending $83.5 billion

    Legislature

    By STEVE BOUSQUET

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have battled repeatedly over jobs and tourism spending for weeks, but a fight with much higher stakes is brewing.

    The state budget.

      Students take their seats before the start of the USF St. Petersburg fall commencement ceremony at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 13, 2015. Universities are in the House's crosshairs for the 2017-2018 state budget. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times]
  3. Are Florida voters getting burned by lawmakers on last year's solar amendment?

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — A bill moving through the Florida House to implement the August ballot initiative by giving tax breaks to businesses that install solar energy panels is under fire for doing what the utility industry could not do in the last election cycle — impose impediments to rooftop solar installation.

     A human art installation, designed by artist John Quigley, forms for a "Hands Across the Sand" event on the beach in front of the Bilmar Beach Resort in Treasure Island, Fla., on Saturday, May 21, 2016. The event, organized by the Sierra Club and fellow environmental groups, aimed to promote solar energy in place of fossil fuels such as coal and gas.
  1. Parents want daily school recess. The Florida House won't give them that.

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida parents seeking more recess time for their children suffered a setback Tuesday, when state lawmakers significantly watered down a proposal that was supposed to require 20 minutes of daily recess for all public elementary students.

    Fifth grade students at John M. Sexton Elementary School, St. Petersburg, participate in field games during a 15 minute recess, each school day. The students also have Physical Education class three times a week at the school. In Miami-Dade County, elementary children are supposed to get it at least two to three days a week, with a few schools testing out the five-day model. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Florida House won't count computer coding as foreign language for high school students

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House isn't supporting a controversial proposal to let high school students count computer coding as a foreign language course, likely stalling the concept for the second straight session.

  3. Florida Senate takes 'stand for liberty' in passing religious freedom bill for schools over Democratic concerns

    Legislature

    TALLAHASSEE — Florida's public schools would have to let students lead religious prayers during the school day and at school-sanctioned events under a controversial proposal that the state Senate approved Thursday.

     Cambridge Christian and Clearwater Academy players join in prayer after the game between Clearwater Academy and Cambridge Christian at Skyway Park in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. A Clearwater player had to be evacuated late in the fourth quarter of the game after possibly suffering a spinal injury. Cambridge beat Clearwater 44-34.