2017 Florida Legislature

This week could mark the beginning of the end for a long-running restriction on liquor sales.  Florida Governor Rick Scott has until Wednesday to take action on a measure allowing stores to sell groceries and liquor under the same roof.

Gov. Rick Scott has about 10 days to sign legislation appropriating money to counties hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A settlement deal gives the state about $2 billion over several years.

A bill aimed at codifying students’ religious expression is awaiting a signature from Florida Governor Rick Scott.

After a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community worked to translate grief into political action. Even though attempts to pass civil rights protections in the statehouse failed again this year, LGBTQ activists are claiming a victory.

Two Florida lawmakers are already looking ahead to next year’s legislative session to revive a bipartisan effort to reform the state’s claims bill process. It allows those who sue a government agency over things like injuries or negligence to receive the rest of the money awarded to them—a process that can often take years.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says it’s frustrating that lawmakers couldn’t agree on how to implement medical marijuana. It’s up to the state department of health to figure out the rules for medical marijuana use after voters approved a constitutional amendment.

Putnam says he would prefer lawmakers to sort out the rules.

Local governments still have most of their powers intact -- despite efforts by lawmakers during the legislative session that ended last week in Tallahassee.

Florida’s public education board had its say on a controversial ed bill and the state budget Tuesday.  Public school officials and a state lawmaker presented opposing views on how education policy played out during the legislative session.

Lawmakers Back Payment In Death, Injury Cases

May 17, 2017

Saying the Florida Department of Children and Families didn't do its job, state lawmakers last month approved paying $3.75 million in a 2011 child-abuse case that drew national headlines.

Open government advocates are urging Governor Rick Scott to veto a measure that would seal nearly three million criminal records from public view.

The bill started as a non-controversial proposal to crack down on internet publishers of police booking photos. But Sarasota Republican Greg Steube quietly added an amendment on the Senate Floor.

“This amendment addresses the concerns from FDLE and would enable the department to administratively seal the criminal record of a person found not guilty or where the charges against that person have been dismissed.”

USF Communications and Marketing

Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, Florida may finally restore one of its main programs that aids students headed to college.

The state Legislature late Monday approved an overhaul of the state's higher education system that is intended to lift schools in the Sunshine State into the ranks of elite counterparts.

The Legislature is leaving town without addressing a dramatic spike in workers’ compensation premiums, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran is blaming Senate Republicans.

The Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is now in the U.S. Senate. The legislation cuts state funding for the medical care of low-income people. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, said he doesn’t support the proposal.

Leaders Battle Over Marijuana Bill Failure

May 9, 2017

With its fate now in the hands of state health officials, Republican legislative leaders are blaming each other for failing to create a framework for carrying out a voter-approved constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Florida will eliminate taxes charged on tampons under a measure passed by the state Legislature.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

As more than 6,000 students received their degrees from the University of South Florida this weekend, school officials were urging the Tampa Bay area community to call Florida lawmakers who made a last-minute change to the qualifications for universities to receive "preeminence status." 

It's a move that stands to take away more than $10 million from USF. 

Legislature At Odds Over Fentanyl Sentencing

May 5, 2017

The House on Thursday rejected a Senate plan to give judges more leeway in sentencing people convicted of fentanyl trafficking.

House, Senate Down To Wire On Medical Marijuana

May 5, 2017

With just one day left to pass a bill, House and Senate Republican leaders are still struggling to strike a deal on the rollout of a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with debilitating conditions.

‘Stand Your Ground’ Dispute Heads Into Final Day

May 5, 2017

The Florida Senate remained steadfast Thursday in a dispute with the House about a change to the state's “stand your ground” self-defense law.

Florida lawmakers have a budget. But that’s come at the cost of a process that has in recent years, been a lot more transparent than it is now. Lawmakers have struck deals largely in secret, seemingly backtracking on House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s promise that this would be the most transparent process in legislative history.

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