Florida Legislature

Florida Matters: 2016 Legislative Debrief

Mar 22, 2016

The Florida legislative session has ended, and this week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 27 at 7:30 a.m.), we're taking a look at what bills passed, what bills died and what it means to Floridians.  

Within the massive education bill awaiting Gov. Rick Scott's signature is a provision that says that parents will be able to enroll their child in any school they choose, as long as there's space available.

If there's room on the roster, those students also can immediately start playing a sanctioned sport.

 Florida lawmakers wrapped up their 2016 annual session last week, and as is always the case, a number of issues didn’t survive the process.

Most notably, the Senate failed to confirm Surgeon General John Armstrong, one of Gov. Rick Scott’s top appointees. Armstrong, who also served as the Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, is the first agency director not confirmed by the Senate since the mid-1990s.

Court Backs New Law In Death Penalty Cases

Mar 20, 2016

Florida's new death-penalty sentencing process should apply to prosecutions that were already underway when the new law went into effect this month, a state appeals court ruled Friday.

DCF To Move Ahead With Foster-Care Changes After Bill Fails

Mar 16, 2016

A bill aimed at reforming the way Florida foster children are placed in group homes died on the last day of the 2016 legislative session.

Office of the Governor

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he will veto more than $256 million from a new state budget that legislators just passed days ago.

Scott announced on Tuesday that he plans to sign the $82 billion budget, but in an unusual move, he announced his planned budget vetoes ahead of time. Scott and other governors usually wait until the budget is delivered to them before announcing vetoes.

Photo courtesy the National Parks Service.

Environmentalists are calling for more spending on land and water conservation as the Florida Legislature ends its session Friday.

Uber, Lyft Bill Fails As Legislative Session Closes

Mar 14, 2016
Screenshot from Apple App Store

An effort in the Legislature to pass statewide regulations for app-based ridesharing services including Uber and Lyft is dead for this year.

A Look At Bills That Passed And Died In Florida This Year

Mar 14, 2016

The Legislature passed about 275 bills during the 2016 session that ended Friday. That means about 1,600 bills died. Here's a look at some that succeeded and some that failed.

Mental Health, Substance Abuse Reforms Get Approval

Mar 14, 2016

In the waning hours of the 2016 legislative session, Florida lawmakers Friday approved wide-ranging reforms to the state's mental-health and substance-abuse treatment systems.

Prescribing, Insurance Changes Get Last-Minute Approval

Mar 14, 2016

Florida lawmakers Friday approved measures that would expand the drug-prescribing powers of advanced registered nurse practitioners and address a controversial health-insurance issue known as "balance billing."

Scott Signs Bill Aimed At Unscrupulous Guardians

Mar 14, 2016

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a bill aimed at better protecting elderly Floridians from unscrupulous guardians.

Lawmakers OK Deeper Look At Telehealth

Mar 14, 2016

The House on Friday gave final approval to a bill that calls for research and recommendations about the use of "telehealth" in Florida.

Gambling Decisions In Judges' Hands After Lawmakers Fold

Mar 13, 2016

Whatever the label, a comprehensive gambling plan that would have authorized a $3 billion deal between Gov. Rick Scott and the Seminole Tribe proved too arduous a task for the Legislature to complete this session.

Florida Legislature sends 3 tax proposals to voters

Mar 10, 2016

Florida voters will be asked to vote on three constitutional amendments dealing with taxes.

The Florida Legislature on Wednesday approved three amendments for the ballot.

One of the amendments (HJR 1009) would grant a property tax break to any first responders who were disabled in the line of duty.

Lawmakers Sign Off On Controversial Abortion Bill

Mar 10, 2016

In the latest round in Florida's abortion battles, lawmakers Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would increase clinic regulations and bar public funding for organizations associated with abortion clinics.

Budget Set At $82.3 Billion Amid Intrigue, Criticism

Mar 9, 2016

Lawmakers formally unveiled an $82.3 billion budget plan on Tuesday, paving the way for a Friday end to the legislative session and setting up a potential fight with Gov. Rick Scott after curtailing or scuttling his top priorities.

Multi-State Nurse Licensing Ready For Approval

Mar 9, 2016

The Senate is poised to give final approval to a bill that could lead to Florida nurses receiving multi-state licenses --- and allowing nurses from other parts of the country to work in Florida.

The House voted 111-1 last week to approve the bill (HB 1061), sponsored by state Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park. Only Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, voted against the measure.

Associated Press

A bill establishing guidelines for law enforcement agencies in Florida that use body cameras is headed to Gov. Rick Scott.

Budget Deal Reached; Session To End On Time

Mar 8, 2016
The Associated Press

House and Senate leaders announced a deal on the state budget during a late-night meeting Monday, pumping more than $120 million in last-minute projects into the spending plan and setting the Legislature on course to end its annual session Friday, as scheduled.

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