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Florida Legislature

Children's Program Boost Makes Budget

Jun 26, 2015

After worries about cuts earlier in the year, $13 million is being added to the state’s Early Steps program, which serves babies and toddlers with developmental disabilities or delays.

House and Senate budget negotiators initially agreed on $3 million for Early Steps -- and Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, added $10 million to the program as legislative leaders finished hammering out a $78.7 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Gov. Rick Scott included the program in his final budget, signed Tuesday.

Gov. Rick Scott vetoed nearly $57 million from the state’s Health and Human Services budget Tuesday, including $9.25 million for biomedical research.

Office of the Governor

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday ended the state's biggest budget crisis in more than two decades by signing a more than $78 billion budget into law, but he may have created another divide with some of his fellow Republicans.

Scott signed the budget just days after the Florida Legislature approved it during an unusual June special session. State government would have been partially shut down if a new budget had not been in place by July 1.

Nearly $80B State Budget Ready for Vote

Jun 19, 2015

Following a drawn out, contentious battle that saw the state flirt with a partial government shutdown, the Florida Legislature is poised today to approve a nearly $80 billion budget.

The final budget is full of winners and losers.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

While University of South Florida officials wait to see if the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott sign off on the state budget and more than $29 million for two important projects, they're also waiting for approval of millions more in performance-based rewards.

Scott Scraps 'LIP' Injunction Bid

Jun 17, 2015

Pointing to a budget agreement reached by lawmakers, Gov. Rick Scott's attorneys late Tuesday withdrew a request for a preliminary injunction in a legal battle with the Obama administration about health-care funding, according to a notice filed in federal court in Pensacola.

Budget Deal Made, $301M to Hometown Projects

Jun 16, 2015

House and Senate budget negotiators struck a deal on a state spending plan Monday night moments before the stroke of midnight, pouring $301 million into projects at the last minute and closing out one of the more-raucous legislative debates in recent years.

Bills that involve state workers' health insurance, nurse-practitioners and hospital regulations died during this week's Legislative special session because the Senate has declined to consider them.

Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean said in a statement Monday evening that his colleagues felt there wasn't time to consider major policy changes by Friday, the last day of the special session called to finish work on a state budget.

The issues contained in the House bills require "a thorough and proper vetting," said Bean, R-Fernandina Beach.

A bill aimed at toughening Florida’s human trafficking laws will become law in a few months, following Governor Rick Scott’s signing. It increases the penalties for soliciting another for prostitution.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed 13 relief bills into law yesterday. The bills allows governments to pay victims above a $200,000 cap.

In total, the 13 bills allow local governments to pay settlements totaling more than $12.5 million to families who have suffered losses from the government. In most cases, juries have already awarded settlements, but governments must have the permission of the Legislature to make the payments.

The Republican-controlled Florida House voted along party lines on Friday to retain — for now — the rates that Gov. Rick Scott and thousands of state workers are currently paying for health insurance.

Nearly 30,000 people in state government, including the governor, staff at the Florida Legislature and Attorney General Pam Bondi, pay either $8.34 a month for individual coverage or $30 a month for family coverage. Rank-and-file state workers pay $50 a month for individual coverage or $180 a month for family coverage. House and Senate members also pay this rate.

Scott Signs Gay Adoption Ban Repeal

Jun 15, 2015

A nearly four-decade-old law banning gays from adopting children, which hasn't been enforced in five years, will come off Florida's books July 1, but Gov. Rick Scott still wants private, religious-based adoption agencies to be able to turn gay couples away.

Negotiators from the House and Senate slashed almost $60 million in economic development spending Saturday as the Legislature drew closer to an elusive final deal on a state budget for the year that begins July 1.

Meeting over the weekend to hammer out the final details of a budget expected to weigh in at well more than $76 billion but south of $80 billion, House Appropriations Chairman Richard Corcoran and Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee reached agreement on state spending for transportation and economic development.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Lawmakers agreed on hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental spending during a meeting Sunday night, but disappointed supporters of a land and water conservation amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters last fall.

Lawmakers Agree on LIP Funding

Jun 13, 2015

Florida legislators racing against the clock on a new state budget struck a deal Friday on a $2 billion plan to steer money to more than 200 hospitals that treat large numbers of low-income patients.

House and Senate budget negotiators will sink $400 million in state tax dollars to replace some of the lost federal funds from the Low Income Pool fund that is expected to end this summer.

House Backs Changes For State Workers, Hospitals

Jun 12, 2015

Pitching more competition and choices in the health-care system, the House on Friday passed six bills that include proposals to revamp health coverage for state employees and eliminate key regulations in the hospital industry.

But as lawmakers head into the final week of a special legislative session, it remains unclear whether the Senate will pass any of the bills. Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, remained non-committal Friday, though he suggested the House's proposed changes to employee health insurance likely will not pass.

wikipedia.com

A nearly four-decade-old law banning gays from adopting children, which hasn't been enforced in five years, will come off Florida's books July 1, but Gov. Rick Scott still wants private, religious-based adoption agencies to be able to turn gay couples away.

Scott signed a bill Thursday that removes the adoption ban enacted in the days when entertainer Anita Bryant crusaded against gays. It is part of a larger bill that promotes adoption, and striking the language simply reflects reality after a judge found the ban unconstitutional five years ago.

www.capitolhillblue.com

Two groups sued the state of Florida today seeking to stop a 24-hour waiting period for abortions from taking effect, arguing that it imposes an unnecessary burden on women seeking to end their pregnancies.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed the suit one day after Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law. They argue that the law, which is to take effect July 1, violates the right to privacy guaranteed in the state constitution by interfering with their right to undergo the procedure.

The University of South Florida's plans to build a new medical school in downtown Tampa and a new College of Business building in St. Petersburg have run into a bonding snag in the Florida Legislature. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the House of Representatives is in favor of raising the $45 million for the two projects by borrowing money on the bond market. However, the Senate and Governor Rick Scott are opposed to that proposal.

Women will have to wait 24 hours before having an abortion under a bill Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed into law today, a reflective period supporters said they hoped would change some women’s minds before ending their pregnancies.

'Right To Try' Law To Allow Experimental Drugs

Jun 11, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott signed 55 bills into law Wednesday, including a new law dubbed the "Right to Try Act." It will let terminally ill patients starting July 1 have access to certain experimental drugs (HB 269). Also, doctors under a separate bill (HB 751) will be able to prescribe a type of drug known as an "opioid antagonist," which can be injected in emergency situations to halt overdoses.

House Lines Up Potential Healthcare Changes

Jun 11, 2015

After rejecting a controversial expansion of health coverage for low-income Floridians, House Republicans took a far-different approach Wednesday to revamping the state's health-care system.

A GOP-led committee approved six bills largely aimed at stripping away regulations, offering new ways for patients to get care and nudging state employees to pick from a menu of health-insurance plans.

House leaders say they want to create more competition and choices for consumers, which they contend will hold down costs and provide more access to care.

Budget negotiations are now up to Florida Budget chairs--Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) and Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-Land O'Lakes).  And Regan McCarthy reports legislative leaders expect talks to move quickly.

A bill that would overturn 40 years of hospital regulation in Florida is one of four contentious issues scheduled for a key House committee this morning and a Senate workshop this afternoon.

Florida lawmakers are getting closer to a budget deal that will add more money for schools.

Florida schools would get $207 more per student if the Florida House agrees to a Senate education budget, or $7,097 per pupil.

As Florida lawmakers continue to iron out how much funding will go toward the state’s troubled prison system, some are hopeful there will be enough to cover staffing levels and deteriorating buildings.

According to recent national reports, there are thousands of untested rape kits around the U.S.—leading to a backlog of unsolved cases. The Florida Legislature is now considering putting thousands of dollars into a statewide rape kit assessment.

Arguments Set In Scott LIP Lawsuit

Jun 8, 2015

A U.S. District Court judge will hear arguments June 19 in a lawsuit filed by Gov. Rick Scott against the federal government in a dispute about the Low Income Pool health-funding program.

Chief U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers issued an order Thursday scheduling the hearing on Scott's motion for a preliminary injunction in the case.

Governor Rick Scott’s recent approval of three public records exemptions is drawing both criticism and praise from critics and proponents alike.

Differences Persist In Budget Negotiations

Jun 8, 2015

A second day of negotiations between House and Senate lawmakers over a spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1 seemed to highlight longstanding divisions between the two chambers even as legislators tried to come to agreement.

 

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