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2019 Legislative session

Okra. Bell peppers. Cherry tomatoes. Jalapeños and squash.

Those are some of the vegetables that Hermine Ricketts and her husband, Tom Carroll, planted in front of their home in Miami Shores, Fla., on Monday.

That's the day a Florida law went into effect that nullifies local bans on vegetable gardens at residential properties. It was one of those ordinances that had forced the couple to uproot a garden that Ricketts had tended for 17 years.

Governor Ron DeSantis today signed off on a bill banning so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida.  The effort sparked controversy during this legislative session, but its backers say it’s all about following the rule of law.

Florida Law To Allow Autonomous Cars - When They're Ready

Jun 14, 2019
A self-driving Google car, with no human on board. Such vehicles would be allowed to operate in Florida once they're capable of it.
Wikimedia Commons

Self-driving vehicles with no humans on board will be able to operate in Florida — once they're finally ready for prime time — under a bill signed Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A dying citrus grove in Lake Alfred
Robin Sussingham / WUSF

When Adam Putnam announced his candidacy for Governor of the state of Florida last year, he stood on the steps of the stately old Polk County courthouse in Bartow in front of a cheering crowd , with the American flag waving, the state song playing -- and crates of oranges lining the stage.


Lawmakers in Tallahassee are returning home after two months of hashing out bills - some of which could soon become law. Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham talks with Janelle Irwin, a reporter with Florida Politics, and Steve Bousquet, a columnist with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the Orlando Sentinel.

Sharing someone else’s nude images on social media or through other “electronic means” will be a misdemeanor if Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a bill passed by the house and senate this week. The measure is part of an effort to curb harm done to victims of sexual cyber harassment.

For years the Florida legislature has funded Visit Florida – a group charged with advertising and marketing tourism for the state. It works overseas, and around the country and also keeps track of the state’s tourism number. Now the agency is set to dissolve in October unless the legislature decides to keep it going.

But both chambers are at odds on whether it’s needed.

Four Keys cities and Monroe County have sent FEMA bills for more than $91 million from Hurricane Irma. A year and a half after the storm, they have received less than 12 percent of the money.

Senate President Bill Galvano on Tuesday entered his first legislative session at the helm of the Senate like a coach encouraging his team before taking the field.

Deviating from loosely prepared comments, Galvano stressed the importance of time management and didn’t bring up his priorities, which include extending the Suncoast Parkway and Florida Turnpike toll roads and building a new highway between Polk and Collier counties to handle future growth and provide an economic spark for rural areas.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

In Florida, voter pre-registration is open to both 16 and 17-year-olds, which means their private information like phone numbers, addresses, and birth dates is public record. Two Florida lawmakers are trying to change that.

DeSantis Pushes To End Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban

Jan 17, 2019
Abe Aboraya / WMFE

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he will push to end a state ban on smoking medical marijuana in Florida.

Members of the House Higher Education Appropriations committee received a breakdown of the budget for the year Thursday. As Blaise Gainey reports, the chairman says the entire budget for colleges and universities will be up for discussion this session.

In the coming session, Florida’s Legislature will consider a bill aiming to eliminate “gun-free zones” on college campuses. For state lawmakers, the issue has come up before.

After complaints of inhumane treatment in women’s correctional facilities throughout Florida, one lawmaker is calling for a change.

The Florida Channel

Florida lawmakers are hearing from the public on issues such as election reform, public school funding and mental health. From Broward to Bay counties, they’re getting an earful from the public on exactly where the focus should be during the 2019 legislative session.

After two suicides by first responders this week, Hillsborough county residents are pushing lawmakers to focus on mental health this upcoming session.

Rouson Seeks Weapons Ban On Crowd-Watching Drones

Dec 7, 2018

Law enforcement could use drones to monitor large crowds for safety and security but the unmanned devices couldn't be equipped to fire on crowds, under a proposal filed Thursday by Sen. Darryl Rouson, D- Tampa. 

Incoming Senate President Bill Galvano stands by his decision to keep funds in the so-called Guardian program.

This comes after Governor Rick Scott asked the Legislature to move the remaining funds to school districts so they can hire more officers.