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2020 Florida Legislature

This week marked the start of Florida’s 2020 Legislative session. Until at least mid-March, state lawmakers will discuss and approve bills that touch virtually every aspect of life in Florida. Some are brand-new; others are “deja vu."

A bill in the Florida legislature would make Bible classes mandatory electives in public high schools. The original bill filed in the House during the last legislative session died in committee.

To end its losing battle to block oil exploration in Everglades wetlands, Florida plans to purchase 20,000 acres in Broward County.

The Florida Senate is moving quickly to prevent towns like Key West from banning the sale of sunscreens that contain potentially coral reef harming chemicals.

Teacher pay, firearm safety and healthcare spending are among the top issues Florida leaders listed as they made their opening statements on the first day of the legislative session.

As the Florida Legislature opens its 2020 session, Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed House and Senate members Tuesday during his State of the State address.

He discussed some of the “bold” steps the state took in 2019 around such areas as education, the environment, health care and public safety, and stressed that “we have much more to do.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis formally started the 2020 legislative session Tuesday by urging lawmakers to boost pay for many public-school teachers, continue addressing Everglades restoration and water quality and curb business regulations.

Full Text: Gov. Ron DeSantis' 2020 State Of The State Address

Jan 14, 2020

Here is the full text of Gov. DeSantis’ 2020 State of the State address on Tuesday:

Florida is among the states looking to force the issue of athlete pay on the NCAA. California passed a law to do so last year. Three House committees held a joint meeting on the subject Monday.

When the Florida Legislature convenes on Jan. 14 for the start of its 60-day session, lawmakers will be faced with several important issues – with raising teacher pay and placing new limits on abortion among the top priorities.

Here is a list of several other issues the legislature will tackle during the session.

Florida’s average teacher salary is among the lowest in the nation. The Florida Education Association says the state suffers from high turn-over rates and teacher shortages. The teachers union wants to change that and Monday, it brought educators from across the state to the Florida Capitol to demand more funding for education.

State lawmakers are set to consider legislation that would mandate increased safety measures for bus drivers and strengthen criminal penalties for passengers who become violent. 

On today’s program we discussed teacher pay and E-Verify, as Florida lawmakers prepare to reconvene on January 14.

A Senate Democrat on Friday filed a proposal that would make it harder for the Legislature to limit the power of local governments.

Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, filed the proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 1674) for consideration during the legislative session that starts Tuesday. It comes amid efforts by cities and counties to fend off legislative attempts to “preempt” local regulations.

Florida Capitol
State of Florida

The 60-day Florida legislative session that begins Tuesday will have lawmakers considering everything from coconut patties to a state budget expected to exceed $90 billion.

Lawmakers are also expected to address abortion rights, private gun sales and environmental issues such as the rise in sea level.

With state lawmakers preparing to wade into a debate about vacation rental properties, Airbnb, Inc., last month sent $250,000 to a Florida political committee, a newly filed finance report shows.

A slew of criminal justice reform bills will be up this 2020 legislative session. A number of them will get a hearing during the first week lawmakers return to Tallahassee.

As Florida’s leaders open the annual legislative session on Tuesday prepared to claim they’re responding to climate change, eight young residents are taking them to court for doing the opposite.

Bill Could Provide Compromise To Controversial E-Verify Proposal

Jan 10, 2020

The Republican-dominated Legislature has long pushed back against requiring employers to conduct immigration background checks for new hires, but a bill filed Friday includes a potential compromise that could hand a win to Gov. Ron DeSantis on the controversial issue.

Gaining initial legislative support last year might have been the easy part for controversial and expensive toll-road projects envisioned to cut through more than 300 miles of mostly rural land from Collier County to the Georgia border.

Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. A Sebring bank. A yoga studio in Tallahassee. A naval air base in Pensacola.

House Speaker Says Health Care Remains ‘Focus’

Jan 8, 2020

House Speaker Jose Oliva said Tuesday that health care continues to be his top priority for the upcoming legislative session after he pushed through a series of changes last year. 

This week on Florida Matters, we sat down with local political reporters to look at the2020 Florida Legislature and discuss some of the most pressing issues facing our state.

Students would get a day off from school to come down from their Halloween sugar highs, under a bill filed Monday by Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami.

Arguing that a new law violates constitutional rights, supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking more time to submit petition signatures to get on the November ballot.

As state lawmakers ponder how -- and if -- to respond to teens’ skyrocketing use of electronic cigarettes, one university student is influencing the Florida Senate leader’s stance on the issue.

Despite much-publicized efforts by the Florida Democratic Party and its allies, state data shows Republicans in the swing state are far outpacing Democrats when it comes to the raw number of registered voters.

Five Questions: Chris Latvala On Teacher Pay, School Security, And More

Dec 17, 2019

In Florida’s education policy world, state Rep. Chris Latvala has sway.

For years, Florida’s Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) have tried to convince lawmakers to let them set up offices independent of physicians. Doctor groups have largely opposed the move, but a lawmaker who happens to be an emergency medicine physician isn’t giving up.

Are college and university campuses open markets for ideas or incubators of narrow thought? Some Republican lawmakers want to know what’s really happening in the state’s public higher education classrooms by asking students and professors to take an anonymous survey. But Democrats, and even some of those professors argue that’s a violation of free speech and are suspicious of the motives behind the plan. 

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