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2020 Florida Legislature

A woman gives a man a flu shot in the arm.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

A Senate committee Thursday approved a controversial proposal that would allow pharmacists to test and treat people for influenza. The vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee sends the bill (SB 714) to the full Senate.

iStock

As lawmakers prepare for formal budget negotiations, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday signed off on a proposal that would provide a sales-tax “holiday” for back-to-school shoppers.

Bill Targeting Baker Act Heads To House Floor

Feb 27, 2020

A proposal that would require school officials to verify that de-escalation tactics have been used before a student can be involuntarily committed under the Baker Act is headed to the House floor.

Guns At Church Bill Headed To Full House

Feb 27, 2020

A controversial proposal that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to bring guns to churches, synagogues and other religious institutions that share property with schools is ready to go to the House floor.

Sen. Debbie Mayfield
Florida House of Representatives

As they move forward with a proposal that would allow college athletes to receive off-field compensation, Florida senators expect the NCAA to tackle unaddressed issues such as recruitment.

If another active shooting happens, lawmakers want schools to be equipped with a panic alert system. It would be activated through a mobile app. The push for this technology comes after the second anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

Sen. Manny Diaz Jr.
News Service of Florida

After starting a school-voucher program last year, Florida lawmakers appear ready to speed up its expansion.

Representative Blaise Ingolia
News Service of Florida

Florida cities and counties would get letter grades for economic and non-economic factors, under a bill that drew mostly bipartisan support Tuesday from the House Appropriations Committee.

Plan To Merge Florida Poly, New College With UF Headed For House Vote

Feb 26, 2020
University of Florida campus
University of Florida

An ambitious university-consolidation plan that folds Florida’s youngest and smallest colleges into the University of Florida was backed by a key House committee on Tuesday, following testy exchanges between state lawmakers and emotional testimony from students.

Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed concerns Monday about legislative proposals that would further prevent local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals.

More than 5 million teenagers reported using e-cigarettes in November, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The legal age to purchase and use nicotine products is 18. That changes to 21 in June after a federal law was signed in December. Now Florida is adjusting its laws to reflect the national change, but the House and Senate aren’t aligned on what needs to be done.

A six-hour grilling by a key House committee Monday revealed that several board members of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence were unaware that the former CEO of the non-profit agency received $7 million in compensation over three years.

New Law To Ensure All Florida Officers Are Allowed To Park Marked Cars At Home

Feb 24, 2020
CHRIS DAY/FRESH TAKE FLORIDA

Some Florida law enforcement officers aren’t allowed to park their marked cars at home – but that’s about to change.

Row of men in orange jumpsuits wait for ID
Kerry Sheridan / WUSF

House Speaker Jose Oliva said Thursday the House is “very open” to a Senate proposal that would loosen sentencing laws for certain drug-trafficking offenses.

Motorists would face higher fines if they drive past stopped school buses, under a proposal that was unanimously approved Thursday by the House and has received support in the Senate.

The proposal (HB 37 and SB 290) would increase from $100 to $200 the minimum fine for failing to stop for school buses.

The minimum fine would increase from $200 to $400 for motorists who pass buses on the side where children get on and off the buses.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, center, said at the Pasco County Tax Collector's Office in Dade City that review times for applications for concealed-weapons licenses have been reduced.
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Friday used an energy grant to a South Florida city to highlight her opposition to a House effort to move the state Office of Energy out of her department.

Fried appeared in Oakland Park to tout a $250,000 grant to retrofit baseball and soccer fields with energy-efficient LED lighting that is expected to save money for the city in the future.

Local governments would be barred from licensing food truck vendors in their communities, as part of broader deregulation proposals that cleared final House and Senate committees Thursday.

Florida House Cracks Down On Domestic Violence Agency

Feb 22, 2020
Florida House of Representatives

The Florida House on Thursday voted to repeal a law that requires the state to contract with a domestic violence non-profit organization, amid a bipartisan outcry from lawmakers and investigations into the former agency head’s compensation.

JONAH HINEBAUGH/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Proponents and critics reacted strongly to the Florida Legislature’s passage of a measure that will require minors seeking an abortion to get their parents' approval.

Florida Legislature Passes Bill Requiring Minors To Get Parental Consent For Abortions

Feb 20, 2020
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Minors who seek abortions would be required to obtain parental consent or convince judges to waive the requirement under a bill that received final legislative approval Thursday and has the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

New College Of Florida Officials, Lawmakers Slam Consolidation Plans

Feb 19, 2020
New College building
New College of Florida

A House proposal seeking to abolish the independent status of two Florida universities is spurring a fierce fight, as a bipartisan group of legislators on Wednesday decried the plan.

man holding alarm clock
iStock

Daylight Saving Time may feel like it’s always been a part of our lives, but it really didn’t come into general use in the United States until near the end of World War I.

Some U.S. states, including Florida, are now trying to end the habit of changing the clocks in favor of Daylight Saving Time, all the time.

In 2019, state lawmakers passed the Sunshine Protection Act, to make Daylight Saving Time permanent year-round in Florida. But the law requires a federal statute to take effect.

Students at school
University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida became the third institution to face inquiry from state lawmakers into its researchers’ ties to China.

The House Select Committee on the Integrity of Research Institutions held a meeting Tuesday to hear from UCF officials on what was done in their investigations, some dating back as far as 2017, and what the next steps are to avoid illegal foreign intervention in the future.

Florida Lawmakers To Ban Discrimination In Organ Transplants

Feb 18, 2020
SAM THOMAS/FRESH TAKE FLORIDA

Florida's Legislature is moving toward ensuring new protections for disabled people who may need organ transplants, part of a national trend among states.

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida college athletes won't get revenue-sharing paydays when they leave campus, as lawmakers continue moving forward with efforts to allow off-field compensation for athletes.

After Senate approval of the controversial proposal, the House this week will take up a plan that would require parental consent before minors could have abortions.

House Speaker Jose Oliva
Florida House of Representatives

House Speaker José Oliva said he is "open" to supporting an E-Verify bill that would meet the goals of Gov. Ron DeSantis, but expressed doubts about the Senate’s version of the legislation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida House on Thursday intensified an inquiry into Florida’s domestic violence agency, calling for additional investigations and issuing subpoenas over the former head of the taxpayer-backed organization’s compensation.

About one hundred teachers rallied in downtown Orlando today against Governor Ron DeSantis’ plan to solve a statewide teacher shortage by raising teacher salaries.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has called 2020 the year of the teacher. 

Florida may soon be adding to its list of scholarship programs. Rep. Shevrin Jones (D- Broward)  is sponsoring a bill that would help low-income students pay any remaining tuition their other scholarships and grants don't cover.

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