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2020 Florida Legislature

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.

According to a state analysis, about half of Florida's marriages end in divorce. To curb that number, Republicans want to require couples to read a handbook before they can get a marriage license. 

Hundreds of people lined up outside the main courthouse in West Palm Beach late last year, all of them trying to get their suspended driver licenses reinstated.

“Operation Green Light” was part of a recent initiative by state legislators requiring local court clerks to create driver license reinstatement days. About two million drivers in Florida have suspended licenses — most because of unpaid fines and fees that have nothing to do with unsafe driving.

Vape shops would have to be permitted and regulated by the state, under a House effort to combat an “epidemic” of electronic-cigarette use by teens.

Floridians would get sales-tax breaks before hurricane season and the new school year, while taxes on commercial leases and cell phones and other communications services would be trimmed, under a tax package rolled out Tuesday in the House.

The Florida Senate is moving its version of a plan allowing college athletes to receive pay for their name, image and likeness. Florida is trying to follow California, which passed a law allowing student athletes to earn money from endorsements.

Public school teachers advocating for increased pay have found an ally in the Florida business community. 

Members of both the Council of 100 and the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council have grown vocal in their support of increasing teacher salaries. 

Midpoints can carry a split sensation of dread and relief.

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Strip clubs, casinos, breweries and cigarette makers could be benched from a proposal that would let Florida college athletes market themselves off the field.

Fines for killing black bears out of season would increase under legislation passed unanimously Wednesday by the Florida House.

Current Florida law requires kids being charged as adults to be held in regular jail while they wait for their trial. New federal standards that go into effect at the end of next year require minors to be held in juvenile detention centers, with few exceptions. Lawmakers are moving forward with a bill to make sure Florida is in compliance.

A bill that removes time limits for prosecuting sexual assault of a minor has plenty of momentum in the Florida House. Meanwhile, its Senate sponsor who remains optimistic the bill will get moving in her chamber.

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