LISTEN LIVE

Andy Gardiner

A state Senate redistricting plan favored by voting-rights organizations was approved Wednesday by a Leon County judge in a move that could shake the Republican Party's grip on power in the Capitol.

In choosing the new map, Circuit Judge George Reynolds also rejected a plan put forward by Senate Republican leaders as the best configuration of the chamber's 40 seats. The proposal chosen by Reynolds would lead to a roughly even number of districts favoring each party.

Not all of the political warfare in the Capitol is between the House and Senate. Gov. Rick Scott fired a shot over the bow of Senate President Andy Gardiner today, reappointing 16 agency heads who weren’t confirmed.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli surprised lawmakers Tuesday when he abruptly adjourned the chamber three days before the legislative session was scheduled to end. He did so because the House and Senate are far apart on a budget plan.

 Update 4/2/2015: Senate President Andy Gardiner says increased budget uncertainty following the federal government's decision to delay talks about healthcare funding, may eliminate state employee pay raises from future budget consideration.

The Florida Senate has approved several bills aimed at improving education and workforce outcomes for Floridians with disabilities.

The issue is Senate President Andy Gardiner’s top priority—his son has Down syndrome. As an emotional Gardiner presided over the Senate session former Senate President Don Gaetz praised the legislation.

“I can’t remember a time that I’ve been prouder to be on the Senate floor than to see the time, effort energy concern and contributions of substance that have gone into the bills that we’ve taken up now," Gaetz said.  

The conservative political group Americans for Prosperity is taking aim at Senate President Andy Gardiner’s Medicaid expansion plans.

The mailers were sent to voters in the districts of 23 state senators, including Senate President Andy Gardiner. Officials from Americans for Prosperity said in a statement the current plan doesn’t do enough to curb health care costs.

The group, backed by the Koch brothers, wants to expand telemedicine, eliminate government oversight of health care and allow some health care workers to do more.

Lawmakers moved a step closer Wednesday to dividing up more than $750 million to meet the conservation demands of Amendment 1. The House and Senate are on a collision course over affordable housing and its piece of the pie.

The Republican-led Florida Legislature kicked off its annual session Tuesday with the usual pomp, but the celebratory nature was overshadowed by lingering questions about the state budget, tax cuts and health care.

The two GOP legislators in charge opened the session by stressing areas on which they plan to work in tandem over the next 60 days. That included dealing with the state's standardized testing system.

The 2015 Legislative session started today with opening statements from the House of Representatives and the Senate.