Florida Legislature

WUSF Public Media

State lawmakers may have overlooked more than $430 million in yearly savings for Florida taxpayers by not accepting the federal dollars promised through the Affordable Care Act. 

The savings, says the Medicaid director at Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, come from the Obama administration's recent pledge to pay the full cost of "Medically Needy" recipients annually. These are patients with serious illnesses who cannot pay for their treatment.

Another Alternative to Medicaid Expansion

Apr 2, 2013

Lawmakers on a Senate health policy committee voted along party lines this afternoon in favor of State Sen. Aaron Bean's plan to help uninsured Floridians. It's an alternative to State Sen. Joe Negron's "Healthy Florida" plan, which he presented after lawmakers rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Tampa Tribune

State Sen. Joe Negron's "Healthy Florida" plan, officially launched without dissent Thursday by the Senate Appropriations Committee, has already attracted support from a broad swath of industries and leaders of both political parties.  

In Florida, medical-negligence cases already take more time, money and evidence to bring than any other kind of civil suit. Now the Florida Legislature is considering raising the bar again.

Shannon Lawley was a healthy 31-year-old when she got sick and sought help at a Brevard County emergency room last year. Her father, Michael, says she died there because of mistakes.

"She went in the gifted program, she was a Bright Futures scholarship winner, graduate of the University of Florida, she had a degree in chemistry," he said. "Her life was just beginning."

Tampa Tribune

Florida lawmakers have come up with an alternative to Medicaid expansion  to cover 1 million low-income adults. The plan is called "Healthy Florida" and will be discussed Thursday in the state Senate. 

SPB 7038 is likely to get a respectful hearing there, since the plan's architect, state Sen. Joe Negron (R-Palm City) chairs that committee. The bill is posted for reading online, with the pertinent section beginning at line 1077. 

The state Senate Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act wants Florida to pay for health insurance for temporary state employees who work more than 30 hours a week. 

State Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, said going along with this part of the new federal health law is the best option.

Medical Marijuana Gets Deep-Pockets Backer

Mar 18, 2013

Attorney John Morgan, who founded a huge plaintiff’s law firm based in Orlando, will lead the effort in Florida to legalize medical marijuana, the Tampa Bay Times reports. He has the money to spend and a personal reason behind it: He says marijuana was the only thing that helped his father when was sick with cancer and emphysema.

WUSF Public Media

The Senate's special committee on the Affordable Care Act voted along party lines Monday to reject Medicaid expansion, with members saying they want to develop a Florida-specific plan. The vote was 7 to 4.

Sen. Joe Negron, chairman, led the charge of the Republican majority, saying, "I oppose the Washington plan. I want a Florida plan. I think we have the opportunity to build a better system than the one Washington created."

House Committee Rejects Medicaid Expansion

Mar 4, 2013
Florida House of Representatives

A Florida House committee on the Affordable Care Act said today Florida should not accept billions of dollars in federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage to nearly 1 million uninsured residents under the new federal health law.

The House committee voted along party lines this afternoon against Medicaid expansion. Naples Republican Matt Hudson says he doesn't believe the federal government will actually pay for the cost of the expansion.


It's easy to play armchair quarterback -- or, in the case of politics, armchair legislator.

But as Florida's 2013 lawmaking session gets under way Tuesday, we challenge you to navigate the ethical landmine of local and state politics. When is it okay to accept a campaign check? Is it cool to lobby on behalf of an old high school classmate? And what could go wrong over a harmless cup of coffee?

Changes Might Be Coming to Florida's Voting Laws

Jan 7, 2013

Florida's legislative session doesn't start for two months, but already both Republicans and Democrats appear to agree that voting laws need to be changed.

Some legislators say they're embarrassed with Florida's election performance in November. It took several days to determine who won the presidential race in Florida.

State Sen. Chris Smith and State Rep. Perry E. Thurston, Jr. made history in various ways Tuesday when they were appointed to lead Democrats in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. It's the first time in the history of the Florida Legislature that black politicians have held the top political offices in both legislative chambers at the same time.

Imagine you’re driving home from work, and you’re hit by a reckless driver. You’d want to sue, right?

But if the person that injured you is a government employee in Florida, forget going to court. You’ll have to petition the Florida Legislature for help.

That’s what William Dillon did.  Dillon spent 27 years in prison for a murder in Brevard County. He was set free in 2008 after DNA testing showed he wasn’t the killer.

It took more than three and a half years for the Legislature to pass a bill compensating Dillon.

Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association

Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association president Jean Clements says dual efforts to toughen Florida's school grading system and approve a law allowing a majority of parents to choose how to restructure their child's failing school amount to an education land grab for private business.

Clements' op-ed was published on the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog.

Clements argues Florida Department of Education is changing its grade standards with the intention of failing more schools. The agency argues raising standards will compel schools to find ways to improve.