Florida Legislature

South Florida Lawmaker Tests Positive For COVID-19

Jul 2, 2020
News Service of Florida

Rep. Shevrin Jones announced Wednesday he tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first state lawmaker to have a publicly confirmed case of the disease.

“Transparent moment: For those who think it’s a game, it’s not. I have tested positive for Covid. I feel awful, and I don’t wish this on anyone,” Jones, D-West Park, wrote on Twitter.

New Budget, More Than 100 Laws Hit The Books In Florida

Jun 30, 2020
Michael Rivera (Own work) / Wikimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE --- More than 100 new laws will hit the books Wednesday from the 2020 legislative session, with issues ranging from expanding school vouchers to increasing fines for bear poaching.

Out of 156 bills Gov. Ron DeSantis had signed into law as of Tuesday afternoon, 112, including the state’s new $92.2 billion budget, will take effect Wednesday, the start of the state’s fiscal year.

Chris Day / Fresh Take Florida

TALLAHASSEE --- Backing one of Senate President Bill Galvano’s priorities, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that will revamp a program that helps people with intellectual or developmental disabilities live in their homes and communities.

The bill (SB 82), which will make changes in what is known as the iBudget program, was one of 23 measures that DeSantis signed, his office announced late Tuesday. The bills were passed during the legislative session that ended in March.

Equality Florida

The United States Supreme Court ruled Monday that employers may not discriminate against LGBTQ employees because of their sexual orientation.

In Florida, a bill that offered legal protection to LGBTQ people has failed year after year in the state Legislature. State Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, has been a sponsor and champion for that bill.

Elections Take Shape As Qualifying Ends

Jun 13, 2020
flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

As Democrats hope to dent Republican majorities in both legislative chambers, the major parties will clash in 96 of 120 state House seats and 17 of 20 Senate contests, according to data posted by the Florida Division of Elections after the qualifying ended Friday at noon.

Florida Budget Eyed For Cuts As Virus Hits State Revenues

Jun 11, 2020
flguardian2 / Flickr Creative Commons

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida TaxWatch wants more than $136 million in projects cut from the proposed state budget, but the fiscal-watchdog group acknowledges that might be far less than what is needed because of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on state revenues.

TaxWatch President Dominic Calabro said he expects Gov. Ron DeSantis to use his line-item veto power to go beyond the 180 projects that TaxWatch has identified as “turkeys” in the proposed $93.2 billion budget that lawmakers passed in March.

Broward Lawmaker Kristin Jacobs Dies After Cancer Battle

Apr 11, 2020

State Rep. Kristin Jacobs was a policy-loving, pragmatic and driven “warrior” who fought as fiercely against the cancer that took her life as she did for Florida’s natural resources.

Jacobs, 60, died peacefully Saturday morning in Tallahassee, surrounded by her children and her partner, Steve Vancore.

What Died In The 2020 Legislative Session

Mar 16, 2020
News Service Florida

As they finished most of their work Friday night, lawmakers could celebrate bills they had passed during the 2020 legislative session. But hundreds of other proposals died along the way.

Florida Lawmakers Agree On $92 Billion Budget, Will Vote Next Week

Mar 15, 2020

Legislative leaders completed a roughly $92 billion budget on Saturday afternoon, settling numerous education and health care issues as they fine-tuned the state spending plan in anticipation of an economic hit from the novel coronavirus.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

José Javier Rodríguez, a state senator from Miami, has finally achieved the slogan he’s borne on his rubber boots for three years — ActOnClimateFL.

For the first time in a decade, Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature has passed a bill that explicitly acknowledges climate change’s threats to the state and aims to limit at least some impacts.

Legislature Rejects Local Sunscreen Bans

Mar 10, 2020
Nancy Klingener / WLRN

TALLAHASSEE — Florida lawmakers are sending to Gov. Ron DeSantis a measure intended to block Key West and any other local governments from imposing bans on certain types of sunscreen.

The House voted 68-47 on Tuesday to pass the measure (SB 172), which would prohibit local governments from regulating drugs and cosmetics sold over the counter.

The bill, fast-tracked through the Senate in January, was crafted in response to plans by Key West to start enforcing next January a ban on the sale of sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate.

University Merger Plan 'Abandoned'

Mar 9, 2020

A short-lived, yet high-profile, fight to merge New College of Florida and Florida Polytechnic University into the University of Florida died Friday in the state House.

House Speaker Jose Oliva told reporters the chamber “abandoned” the proposal after the Senate refused to go along with the consolidation plan.

Oliva: Florida Senate E-Verify Plan Un-American

Mar 9, 2020

House Speaker José Oliva on Saturday blasted a plan that would give Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration the power to randomly audit private businesses to ensure they are not hiring undocumented workers.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Dozens of Miami Dade College faculty members marched along Killian Parkway outside the Kendall Campus Thursday morning, some carrying a wooden coffin and others holding signs shaped like headstones.

“Rest in peace: Here lies the integrity of the presidential search,” education professor Jasmine Diaz said, reading her sign.

News Service of Florida

The Florida Legislature has two more weeks to move on the creation of a statewide resiliency task force. The group of appointees would provide the state’s official estimates of sea level rise, if it gets the chance.



“Governor DeSantis took an unprecedented step here in Florida to appoint Florida’s first chief resiliency officer, Dr. Julia Nesheiwat,” said Republican Senator Tom Lee, who chairs the Infrastructure and Security committee.