Florida Legislature

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.

Courtesy of Andrea Lieberman

Asher Lieberman has been obsessed with diseases since he was little.


New proposals have emerged in the Florida House and Senate that would make it harder to place proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot.

The House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee this week are slated to take up newly filed measures that would increase petition-signature requirements for political committees backing ballot initiatives.

The proposals come as the Republican-controlled House and Senate also are moving forward with other bills that would place additional restrictions on the petition-signature process.

Controversial Vacation Rental Proposal On The Move

Feb 11, 2020

TALLAHASSEE — A long-running dispute over vacation rentals is heating up, as a Senate panel Tuesday approved a proposal that would give the state — not local officials — control over regulation of short-term rentals.

Ignoring the pleas of dozens of local officials from throughout the state, the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee approved the measure (SB 1128) in a 3-2 party-line vote.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., R-Hialeah, would “preempt” regulation of vacation rentals, including licensing and inspection, to the state.

Farmers Worry Florida Bill Will Worsen Labor Scarcity Woes

Feb 11, 2020
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

On a recent afternoon, many stools stood empty beside a conveyor belt where workers examined a stream of green tomatoes and tossed aside those with holes and cracks at a South Florida packing house.

Paul J. DiMare, one of the country's leading producers of fresh tomatoes, recalls the days when hundreds of foreign workers lined up to labor in the fields or box the produce at his facility in Florida City. The machines roared for more than 12 hours a day as truckloads of tomatoes rolled in to be washed, inspected and packaged. Now, they run for only four.

Travelers might again get a free cup of Florida’s homegrown beverage when they cross the state line, through funding tucked in the Senate’s proposed budget.

'Sunshine' Exemption Sought For College Presidential Searches

Feb 6, 2020
News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Two proposals moving forward in the Florida Legislature would make the process of selecting presidents at public colleges and universities more secretive.

The House State Affairs Committee on Thursday approved a leadership-backed bill (PCB SAC 20-04) that would create a public-records and public-meetings exemption for information related to presidential searches.

Fifth Third Bank/AP

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando is working to change Florida’s private school voucher program ‘Step Up for Students’ because he says it violates state law. Smith says Floridians have a constitutional right not to face discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification.