Florida Legislature

On Earth Day, Florida environmental groups took dead aim at a plan by lawmakers to build three new toll roads through the heart of the state.

Firefighter Cancer Benefits Backed In House

Apr 22, 2019

With little more than two weeks left in the legislative session, the House on Thursday began moving forward with a proposal that would make firefighters diagnosed with certain types of cancer eligible to receive disability or death benefits. 

SAMATHA GROSS / MIAMI HERALD

In a move that’s ignited fierce debate, Florida lawmakers appear set to approve controversial legislation that aims to ban so-called "sanctuary cities" in the state. Bills in the House and Senate both passed their final committees last week and are making their way to discussion. 

The legislation would require local police to honor requests from federal immigration authorities to detain people who are thought to be in the United States illegally. The House version would fine local governments that don’t cooperate with federal requests.

A bill that would set a cap on toll roads in Miami-Dade County has passed the full House. Bill sponsor Hialeah Republican Representative Bryan Avila says what the Expressway Authority is not doing its job. 

A bill would allow prescription drugs from Canada to be purchased by the Agency for Health Care Administration and imported for use. The hope is that importing the inexpensive drugs will cut down cost for patients.

Florida House Passes Bill Requiring Parental Consent For Abortions

Apr 18, 2019
Florida House of Representatives

In a proposal that likely would lead to another court battle over abortion, the Florida House late Wednesday approved a bill that would require minors to obtain parental consent before they could have abortions.

Lawmakers debated the bill for more than three hours before voting 69-44 to pass the measure (HB 1335). The Senate is moving forward with an identical bill (SB 1774), though it has not come up for a vote on the Senate floor.

According to a study by the Institute of Medicine published in 2015, paid for by the United States Food and Drug Administration, raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 would reduce the number of lung cancer-related deaths by 50,000. 

Florida lawmakers are responding to a report on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland with a measure that addresses concerns raised in the 480-plus page report. Lawmakers say it’s "a good bill, but"—noting a divide over one portion that gives districts the option to allow classroom teachers to carry guns. The measure is now going before the full Senate amid controversy over the issue.

The legislature is working to implement a constitutional amendment that bans vaping in indoor workplaces. But another vaping proposal appears dead for this session.

A House committee this week shot down a bill that would have changed the definition of “tobacco products” to include nicotine products and devices that dispense them.

“In the last few years according to the FDA, electronic nicotine delivery systems has become an epidemic with youth," bill sponsor Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pensacola) told the committee. "One in 4 seniors in high school have been using it, and one in 10 youth in middle school have been using it.”

The Florida House is considering a bill that would require an annual report on intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at the state’s public universities. The measure has drawn criticism from some and praise from others. 

For years now some members of the legislature have been pushing to create a way to help firefighters battling cancer. Studies show they are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease, because of their line of work. This year the effort has overwhelming support in the Senate but hasn’t been heard in a house committee yet.

It was a vote heard ‘round the legislature this week, when the Senate Minority Leader voted down on a bill looking to add protections from anti-Semitism discrimination in public schools. Senator Audrey Gibson is now walking back comments made in committee.

Gerald Herbert / Associated Press

Families who lost loved ones in the Parkland school shooting likely won’t find monetary relief from the Florida Legislature this year.

Bills seeking to avert litigation by creating a taxpayer-backed assistance fund haven’t gotten a hearing, and they aren’t likely to pass this session, which ends on May 3.

Florida’s tourism and marketing agency could be going away if the Florida House has its way. It comes as tourism remains the state’s dominant industry, and the state continues recovering from toxic algae blooms and hurricanes. 

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr

A Senate panel on Tuesday approved a bill that would threaten local governments with hefty fines if they prohibit the sale of certain sunscreens, though lawmakers dropped an initial part of the bill that would have prevented local officials from banning plastic straws.

The bill targets sunscreens in an attempt to keep Key West from enforcing an ordinance that would ban the sale and use of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, a chemical that a study says harms coral reefs. That ordinance is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Pages