Florida Legislature

The Florida Legislature didn’t waste a moment during its first week when it came to addressing the opioid addiction crisis that is exploding across the state.

Republicans Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) and Rep. Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud) are pushing back against local ordinances that regulate vacation rentals. The battle for home rule is heating up at the capitol.

A state lawmaker is defending one of her staffers, who is accusing former Senator Jack Latvala of sexual harassment, sexual assault and coercion. Florida Senate employee Laura McLeod is the second woman to come forward publicly with allegations against Latvala.

Florida may agree to permanently fund anti-abortion pregnancy centers under a bill passed by the Republican-led House.

Companies that make interns into employees could get tax credits under a legislative proposal. The Internship Tax Credit Program will help degree-seeking students receive a job after college.  

Should inmates be criminally charged when cell phones are found on their person? In Florida prisons, that can occur. But, in county jails, not so much. During a recent legislative debate, lawmakers discussed a bill making it illegal for local jail inmates to have cell phones within the facilities.

The Florida Senate is going to require mandatory sexual harassment training for senators in the aftermath of scandals that have roiled the GOP-controlled Legislature.

A Senate panel Wednesday voted to require that each senator take an hour-long course in workplace and sexual harassment. It's expected that the full Senate will soon adopt the rule.

Important news involving Latin America affects many South Floridians. U.S.-Cuban relations are strained. Puerto Rico continues to recover three months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the island. Venezuela’s constant political turmoil continues to oppress its citizens. Thus, continuous coverage of Latin America is vital for 2018. WLRN’s America’s editor, Tim Padgett, joined the program to talk about what to expect for Latin America in the new year.

Florida has the second highest number of for-profit stem cell clinics in the United States, and a new proposal by a Tampa lawmaker would crack down on those that prey on elderly and vulnerable Floridians.

Miami Herald file

Amid worries over stagnant state education funding, the Miami-Dade County School Board is considering a property tax hike to fund teacher raises.

Ever been the victim of a data breach? Maybe you were part of last year’s breach involving one of the largest credit agencies, Equifax. But, in Florida, if you wanted to place a freeze on your credit report, Equifax could still charge you a fee. Now, a bill is starting to move in the Florida House to eliminate that cost to consumers.

Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran said Wednesday that he has personally confronted former state legislators who sexually harassed others, but he won't name names.

A bill making texting while driving a primary offense passed its first committee Tuesday. It also drew some concerns.

Associated Press

Gov. Rick Scott helped launch the 2018 legislative session Tuesday with a State of the State address that focused on issues such as holding down taxes, supporting law enforcement and addressing sexual harassment.

 

The speech to a joint session of the Legislature was the term-limited Scott’s final State of the State address.

He said state leaders need to “secure our future” by investing in such things as the environment, education and transportation infrastructure.

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