legislature

House Backs Tougher Texting And Driving Ban In Florida's Roads

Apr 24, 2019
Associated Press

Law-enforcement officers could pull over motorists they see texting and driving, under a measure approved Tuesday by the House despite concerns the change could increase racial profiling.

However, the Senate is set to vote Wednesday on a different proposal that would only allow motorists to use hands-free wireless devices when they are traveling on Florida roads, a restriction that House leaders haven’t supported.

Florida Senate Passes Controversial Bill Arming Teachers

Apr 23, 2019
Leslie Ovalle / WLRN

In search of a solution that will prevent another school massacre, a sharply divided Florida Senate on Tuesday passed a wide-ranging school safety bill that includes a controversial provision aimed at adding armed teachers to the line of defense.

The Senate passed the bill on a 22-17 vote, with Democrats and Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, opposed to the legislation’s expansion of the school “guardian” program to allow armed classroom teachers. The program was created last year and has allowed other school staff members to be armed if districts approve.

A push to give Floridians greater choice over energy providers is heating up. Proponents say it will increase competition and drive down costs. But not everyone feels the electricity.

A provision in the Senate’s big criminal justice reform bill could make a big impact early on, if signed into law. That impact would come in the form of fewer people incarcerated, and significant savings for the state.

A bill aimed at making sure people with mental health and substance abuse disorders have access to early intervention and peer mentorship has unanimously cleared the Florida House.

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.

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.

Pages