Florida Legislature

Guns, Medical Marijuana At Issue In House

Sep 30, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

As lawmakers continue preparing for the 2016 legislative session, House panels next week will take up a bill that would allow people to openly carry firearms and will get an update about a medical-marijuana law passed last year.

A three-day trial that could decide the fate of Florida's political landscape ended Monday as lawyers for both sides accused each other of recommending changes to the state's 27 congressional districts that could benefit either Republicans or Democrats.

Putnam: Florida Faces Water Shortfall By 2030

Sep 28, 2015

  Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says Florida faces a water shortfall of more than a billion gallons daily by 2030.

Florida’s Medicaid costs will soon take up about half of the state’s new revenue. And enrollment in the program continues to grow. The increasing costs of the program has the state’s chief economist putting part of the blame on prescription drugs.


As Florida continues to recover from the depths of the recession, the state should have a budget surplus in the coming year, but it may not be big enough to avoid yet another spending battle in the state Capitol.

Senator Tries Again On Expanded Prescribing Powers

Sep 2, 2015
Florida Senate

A Senate Republican on Tuesday proposed a wide-ranging health bill that includes allowing advanced-registered nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances.

Surgical Center Bill Re-Emerges In House

Aug 24, 2015
Florida House

A House Republican on Thursday began renewing a push to allow patients to stay at ambulatory surgical centers for up to 24 hours and to allow the operation of longer-term "recovery care" centers.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature now has two rival maps for Congress.

Florida Senate

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature - which has been split this year over health care and a new state budget - is divided yet again, this time over a new map for congressional districts.

With just days left in their special session, legislators in the House and Senate are now working on different plans to change the state's 27 congressional districts. Lawmakers are holding a rare August special session after the state Supreme Court threw out the current map.

The Republican-controlled Florida Legislature, still angry at being forced into action by the state's highest court, launched yet another bid on Monday to reshape the state's congressional districts.

Legislators returned to the Capitol to kick off a 12-day special session to draw a new map that could make it difficult for several incumbent members of Congress to get re-elected. This is the third time lawmakers have worked on a congressional map since 2012.

Bill Ties Officials' Health Coverage To Medicaid

Aug 5, 2015
Florida House

A House Republican filed a bill Tuesday that would tie health coverage for state elected officials to the benefits provided in the Medicaid program.

The bill -- HB 39 -- filed by state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, will be considered during the 2016 legislative session.

Court Limits Fees on Birth-Injury Case

Jul 16, 2015

An appeals court Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of a 2012 move by state lawmakers to limit fees paid to attorneys who represented a child severely injured at birth in a Southwest Florida hospital.

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal said it was "sympathetic" to the arguments of the West Palm Beach-based law firm Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., which spent years representing the child, Aaron Edwards, and his parents in a legal fight against Lee Memorial Health System and won a nearly $31 million jury verdict.


A bruising budget battle that divided Republicans in the Florida Legislature is over for now, but the truce is likely only to last a few months.

Legislators passed a nearly $79 billion budget Friday with just days to spare. Legislators had until July 1 to pass a budget or state government would have been partially shut down. They didn't pass a budget during their regular session because they were divided over health care spending. That sparked a stalemate — and finger-pointing will remain when legislators return for their 2016 session.

The Republican-controlled Florida House voted along party lines on Friday to retain — for now — the rates that Gov. Rick Scott and thousands of state workers are currently paying for health insurance.

Nearly 30,000 people in state government, including the governor, staff at the Florida Legislature and Attorney General Pam Bondi, pay either $8.34 a month for individual coverage or $30 a month for family coverage. Rank-and-file state workers pay $50 a month for individual coverage or $180 a month for family coverage. House and Senate members also pay this rate.

House Backs Changes For State Workers, Hospitals

Jun 12, 2015

Pitching more competition and choices in the health-care system, the House on Friday passed six bills that include proposals to revamp health coverage for state employees and eliminate key regulations in the hospital industry.

But as lawmakers head into the final week of a special legislative session, it remains unclear whether the Senate will pass any of the bills. Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, remained non-committal Friday, though he suggested the House's proposed changes to employee health insurance likely will not pass.


Women will have to wait 24 hours before having an abortion under a bill Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed into law today, a reflective period supporters said they hoped would change some women’s minds before ending their pregnancies.

Scott signed the abortion measure along with 54 other bills, including legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to take experimental medicines. Scott also signed into law a measure that revises the rules for the panel that regulates Florida electric rates. He vetoed a bill dealing with home medical equipment providers.

‘Bumped’ Budget Issues Include LIP

Jun 10, 2015

Dozens of budget issues --- including the one that threw lawmakers into a special session to finish work on the state budget --- moved up the legislative ladder Tuesday, starting the next round of talks aimed at resolving differences between the House and Senate spending plans.

Land, Water Funding Differences Move To Budget Chiefs

Jun 10, 2015
Robin Sussingham / WUSF

House and Senate negotiators have been unable to bridge key differences in their competing proposals to fund the environmental portions of the state budget.

Now, decisions about how to spread an increased pool of money, which is expected to be used for buying and protecting environmental lands and helping restore the state's natural springs and the Everglades, will be up to the House and Senate budget chairmen starting Wednesday.

House Set To Defeat Senate Health Plan

Jun 5, 2015
Florida Legislature

Despite several changes made in recent days to assuage the concerns of the Republican majority, the Florida House remains poised to defeat a health-care expansion plan backed by a bipartisan group of senators.

More than two hours of questioning on the House floor Thursday gave little reason to believe that the bill (SB 2-A) would survive a vote scheduled for Friday. For all of its new provisions, House Republicans said, the so-called Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, or FHIX, remains Medicaid expansion in disguise.

In recent years, states have passed well over 250 laws restricting abortion. One trend in those restrictions: longer waiting periods before women can have the procedure.

Twenty-six states already have waiting periods. Most make women wait 24 hours between the time they get counseling on abortion and have the procedure. But this year, several states are extending that to 48 — even 72 — hours.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Florida Legislature kicked off a 20-day special session Monday, with legislative leaders sounding more open to compromise as they race against the clock to pass a new state budget.

The conciliatory tone espoused by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner was different than it was just a few weeks ago when the Republican-controlled Legislature ended its session amid finger-pointing and lawsuits.


With a looming deadline, Florida legislators return to the state Capitol this week promising to do what they couldn't during the 60-day regular session that ended May 1.

And that's pass a new state budget that covers everything from money for schools and hospitals to paying for child abuse investigations.

Legislative leaders are already promising that they will pass a budget during the 20-day session that starts Monday. They have until the end of June or parts of state government could be shut down.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Florida Senate


Republican leaders in the Florida Senate offered up a revamped health care proposal Tuesday in an effort to end a budget stalemate that threatens to shut down state government, but the proposal was immediately rejected by Gov. Rick Scott and House GOP leaders.

Legislators are scheduled to return to the state Capitol next week for a 20-day special session where they are expected to pass a new state budget.

Lawmakers Talk LIP In Districts

May 27, 2015




Florida Governor Rick Scott’s commission investigating hospital finances will meet for the first time today. The meetings come as Florida’s legislature preps for a special session.

Health care spending has been the big division in Florida’s budget thanks to a billion-dollar hospital fund that’s ending. Federal officials want Florida to expand Medicaid to cover Florida’s uninsured, and hospitals have been pushing for expansions.


During the recently-concluded legislative session, Senate President Andy Gardiner constantly warned about the threat to the state's hospitals if they were to lose more than $1 billion that now comes from the federal government.

There's a good reason Gardiner understands hospitals: he works for one.

Associated Press

When it became clear that the House and Senate wouldn’t agree on a budget, Republican Gov. Rick Scott was in California trying to get shipping companies to move to Florida.

And when the Legislature was at the point of no return to either pass a budget or go home without completing the one task it’s legally required to do each year, Scott was at a Wawa gas station opening in Fort Myers.

When the Senate threatened Wednesday to bring legal action against the House for adjourning three days early with more work to be done, Scott was visiting a giant Ferris wheel in Orlando.

Justices: House Adjournment Violated Constitution

May 3, 2015

  The decision by House leaders to end their legislative session more than three days early violated the state Constitution, a majority of the Florida Supreme Court said Friday, while ruling that it was too late to order lawmakers to return to Tallahassee.

The ruling effectively ended the 2015 regular session, which was notable for an unresolved budget controversy that caused widespread dysfunction and sharp exchanges between Republican leaders.