Florida Legislature 2017

At least 157,000 kids in Florida could lose food stamps under legislation moving in a Florida House committee Thursday.

Legislation by Frank White, R-Pensacola, sends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility requirements back to pre-recession levels.

Top Florida Republican lawmakers are heading to Washington D.C. soon to discuss potential healthcare changes with their Congressional counterparts. They want President Donald Trump’s administration to blockgrant Medicaid funding. But some Floridians worry the sick and the poor will lose their health insurance.

No law in Florida prevents health insurance companies from changing the cost of a patient's prescription drugs -or from dropping coverage all together of that drug - in the middle of a 12-month contract.

But a bill filed in the Florida legislature forces insurers to stick by those contracts.

Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2 last November, expanding the state's medical marijuana program. But how is the government going to implement it? 


The Florida Department of Health is working to implement Amendment 2 as soon as possible. But public hearings have been contentious across the state. The raucous meetings were standing room only, with crowds cheering and booing.


Gun Safety Activists to Florida Legislature: Reject Gun Bills

Feb 22, 2017

Dozens of gun safety advocates gathered at the Florida Capitol Tuesday to pressure state lawmakers to reject a raft of bills loosening gun restrictions. 

Florida parents could see cheaper diapers through legislation being considered by lawmakers. The measure by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, exempts diapers and incontinence products from sales tax.

Torrie Jasuwan, founder of BabyCycle Diaper Bank in Saint Petersburg, said one in three Florida moms can’t afford diapers. She says not having clean diapers can result in staph and urinary tract infections.

Democratic State Senator Victor Torres filed a bill Tuesday to allow first responders to get worker’s compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Florida lawmakers seem likely to approve unanimous jury sentences for death penalty cases in the opening weeks of this year’s legislative session.  But some warn there could be another crisis around the corner.

Florida is a prime breeding ground for invasive species that can threaten the state’s ecology and economy. For every lionfish or Burmese python that’s captured, thousands remain. And the sheer scope of the problem is pushing some lawmakers to ask how much of a difference state funding actually makes.

On the heels of a recent national study ranking the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area the deadliest in the country for pedestrians, one Southwest Florida lawmaker continues to fight for tougher penalties for motorists who injure pedestrians and bicyclists. 

A bill requiring autism awareness training for law enforcement officers is starting to move in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. It comes after a high profile incident that occurred in South Florida last year involving a black man, an autistic man, and law enforcement.

The Department of Health spent a week touring the state to get feedback on their draft rule for Amendment Two.  The department’s cautious approach for implementing the medical cannabis initiative is raising the ire of would be patients.

A bill making changes to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law is now headed to the Senate floor, after passing its last committee Thursday. One of its ardent supporters is Marissa Alexander—the Jacksonville woman who faced 60 years in prison for firing a warning shot in an alleged domestic dispute.

A Florida Republican lawmaker wants to create more incentives for people who get welfare to look for work. The legislation passed a House committee Thursday.

House Ready To Move On Health Care Regulations

Feb 10, 2017

The House will begin moving forward next week with proposals to chip away at health-care regulations, including a plan to eliminate the controversial "certificate of need" process.

The Health Innovation Subcommittee on Wednesday is scheduled to take up a series of bills, including a measure (HB 7), filed by Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota, that would eliminate certificates of need for hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities.

When Joe Morris had a heart attack last Easter and had to be rushed to the ER, it was the first time he’d been to the doctor in more than 40 years — since high school.

Back home in the small community of Neosho, Mo., Morris needed follow-up care to manage his heart disease and diabetes, but he didn’t have a doctor — or insurance.


A bill to build water storage reservoirs south of Lake Okeechobee was introduced in Florida’s legislature on Thursday, formalizing a controversial plan by Senate President Joe Negron.

Will a Stand Your Ground-related bill starting to move through the legislature have a disproportionate impact on minorities? While opponents of the bill appear to think so, supporters insist the bill is “color blind.”

Florida is on the cusp of joining nearly every other death penalty state in requiring a unanimous jury sentence.

Prosecutors will have to prove their case against defendants under a Stand Your Ground bill approved Tuesday in its first legislative committee. Currently, if the defendant proves their claim during a pre-trial immunity hearing, they can avoid a trial.

A prominent Tampa Republican is making good on her promise to seek a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Florida.

An openly gay lawmaker is once again trying to put an end to conversion therapy in Florida. For years, Representative David Richardson, a Miami Beach Democrat, has been trying to pass a ban on conversion therapy. That’s the practice of attempting to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Florida Department of Health and a Republican state senator are offering drastically different visions for the future of medical cannabis in the state.  It could set the stage for a contentious rollout of last year’s Amendment Two.

When Florida lawmakers come back to Tallahassee this week, the mother of slain teen Jordan Davis is set to come as well. She’ll be speaking against a Stand Your Ground-related measure that’s slated to get its first committee hearing Tuesday.

Leon County residents are concerned about the environment, aging, mental health and criminal justice. The county legislative delegation sat through nearly four hours of testimony from local residents, and advocacy groups on their wants during the upcoming legislative session.

Most states tax feminine hygiene products as “luxury items.” But state lawmakers across the U.S., including in Florida, are introducing so-called “tampon tax” legislation.

Seventeen bills filed for the coming March legislative session focus on guns. Some seek to ban the sale of certain guns or firearm components, while others seek to expand where Floridians can carry open or concealed weapons.

'Stand Your Ground' Measure Filed In Florida House

Jan 17, 2017
Wikimedia Commons

A controversial proposal to shift the burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases is back this year in the Florida House.

Senate President Joe Negron’s $2.4 billion plan to protect South Florida waterways from another toxic-algae sliming received a Luke-warm legislative debut. Behind the scenes, the South Florida Water Management District was launching torpedoes.

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