Posts Tagged ‘Florida House’

Richard Corcoran gets nod for dedication to term limits from U.S. Term Limits

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
House Speaker Richard Corcoran has been honored for his commitment to term limits.
U.S. Term Limits announced this week that it has presented Corcoran with the Champion of Term Limits Award. The Land O’Lakes Republican was honored for his commitment to term limits and citizen government.
“By supporting term limits, Speaker Corcoran has given a voice to Floridians who feel let down by corruption and careerism in government,” said Philip Blumel, the president of U.S. Term Limits. “People are tired of business as usual and term limits is the only way to change the status quo. We applaud Corcoran for his important

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Rick Scott signs death penalty fix into law

Monday, March 13th, 2017
Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation Monday requiring a unanimous jury recommendation before the death penalty can be imposed.
Lawmakers passed the bill out of the House and Senate last week, rushing the measure through the process in hopes of fixing the state’s death penalty law. The House voted 112-3 to approve the measure Friday, one day after the Senate voted unanimously to approve it.
The U.S. Supreme Court in January 2016 declared the state’s death penalty was unconstitutional because it gave too much power to judges to make the ultimate decision. The ruling was based on a case where a judge

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Florida’s unemployment rate ticks up to 5% in January

Monday, March 13th, 2017
Florida’s unemployment rate ticked up in January, reaching 5 percent for the first time in a year.
The January unemployment rate marks a slight uptick from December, when state officials reported an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. The statewide rate is higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.8 percent.
Despite the increase in the unemployment rate, Gov. Rick Scott lauded private sector employers Monday for creating more than 50,000 jobs in January.
The governor made the monthly jobs announcement at Herc Rentals in Bonita Springs, and used his appearance to once again take aim at lawmakers who voted to support a

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Report: Senate could consider changing way nursing homes are paid

Friday, March 10th, 2017
A change how the state’s nursing homes that accept Medicaid are paid is still being mulled in the Senate.
According to POLITICO Florida, Senate President Joe Negron said his chamber is still changing the system from a cost-based system to a prospective payment plan. Negron said the issue is still being discussed by senators, and he expects it’s “going to be considered in the Senate.”
The House Health Care Appropriations Committee Chairman Jason Brodeur said last month he wouldn’t move forward with recommendations in a report, saying they wouldn’t pursue it this session.
Under the plan, the state would pay nursing homes

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Sponsor proposes changes to VISIT FLORIDA bill

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
As the House gets ready to start considering a bill to overhaul VISIT FLORIDA, its sponsor filed an amendment to dilute some of its strict requirements.
The measure (HB 9) will be on the House floor today (Thursday) for questions. Rep. Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, filed the amendment Tuesday, records show.
It would impose new reporting requirements on the state’s tourism marketing agency only when a project it funds is slated to get over 50 percent of its budget “from funds derived from a tax.” The bill now applies to deals that involve any amount of public

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Darryl Rouson, Lori Berman urge Florida to become a ‘Tobacco 21’ state

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
Two Florida lawmakers want to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco in the Sunshine State.
Sen. Darrly Rouson and Rep. Lori Berman held a press conference Thursday to tout legislation they filed to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21. The proposals (SB 1138 and HB 1093), lawmakers said, would help lower the number of young adults who become addicted to tobacco and cut down on the state’s leading cause of preventable death.
“I’ve seen many struggles with addiction and its consequences,” said Rouson. “I believe we should firmly protect the youth and teens of this state from the

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Report: Richard Corcoran urges Democratic support of Enterprise Florida bill

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
House Speaker Richard Corcoran is asking for Democrats support to legislation that would abolish Enterprise Florida, saying if Democrats join the House will be able to override Gov. Rick Scott’s expected veto of the bill.
POLITICO Florida reported that Corcoran asked Democrats for their help to “get a veto-proof majority” during a House Democrats dinner.
The dinner came on the eve of the bill (HB 7005) first hearing by the full House. The House is also expected to discuss a bill (HB 9) today that would tighten restrictions on Visit Florida, the state’s tourism marketing agency, when it goes into session

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Florida House faults universities over salaries and spending

Thursday, March 9th, 2017
A top Florida House Republican says that state universities are spending way too much money inappropriately and that they don’t need more help from taxpayers.
State Rep. Carlos Trujillo also suggested Wednesday that legislators may need to look at how much university presidents are paid, as well as even how much football and basketball coaches are paid. The Miami Republican and House budget chief said too many people work for universities or university foundations who earn more than $200,000 a year.
The House is scrutinizing university spending at the same time that the Florida Senate is poised to approve a major

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Mandatory recess bill sails through second Senate committee

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
Call it another small victory for recess.
The Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved a bill (SB 78) requiring school districts to provide at least 100 minutes of supervised, unstructured free play each week — or 20 minutes of free play each week — to students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
While the bill received strong support from the committee, some members expressed concern they were issuing a mandate to local school districts.
“Who can be against recess? I loved it. It was one of my favorite portions of the day, and I was pretty good (at it),” said Sen. Doug Broxson.

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Jack Latvala, Kathleen Peters file beach renourishment bill

Friday, March 3rd, 2017
The state’s sandy shores have a powerful ally in the Florida Legislature.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala announced Friday he filed legislation aimed at saving the state’s beaches from continued erosion. The proposal (SB 1590) would, among other things, dedicate a minimum of $50 million a year to beach nourishment and inlet management restoration projects in Florida.
The proposal also adds transparency and accountability measures to the use of state funds; directs the Department of Environmental Protection to develop a new three-year work plan for beach repair, similar to the Department of Transportation’s five-year work plan; and refocuses attention on effective

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Jeff Brandes files bill to create affordable housing task force

Friday, February 10th, 2017
A Senate bill filed this week would create a task force to address the state’s affordable housing needs.
The bill (SB 854), filed Friday by Sen. Jeff Brandes, would create an affordable housing task force assigned to the Florida Housing Finance Corp. According to the St. Petersburg Republican’s proposal, the task force would be charged with “developing recommendations for addressing the state’s affordable housing needs.”
With an another 5 million people expected to be living in Florida by 2030, Brandes said he filed the bill because he thinks there needs to be discussion about how the state approaches workforce housing and

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Aaron Bean files bill focused on nursing home Medicaid reimbursement rates

Thursday, February 9th, 2017
Industry advocates said a Senate proposal filed this week could change the way nursing homes that accept Medicaid are paid without severely impacting high quality nursing homes.
Sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, the bill (SB 712) transitions nursing homes that accept Medicaid payments to a prospective payment system. But LeadingAge Florida CEO Steve Bahmer said Bean’s bill “creates a better way to pay for care without devastating the highest quality” homes, unlike a model recently put forth by consultants.
The Florida Legislature OK’d legislation in 2016 set aside $500,000 for a study to develop a proposal to convert Medicaid payments for

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House members’ project bills would add $708 million to state budget

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
House members had filed 319 bills seeking money for local projects as the deadline for such legislation fell Monday. They would cost more than $708 million if enacted.
Under rules approved when Richard Corcoran assumed the speakership, members must file a specific bill describing each project they hope to insert into the state budget. The idea is to get away from secretive logrolling late during sessions.
According to House Rule 5.14, in order for a project to be included in the House budget, it must be filed as a stand-alone bill, favorably considered in committee, and made with non-recurring appropriations.
According to

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House to consider proposed committee bill to eliminate Enterprise Florida

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
The Florida House has fired back, filing a proposed committee bill this week completely eliminate Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private jobs agency.
The proposed committee bill (PCB CCS 17-01) would, among other things, abolish Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida, two organizations which have drawn the ire of House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
The bill, which is expected to be discussed during Wednesday’s House Careers & Competition Subcommittee meeting, comes as Gov. Rick Scott makes some of his strongest criticisms to date about the House’s position on incentives and Visit Florida.
“If you don’t support Enterprise Florida, if you don’t support Visit Florida, then

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Florida House to mull ‘ban the box’ bills

Thursday, January 26th, 2017
There is a movement afoot in the United States to allow reformed criminals to have a second chance, and a couple of bills in the Florida House could be part of that.
Earlier this month, Rep. Shervin Jones filed House Bill 31, which would remove the requirement on job applications for an applicant to disclose whether he or she has ever been convicted of a felony.
Employers would have recourse to a background check later in the process, but the initial screening wouldn’t be scuttled by an initial conviction.
“I firmly believe that automatically denying someone an interview based on their previous actions

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Drug Free America urges caution as lawmakers discuss Amendment 2 implementation

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017
Drug Free America is urging Florida lawmakers to “proceed with caution” as they begin crafting legislation to implement the state’s newest medical marijuana law.
“While we were opposed to Amendment 2 for a number of specific reasons, we recognize Florida voters have spoken,” said Calvina Fay, the executive director of Drug Free America, in a statement. “We also recognize lawmakers will soon convene and consider implementing language … that will dictate policy for generations to come. We strongly urge them to exercise extreme caution moving forward.
On Thursday, Sen. Rob Bradley filed Senate Bill 406, the Amendment 2 implementing bill. The bill comes just days after

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Mandatory overdose reporting bill filed in Florida House

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017
A bill codifying statewide standards for the reporting of drug overdoses was filed in the Florida House Tuesday, a response to the opioid epidemic.
House Bill 249, filed by Southwest Florida Republican Bob Rommel, requires certain people to report overdoses to authorities in their respective counties.
Failure to report is not an option, according to the bill, which offers “immunity” to those who report overdoses in good faith.
Overdoses, claims Rommel in the bill language, present a “crisis” with impacts on the financial, health care, and public safety spheres.
This crisis is exacerbated by a lack of “central databases” and “quick data collection,” the

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House civil justice subcommittee takes up judicial term limits

Thursday, January 12th, 2017
A House panel began talking Thursday about imposing term limits on judges — and also reviewed how quickly the courts are clearing their caseloads.
Judicial term limits failed in the Legislature last year, but House Speaker Richard Corcoran has declared the issue an important priority.
Heather Fitzenhagen, chairwoman of the Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee, said she has not yet taken a position.
She rejected a suggestion that House Republicans want to publish the Florida Supreme Court for rulings striking down GOP priority legislation.
“Absolutely not. What we’re trying to do is the people’s business and making sure that all of our branches of

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EMTeLink hires David Bishop as legislative lobbyist

Thursday, January 12th, 2017
EMTeLINK, a leading medical information company, has enlisted the help of Solaris Consulting.
David Bishop, the president of Solaris Consulting, registered as a lobbyist to represent EMTeLink on Dec. 13
A technology company, EMTeLINK provides first responders with information patients medical conditions in the event of an emergency. The technology allows first responders and medical technicians to access a patient’s medical information with the patient’s driver’s license.
The company allows families and individuals to store emergency contacts and medical histories, including medications and allergies.
State records show Richard Watson with Richard Watson & Associates was also registered as a lobbyist to represent the

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Ray Rodrigues: House bill won’t include tax on medical marijuana

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
The Florida House will push to make medical marijuana tax exempt, according the sponsor of the yet-to-be filed bill implementing Amendment 2.
While lawmakers are in the early stages of drafting an implementing bill, House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues said the House does not plan to include a tax on medical marijuana in its proposal. The Estero Republican will be sponsoring the House bill during the 2017 Legislative Session.
“Obviously our goal is to honor the intent of the constitutional amendment that more than 70 percent of Florida voters approved,” said Rodrigues. “The only thing I can firmly commit to is,

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Rick Scott selects Matilde Miller to serve as interim DBPR secretary

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
Matilde Miller will take the helm of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation — at least temporarily.
Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday Miller was named the interim secretary of DBPR, replacing former Secretary Ken Lawson.
“Matilde has spent many years at DBPR serving in numerous leadership positions and understands how important it is to help businesses open and create jobs in our state,” said Scott in a statement. “Like Secretary Lawson, she will focus on reducing burdensome regulations and fees that make it harder for job creators to succeed in Florida. She has extensive legislative experience and relationships and I am confident

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Seminole Compact, other gambling issues expected to be top priority in House Commerce committee

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
The House Commerce Committee is poised to tackle everything from assignment of benefits to economic incentives, but it’s the most narrowly defined subcommittee that could be the busiest in the months leading up to, and during, the 2017 Legislative Session.
The full House Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, met Tuesday morning to get an overview of topics expected to come up in the upcoming 60-day legislative session.
“So it begins,” said Diaz. “We’re going to be busy. We will be dealing with some of the weightiest issues of the state.”
While each of the subcommittees laid out what could

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Anitere Flores files bill aimed a decriminalizing youth

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
Sen. Anitere Flores has filed a bill to decriminalize youthful transgressions, a top priority for Senate President Joe Negron.
Flores, a Miami Republican and the Senate President Pro Tempore, filed Senate Bill 196 on Tuesday. The measure allows law enforcement officers to issue juveniles who admit to committing a first-time misdemeanor a civil citation or require the child to participate in a diversion program.
Under the proposal, law enforcement officers could issue civil citations or require a juvenile to participate in a diversion program for several misdemeanor offenses, including possession of alcohol, criminal mischief, and disorderly conduct.
According to a draft of

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Emily Slosberg files bill to strengthen texting while driving law

Monday, December 12th, 2016
State lawmakers will once again try to strengthen the state’s texting while driving during the 2017 Legislative Session.
Two bills have already been filed in the Florida House aimed at beefing up the state’s texting while driving ban. The first — House Bill 47, sponsored by Reps. Richard Stark and Emily Slosberg — removes language from state law that makes texting while driving a secondary offense, and increase penalties for someone caught using their device in a school zone.
The second bill — House Bill 69, sponsored by Slosberg — makes texting while driving a primary offense for juvenile drivers.
The state OK’d

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Supreme Court won’t hear David Rivera’s appeal in ethics case

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016
The Florida Supreme Court has declined to hear former Florida House member David Rivera’s appeal of a recommendation he pay nearly $60,000 in penalties for alleged ethical violations.
Chief Justice Jorge Larbarga and justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince and James E.C. Perry signed an order dated Tuesday declining to hear the case. Justice Fred Lewis voted to consider the appeal.
Justices Charles Canady and Ricky Polston did not participate.
Rivera, of Miami, left the Legislature in 2010 and served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He lost an attempt to win re-election to the Florida House this year.
Also in 2010, the Florida Commission

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House freshmen get schooled on how a state budget becomes law

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
Florida House freshmen attended an introductory course to writing a state budget Tuesday. They learned that the process gives them sweeping authority, but within the limits of fiscal reality.
At present, Florida government is running a $3 billion reserve within a total budget of around $83.5 billion. But if spending continues at existing levels, that reserve will fall by half by this time next year.
And if that happens, the state will find it impossible to maintain its ability to borrow and its cash-flow obligations, while still providing services to the public, House Appropriations Committee chairman Carlos Trujillo said.
“The most important

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This is your Florida House — men, whites, youth have the numbers

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
The Florida House is 76 percent male, 66 percent white, and has an awful lot of newcomers this year, according to data released by the Majority Office.
The Republican caucus is 82 percent male and overwhelmingly white, also at 82 percent, with 17 percent Hispanic and 1 percent African-American.
That last would be Rep. Byron Donalds, representing Hendry and Collier counties.
The 41-member Democratic caucus is 63 percent male, and nearly half — 49 percent — are African-American. Whites comprise 34 percent of the caucus, and Hispanics 17 percent.
Numbers reflect power. Although House Speaker Richard Corcoran has named Miami Representative Jeanette Nunez

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Anitere Flores to push for mandatory recess during 2017 session

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
A push for mandatory play time at Florida’s elementary schools will once again be on the agenda during the 2017 legislative session.
Sen. Anitere Flores filed legislation Tuesday that would require school to provide “at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free play recess” each week. The mandatory recess would apply to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and would break down to at least 20 minutes each school day.
The bill, Senate Bill 78, is similar to a bill that moved through the Legislature during the 2016 legislative session. That bill received overwhelming support in the Florida House,

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Anitere Flores to push for mandatory recess during 2017 session

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
A push for mandatory play time at Florida’s elementary schools will once again be on the agenda during the 2017 legislative session.
Sen. Anitere Flores filed legislation Tuesday that would require school to provide “at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free play recess” each week. The mandatory recess would apply to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and would break down to at least 20 minutes each school day.
The bill, Senate Bill 78, is similar to a bill that moved through the Legislature during the 2016 legislative session. That bill received overwhelming support in the Florida House,

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Richard Corcoran: In the House, “We are very, very conservative”

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
The Capitol Press Corps got its first scolding, albeit a gentle one, from Richard Corcoran last week.
The new House Speaker was repeatedly asked during a news conference about how Senate President Joe Negron‘s priorities during the coming legislative session might conflict with his own.
“You people are so conditioned and trained. But so are we — I don’t fault you,” he said after the House’s Organization Session.
“There are 160 legislators. We’ve got to move past, ‘this is a speaker’s priority; this is a Senate president’s priority.’ They ought to be corporate priorities of both chambers.”
The old way of doing things — powerful legislative leaders imposing

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