2015 Legislative News

Judge orders overhaul of Florida districts

A Florida judge called Friday for a sweeping overhaul of the state's 27 congressional districts, including those of Jacksonville Congresswoman Corrine Brown and a central Florida Republican seeking to become the next U.S. House speaker.

DCF, senators eye ways to bolster child protection

The chief of the Florida Department of Children and Families told lawmakers Thursday his agency is making progress at carrying out reforms but still has a long way to go.

Mindy Miller/University of Florida

Senate panel wants answers from DOH on children's health programs

A Florida Senate panel on Wednesday demanded answers from a state Department of Health official about how many special-needs children have recently lost services as the state transitions to a new Medicaid system -- and why.

House looks at swapping property taxes, sales taxes

A House committee is looking at ways to replace property taxes with a higher state sales tax.

Complaints continue about unemployment website

Lawmakers said Wednesday that Floridians continue to report problems with the state's 2-year-old unemployment benefits website, which Gov. Rick Scott's jobs chief maintains is threatened by fraud.

Protection for clergy to preserve faith?

Amid signs of distrust on both sides of the emotionally charged issue, the House Civil Justice Subcommittee voted along party lines Wednesday to approve a bill that would allow pastors to refuse to officiate at weddings that violate their religious beliefs.

Cloudy timeline for medical marijuana leads to frustration

With the Department of Health unable to say when licenses will be issued in the state's new medical-marijuana industry, a House Republican on Tuesday blasted delays in carrying out a 2014 law billed as helping children with severe epilepsy.

Open-carry gun bill bangs into business concerns

Floridians permitted to carry concealed handguns would be able to display firearms on the outside of their clothes, under a measure that cleared its first House committee Tuesday.

Backyard gun range bill gets go-ahead

Trying to address issues such as backyard gun ranges, a Senate panel Tuesday approved a bill (SB 130) that would put restrictions on people who recreationally fire weapons in residential areas.

Employee social media privacy gets backing

Most employees and job seekers could refuse to turn over private user names and passwords for social media sites without retribution, under a revived measure approved by a Senate panel Monday.

Senate committee buys into back-to-school 'tax holiday'

A measure to again give Florida shoppers a 10-day "sales-tax holiday" on back-to-school items easily won support Monday in its first Senate committee.

Legislature sets 19-day special session

Leaders with the Florida Legislature are moving ahead with plans to hold a 19-day special session this fall.