Florida’s ‘anti-riot’ bill faces uncertain fate in Senate
With the number of weeks left before the Legislature’s scheduled adjournment in the final week of April, lawmakers also are beginning to tackle the state budget with more urgency. But proposals like the anti-riot bill are consuming much of the air in the Florida statehouse this session. The measure could spawn an interesting dynamic in the state Senate, where it has yet to get a hearing. The House passed the measure Friday, with the Republican majority arguing that the measure was needed to preserve law and order. Another House committee is taking up a proposal that would abolish the state’s Constitution Revision Commission.
Plan to revamp Bright Futures scholarship clears first hurdle in Florida Senate
The proposal (SB 86), sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, advanced from the Republican-controlled Senate Education Committee in a 5-4 party-line vote. An amendment adopted by the committee changed the proposal from completely cutting Bright Futures aid for certain majors to reducing the scholarship amounts awarded to students. “We are still concerned about the repeal of the promise to pay either 100 or 75 percent of student and fees for Bright Futures students. Any cuts for Bright Futures will make it harder for students to reach their goals” said Alexandra Valdes, student-body president at Florida International University. The proposal also would create the Florida Bright Opportunities Grant Program, aimed at helping pay tuition and fees for students eligible for need-based Pell grants.
Sophia’s Law passes Florida House subcommittee vote, moving closer to becoming law
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Legislation proposed after a 12-year-old Satellite Beach girl was killed as she used a crosswalk passed another vote Tuesday in Tallahassee, taking one step closer to becoming law. Sophia Nelson was crossing at State Road A1A and Ellwood Avenue on Dec. 22, 2019 when she was struck by a vehicle, according to a Satellite Beach police report. Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, and Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, filed House Bill 1371, known as the Sophia Nelson Pedestrian Safety Act. Named after a Satellite Beach girl killed crossing A1A, “The Sofia Nelson Pedestrian Safety Act” passes a legislature meeting. @VoteRandyFine wants midblock crosswalks to have flashing lights changed from yellow to red or to remove the yellow lights.
Florida legislation aims to legalize cannabis for adults, review pot-related convictions
Could Florida be the next state to legalize marijuana in 2022? There are a number of related bills in both the House and Senate taking aim at how Florida handles pot-related crimes. Under House Bill 189 and Senate Bill 712, individuals with certain marijuana-related crimes would be able to petition the court to expunge their criminal history. It's past time to legalize cannabis for responsible adults, let small businesses into the industry AND use the additional revenue to offset unnecessary cuts to our public schools in the budget year!! https://t.co/ovlnsgm6Bh — Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) January 22, 2021In 2016, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana.
Florida Senate releases sweeping school choice proposal
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Republican legislative leaders are lauding a sweeping school-choice measure filed Thursday, while Senate Democrats have vowed to “fight like hell” against the proposal. Diaz’s proposal (SB 48) would expand the existing Family Empowerment Scholarship, which currently serves middle- and low-income students, in part by combining it with the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship. The Senate proposal also would establish the “Gardiner-McKay Scholarship,” by combining two existing voucher programs that serve students with special needs. The state currently has “a pretty confusing system of scholarship programs with various eligibility and funding mechanisms,” Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, said in a press release on Thursday. Step Up for Students, a nonprofit organization that helps administer two of the state’s existing voucher programs, also is backing Diaz’s proposal.
‘Enforcement time’ is here for Florida’s texting and driving law
“Enforcement time” has come for motorists caught texting and driving by Florida Highway Patrol troopers. Starting Wednesday, the highway patrol will join other law-enforcement agencies in issuing tickets, instead of warnings, to motorists stopped for texting while driving. But the new law (HB 107) made it a “primary” offense, allowing police to pull over motorists for texting behind the wheel. --- A new law (HB 831) requires health care practitioners to transmit prescriptions electronically, with certain exceptions. --- A new law (HB 427), establishes the Honor and Remember Flag, which will honor members of the military who have died in the line of duty.