Florida has always been a state to watch, if only as a guilty pleasure or perhaps in self-defense. But some major political stars are aligning and the pundits are beginning to agree, Florida will really be a State To Watch from now at least through the 2016 election.
The personalities-of-the moment are here. The game-changing demographics are here. And the Florida stage is set for epic -- and deeply symbolic -- political confrontations.
Last week, watchdog group Integrity Florida released a report that concluded questionable bonuses, conflicts of interest and a 'pay to play' mentality was hampering the efforts of Enterprise Florida, Florida's public-private job development agency. The increased scrutiny of what the state pays to lure companies to Florida come as lawmakers start to lay the foundation for the coming year's budget, against a backdrop of the governor's request for more spending on economic development.
Gov. Rick Scott's aggressive economic development effort got more legislative pushback Tuesday as budget committees in both chambers questioned the direction, expense and oversight of the governor's "jobs, jobs, jobs" agenda.
After heavy scrutiny, the state plans to change the way it determines the home-based services that will be provided to children with highly complex medical needs. The proposed changes, which would affect about 1,600 children a year, are expected to take effect within three months.
Trying to prevent what one official described as "white-knuckle moments" for families, the state plans to change the way it determines the home-based services that will be provided to children with highly complex medical needs.
The proposed changes, which will be published Monday, include assigning care coordinators for all children who receive private-duty nursing services through the Medicaid program. The state Agency for Health Care Administration says the move is designed to make sure children have full access to services at home and in their communities.
If Gov. Rick Scott's proposed $74.2 billion budget passes the Legislature intact, it would include $75 million for conservation land projects spearheaded by the Florida Forever Coalition. The 2013-2014 budget also includes $60 million for Everglades restoration and $6.5 million for restoring springs.
State lawmakers will not decide whether to abolish the death penalty this year. Rejecting cost, fairness and morality arguments, a House criminal justice subcommittee on Thursday voted down a bill to abolish capital punishment in Florida.
The vote was largely along party lines, with the majority Republicans voting in favor of preserving the death penalty.
The price of property insurance in Florida keeps going up -- such that some homeowners are getting second mortgages or dropping coverage all together. The state created Citizens Property Insurance to be the insurer of last resort for Florida homeowners. But plans to shrink Citizens by loaning money to private insurance companies and allegations of corporate misconduct have sparked outcries by some state officials and the public alike.
In Tallahassee, a series of proposals to repair the state election system is finding broad support in the Legislature that many say broke the voting process two years ago.
A Senate bill instituting one of the reforms proposed by Secretary of State Ken Detzner has already been filed and there are clear signals from a House elections subcommittee that it will prepare a bill to launch the rest of them.
TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott unveiled a record-breaking $74.2 billion budget Thursday, pouring hundreds of millions of additional dollars into public schools, colleges and universities in a proposal that Democrats knocked as a public-relations gimmick.
Scott's plan would boost spending by almost $4 billion in the coming budget year, which begins July 1, with much of the increase heading to education. He said the bump reflected more incoming tax revenue brought on by an economic recovery after the fallout from the Great Recession clouded the budgets of his first two years.
Redistricting last year may have had a role in making it more difficult for PIN members to name their state legislators. Above, a map showing pre-redistricting Senate district boundaries (in red) and current Senate district boundaries (in black).
The state Legislature, perhaps more than Congress, passes laws that have a direct impact on the day-to-day life of a Floridian: how much you pay in sales tax, how much time you have to vote, how you obtain a gun.
Tallahassee is in our lives every day. It's only 480 miles away. And yet, for many in South Florida, it might as well be on another continent.
Governor Rick Scott was at Miami-Dade College's North campus today to announce that eleven more state colleges have accepted his challenge to create bachelor’s degree programs costing $10,000 or less.
That means all 23 Florida state colleges offering four-year degrees have signed on.
Broward College is developing a bachelor's degree program in teacher education and business. President David Armstrong told the News Service of Florida that the goal is to open doors for more students.