Florida Legislature

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At the Statehouse, major legislation intended to shield businesses and health care providers from lawsuits related to COVID-19 is headed to the full Senate after its Rules Committee this week merged two bills into one lengthy proposal.

One bill dealt with liability of health-care providers; the other initially deals only with liability of non-health care businesses. Sponsor Jeff Brandes (BRAND - iss) describes the decision to roll the bills into one measure as a strategic move, as negotiations move forward with House leaders.

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When the 2021 legislative session is gaveled in, a House committee will take up a proposal that targets large social media companies that block users from their platforms.

Florida House of Representatives

State lawmakers are preparing for the 2021 Florida legislative session. District 2 Representative Alex Andrade shared his thoughts on this year’s priorities and challenges.

“The elephant in the room obviously is the budget crunch we’ll be facing this year," he said. We’ll be looking at between a $2 and $4 billion loss to revenue that the Florida legislature is going to have to figure out how to balance." 

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Florida lawmakers are gearing up for the 2021 regular session, with a full plate awaiting them in Tallahassee. WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody spoke with two members of the local delegation –first up, a veteran state legislator.

Doug Broxson, a Republican from Gulf Breeze, is beginning his second term in Florida Senate District-1, after defeating Democratic challenger Karen Butler in November. Prior to that, he served two terms in the House. 

Governor’s Press Office

Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered his State of the State address to the Florida Legislature Tuesday, on day one of the 2020 regular session.  

Lawmakers are getting an early start – January rather than March -- because it’s a presidential election year, and the Florida primary is set for March 17.

“For everything there is a season, and this is Florida’s season of opportunity,” said the governor. Speaking to the joint legislative session, the governor began by quoting the Book of Ecclesiastes -- and the Byrds.

Governor Rick Scott is ordering the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, regarding the shooting at Marjory Stone Douglas High School in Parkland.  

Seventeen people were killed in the attack. The sheriff's office is under scrutiny after veteran Deputy Scot Peterson, who was assigned to the school, did not confront suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz, and for failing to submit reports of tipster calls before the shooting.

U.S. Air Force

Resolutions are being introduced in both houses of the Florida Legislature, aimed at keeping the eastern Gulf of Mexico open for military training.

At issue is a long-time moratorium against oil drilling in that part of the Gulf. State Sen. Doug Broxson (R-Gulf Breeze) is the sponsor of Senate Resolution 550. He says there’s pressure from big oil to open up the area.

Northwest Florida projects targeted to get money from the Deepwater Horizon settlement would first require the blessings of the Governor and Legislature under a bill proposed by a house committee.

Florida is in line to receive up to $2 billion from BP’s settlement resolving Gulf Coast economic claims arising from the 2010 oil spill. The state received $400 million last year, with $107 million a year on the way from 2019-33.

mediatrackers.org

When the Florida Legislature kicks off the 2017 session on March 7, a full plate will greet them at the Statehouse.

Hall of Fame baseball manager Casey Stengel once said: “Never make predictions, especially about the future.”

But, here we go anyway.

billfetke.com

Next up in our visits with those running for local political offices, WUWF sits down with Bill Fetke – an NPA candidate or Florida House District-1.

Bill Fetke is a native of Chicago, and moved to the Pensacola area in 2003, opening a pair of health care-related businesses in District-1 – a pediatric clinic and medical billing firm. His original interest in seeking public office began about two years ago, but gave way to focusing on his businesses.

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“Everything went well,” Jesse Scott said with relief, as he walked out of his interview at CareerSource Capital Region, an employment and training center in Tallahassee.

“There's a lot of people that live on [the] edge. Many Floridians do base their livelihood on making a 40-hour work week each week,” Scott said. “If something interrupts that, you can fall between the cracks.”

Gov. Rick Scott delivered his sixth State of the State speech as the legislative session kicked off Tuesday morning. It was focused almost entirely on creating jobs and cutting taxes.

Both of Scott’s campaigns and all five of his previous State of the State speeches have centered on job creation, a point so noted in his prepared remarks.

Florida lawmakers are kicking off the 2016 session Tuesday hoping to avoid the chaos of 2015, when the House and Senate had a tough time agreeing on anything. State Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) is term limited and serving in his final session.

Ethics Reform at the Grassroots:

Photo via Flickr// Alberto G. / https://flic.kr/p/9UnRWS

On a 6-1 vote this week, the Florida Board of Education approved Education Commissioner Pam Stewart’s test score and school grade proposals. But other proposals are expected to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session.

Board members considered where to set two critical benchmarks of the state's education accountability system: "cut scores" that determine the levels of achievement students get based on their performances on standardized tests, and the school grades tied to how well students do on those tests. Stewart calls it the “right approach and right balance.”

In this week’s Economic Report, Dr. Rick Harper discusses the next meeting of Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.  It will be held on Wednesday, October 28, 9 a.m. – noon at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort Bayside Ballroom at 160 Sandestin Blvd. N., Miramar Beach, Florida, 32550.

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