In The News Today – January 30, 2016 Legislative Review

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FLORIDA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

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Sun Sentinel: Legislature must continue to give Florida kids a healthy chance

With the culmination of Children’s Week in Tallahassee, I am reminded of the number of children who still don’t have access to quality health care. More than 377,000 Florida children are uninsured, and about 28,673 of those children live in Palm Beach County, which has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the nation’s top 20 counties with the highest number of children without health insurance.

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FSRN: Florida legislature takes up several bills to restrict abortion, including measures before Supreme Court

This week the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider reviving what would have been the most restrictive abortion law in the country – North Dakota’s so-called “Fetal Heartbeat Law.” The law would have banned abortions so early in gestation that many women would not even know they were pregnant yet.

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WINK: Florida legislators promise to keep death penalty, fix law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Saying it’s time to put the “death penalty” debate to rest, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature began taking its first steps Wednesday to find a way to preserve executions in the state.

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Tampa Bay Times: ICYMI: Florida Legislature looking at smaller school districts

Lawmakers are in the early stages of exploring a drastic overhaul to how public schools are locally governed in Florida, which some superintendents and school board officials say could have severe consequences on equitable funding and educational opportunities for 2.8 million schoolchildren.

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Palm Beach Post: Bills in Florida Legislature cloaked as women’s health measures are really attacks on abortion

Two bills are advancing in the Florida Legislature that purport to protect women’s health. One would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as outpatient surgical centers. The other: that doctors who perform second-trimester abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 minutes of the clinic.

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Southeast AGNET: Florida Legislature Working on Pesticide Registration Bill

One bill of interest to agriculture in this year’s Florida legislative Session is House Bill 4035, the Pesticide Registration Bill. It did pass in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee by a vote of 13-0 and now is in the State Affairs Committee.

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WFSU: Florida Legislature Takes New Look At Property Taxes

Property taxes for homeowners and businesses could be heading to a ballot near you. The Republican-led legislature is looking to tighten the state’s homestead amendment and extend some tax cuts given to manufacturers.

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WMFE: WILL THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE REGULATE TELEHEALTH?

Florida doctors are already practicing telehealth without a regulatory system in place, but most insurance companies don’t cover the visits. Some telehealth supporters are drafting proposals that state lawmakers could consider during regular session in January, but so far, none have passed muster.

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Palm Beach Post: Bill would force police to test evidence kits from rapes in 21 days

TALLAHASSEE — Plans to speed up DNA testing in suspected rape cases are moving in the Legislature, following revelations that thousands of evidence kits remain untested statewide.

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Florida Politics: BILL THAT CUTS TIES WITH ANTI-ISRAELI BOYCOTTERS FLIES THROUGH FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

A Bill (HB 527) sponsored by Melbourne Republican Ritch Workman that would prevent state funding from flowing to organizations that boycott or have divested from Israel on human rights grounds passed unanimously… Laila Abdelaziz, the Legislative and Gov. Affairs director with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), said the bill violates the First Amendment, and cited how when the Legislature passed a similar measure punishing companies that did business with Cuba back in 2012, it was struck down by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as being unconstitutional.

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Sun Sentinel: Consumer confidence dips in Florida

Florida residents have become less confident about the economy, according a University of Florida survey released Friday.

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Think Progress: Local Governments In Florida May No Longer Be Able To Ban Fracking In Their Communities

This week, the Florida House approved a bill that would allow fracking to take place throughout the state as early as 2017, following an inquiry into the environmental and health impacts of the practice. The bill does not require fracking companies to disclose the chemicals or potential carcinogens used in the process, however, and includes a ban on local communities banning the practice entirely.

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POLITICO Florida: Nearly $800M separates House, Senate economic development budgets

TALLAHASSEE — The Senate’s transportation and economic development budget is nearly $800 million larger than the plan put forward by the House, a difference that will no doubt be one of the last issues debated during the final weeks of the legislative session.

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Naples Daily News: House, Senate disagreement means open carry bill likely dead

TALLAHASSEE — A bill that would allow holders of concealed weapon permits to openly carry handguns is likely dead this session with strong disagreement between the House and Senate over how far the proposal should go.

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TC Palm: Proposal still uses Amendment 1 money for routine expenses

TALLAHASSEE — A land and water conservation fund would continue to pay for routine expenses such as vehicle purchases under a proposal unveiled Thursday, despite two pending lawsuits over the issue.

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Palm Beach Post: Florida Senate signs off on DEP secretary

TALLAHASSEE — The Senate confirmed Gov. Rick Scott’s environmental secretary Thursday after Democrats argued the Florida Department of Environmental Protection isn’t following its “core mission.”

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Tampa Bay Tomes: Florida Senate approves major change to state’s 10-20-Life law

A unanimous Florida Senate on Thursday removed the crime of aggravated assault from the list of gun-related crimes that require an automatic 20-year prison sentence under a law known as 10-20-Life.

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POLITICO Florida: On all-payer claims database, Senate budget contradicts transparency bill

TALLAHASSEE — The House and Senate transparency bills would both bar the state from implementing an all-payer claims database — but despite the prohibition, the Senate spending plan Sen. Rene Garcia unveiled Thursday includes $4.5 million to fund one.

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Palm Beach Post: Bill that would let people break into cars to save pets goes to Scott

Florida senators Thursday gave final approval to a bill that would provide legal protections to good Samaritans who break into locked cars to rescue vulnerable animals and people.

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