Rep. Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, has won the race for speaker of the Florida House in the 2022-2024 term.
Renner, who was elected to the House in a 2014 special election, beat out Tampa Rep. Jamie Grant for the designation as speaker in a first round of voting by their fellow freshman members of the House, the Times-Union's Tia Mitchell reports....
06/30/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Opioids, mostly heroin and fentanyl, killed an average of 14 people a day in Florida during the first half of 2016.
At that rate, based on data released in May by the state's medical examiners, last year's fatal overdoses are on track to rise by a record 36 percent.
It's a cruel reversal of fortunes for Florida, which from 2010 to 2013 witnessed the steady decline of opioid deaths as the state closed "pill mills" — pain clinics that recklessly handed out drug prescriptions....
In a new ranking of their voting records on open-government issues, the Florida Society of News Editors has bad news for state lawmakers.
Most of them don’t score very well.
The group, made up of three dozen Florida news organizations including the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald, published a scorecard this weekend based on a review of how all 160 members of the Florida Legislature voted during the spring session....
06/23/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.
Lawmakers passed the measure, SB 8A, in a special session after failing in their regular session that ended in May to implement a constitutional amendment legalizing the drug, which was supported by 71 percent of voters last year....
Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.
Lawmakers passed the measure (SB 8A) in a special session after failing in their regular session early this year, to implement a constitutional amendment legalizing the drug, which was supported the will of 71 percent of voters....
In the wake of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last year, Gov. Rick Scott’s staff told LGBTQ rights activists in backroom meetings that he would sign an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in state hiring and contracting.
One year later, it’s a promise Scott hasn’t kept, says state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat and former lobbyist for Equality Florida, which advocates on behalf of Florida’s LGBTQ community....
Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law tough, new minimum mandatory prison sentences for people cought with more than 4 grams of deadly fentanyl or carfentanil.
The measure (HB 477), which passed in the final days of the legislative session, is meant to target drug traffickers and curb the opioid epidemic that is sweeping through parts of the state.
It was one of 28 bills Scott signed Wednesday....
Thursday night, the state's most famous liberal trial lawyer will raise money for the conservative Republican speaker of the House.
At the Orlando home of one of his firm's lawyers, John Morgan will be on hand to raise money for Watchdog PAC, a new committee that Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, founded last month.
The men are friends, as they've reminded people in the past. And in recent weeks, they have been in touch about one of Morgan's pet issues, medical marijuana, as the House and Senate negotiated legislation putting into effect Amendment 2, the Morgan-funded, voter-approved mandate giving some patients access to the drug....
The end of session last month brought the first chance for some of the highest-power candidates for the Florida Cabinet to raise funds.
With all three Cabinet seats open in the 2018 election, would-be attorneys general, commissioners of agriculture and chief financial officers posted May fundraising numbers meant to intimidate.
Though the full field of candidates are still forming, here’s a rundown of May numbers for those who have declared....
Citrus grower and former state Rep. Baxter Troutman is joining the growing field vying for commissioner of agriculture.
The Winter Haven Republican served in the House from 2002 to 2010. He opened his campaign account Monday with a $2.5 million personal contribution, his campaign said.
"Every corner of this great state feels the practical and economic impact of agriculture, and we simply cannot afford someone in this important leadership position who doesn’t understand how to make it work for taxpayers," Troutman said in a statement....
State Rep. Janet Cruz, the Democratic leader of the Florida House, sounds like she’s going to run for Hillsborough County Commission next year.
Officially, Cruz says she’s “considering” a run. The Tampa lawmaker, who is term limited in the House next year, is waiting until later this summer to file for commission District 1, currently held by Republican Sandy Murman....
Winner of the week
State universities. After Gov. Rick Scott vetoed more than $100 million in projects at universities, they’re emerging from special session a little richer. The Senate forced Scott to take supplemental funding, restoring some of those vetoed projects. And Scott promised to back down and sign the increases into law.
Loser of the week...
Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan scored a big win this week as state lawmakers passed a medical marijuana bill, which Gov. Rick Scott plans to sign.
Morgan bankrolled two political campaigns to legalize medical pot, finally succeeding in 2016. And though he plans to sue the state over a smoking ban in the law, he moved the needle on marijuana in the conservative Florida Legislature....
06/09/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — More patients will soon be able to buy medical marijuana in Florida after state lawmakers passed legislation Friday putting into effect a constitutional amendment passed by 71 percent of voters.
Under that constitutional amendment, patients with a number of conditions including cancer, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy are supposed to have access to the drug.
The legislation sets in motion a plan to license 10 new growers by October, bringing the statewide total to 17. It allows patients to use cannabis pills, oils, edibles and "vape" pens with a doctor's approval but bans smoking....
Lawmakers look to be on track to pass sweeping medical marijuana legislation this afternoon.
The Senate okayed the bill, negotiated between leaders of both chambers after they failed to reach agreement during their regular session, by a vote of 28-8 Friday afternoon.
The legislation (SB 8A) passed Friday sets in motion a plan to license 10 new growers by October, bringing the statewide total to 17. It allows patients to use cannabis pills, oils, edibles and “vape” pens with a doctor’s approval but bans smoking....