“This department is in crisis,” GOP lawmaker says about FL Corrections agency

BY: - September 18, 2019

Facing lawmakers in the Capitol for the first time since inmate beatings by corrections officers sparked headlines, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch contended with questions about brutality in Florida’s prison system. “I think it’s a huge problem. I think it’s a humanitarian crisis – what’s going on in our prisons,” Orange County Democratic […]

Lawmaker wants to expand FL’s seat belt law, so all passengers buckle up

BY: - September 18, 2019

Wearing a seat belt in a vehicle is considered the norm in Florida, but there’s an exception that even some drivers and passengers may not know about: Adults in the back seat can go without a seat belt. Now, State Rep. Emily Slosberg, a Democrat representing part of Palm Beach, has filed legislation to ensure […]

A coalition of bipartisan lawmakers and businesses call for stronger protections for LGBTQ Floridians

BY: - September 18, 2019

A group of bipartisan Florida lawmakers say momentum is building for legislation that would extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ residents in the state. House and Senate members have refiled bills (HB 161, SB 206) to create the Florida Competitive Workforce Act in the 2020 session, which begins in January. The measure would make it illegal […]

FL Dems blast Attorney General Moody’s opposition to banning assault weapons

BY: - September 18, 2019

Florida Democrats and gun control advocates attacked Attorney General Ashley Moody Wednesday for her “outrageous” stance in opposing a constitutional amendment to prohibit assault weapons. “First, she tries to block the assault weapons ban from even getting on the ballot in the days after the El Paso and Dayton, Ohio shootings,” Florida Democratic Party chair […]

Active shooter drills at school: “Some of the kids are scared to death.”

BY: - September 18, 2019

School drills designed to protect students from shootings are in and of itself scary to schoolchildren, some parents and lawmakers say, with little kids in elementary classrooms frightened to the point that they need counseling. Now, families and politicians are wondering if the so-called “active shooter drills” are too much for vulnerable kids, and whether […]

Republican Rep. Paul Renner

A much-heralded criminal justice database may not be complete by the beginning of 2020

BY: - September 17, 2019

A critical database of “unprecedented levels of transparency” in tracking criminal information may not be ready for public consumption at the beginning of next year. Two Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee were dissatisfied about that Tuesday, when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement official said the project would likely miss its deadline. The Florida […]

Believe the hype about hemp’s potential, Florida cannabis chief tells Senate committee

BY: - September 17, 2019

Florida’s cannabis director hopes to see the first legally authorized commercial hemp seeds planted in the Sunshine State by the beginning of the year There’s been tremendous hype regarding Florida’s burgeoning hemp program, and the woman leading the effort did little to damper that enthusiasm during testimony Tuesday before the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee. Holly […]

Florida's surgeon general

Democrats have a few questions for Florida’s new surgeon general

BY: - September 17, 2019

A brief exchange in the Florida Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday could foreshadow a rough confirmation process for state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Rivkees, a prominent pediatric researcher from the University of Florida, in the spring.  But after questions were raised about Rivkees’ time at UF, including a sexual […]

‘So much more we can do’ for more than 2,500 homeless FL veterans

BY: - September 17, 2019

A few years ago, U.S. Army veteran Mary White was a cash-strapped single mother who found herself couch-surfing with her young son.  “We had become homeless,” she testified to U.S. House lawmakers Monday during a U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee field hearing held in New Port Richey, north of St. Petersburg and Tampa.  She wasn’t […]

Could moderate Republicans merge with mom activists to come up with modest gun regulations in 2020?

BY: - September 17, 2019

In Florida’s Capitol, Kate Kile from the Tallahassee chapter of the gun-control group Moms Demand Action, sat outside a committee room with a three-ring binder in her arms. The notebook was filled with 870 personal letters from volunteer members of the group from around the state, calling on Republican State Sen. Tom Lee from Hillsborough […]

Pulse Nightclub

FL law enforcement head rejects that mass shooters have mental illness

BY: - September 16, 2019

Saying there’s no single demographic or social profile of what constitutes a mass shooter, the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Monday it will take a shift in strategy to contend with high profile mass shootings that have plagued Florida and the nation. FDLE head Rick Swearingen told a Florida Senate committee […]

FL juvenile justice agency faces high turnover rates for officers dealing with the state’s most troubled youths

BY: - September 16, 2019

Florida has a problem keeping trained officers who deal with some of the state’s most troubled youths. During the past budget year, there was a 64 percent turnover rate among entry-level detention officers in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Those officers served in the state’s 21 detention centers, which housed 12,290 youths. That huge […]