State

FDLE to continue Epstein probe

August 12, 2019

by Jim Turner

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

TALLAHASSEE --- Sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s jailhouse death won’t alter Florida’s investigation into how the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and others handled his sentencing and incarceration more than a decade ago.

“Our case is active. Nothing changes for us,” Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said in an email Sunday.

Epstein was found dead of an apparent suicide Saturday in his cell in a federal jail in New York.

DeSantis Says Migrant Influx Something ‘We Don’t Want’

TALLAHASSEE --- A day after local officials said the federal government plans to send about 1,000 migrants a month to two South Florida counties, Gov. Ron DeSantis bemoaned the move, arguing that under his leadership the state has been “very cooperative” with federal immigration authorities.

“We have been very cooperative, and then to have this put into certain communities, I think it’s just something that we don’t want,” DeSantis said Friday during a news conference in Sarasota.

TEN BIG ISSUES IN THE 2018 LEGISLATIVE SESSION

By Jim Saunders NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

TALLAHASSEE --- The Florida House and Senate ended the 2018 legislative session last Sunday by passing a budget and a tax-cut package for the upcoming year. The session became dominated in February by the aftermath of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. That led to a massive debate about how to improve school safety and whether to revamp the state’s gun laws.

Here is a recap of 10 big issues from the 2018 session:

SESSION END LEAVES PILE OF DEAD BILLS

By Jim Turner NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

TALLAHASSEE --- Banning “sanctuary” cities, revamping gambling laws, approving new sexual-harassment rules and even creating a license plate to commemorate the University of Central Florida’s undefeated football season were among numerous issues that died when the 2018 legislative session ended Sunday.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, was quick to praise the new budget for including $100.8 million to revive the Florida Forever land-preservation program after a decade of neglect.

Florida House debates amendments to school safety bill

BRENDAN FARRINGTON, TERRY SPENCER and GARY FINEOUT, Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A proposal to arm some teachers and school employees proved particularly contentious Tuesday as Florida representatives debated amendments to a school safety bill.

House members spent nearly three hours asking questions about the legislation, which would put some restrictions on rifle sales, provide new mental health programs from schools and improve communication between school districts, law enforcement and state agencies.

LAWMAKERS WILL NEED OVERTIME ON BUDGET

By Christine Sexton, Lloyd Dunkelberger NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida lawmakers will need to go into overtime because of an impasse about hospital spending in final negotiations over a new state budget.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, told House members Tuesday night that lawmakers will have to extend the session, scheduled to end Friday, or hold a special session.

“Make preparations because that’s kind of where we are headed," Corcoran said after a day of behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Senate.

LAWMAKERS PASS CONTROVERSIAL EDUCATION CHANGES

By Lloyd Dunkelberger FLORIDA NEWS SERVICE

March 5, 2018 TALLAHASSEE --- More sweeping changes are headed toward Florida’s public schools, including the use of sales-tax credits to help students attend private schools.

In a 20-17 vote Monday, the Senate backed a bill (HB 7055) that has been a top priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, and includes dozens of changes for the state’s 67 school districts. Hours later, the House gave final approval in a 74-39 vote, sending the measure to Gov. Rick Scott.

SENATE NARROWLY PASSES SCHOOL SAFETY PLAN

by Dara Kam NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

March 5, 2018 TALLAHASSEE --- After two weeks of emotionally charged testimony and raw debate, the Florida Senate on Monday narrowly approved a sweeping measure addressing mental health, school safety and guns in response to last month’s mass shooting at a Broward County high school that left 17 people --- including 14 students --- dead.

The 20-18 vote came after nearly non-stop advocacy from students, teachers and parents, including survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland who demanded that lawmakers take action before the legislative session ends Friday.