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Controversial Bill Restricting Petition-Gathering Becomes Law

June 8, 2019 - 8:00am
DeSantis talks with reporters after the bill signing

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed 38 bills, including a controversial measure that will make it harder for groups and citizens to put proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot.

Lawmakers passed the measure (HB 5) amid petition drives designed to place a series of issues on the November 2020 ballot, including proposed amendments to increase the minimum wage, expand Medicaid, overhaul the electric-utility industry, ban assault-style weapons and revamp primary elections.

FPL, Consumer Advocate Reach Deal on Irma Costs

June 7, 2019 - 7:00am
Utility trucks deployed after 2017's Irma

Florida Power & Light and the state advocate for utility customers have reached agreement on about $1.3 billion in costs to restore electricity after Hurricane Irma --- and on a system to better track expenses when major storms hit in the future.

Attorney General Weighs in on Death Penalty Changes

June 5, 2019 - 7:00am
Florida's Death Row

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office is urging the Florida Supreme Court to reverse course on decisions that allowed dozens of convicted murderers to have their death sentences reconsidered.

Moody’s office late Monday filed a 59-page brief in a case in which the Supreme Court is delving into whether changes in Florida’s death-penalty sentencing system should continue to be applied retroactively to cases dating to 2002.

Medical Records Debate Re-Emerges

May 31, 2019 - 7:00am

Nearly 15 years after Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment about access to records in medical-malpractice cases, a Jacksonville hospital has launched a federal lawsuit arguing it should be shielded from being required to turn over documents to a patient.

Serial Killer Bobby Joe Long Executed

May 24, 2019 - 9:00am
Florida State Prison lethal injection room

In the first execution since Gov. Ron DeSantis took office, serial killer Bobby Joe Long was put to death by lethal injection Thursday evening at Florida State Prison.

Long, 65, died at 6:55 p.m., becoming the 98th inmate executed since the death penalty was reinstated in Florida in 1976 --- and the first since Jose A. Jimenez was executed Dec. 13. Michelle Glady, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman, said the execution “took place without incident.”

DeSantis' Top Priority: Security Review for All 67 Florida Elections Offices

May 22, 2019 - 4:00pm
DeSantis announces his order Wednesday

Describing it as a “top priority,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday directed Secretary of State Laurel Lee to immediately start a review of the security of state and county elections systems after disclosures about Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign.

In a one-page letter to Lee, the state’s top elections official, DeSantis indicated the review will focus on cybersecurity and involve all 67 counties.

And the Ballot Initiative Beat Goes On: Keep Your Eye on These Seven

May 21, 2019 - 8:30am

Florida lawmakers this month approved a controversial bill that is expected to make it harder to put citizens’ initiatives on the ballot.

The bill (HB 5) would place additional restrictions on gathering the hundreds of thousands of petition signatures needed to reach the ballot. For 2020 ballot proposals, supporters need to submit 76,632 valid signatures to trigger a review by the Florida Supreme Court. If justices sign off on the proposed ballot wording, supporters then would need to submit 766,200 signatures for the measures to go before voters.

'Bump Stock' Ban Stands, Circuit Judge Rules

May 15, 2019 - 8:15pm

More than a year after the Florida Legislature passed gun restrictions, a Leon County circuit judge has dismissed a lawsuit that alleged a ban on “bump stocks” was an unconstitutional taking of property.

Judge Ronald Flury last week issued a 12-page ruling that sided with the state in the dispute stemming from a law passed after the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Florida, Other States Say Generic Drug Firms Conspired

May 14, 2019 - 8:15am
Generic prescription drugs in a beaker, sitting in a crime lab.

Alleging a conspiracy that has increased drug prices, Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Monday that Florida has joined states across the country in a massive anti-trust lawsuit against generic drug manufacturers.

Florida is one of 43 states and Puerto Rico taking part in the lawsuit filed in federal district court in Connecticut against numerous generic-drug companies and executives. The lawsuit, which comes after a multi-year investigation spearheaded by the Connecticut attorney general’s office, contends that the companies colluded to raise drug prices.

DeSantis Vetoes Bill on Plastic Straw Bans

May 11, 2019 - 7:45am

In his first veto, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday rejected a bill that would have blocked local governments from banning plastic straws.

DeSantis, siding with environmental groups and local governments, vetoed the measure (HB 771) just hours after formally receiving it from the Legislature. The bill initially focused on recycling issues but later was expanded to include a five-year moratorium on bans or regulations of plastic straws.

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