Florida

Budgets in Brief - April 22 2019 | 04-19-2019

TIT FOR TAT ON NYC TRAFFIC TOLLS U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D- NEW JERSEY ) said he intends to introduce legislation potentially cutting federal funding for NEW YORK or its transportation authority if the congestion pricing plan just approved for Manhattan...

Social Policy - April 22 2019 | 04-19-2019

US Supreme Court Declines The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear a challenge to a NEW JERSEY law that bans the use of so-called “conversion therapy,” which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation, on minors (NJ.COM). NJ...

Florida Man Does Good | 04-19-2019

These days, any sentence that includes the words “Florida man” is usually ends in a tale of someone doing something ignorant, criminal or both. So kudos to Florida state Sen. Joe Gruters for flipping that narrative around. As the Tampa Bay...

States Consider Bans on Flavored E-Cigarettes | 04-12-2019

As of April 9, at least 10 states had introduced bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. Most of the proposals would exempt establishments that prohibit minors. Some would apply only to e-liquids...

DeSantis Announces FL Opioid Plan | 04-05-2019

Calling it a “critical public health issue that requires immediate attention,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced a multi-pronged plan to combat the Sunshine State’s ongoing opioid abuse epidemic. DeSantis issued Executive...

Health & Science - March 25 2019 | 03-22-2019

US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Gives OH Approval The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gives OHIO approval to impose work requirements for those covered by Medicaid expansion. Under those rules, recipients will need to either be...

Most 5G Laws Enacted in Red States | 03-15-2019

As of mid-February, 21 states had passed laws streamlining regulations for the deployment of 5G or small-cell technology. In 12 of those states, Republicans controlled both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office when the laws were...

State Tax Officials Keeping Eye on Wealthy Former Residents | 03-15-2019

With the first tax season since the federal tax overhaul now in full swing, the $10,000 cap on state and local tax, or SALT, deductions included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may have wealthy Americans in some high-tax states eyeing moves to cheaper locales...

Pendulum Swing on Voting Rights? | 03-15-2019

Over the past decade, many states, citing concerns about voter fraud, have enacted voting restrictions, such as photo ID requirements and early voting reductions. It looked as though voter purges would be the next phase of that movement, after the U.S...

Health & Science - March 15 2019 | 03-15-2019

FL House and Senate Approves SB 182 The FLORIDA House and Senate approve SB 182 , which would allow patients to smoke medical marijuana. It moves to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who pushed the measure and is expected to sign it right away (MIAMI HERALD)...

DeSantis Unveils FL Prescription Drug Import Plan | 02-22-2019

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said he wants to cut the state’s health care costs by importing prescription drugs from less expensive Canadian pharmacies. It is currently illegal for states to import drugs from foreign pharmacies, but DeSantis...

Governors in Brief - February 18 2019 | 02-15-2019

NORTHAM RESTORES VA FELON VOTING RIGHTS Embattled VIRGINIA Gov, Ralph Northam (D) said in a statement released last week that 10,992 Old Dominion residents with felony convictions have had their voting rights restored since he took office last year...

More States Propose Paid Family Leave | 02-08-2019

When the sun went down on 2018, a half dozen states and the District of Columbia had laws in place ensuring workers could take paid time off to deal with family illnesses or the birth of a child. When the calendar closes on 2019, several more may have...

Paid Family Leave Bills Active in Many States | 02-08-2019

As of late January, legislation dealing with paid time off for workers to care for a newborn or ill family member was pending in at least 26 states, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures and LexisNexis State Net . Since...

Record Number of Women Serving as State Legislative Leaders | 02-08-2019

After picking up over 200 state legislative seats in the 2018 midterm elections, women now hold 2,112 legislative seats nationwide, nearly 29 percent of the 7,383 total, a record high, according to data from the Center for American Women and Politics...

Governors in Brief - February 11 2019 | 02-08-2019

BAKER REFILES MA CYBERBULLYING BILL Responding to a study that showed growth in cyberbullying in Bay State schools, MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) refiled a bill that would require schools to teach kids about the dangers of taking and sharing...

The Local Front - February 11 2019 | 02-08-2019

AK Supreme Court Rules Local Gender Ordinance The ARKANSAS Supreme Court rules that the city of FAYETTEVILLE can’t enforce an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The court said it has already ruled...

Most States Prepared for Next Recession | 01-18-2019

It’s been 9 1/2 years since the last U.S. recession - the second-longest period between economic downturns on record. The economy still appears to be going strong. But there are signs trouble may not be far off. The good news for states is that...

Governors in Brief - January 21 2019 | 01-18-2019

DESANTIS WANTS MAJOR CHANGE TO FL MEDICAL WEED LAW Saying he wants to see people “be able to have their suffering relieved,” FLORIDA Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) urged Sunshine State lawmakers to allow medical marijuana patients to smoke their...

Politics in Brief - January 14 2019 | 01-11-2019

HIGH TURNOVER AMONG TX GOVT WORKERS IN 2018 Well over 28,000 TEXAS state employees, 19.3 percent of the total state government workforce, left their jobs last year, the highest turnover in five years, according to a report from the state auditor’s...

Governors in Brief - January 14 2019 | 01-11-2019

CUOMO CALLS FOR NY ABORTION AMENDMENT With Democrats now in control of both legislative chambers, NEW YORK Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called on Empire State lawmakers last week to pass a constitutional amendment codifying a woman’s right to legal...

Opportunities and Challenges for States in 2019 | 12-14-2018

In the third and final of our annual three-part series looking ahead to the coming legislative year, SNCJ Senior Advisor Lou Cannon takes a look at some of the challenges and opportunities that await lawmakers in 2019. This is also our final issue...

More States Under Unified One-Party Control in 2019 | 12-14-2018

As a result of the November elections, in 2019 Republicans will control both the legislature and the governor’s office in 23 states, three less than the number of states under unified GOP control this year. Democrats will control the legislative...

Politics in Brief - December 17 2018 | 12-14-2018

FORMER FL SENATE PRESIDENT TAKES JOB WITH MAJOR DONOR Outgoing FLORIDA Senate president Joe Negron (R) has taken a job with private prison operator Geo Group. When Negron became Senate president in 2016, the company contributed $270,000 to a political...

Politics in Brief - December 10 2018 | 12-07-2018

CRITICS ASSAIL NJ DEMS REDISTRICTING PROPOSAL Government watchdog groups, civil rights organizations and redistricting experts are criticizing a Democratic proposal in NEW JERSEY that seeks to change the state constitution to entrench the party’s...

‘Blue Wave’ Continues Rolling In | 11-16-2018

When Election Day ended two weeks ago the “blue wave” many had predicted for the first midterm of the Trump presidency seemed relatively modest in size. But since the election that wave has continued to roll in, bringing more Democratic gains...

Governors in Brief - November 19 2018 | 11-16-2018

DESANTIS WINS FL RECOUNT A machine recount in FLORIDA has confirmed that Republican Ron DeSantis won the Sunshine State’s highly charged gubernatorial race. The final margin of 34,000 votes was enough to avoid an automatic hand recount. But Democrat...

Voters Rejected Most Tax Measures on Ballot: | 11-09-2018

Proposed tax increases and restrictions on future tax hikes were on the ballot in several states last week. Most of them failed. Colorado voters rejected both Amendment 73 , which would have increased corporate and personal income taxes to provide...

Mixed Results for Closely Watched Ballot Measures | 11-09-2018

Marijuana legalization was one of the most prevalent issues on state ballots on Nov. 6. And with the approval of one of those measures, Proposal 1 , on a 54-46 vote, Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize marijuana for recreational...

Governors in Brief - November 12 2018 | 11-09-2018

FL GOV RACE HEADED TO RECALL As of last Thursday, Democrat Andrew Gillum had pulled to within enough votes of Republican Ron DeSantis to send the FLORIDA gubernatorial election to a mandatory recount. Gillum conceded defeat last Tuesday when it appeared...

More Democratic Women Candidates Than Republican Ones in Most States | 11-02-2018

Of the 3,388 women running for legislative office in 46 states this year, 70 percent are Democrats. In 19 of those states, there are about twice as many Democratic female candidates as Republican ones. In 15 states, there are three times more. In five...

Democrats Seem Poised for State Election Gains | 10-19-2018

The pendulum of politics that in many states has swung Republican for the last eight years appears to be heading in a Democratic direction in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Nonpartisan analysts and pollsters give Democrats a solid chance to win nine...

Sizable Statehouse Gains Possible for Dems in November | 10-19-2018

If the November election holds to the usual pattern for the first midterm election of a new presidency, Democrats could win control of nine legislative chambers in seven states, according to Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures...

Politics in Brief - October 19 2018 | 10-19-2018

GA GOV EXTENDS VOTER REGISTRATION IN FOUR COUNTIES HIT BY HURRICANE MICHAEL GEORGIA Gov. Nathan Deal (R) issued an executive order last week extending the state’s Oct. 9 voter registration deadline for four counties where Hurricane Michael forced...

Court Says Next FL Gov, Not Scott, Will Pick Justices: | 10-19-2018

Age limits are forcing three current members of the Florida Supreme Court to retire in January, but the choice of who will fill their seats will belong to the next governor, not current Gov. Rick Scott (R). In what is widely viewed as a rebuke to Scott...

Banner Year for Voting Rights Ballot Measures | 10-12-2018

In November voters in Arkansas and North Carolina, two states where voter ID laws have been struck down by the courts, will decide whether such requirements will be enshrined into their respective constitutions. And voters in Montana will decide whether...

Electronic Voting Experts Express Concern About Wireless Voting Machines | 10-12-2018

A group of 30 researchers, activists and scientists signed a letter this month urging the federal government to issue an official warning to states that use voting machines with integrated wireless technology that the machines are vulnerable to hacking...

Oh Mom, No You Didn’t | 10-12-2018

Oh yes, yes she did. University of Florida student Pieter Hanson was in the middle of a test recently when his phone started going off nonstop. Fearful something terrible had happened, he quickly handed in his test and headed for the hallway. But nothing...

Politics in Brief - October 8 2018 | 10-05-2018

WV SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SPARED IMPEACHMENT After over an hour of deliberation, the WEST VIRGINIA Senate voted 32-1 not to impeach state Supreme Court Justice Beth Walker over her part in a court spending scandal. Three of the state’s other justices...

Tax Limits on November Ballot in Several States | 09-28-2018

On Nov. 6 voters in states from coast to coast will have an opportunity to restrict future efforts by their lawmakers to raise taxes. Measures on the ballot in Washington ( Initiative 1634 ) and Oregon ( Measure 37 ) would prohibit local governments...

Lawsuits Forcing States to Spend Millions on Hep C Treatment | 09-28-2018

A federal judge in Indiana ruled this month that denying or delaying treatment of prison inmates infected with hepatitis C constituted cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. A similar ruling last...

Will Scores of Newly Registered Young Voters in FL Show Up | 09-28-2018

So far this year, about 450,000 people have registered to vote in Florida. Thanks to the youth movement spurred by the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida in February and big spending by various groups on get-out-the-youth-vote drives, about a quarter...

Politics in Brief - September 17 2018 | 09-14-2018

NM SUPREME COURT RULES OUT STRAIGHT-TICKET VOTING The NEW MEXICO Supreme Court ruled unanimously last week that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) did not have the authority to reinstate straight-ticket voting after that option was discontinued...

Politics in Brief - September 10 2018 | 09-07-2018

EDUCATION FUNDING MEASURE OFF AZ BALLOT The ARIZONA Supreme Court has blocked a measure from the state’s November ballot that was aimed at increasing the tax rate on residents making more than $250,000 a year from 4.54 percent to 8 percent to...

It Beats Raising Taxes | 09-07-2018

Raising funds for civic works isn’t easy in small towns where the tax base is often more limited than seats on the DC Metro at rush hour. One dramatic way for burgs to gain some bucks is to let Corporate America have its way with them. This week’s...

Voters Gravitate to Political Poles in Key Aug. 28 Primaries | 08-31-2018

Primary elections were held in three states on Aug. 28. And a few of the results suggest that the energy of the Democratic and Republican parties is moving to the left and the right, respectively. In Florida’s gubernatorial primaries, Democrats...

It’s Not the Lie, It’s the Cover Up | 08-31-2018

As Richard Nixon would tell you if he was here, the lie is rarely what sinks your ship, it’s the cover up. And now-former Florida legislative candidate Melissa Howard can vouch for it as well. As most folks have now heard, Howard’s run for...

Governors in Brief - August 20 2018 | 08-17-2018

SCOTT DECLARES FL ALGAE EMERGENCY FLORIDA Gov. Rick Scott (R) declared a state of emergency last week after a growing “red tide” algae bloom left Sunshine State beaches covered with dead fish and marine animals. His declaration will make...

California Projected to Lose $329M to Cybercrime in 2018 | 08-03-2018

California will have the highest cybercrime losses of any state this year, according to analysis of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Insurance Information Institute by Website Builder Expert. The website development adviser estimates...

Push for Supermajority Tax Requirement in FL May Not Curb Taxes | 08-03-2018

In March, Florida lawmakers approved a proposed constitutional amendment for the state’s November ballot that would require a two-thirds majority in each chamber of the Legislature to enact new taxes or fees, or hikes of existing ones. As the election...