Florida

Crime & Punishment - March 14 2016 | 03-11-2016

Crime In FL FLORIDA Gov. Rick Scott (R) signs HB 7101, which requires that at least 10 out of 12 jurors recommend the death penalty in order for a capital punishment sentence to be carried out. The law still leaves a final decision on sentencing to...

Few States Focusing On Self-Driving Vehicles | 03-11-2016

Since 2011, when Nevada became the first state to authorize the operation of self-driving cars, five other states -- California, Florida, Michigan, North Dakota and Tennessee -- have enacted legislation, and Arizona’s governor has issued an executive...

Majority of States Have Good Samaritan Laws | 03-04-2016

States have enacted numerous laws to combat the epidemic of opioid-related deaths plaguing much of the United States. Most common are so-called “Good Samaritan” laws that generally give a person civil or criminal immunity for seeking help...

Crime & Punishment - March 7 2016 | 03-04-2016

Crime In VT The VERMONT Senate approves SB 241, which would make the Green Mountain State the first to legislatively legalize the sale and possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. The measure, which would allow residents 21 and...

Education - February 22 2016 | 02-19-2016

The FLORIDA House approves HB 833, which would require Sunshine State public schools to provide 100 minutes of recess each week in kindergarten through fifth grade. The measure, which would also apply to sixth-grade students enrolled in schools with one...

Politics In Brief - February 22 2016 | 02-19-2016

Happy Obama Day? A bill filed by a Chicago representative would make President Barack Obama’s birthday Illinois’s 13th paid state holiday. Rep. Andre Thapedi (D) filed the measure Feb. 2, and is awaiting approval from the Illinois House...

States Still Divesting from Iran | 02-12-2016

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books prohibiting at least some state pension or retirement funds from investing in companies that do a certain amount of business in Iran. Ten of those states also have laws on the books...

Governors In Brief - February 15 2016 | 02-12-2016

Markell Issues Slavery Apology DELAWARE Gov. Jack Markell (D) signed House Joint Resolution 10, which apologizes for the First State’s role in the slave trade in America and for other wrongs committed against African Americans during the Jim...

Crime & Punishment - February 8 2016 | 02-04-2016

Crime & Punishment in NM The NEW MEXICO House approves HB 56, a bill that would add the crimes of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, first-degree child abuse and aggravated burglary to those which would qualify offenders for a mandatory life...

Environment - February 8 2016 | 02-04-2016

Environment in CA The U.S. Department of Interior agrees to stop approving oil and gas permits for drilling that uses hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, off the coast of CALIFORNIA until further study determines the practice is safe. The agreement...

Crime & Punishment - January 18 2016 | 01-15-2016

The Supreme Court of the United States strikes down part of FLORIDA’s death penalty law, saying it violates the constitutional rights of criminal defendants by allowing judges to find aggravating factors that determine whether a defendant is eligible...

Potpourri - December 21 2015 | 12-18-2015

A FLORIDA court rules that a Sunshine State law mandating that dogs which cause severe injury to a person be euthanized is unconstitutional. Judge Andrew Owens rules the statute to be “arbitrary and unduly oppressive” (BRADENTON HERALD). ...

Governors In Brief - December 14 2015 | 12-11-2015

Beshear Issues Pardons In his final act in office, outgoing KENTUCKY Gov. Steve Beshear (D) commuted six sentences and issued 201 pardons last week. Ten of the pardons or commutations were granted to women who had been victims of domestic violence...

FL Lawmakers Push to Loosen Term Limits | 12-04-2015

Legislative terms in Florida are currently limited to a maximum of eight years. But a pair of lawmakers in the state - Sen. Rene Garcia (R) and Rep. Mark Pafford (D) - are looking to change that. They’ve proposed legislation to expand the state’s...

Medicaid Expansion Big Factor in State Insured Rates | 11-20-2015

Massachusetts had the lowest percentage of residents without health insurance last year, 3.3 percent, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Texas had the highest percentage of such residents, at 19.1 percent. All five of the states...

Flurry of Statehouse Action On Daily Fantasy Sports | 11-13-2015

Legislation related to daily fantasy sports (DFS) has been drafted or introduced this year in 16 states, according to LegalSportsReport.com, which covers the legal online sports wagering industry. The bills generally seek to legalize DFS in states that...

FL Senate Remap Effort Fails in Legislature | 11-13-2015

Any hope that Florida lawmakers would be able to determine new boundaries for the state’s Senate districts - in accordance with a settlement they reached with voting rights groups and voters over the map approved in 2012 - ended this month when...

Politics In Brief - November 16 2015 | 11-13-2015

MI Straight-Ticket Voting Ban Fast-tracked legislation moving through the MICHIGAN Legislature would eliminate voters’ ability to cast straight-ticket ballots for candidates of a single party. Supporters of SB 13, which was approved by committee...

Pre-election voting restricted in many states | 09-18-2015

In most states eligible voters can cast their votes before Election Day, either by going to the polls during designated early voting periods or by voting via absentee ballot. But 30 states have no early voting period, although 13 of those states allow...

Majority of Drone Encounters Happening in Five States | 09-10-2015

A little over half (51.6 percent) of the 952 encounters between drones and manned aircraft reported to the FAA since the beginning of 2014 originated from five states, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. More than 20 percent, or 196...

2010 Redistricting Still Not Done in Some States | 09-04-2015

States usually complete the process of legislative redistricting shortly after the U.S. Census Bureau updates its population numbers every 10 years. But the remapping based on the last census in 2010 is still dragging on in a few states. In Florida...

FL Takes Up Court Ordered Remap | 08-14-2015

Florida lawmakers returned to Tallahassee last week for a 12-day special session to draw new congressional districts in accordance with a state Supreme Court ruling that found previous maps drawn by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature...

Solar Power Initiative Touches Off City Feud In FL | 07-31-2015

The Florida League of Cities, which represents more than 400 municipal governments in that state, has filed a legal brief with the Florida Supreme Court urging it to reject a citizens’ initiative bound for the state’s November 2016 ballot...

FL Supreme Court Rejects Congressional Remap | 07-17-2015

The Florida Supreme Court threw the state’s political landscape into chaos this month when it threw out the congressional district map drawn by the Republican-led Legislature in 2010, as well as a revised map drawn by the Legislature last year,...

Governors In Brief - July 20 2015 | 07-17-2015

Investigation Into Planned Parenthood At least four Republican governors have ordered state health officials to investigate the operations of Planned Parenthood clinics in their states after a video surreptitiously captured by an anti-abortion group...

Social Policy - July 6 2015 | 07-02-2015

OH Approves SB 127 The OHIO Senate approves SB 127, which would bar doctors from performing an abortion after a woman has reached 20 weeks of her pregnancy. The measure moves to the House (COLUMBUS DISPATCH). Supreme Court Agrees TX Abortion Clinics...

Politics In Brief - June 22 2015 | 06-19-2015

The head of the Orlando-based group People United for Medical Marijuana announced a “massive, statewide paid petition effort” to get a constitutional amendment allowing medical pot on FLORIDA’s 2016 ballot. A medical pot amendment fell...

Budgets In Brief - June 22 2015 | 06-19-2015

WA Puts Brakes on Transportation Package Talks over a $15 billion transportation package in WASHINGTON have been suspended because talks over the state’s operating budget haven’t been going well, two thirds of the way through a second special...

Health & Science - June 15 2015 | 06-12-2015

NY Approves AB 7060 The NEW YORK Assembly approves AB 7060, which would allow emergency access to medical marijuana for patients with illnesses like epilepsy. It is now in the Senate (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE). FL Signs HB 751 FLORIDA...

Social Policy - June 15 2015 | 06-12-2015

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds TX Surgical Center Standards A three-judge panel of the 5 th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a TEXAS law that requires Lone Star State clinics that perform abortions to meet ambulatory surgical center standards...

Online Voter Registration Coming To FL | 05-29-2015

This month, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed legislation requiring the state to implement an online voter registration system by October 2017. The decision was somewhat of a surprise because the bill, SB 228, was sponsored by a Democrat, Sen. Jeff Clemens...

Governors In Brief - June 1 2015 | 05-29-2015

Personal Data Breach in FL For the second time in 10 months, the administration of FLORIDA Gov. Rick Scott (R) acknowledged it inadvertently released personal data of private citizens, potentially exposing them to identity theft. State officials said...

Governors In Brief - May 11 2015 | 05-08-2015

Ks and TX Friends of the Court In Florida Support Governors in KANSAS and TEXAS said they would file amicus briefs in support of FLORIDA Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) lawsuit against the Obama administration alleging the government is illegally coercing...

Politics In Brief - May 4 2015 | 05-01-2015

Bloomberg Philanthropies Improves Policymaking Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization founded by former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, plans to spend $42 million on the What Works Cities Initiative, which will help 100 cities...

Governors In Brief - May 4 2015 | 05-01-2015

MA Gov Halts Expansion of Convention Center Expressing concern about the debt it would incur and the impact it could have on the state budget, MASSACHUSETTS Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has halted a planned $1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention and...

Crime & Punishment - May 4 2015 | 05-01-2015

IL Approves HB 218 The ILLINOIS House approves HB 218, a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. It is now in the Senate (CHICAGO TRIBUNE). MD Signs HB 594, SB 482 and HB 533 MARYLAND Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signs...

Environment - May 4 2015 | 05-01-2015

FL Passes HB 1205 The FLORIDA House passes HB 1205, which would establish a regulatory framework for the oil and natural gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The rules include establishing a permitting process and allowing...

Social Policy - May 4 2015 | 05-01-2015

OK Approves HB 1007 and SB 788 The OKLAHOMA House and Senate each approve so-called “religious freedom” bills (HB 1007 and SB 788) that give civil liability protection to clergy members who refuse to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies...

Only In His Dreams | 04-17-2015

Speaking of silly politician tricks, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has apparently got out again. Taking a page from the playbook of another frequent fumbler (former Texas Gov. Rick Perry) Scott recently dropped in to California for a few days on a mission to...

Education - April 20 2015 | 04-17-2015

NV Signs AB 165 NEVADA Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) signs AB 165, legislation that would give Silver State businesses credit toward their modified business tax bill if they donate to a qualifying scholarship organization. Scholarships would go to students...

Many States Restrict Municipal Broadband Development | 04-10-2015

The Federal Communications Commission issued a ruling in February preempting laws in North Carolina and Texas that restricted municipalities from developing their own broadband networks. As of January 2014, 20 states had such restrictions in place, according...

Social Policy - April 13 2015 | 04-10-2015

ID Signs 189 IDAHO Gov. Butch Otter (R) signs HB 189, which requires doctors to be present when giving women abortion-inducing drugs. The measure effectively bars women from receiving those medications via telemedicine (IDAHO STATESMAN [BOISE]). ...

Crime & Punishment - April 6 2015 | 04-03-2015

ID Endorses SB 1154 The IDAHO House and Senate endorse SB 1154, which would allow human trafficking victims to petition courts to vacate and expunge criminal records involving prostitution charges and other minor offenses that occurred during the period...

Governors In Brief - March 9 2015 | 03-06-2015

The PENNSYLVANIA Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to a moratorium on executions imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf (D) in February. The court did not say when it will hear the case (PHILADELPHIACBSLOCAL.COM). * UTAH Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said he would...