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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.

Cities Challenge Constitutionality of 2017 Wireless Law

May 10, 2019 - 6:30am
State Rep. Mike LaRosa

Just days after a legislative session filled with debate about state lawmakers overriding the power of local governments, the Florida League of Cities and three communities have filed a constitutional challenge to a 2017 law dealing with wireless technology.

The league and the cities of Fort Walton Beach, Naples and Port Orange filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Leon County circuit court, contending that the 2017 law infringes on home-rule powers and would lead to an unconstitutional “taking” of city property.

Ten (Big) Bucket-List Issues for Another Session

It's Done! 2019 Legislature Affects 10 Big Issues

May 4, 2019 - 5:00pm
Early afternoon Saturday: Senate President Bill Galvano thanks a weary Legislature

Florida lawmakers finished the 2019 legislative session Saturday by passing a budget for the upcoming year.

During the two-month session, lawmakers considered hundreds of bills and made $91.1 billion in spending decisions. It also was the first session for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and began the two-year terms of Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes.

Here are 10 big issues from the 2019 session:

Finally, AOB Reform Bill Heads to an Eager DeSantis

April 24, 2019 - 5:45pm
Bob Rommel

After a fierce lobbying battle that included arguments about insurance rates and “bad actors,” the Florida Senate on Wednesday approved an overhaul of the insurance practice known as assignment of benefits.

The 25-14 vote sends the measure (HB 7065) to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who quickly issued a statement saying he will sign it. Passage of the bill was a major victory for insurers and business groups, which have argued that “AOB” abuses and excessive litigation have driven up homeowners’ insurance premiums.

Reversals Show New Day on the Supreme Court

April 20, 2019 - 7:30am
Florida Supreme Court

On Jan. 4, just days before the start of a makeover of the Florida Supreme Court, justices issued two 4-3 decisions.

The cases drew relatively little attention across the state --- one dealt with Orange County elections, the other with attorney fees in a foreclosure battle. But on the losing end of the decisions were Chief Justice Charles Canady and his frequent allies Ricky Polston and Alan Lawson.

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