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Negron Higher Ed Plans Include More 'National Elite' Universities in Florida

June 29, 2016 - 7:30pm
Joe Negron

Incoming Florida Senate President Joe Negron, whose plans for his two-year term focus heavily on higher education, wants to see more of the state's universities achieve "national elite" status.

Although the University of Florida is currently the only state school in the prestigious, 62-member Association of American Universities, Negron, R-Stuart, believes there can be more.

Impact of Abortion Ruling on Florida Law Unclear

June 27, 2016 - 7:15pm

Florida abortion providers are breathing sighs of relief following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday striking down a Texas law that would have greatly limited access to legal abortion in that state.

The Texas law would have required doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinics where they perform abortions and clinics to meet the same standards as walk-in surgical centers.

Joe Negron Sees Bright Futures as Key in Higher Ed Plans

May 18, 2016 - 8:30pm
Sen. Joe Negron

Preparing to make public universities a priority during the next two years, incoming Senate President Joe Negron says more and better scholarships will help take Florida's higher-education system to the next level.

The Stuart Republican has made clear his goal of finding an additional $1 billion for the 12 public universities during his two-year term as president, which is slated to begin after the November elections.

Feds Say New Abortion Law Can't Block Clinic Funding

April 19, 2016 - 9:00pm

A key federal health agency on Tuesday notified Florida and other states that they may not ban Medicaid funding for family-planning services at clinics that also offer elective abortions.

That likely blocks a controversial provision of a new Florida abortion law (HB 1411) signed last month by Gov. Rick Scott.

State Drops Cases Against Planned Parenthood Clinics

March 28, 2016 - 8:15pm

Citing a new abortion law signed by Gov. Rick Scott, the state Agency for Health Care Administration has dismissed cases alleging that three Planned Parenthood clinics performed second-trimester abortions without proper licenses.

News Service of Florida Has: Five Questions for Ion Sancho

March 27, 2016 - 10:00pm
Ion Sancho

Ion Sancho has long been one of the most-outspoken elections officials in Florida. But after overseeing this fall's voting in Leon County, he will step down after nearly three decades as an elections supervisor.

Scott Signs Bill for 'Rape Kit' Testing, Needle Exchange

March 23, 2016 - 7:45pm
Rick Scott and Katie Edwards

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday signed nine bills, including a high-profile measure requiring local law-enforcement agencies to submit "rape kits" to be tested and another allowing the creation of a needle-exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

Scott praised SB 636, which would establish time limits for sexual-assault evidence --- known as rape kits --- to be submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing. He said in a statement the move would "provide thousands of women with a renewed sense of safety and closure as they heal from the horrific crime of rape."

Seniors Could Get Protection from Guardian Wrongdoing

February 23, 2016 - 7:45pm

A bill aimed at better protecting elderly Floridians from unscrupulous guardians is speeding toward passage in the state Legislature.

The House on Tuesday took up the measure (SB 232), filed by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and could give final approval as early as Wednesday. Senators this month voted unanimously to approve the measure, after a similar bill died during the chaotic end of the 2015 legislative session.

The proposal would lead to the Department of Elder Affairs certifying and overseeing professional guardians --- and disciplining those who abuse their trust.

State Leaders Look to Improve Mental-Health Funding, Policy

December 7, 2015 - 7:30pm

After an ambitious effort to revamp Florida's mental-health treatment system died at the end of the last legislative session, state officials are readying a new round of proposals for 2016.

Gov. Rick Scott has proposed an increase of $19 million for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment services in his recommended budget for the next fiscal year, with the lion's share going to treat people with mental illnesses in the community instead of in a state-run institution.

Senate Moves to Fix Early Intervention Program

November 8, 2015 - 8:15pm

A Senate panel is looking to help Early Steps, which serves infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays --- and which has been struggling to keep up with the growing demand for its services in Florida.

A new report, presented this week to the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, shows that job cuts at Early Steps have kept the program from meeting federal standards for timely and quality services.

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