In a replay of last year, the House on Wednesday attached a major education policy bill to the state budget, spurring a debate on controversial issues such as a voucher-like program for students who are bullied and an effort to weaken teachers’ unions.
A proposal that would narrow the right to privacy in the state Constitution was approved Thursday by a panel of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission.
Florida House leaders unveiled a proposed higher-education budget Tuesday that includes cuts designed to spur state universities and colleges to spend some of their reserve funds.
The Constitution Revision Commission is considering a measure that could settle future disputes over the appointment of Florida Supreme Court justices, but the proposal will do nothing to resolve a constitutional crisis looming early next year.
At question is whether Gov. Rick Scott or his successor, the winner of the 2018 governor’s race, will pick the replacements for three justices --- Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince --- whose terms end as Scott’s tenure comes to a close in early January 2019.
(This is the fourth in a series of stories previewing issues for the 2018 legislative session.)
For Florida residents, attending a state university or college is a bargain.
This academic year, in-state students at Florida's 12 universities will pay an average of $6,091 in tuition and fees for 30 credit hours, which is nearly 40 percent below the national average of $9,970 for four-year public schools, according to the College Board.
Florida could be on the verge of losing a key financial tool that helped the state reduce the amount of money it owes by $1.4 billion last fiscal year.
Through June 30, Florida had cut the debt it accumulated to build schools, roads and other infrastructure over the last seven years by some $5.5 billion, Ben Watkins, director of state Division of Bond Finance, told Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Wednesday.
A measure that would require future tax or fee increases to be approved by two-thirds votes of the Legislature is ready for consideration by the state Constitution Revision Commission.
Florida taxpayers could lose billions of dollars in future savings under part of pending federal tax-reform legislation that would limit the ability of states and local governments to refinance bonds.
“This is down in the weeds, but it is extraordinarily important,” said Ben Watkins, director of the state Division of Bond Finance, after briefing aides to Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members on Wednesday.
Lawyers for the state asked a Leon County circuit judge Tuesday to order a trial about the constitutionality of a 2015 state law that would require women to wait 24 hours before having abortions.
But lawyers representing a Gainesville abortion clinic asked Judge Terry Lewis to issue a summary judgment finding the waiting-period law is an unconstitutional violation of women's privacy rights.
There were reminders this week that governors come and go, but the rituals of the Capitol remain.