Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

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William March

William March has 21 articles published.

In Florida, most legislative documents are public records

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When Florida state House Minority Leader Mark Pafford puts a 6 a.m. workout before his legislative meetings on his daily schedule, it’s a public record. When concerned parent Kimberly Jones of Plantation emails House Speaker Steve Crisafulli saying she has two children going to Florida State University and wants him to oppose a bill allowing guns on college campuses, that’s a public record too. Reporters and other members of the public can get copies of those and almost all other…

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Bill aimed at cutting public corruption goes to Gov. Scott

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A bill aimed at reducing corruption by Florida public officials is headed for Gov. Rick Scott’s desk. The state Senate passed the bill by unanimous vote Wednesday. It’s a smaller, less comprehensive version of an omnibus anti-corruption bill pushed by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, which died in committee. Both would implement some of the recommendations of a 2009 statewide grand jury on public corruption, appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist after a spate of public corruption cases. That grand jury…

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Legislators speculate on great Floridian for Capitol statue

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A proposal to remove a statue of a Confederate leader at the National Statuary Hall is generating speculation among Florida legislators about whose image should replace it. Legislation to replace the statue of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith doesn’t propose a successor. Smith’s place in history is due to his being the last officer to surrender a significant Confederate military force during the Civil War. Some legislators have suggested Florida should choose a woman, like writer Zora Neale Hurston. Only 10…

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Groups upset with legislators over land conservation

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Environmental groups contend that the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature is again snubbing voters who want the state to purchase conservation land. They contend the budget proposals the Legislature is now developing violate Amendment 1, passed overwhelmingly in 2014, directing that a third of the revenue from documentary stamp taxes on real estate transactions go to buy land. “They’re basically ignoring what the public has clearly indicated it wants, not just the spirit but the clear words,” said former Gov. Bob Graham,…

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Floridians injured by government struggle for compensation

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Some two dozen bills have been filed in this year’s Legislative Session to compensate people injured by the mistakes or negligence of government agencies: wrongly convicted prisoners, children abused by foster parents, people maimed or killed in accidents with police vehicles, and even a football player who died during practice. Many have waited for years, though, and most will probably have to wait longer. Florida law limits the compensation government agencies can pay in lawsuits to $200,000 regardless of the…

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Lawmakers consider controversial alimony, custody changes

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Big changes could be in store for couples who divorce under legislation now being considered by Florida lawmakers. Measures to end permanent alimony and to push judges toward granting 50-50 time-sharing custody between parents are generating emotional arguments in legislative committee hearings. An alimony reform bill passed its second committee in the House last week, and is ready for a vote on the House floor. A child custody bill has passed one committee in the Senate. Backers say alimony reform…

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More abortion restrictions advancing in Legislature

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Anti-abortion forces in the Florida Legislature are advancing a handful of bills they say are aimed at protecting the health of women, but that opponents say aim to deny access to abortions. If the measures pass, legal challenges are likely. A measure passed in Florida and signed by Gov. Rick Scott last year, requiring a 24-hour waiting period before obtaining an abortion, hasn’t yet taken effect because of a challenge in state courts. One bill, responding to last year’s national…

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