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Bill filed to protect students from online marketing

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A state senator has filed legislation to protect Florida’s K-12 students from websites that mine personal information online. Tallahassee Democrat Bill Montford, a former county schools superintendent, filed his bill (SB 1146) Wednesday. The “Student Online Personal Information Protection Act” says websites and applications aimed at students can’t “target” their advertising, create marketing profiles or sell any “personally identifiable information” they may glean. It allows exceptions as long as the purpose is not “in the furtherance of advertising or to…

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Tom Lee’s dissent grows over Senate redistricting effort

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State Sen. Tom Lee has emerged a lone voice of Republican dissent over the ongoing effort to redraw the Senate’s district map. Lee, a Brandon Republican and former Senate president, sits on the chamber’s redistricting panel that is meeting Wednesday. The morning part of the meeting was slowed down with technical and legal explanations. Essentially, however, Lee’s chief complaint was: We’re not doing it right. At one point, Lee gestured at a display of the six staff-drawn maps and asked, “Do these…

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Reliance on property, sales taxes holds Florida back in new tax fairness report

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A new report released Monday by online financial services firm WalletHub says Florida ranks near the bottom nationally when it comes to the fairness of its state and local taxes. The survey evaluated the taxes levied by all 50 states – broken down by income, property, sales & excise and “other” taxes – and how they are levied on people of varying income brackets and compared that to the ideal system of taxation, gathered by asking respondents the question, “In thinking about…

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New study finds Florida’s high-stakes school tests valid

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Florida’s new high-stakes test, which came under fire after a chaotic rollout this past spring, is valid, according to a new outside study released Tuesday. Education Commissioner Pam Stewart called the results “welcome news” and said the study showed the test “accurately measures Florida students’ mastery of the standards” in math and reading. “Now all Floridians can share my confidence in the assessment,” Stewart said during a conference call with reporters. But the findings may actually do little to stem…

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Steve Crisafulli says he has no plans to call legislators back ‘at this time’

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House Speaker Steve Crisafulli sent a memo to representatives Thursday telling them he had no intention of calling them back to Tallahassee because of a lawsuit filed in the Florida Supreme Court by Senate Democrats. “We strongly disagree with the arguments that were filed by 13 Democrat members of the Senate and believe that the House’s actions complied with the Constitution and the historic practices of both Chambers. Accordingly, I have no plans to ask you to return to Tallahassee at…

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CFO’s priority bill on out-of-network emergency care killed by Senate?

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A move to prevent doctors and hospitals from balance billing insured patients who go out-of-network for emergency services and care appears dead for the session. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee temporarily passed the measure — SB 516 — at its meeting last week and the bill is not slated to be heard in the committee when it meets April 7. Under Senate rules, any bill that is temporarily deferred must be considered at the next meeting or else it’s…

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Florida Senate passes concealed carry bill during emergencies

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Last year, a proposal in Tallahassee that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without a license while evacuating an emergency was met with resistance from law enforcement, and didn’t come to pass. But after bill sponsor Jeff Brandes made some tweaks this year, the Florida Sheriffs Association endorsed it, and that seemed to be the difference at it cleared the Senate this morning on a 29-10 vote. The biggest change that Brandes made was limiting the time that…

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