Florida Legislature

The Florida Legislature appears a step closer to complying with a state Supreme Court order to re-draw congressional districts: despite opposition from many Democrats and a handful of Republicans.

On a 76-35 vote, the House Tuesday approved the redistricting plan. Twenty-six Democrats and nine Republicans voted against. Considered a “base” map, the plan was developed by legislative staff members and attorneys. It includes changes to districts in numerous parts of the state.

Governor Rick Scott last week cut $461 million in spending from the new budget that takes effect on Wednesday, including $82 million for the Panhandle. But there’s still a substantial chunk of change heading this way.

Northwest Florida will get an estimated $678 million for projects in areas such as transportation, economic development, the environment, the arts, and education.

Before signing the new state budget into law, Governor Rick Scott vetoed about $8.2 million in spending for northwest Florida projects. And there’s talk about how some of the cuts may have been made, which is drawing fire from some lawmakers.

Scott signed the nearly $79 billion budget, which takes effect July 1, in his office on Tuesday. But prior to that, he unlimbered his line-item veto pen to the tune of $461 million; believed to be a record for budget vetoes.

Photo via Flickr// Steven Martin

The Florida Legislature convened in special session on Monday, charged with completing a state budget before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli gaveled in the House, with neither that chamber nor the Senate appearing any closer to resolving their differences over expanding health care coverage; the obstacle that caused Crisafulli to adjourn in April without a spending plan.


June 1 is the traditional start of the Atlantic Hurricane season. This year it also marks the kickoff of a special session of the Florida Legislature.

The session date was set after weeks of conflict over differences on major health-care issues. The spending plan, in effect, was caught in the crossfire, which included the sudden adjournment of the House by Speaker Steve Crisafulli, three days before the official end of the session.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is pushing for more tax cuts, more money for schools and lower state university tuition in his annual State of the State Address delivered on Tuesday.

Speaking on the opening of the 2015 legislative session, the Governor told the 160 state lawmakers that they agree on more than they disagree on. He then laid out his goals in the first year of his second term. Those include cutting taxes, spending more money on K-through-12, and making higher education more affordable.


As early voting got underway for the August 26 primary, the Florida Legislature passed new congressional districts on nearly party-line votes in the House and the Senate on Monday. The map now goes back to the courts.

It was a scene not unlike when lawmakers passed a congressional map two years go – Republicans taking a victory lap at the statehouse – for following the anti-gerrymandering Fair Districts amendments voters approved in 2010.


Florida lawmakers are gearing up for a little overtime. The Legislature kicks off a special session on Thursday, to redraw congressional districts.

The memo was issued Sunday by Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford. It came two days after Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ordered lawmakers to redraw the districts of Democratic Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Jacksonville and Republican Congressman Dan Webster of Orlando, and submit a map to him by Aug. 15.  Gaetz – a Republican from Niceville -- says that’s not an unreasonable deadline.

Qualifying for state and local offices in Florida closed at noon on Friday, June 20. While Gov. Rick Scott and the three Republican members of the Cabinet all drew opponents, several incumbent members of the Florida Legislature were re-elected without opposition.

Two of them are in Northwest Florida.

Greg Evers of Baker is headed for a second and final four-year term in the Florida Senate, representing District 2.

It’s very humbling that folks thought enough of you that they were able to elect you without opposition.”

The community action group Movement for Change has been a fixture in Pensacola since the 1990's; officially established in 1997. Led by activist Leroy Boyd, who died in 2010, their original mission was the renaming of Pensacola’s Alcaniz Street in honor of slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over the years, members of the organization have tackled numerous social justice issues, ranging from disparities in education, law enforcement, and the voting process.