Gov. Ron DeSantis wants a criminal investigation into the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the group in charge of government funding for domestic violence centers. The coalition has made a string of negative headlines, including the recent revelation that its former CEO received more than $5 million in paid time off. The Governor’s office has also directed the Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell to oversee domestic violence funding while the state seeks out a replacement for the coalition. Here’s your nightly rundown.
Half-staff. DeSantis ordered flags to fly half-staff Friday in respect for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018. Senate President Bill Galvano held a moment of silence as Senators convened for the final floor session of the week: “We join victims’ families, survivors, communities and all of those who continue to mourn this devastating loss in our hearts today in the Florida Senate.”
Budget time. The Senate unanimously passed its proposed budget Thursday, folded into an amendment to the House budget, sending the Legislature to debate over key disparities in their $91 billion-plus spending plans.
‘Power grab.’ A plan to move the Office of Energy out of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services passed the full House, despite strong opposition from Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Democratic lawmakers.
iBudget overhaul. The House is backing down from a redesign of a Medicaid program that provides in-home services to people with developmental disabilities.
Cap comeback? The concept of a 10% THC cap on medical cannabis has been floated without success in Tallahassee, but the House Speaker would like to revisit the proposal.
Safety surveys. Following tragedies at All Children’s and St. Mary’s, support for a bill that would require hospitals to survey their staff on patient safety is growing in both the House and Senate.
Fee multipliers. A House bill that would nix “fee multipliers” for plaintiffs’ attorneys in property insurance cases moved through the Commerce Committee with a 16-7 vote.
Drones zoom. One bill allowing the use of drones to fight wildfires, and another authorizing greater use of the tech in law enforcement flew through the House State Affairs Committee.
E-Cig rules. A bill that would classify vape devices as tobacco products cleared the Senate Finance and Tax Committee with a unanimous vote, despite industry objections.
Tax holidays. The Senate Finance and Tax Committee approved bills that would put an 18-day “disaster preparedness” sales-tax holiday and a 10-day back-to-school sales-tax holiday on the calendar.
EVs get greenlight. A Senate panel moved forward with legislation that would set up a state study on the development of new electric vehicle charging stations.
Finning ban. A shark finning ban sponsored by Rep. Kristin Jacobs, who is battling cancer, passed its final committeein the House, but the debate remains hot over how Florida might protect legal shark fishers from losing big parts of their business.
Tax cuts. National star power graced the Capitol’s 4th Floor Rotunda as Grover Norquist headlined a rally advocating cutting Florida’s Communications Services Tax.