Florida Legislators Pass Law With Tougher Punishment for Hit-and-Run Accidents

Thue via wikimedia commons
We've all been there: You're riding your bike, walking on the street, or simply driving and out of nowhere some South Florida speed demon almost runs you down in his or her car.

According to unfortunate statistics from the state, it's more likely now than ever that the offending driver will take off after an accident. In 2012, there were 70,000 hit-and-run accidents. The kicker: There's little incentive in the law for the people responsible to stick around, especially when they've killed or seriously injured someone.

This week, both houses of the Florida Legislature passed a bill that will change all that.

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Fort Lauderdale Moms Opine About Armed Guards in Schools

Categories: I'm Just A Bill

Photo by Anemone Rueger via Wikipedia Commons
A Florida House subcommittee passed a bill yesterday that would allow schools the option of hiring former or current law enforcement officers and military officers to carry firearms on campuses -- "any preschool, elementary school, middle school, junior high school, secondary school, career center, or postsecondary school, whether public or nonpublic."

The bill is called House Bill 753, and it will now head to the House Judiciary Committee.

The topic of armed security in schools has been a national discussion since the Sandy Hook tragedy. The loudest opinions have come from politicians, gun advocates, and hyperbolic talking heads who are convinced that one more or one fewer gun will surely be the marble that tips our country's scale into a postapocalyptic desert of unpatriotic zombies.

Those aren't the people we should be listening to.

Instead, it should be those who have the most at stake: The boo-boo-kissing, lunch-box-packing, time-out-assigning mommies of America.

See also: Top Six Gun-Related Bills Being Discussed by Florida Legislature

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Brew Wars: Florida Legislators Screwed the Craft Beer Industry

Categories: I'm Just A Bill

Lumpytrout via wikimediacommons
It's no secret that Florida's craft beer industry is experiencing a bit of a boom -- belated, sure, compared to other states around the nation, but better late than never. This legislative session, your elected representatives have been kicking around legislation that ostensibly would help the industry.

This being the same legislative body behind greatest hits like Stand Your Ground and a Bong Ban, they've predictably come close to pushing forward law that would actually hurt, not help, Florida brew.

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Anti-Immigration Group: Don't Let Illegal Immigrants Pay In-State College Tuition Rates

Photo via www.myfloridahouse.gov
From the left, Rep. Dana D. Young, and Rep. Jeanette M. Nuñez
A group calling itself Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (or, FLIMEN) is putting on the full-court press to get legislators to derail HB 851, a bill that would allow all students who have studied in Florida for three consecutive years the opportunity to pay in-state tuition at a state college or university, regardless of immigration status.

On Thursday, the bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee by a 19-7 vote. The bill has also had overwhelming support from the Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee, chaired by Miami Republican Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, the Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and even Gov. Rick Scott.

FLIMEN, however, is calling on its members to get on the horn with their representative, senator or Governor Scott, and urge them to stop a bill that FLIMEN says will hurt legal citizens, take away jobs and depress wages, by helping illegals.

See also: The Anti-Immigration Group Targeting Marco Rubio Doesn't Want to Talk to New Times or Any Other "Liberal Opinion Media"

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Florida GI Bill Unanimously Passes Senate, Heads to Rick Scott

photo by US Army via Wikimedia Commons
Hey lookit, everybody! The state Senate actually agreed on something! Unanimously, even.

The Florida Legislature has passed the "Welcome Home" bill on Tuesday. The bill will make Florida veterans eligible for in-state tuition and will provide scholarships for members of the state's National Guard while reducing education costs for military veterans.

Sen. Garrett Richter, a Vietnam vet who won a Bronze Star in that war, says he wants to make sure veterans look to Florida as the place for them to build their lives.

"We want to encourage them to make Florida their home over any other state," he said.

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Florida Bill That Would Arm School Employees to Go Before Senate Panel

Republican state senator in Florida Alan Hays is just a vessel of amazing ideas. The man who once filed legislation to keep public buses from stopping on streets because one time he got stuck in traffic behind one and who once called Sharia law a "dreadful disease" that needed vaccination, and who is fighting a battle to get all that Muslim stuff out of school textbooks to make room for Christianity has yet another winning idea up his sleeve.

Hays is now sponsoring a bill that would allow school employees to carry guns.

On Monday, Florida's Senate Criminal Justice Committee is going to be getting together to discuss whether having people walking around with guns in schools is a good idea.

See also: Florida State Senator Says We Need to "Vaccinate" Against Sharia

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Florida Senate Proposal Would Allow a Casino Built in Broward County

Broward County could be opening at least one Vegas-style casino thanks to a new gambling proposal introduced via the Florida Senate on Monday.

The new proposal would give both Broward and Miami-Dade counties one new casino each, as well as give other casinos across the state a boatload of new slot machines.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, who is chair of the Senate Committee on Gaming. Richter says that the bill is just a starting point and that voters would have final say on any state gambling expansions.

See also: Dania Casino & Jai Alai Re-Opening Tonight

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Should Parasailing Be Regulated in Florida?

Categories: I'm Just A Bill

Flickr creative commons by Me + Camera = My Photo
In 2007, 15-year-old Amber White was parasailing in Pompano Beach with her sister when winds picked up, the tow line broke, and White slammed into a building and died. Last year, 17-year-old Alexis Fairchild was parasailing in Panama City when again winds picked up, the line snapped, and she and her teenaged friend slammed into a building. There have been 20 injuries and six deaths since 2001, according to the Daytona News-Journal.

Today, Fairchild will join State Sen. Maria Sachs in a call for the industry to be more tightly regulated. Sachs has introduced a bill in the Legislature. Similar bills have been introduced and failed before, but Sachs believes this time is different because the parasailing industry backs her bill.

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Here Are the Florida Members of Congress Who Voted Against the Shutdown Deal

Categories: I'm Just A Bill

via Ed Brown via wikimedia commons
Damn, that was close.

Sixteen days of government shutdown. An endless sound-bite tug of war. Negotiations that had less intellectual substance than a debate over who could bench more, the Hulk or the Thing.

It's all over.

Late last night, at the 23rd hour, Congress finally hammered together a deal to jump-start the government and reset the debt limit, a move that avoids government default and puts half a million furloughed government employees back to work.

Today, get ready for a lot of warm, fuzzy post-ops on moving forward from the whole kerfuffle. But, lest we forget too quickly, let us point out that a good handful of congressional Republicans didn't have the stones to take off their Tea Party hats and do what was right for the American people yesterday.

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ACLU: Florida Sex Offender Reform Should be "Based on Facts, Not Fear"

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For legislators - especially the ones looking to earn tough-on-crime points - it's open season on sex offenders. Following a Sun Sentinel investigation that found a high number of re-offenders among the worst of the worst, Tallahassee has elbowed everything else to the side, clamoring to find new ways to cool down the frayed nerves of a frightened public.

But as new ideas for handling sex offenders keeping popping up, it's time we look at where the line between safety-at-all cost and constitutional rights come into play.

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