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  • Drivers License Suspensions Under Senate Scrutiny 1, October8, 2015
    Nearly one point four million Floridians had their drivers license suspended last year. The vast majority of the suspensions were for failing to pay a fine, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, lawmakers say the system creates a vicious cycle from which some people never recover. Every day, on just about every police blotter in […]
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  • Senate Panel Votes to Remove Confederate Flag from Seal 1, October8, 2015
    The Confederate flag is still on display in a prominent place in Florida’s Capitol. As Matt Galka tells us, Florida state Senators could be removing it entirely soon. It’s not the most noticeable symbol at the Capitol. But for State Senator Arthenia Joyner, the Confederate Flag on the Senate’s seal became plain as day over […]
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  • Pastor Protection Act Clears First Committee 1, October7, 2015
    The Supreme Court ruling earlier this year legalizing gay marriage across the country has sparked potential new legislation in Florida. As Matt Galka tells us, some in Florida’s Capitol believe clergy need new protections to preserve their faith. St. Petersburg pastor Paul Gibson doesn’t have same sex couples knocking down his door for him to […]
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  • Backyard Gun Ranges Could Soon Be Illegal in Urban Areas 1, October7, 2015
    Back yard gun ranges and firing a gun into the air to celebrate…if it’s in an urban area, would be against the law under a bill that cleared its second legislative committee today. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, lawmakers say they are trying to balance public safety with the rights of gun owners. Residents of […]
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  • Open Carry Could be Coming to Florida 1, October6, 2015
    Florida owns the record for concealed carry permits in the country. But as Matt Galka tells us, more than one million Floridians with those permits could soon be able to walk around with their guns on display. 45 states allow some type of open carry of firearms.  Florida is one of only five that outlaw […]
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  • Lawmakers Criticize Medical Marijuana Delay (Again) 1, October6, 2015
    The state Department of Health was unable to provide lawmakers with a timeline today as to when low THC marijuana will be available to patients. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the authorizing legislation was passed almost 18 months ago, and the failure to deliver the medicine is frustrating lawmakers. Five licenses to grow medical marijuana […]
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  • Senate Committee Sends Message to Boycotters of Israel 1, October6, 2015
      Saying they wanted to make a political statement without compromising the states retirement account, a state senate committee today approved legislation prohibiting the state from buying stock in a company that boycotts Israel. State Senator Joe Negron, the bills sponsor, says the legislation hopes to combat an international effort to hurt Israel’s economy. “The […]
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  • Alzheimer’s Legislation Would Fund Tracking Program 1, October5, 2015
    A pilot project to help find Alzheimer’s victims and Autistic individuals who wander (is expected to clear) a legislative committee at the State Capitol today. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the idea is to set up a pilot tracking program through the University of Florida. In this decade, Florida’s population is expected to grow 11 […]
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  • Citizens Regulations Bill Coming Back 1, October5, 2015
    The Governor vetoed legislation earlier this year that lawmakers said would protect customers in the state run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. As Matt Galka tells us, the Governor’s veto pen has not deterred state representatives from bringing the bill back. Citizens property insurance shed more than a million policies in the past 4 years. Less […]
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  • Revenge Porn Law Goes on the Books in Florida 1, October2, 2015
    Revenge porn, or the practice of sharing intimate pictures of someone without their permission, now has a penalty attached to it. As Matt Galka tells us, a former Florida State student who was instrumental in the bill’s passing says it’s about time. Former Florida State student Carly Hellstrom had limited options two years ago. She […]
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House Tackles Court Restructuring

April 15th, 2011 by Mike Vasilinda

Last August, the Florida Supreme Court found three amendments authored by state lawmakers misleading, and ordered them removed from the ballot. Today, the state House approved three bills dramatically changing the structure of the states highest court. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, if the Senate follows suit, the final decision will still be up to voters.

House Speaker Dean Cannon personally argued before the Supreme Court to keep three amendments on the ballot last year. He Lost. Now Cannon is leading the effort to split the court in two, add three justices, and take away its rule-making authority.

Republicans say the changes will make the court more efficient.

Its a complicated state and its grown quite a bit since the constitution was originally passed,” Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Seminole County) said. “So, allowing for that difference, and splitting will allow it to be more efficient.

The idea is sweetened by increasing court funding. But Democrats say call it what it is: court packing.

Here we have a Florida Supreme Court that struck down several constitutional amendments passed by the 2010 legislature, over many of our objections,” Rep. Darren Soto (D-Orlando) said. “In the very next session, here we have a bill that is trying to change the make-up of the court.

The move is reminiscent of 1937, when then-President Franklin Roosevelt tried to add judges to the U.S. Supreme Court to get favorable rulings.

The nation rejected the issue then; but what happens next in Florida is up in the air.

Until now, the effort to split the court has been driven almost entirely by the House Speaker. But this week the Senate got on board, and that makes passage of the proposal more likely.

Even if lawmakers approve the changes, voters will still have the final say in 2012. Unless the court itself does what it did last year, which was to find the legislative amendments unclear and misleading.

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