Latest Florida state government News

Former sex workers see value in trafficking education

Oct. 20, 2019 3:01 AM EDT

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — When Kimberly Weller applied for a job at the spa tucked into a seedy Bradenton strip mall near the airport, there was no talk about her skills as a masseuse or related work experience. The job interview was just one question: "You know what this is, right?" She knew. She wouldn't be...

Officials: Affordable housing fund is rarely fully funded

Oct. 19, 2019 3:01 AM EDT

CRESTVIEW, Fla. (AP) — State legislators often use the dollars intended for affordable housing programs for other purposes. To the detriment of affordable housing programs in Northwest Florida and the rest of the Sunshine State, the state Legislature earlier this year took another massive bite out of the...

Law stopping Florida felons from voting temporarily halted

Oct. 19, 2019 12:33 AM EDT

A federal judge issued a ruling Friday temporarily blocking a Republican-backed Florida law that barred some felons from voting because of their inability to pay fines and other legal debts. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle could pave the way for thousands of felons who were denied the right to...

Details emerge in accidental shooting in school cafeteria

Oct. 18, 2019 2:41 PM EDT

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Eleven young heads turned toward the explosive noise coming from the side of the school lunchroom. A young girl in jeans and white shoes moved her hands toward her ears. A cafeteria worker ducked behind the counter. White smoke lingered. It took everyone a moment to process the...

Florida to seek $633m in federal disaster prevention money

Oct. 17, 2019 1:23 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is developing a plan to tap into as much as $633 million in federal money to help prepare for future storms. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that the Department of Economic Opportunity will coordinate the multi-agency effort to maximize what Florida can receive from...

Florida governor: Giuliani fixers were donors, nothing more

Oct. 16, 2019 4:00 PM EDT

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Florida's governor acknowledged Wednesday that he knew two businessmen tied to President Donald Trump's lawyer and now facing criminal charges. But he said they were just donors to his campaign and "nothing more than that." Gov. Ron DeSantis was asked Wednesday at a news conference...

Florida hires first mental health coordinator for disasters

Oct. 16, 2019 12:59 PM EDT

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) — Florida's emergency management agency has hired a mental health expert to coordinate services after catastrophes. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis on Wednesday said that Darcy Abbott has been hired as Florida's first mental health coordinator for disaster recovery. In the role,...

Florida's attorney general launching vaping investigation

Oct. 16, 2019 12:50 PM EDT

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Florida's attorney general announced Wednesday that she will investigate more than 20 vaping companies that sell the products in the state, saying there's a growing epidemic of teens using the e-cigarettes. In a news conference at a Tampa high school, Moody said the investigation will...

Panel: Florida should tighten school shooter drills

Oct. 15, 2019 6:37 PM EDT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida's public schools should have realistic active-shooter drills and any armed school employees must be trained by a sheriff's office and not a private company, the commission investigating last year's high school massacre recommended Tuesday to the Legislature. The Marjory...

Florida Republicans pick egg farmer to lead state Senate

Oct. 15, 2019 3:36 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Republicans have selected a 53-year-old egg farmer to be next in line to lead them in the state Senate. Sen. Wilton Simpson will assume leadership of the legislative body after its current president, Sen. Bill Galvano, steps down next year. Simpson was officially designated...