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A Look at the 2013 Legislative Session

Monday, May 20, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bob Levy, Robert M. Levy & Associates
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New Laws Will Affect Everyday Life

A Look at the 2013 Legislative Session

by Bob Levy, Robert M. Levy & Associates

Lawmakers passed 234 bills during the 2013 legislative session. Gov. Rick Scott has already signed into law 37 measures and vetoed one.

Florida lawmakers didn’t raise taxes, end alimony, make it easier for parents to pull kids from failing schools, change regulation of high school sports or make drivers turn down their booming car stereos.

But they did ban Internet sweepstakes cafés after the lieutenant governor resigned amid a scandal involving these so-called "drive-by casinos.”

And they passed a university tuition hike, though the governor may veto it. They mandated more accountability for charter schools, gave state employees their first pay raise in six years and tried to clean up political ethics and fix an election system that put Florida back into late-night TV monologues.

And after five years of trying, they passed a law against texting and driving.

The 2013 session of the Legislature made changes many Floridians will see in their daily lives, but it will also be remembered for big ideas that went nowhere: expansion of Medicaid eligibility for about 1.2 million poor people, backed in a turnabout by Scott, and the move to close the state retirement system to new employees, championed by House Speaker and Wesley Chapel Republican Will Weatherford.

Before the House and the Senate made the traditional sine die handkerchief drop at 7:16 p.m. on Friday, May 3, lawmakers adopted a record $74.5 billion state budget—more than $4 billion above this year’s spending—and included Scott’s two top priorities: teacher pay raises and repeal of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment.

Both moves, said the business-minded governor, will produce jobs by giving Florida a better-educated workforce and lower operating costs for employers.

"This is a great day for Florida families,” Scott told a throng that jammed the Capitol rotunda for the closing ceremonies.

Scott has a few weeks to decide whether the standoff over Medicaid expansion, a piece of President Barack Obama’s national health care plan, warrants a special session.

Here are highlights from the two-month session:

Teacher Raises

The budget includes raises of $1,400 for state workers making less than $40,000 and $1,000 for those earning more. Teachers rated "effective” will get $2,500 pay hikes, and the most highly rated can qualify for $3,500 raises.

University Funding

Scott has said he does not want a tuition increase, but legislators put 3 percent in the budget. The governor can use his line-item veto to take it out, but remains officially noncommittal, saying he will listen to as many people as possible on both sides of the issue.

The budget provides $151 million in new university funding on top of a $300 million repayment of money taken out last year to meet needs in other areas of the budget.

Local Projects

There’s the usual array of pork in the 2013-2014 budget, such as $1 million each for the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

But lawmakers did not fund expansion of the Miami Dolphins football stadium despite personal visits from team owners down to the final minutes of the session.

Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, put $190,000 in the budget for the University of South Florida to search for grave sites where the infamous Dozier School for Boys once operated in Jackson County. Dozens of graves have been discovered, but no one knows how many poor, forgotten, mostly black youths died at the now-closed juvenile prison.

Parent Trigger

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the session was rejection of the so-called parent trigger bill in a 20-20 vote—the second straight year the Senate has deadlocked over the idea. It would have allowed parents in failing schools to petition their school boards to come up with a turnaround plan, under threat of removing children to other schools. Opponents said it was an attempt to drum up business for corporate-run charter schools.

Driving Offenses

Texting while driving becomes a secondary offense in Florida, meaning law enforcement officers can write the $30 ticket so long as they have pulled over a motorist for some other infraction.

Driving slowly in the left lane will also be illegal, though the new law is expected to be rarely enforced.

Sen. Wilton Simpson, a Republican from Pasco County, tried to override a 2012 Florida Supreme Court ruling that struck down a $73 fine for driving with a stereo that can be heard 25 feet away. The Senate killed the bill on a 19-19 vote.

Parasailing Safety

A bill to impose state safety regulations on commercial parasailing, popular on beaches in Pinellas and across coastal Florida, was doomed by assignment to four committees. It passed only one. Introduced following the deaths of two young women, the bill would have required parasailing boats to stay a safe distance from shore and have an observer aboard.

Drone Aircraft

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, succeeded in curbing police use of drones. His bill, signed into law by Scott, requires search warrants for routine drone surveillance. Police can still fly them in emergencies—to search for a missing child or a fugitive, or to measure the boundaries of a wildfire or hurricane damage—but drones cannot be used to spy on people unless authorized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Public Meetings

Negron won passage of a right-to-be-heard law, which went to Scott in the final week. It countermands a pair of court rulings that while people have a right to attend meetings of public agencies, they have no right to speak there. Negron’s bill requires public bodies to make reasonable accommodations for public comment.

Internet Cafés

Moves to slow the spread of Internet sweepstakes cafés got little traction for several years until a state-federal investigation netted 57 arrests on money laundering and racketeering charges. Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll, whose public-relations firm did work for the café operator at the center of the case, resigned after being questioned by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Carroll has not been accused of any crime.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who had been trying for a moratorium on new cafés, saw his bill catch fire. Quickly, it became a total ban, and Scott signed it into law just as quickly.

Alimony

Scott vetoed a bill by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, and Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, that would have ended permanent alimony in Florida. Scott said he was concerned about retroactivity, with long-divorced men going back to court to reduce or to eliminate payments their ex-wives depend upon.

Campaigning, Ethics

Scott signed a major package of ethics and campaign-finance changes. One new law allows the Commission on Ethics to enforce fines, which have long gone uncollected from errant officials, and permits the governor, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and prosecutors to refer cases to the nine-member commission.

Another new law raises the $500 limit on individual campaign contributions to $1,000 in legislative races and $3,000 in statewide campaigns while abolishing shadowy "committees of continuous existence” that many politicians set up to take unlimited contributions for political slush funds.

The House and the Senate sent Scott a bill restoring up to 14 days of early voting and permitting counties to designate additional sites for voting in the two weeks before the election. The plan also applies a 75-word limit to constitutional amendments put on the ballot by the Legislature, not just those submitted by public petition initiatives. The goal is to make them easier to understand.

Another provision puts Florida in line with Republican and Democratic party rules on the presidential primary elections date as urged by potential presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican. Florida had set the primary earlier to maximize impact on the parties’ choice in nominees but was punished by a reduction in its convention delegates.


Business

WINE KEGS (PASSED): Allows wine to be sold in five-gallon containers, repealing current limit of one gallon. (SB 658/HB 623)

CAR DEALERS (PASSED): Requires consumers to submit demand letter prior to filing lawsuit against car dealer. (SB 292/HB 55)

Criminal, Civil Justice

MASSAGE ESTABLISHMENTS (PASSED): Adds regulations to curb businesses that could be a front for human trafficking. (SB 500/HB 7005)

FOREIGN LAW (FAILED): Bans use of foreign law in family court cases; critics said it was rooted in legislation against Sharia or Islamic law. (SB 58/HB 351)

LANDLORDS, TENANTS (PASSED): Allows landlords to evict tenants after accepting partial rent payments and makes other changes to landlord-tenant law. (SB 490/HB 77)

WAGE THEFT (FAILED): Prohibits local governments from setting up wage theft prevention programs. Requires unpaid workers to sue their bosses in civil court. (SB 1216/HB 1125)

ANIMAL CRUELTY (PASSED): Prohibits dyeing or artificially coloring of animals, the sale of certain animals and boosts animal cruelty penalties. (HB 851)

NURSING HOME LITIGATION (FAILED): Makes it tougher to sue a nursing home for punitive damages. (SB 1384/HB 869)

ALIMONY (VETOED): Ends permanent alimony, places caps on alimony payments based on payer’s income. Requires judges to give equal custody to newly divorced parents, unless one parent can make a convincing case otherwise. (SB 718)

PERSONAL RECORDS (PASSED): Makes it illegal to possess other people’s personal information such as Social Security numbers and credit cards. (HB 691)

DEATH PENALTY (FAILED): Repeals Florida’s death penalty for capital cases. (HB 4005)

EXPERT WITNESS (PASSED): Requires courts to adhere to a modified Daubert standard to determine the admissibility of expert witness testimony, patterned after standard used in most other states and the federal government. (HB 7015)

SEXUAL BATTERY (PASSED): Severs paternal rights of a rapist when a child is conceived during the assault. (SB 964/HB 887)

DRONES (SIGNED INTO LAW): Limits law enforcement use of unmanned drones for surveillance; bans local law enforcement officials from using drones without a warrant or threat of a terrorist attack and prohibits information collected by drones to be used as evidence in court. (SB 92)

JUVENILE INMATES (FAILED): Makes juvenile inmates sentenced to life imprisonment for non-homicides eligible for resentencing after 25 years. (SB 1350/HB 963)

DEATH PENALTY (PASSED): Limits the legal arguments used by inmates sentenced to death and awaiting execution in an effort to accelerate the death penalty process. (HB 7083)

SEX OFFENSES (FAILED): Increases the age when out-of-court tape can be used in child abuse cases; adds more restrictions on sex offenders. (HB 7031)

MEDICAL LIABILITY (PASSED): Makes it more difficult to sue doctors in medical malpractice lawsuits by allowing their lawyers to consult with the doctors of plaintiffs without another lawyer present; limits which expert witnesses can testify. (SB 1792)

SCALPING (FAILED): Establishes penalties for creating counterfeit tickets and for improperly selling or reusing certain types of tickets. (SB 394/HB 163)

CELL PHONE PRIVACY (FAILED): Requires police to obtain a search warrant before seizing a personal electronic device during an arrest. (SB 846/HB 797)

DRUG PARAPHERNALIA (PASSED): Makes it illegal for stores to sell pipes used to smoke marijuana and other drugs. (HB 49)

DRUG OFFENDERS (FAILED): Relaxes minimum mandatory prison sentences for people who abuse prescription painkillers and removes oxycodone and hydrocodone from the list of trafficking substances. (HB 159)

Driving and Roads

MINORS AND TEXTING (FAILED): Bans teen drivers under age 18 from talking or texting on cell phones and other wireless devices. (SB 396/HB 61)

TEXTING (PASSED): Makes texting while driving a secondary offense; an officer has to see another violation, like weaving or speeding, to stop a driver for typing or reading text messages. The driver then gets two tickets, one for the original offense, one for texting. (SB 52/HB 13)

TEXTING PENALTY (FAILED): Makes vehicular homicide the standard penalty for causing a death due to texting while driving. (SB 708/HB 849)

LOUD STEREOS (FAILED): Restores ban on excessively loud car stereos after original law was struck down by Florida Supreme Court. (SB 634/HB 1019)

TRAFFIC SAFETY (PASSED): Prohibits truck drivers from texting and establishes fines. First-time offenders will be fined $500. Waives certain fines for motorists who turn right on red. (HB 7125)

RED LIGHT CAMERAS (FAILED): Reduces fines and gives people more time to pay them. (SB 1342)

HANDHELD DEVICES (FAILED): Prohibits texting and talking on cell phones. (SB 74)

FOREIGN DRIVER PERMIT (SIGNED INTO LAW): Repeals international driver permit requirement that frustrated Canadian tourists. (HB 7059)

HOMELESS DONATIONS (PASSED): Allows people applying for or renewing driver’s licenses or motor vehicle registrations to make $1 donations to homeless outreach programs. (SB 402/HB 93)

Environment, Energy

FRACKING (FAILED): Companies must disclose what chemicals they use when they explore for oil and gas using an extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. (HB 743)

EVERGLADES (PASSED): Ratifies the settlement between the state and the federal government and the sugar industry to spend $32 million annually to help improve the quality of water flowing into the Everglades. (SB 768/HB 7065)

ENERGY (PASSED): Implements a 2008 constitutional amendment that exempts renewable energy improvements made after Jan. 1, 2013; a similar measure has passed the House three previous years but never made it through the Senate. (SB 1064/HB 277)

WASTEWATER (SIGNED INTO LAW): Eases the restrictions on flushing treated waste water into the ocean during "peak flow events” like hurricanes. (SB 444)

WETLANDS (PASSED): Modifies a series of wetlands-related rules and ratifies the governor’s and the Cabinet’s approval of 30-year leases of public lands in the Everglades to sugar companies. (HB 999)

SPRINGS (FAILED): Requires water management districts to identify certain springs for protection. (SB 978)

WATER SUPPLY (PASSED): Places the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on par with utilities in water supply planning as water use among utilities and urban areas surpasses agriculture. (SB 948)

NUCLEAR COSTS (PASSED): Imposes new hurdles on electric companies before they can collect fees for pre-construction costs of nuclear power plants. (SB 1472)

Ethics, Elections

ELECTIONS (PASSED): Expands early voting sites, requires eight days of early voting for eight hours each day and allows counties to expand early voting to 14 days for 12 hours each day, including Sunday before election. (HB 7013)

ETHICS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Bans legislators from working as lobbyists for two years after leaving office; limits patronage jobs for elected officials while in office; allows ethics commission to garnish pay of officials who refuse to pay fines. (SB 2)

GIFT BAN (FAILED): Relaxes provisions of 2006 law that banned lobbyists from giving free drinks and meals to legislators. (SB 1634)

CAMPAIGN FINANCE (SIGNED INTO LAW): Expands the powers of candidate political committees and eliminates committees of continuous existence; raises the cap on individual contributions from $500 to $1,000 per election for most offices except statewide offices and Supreme Court candidates, who can raise up to $3,000 per election. (HB 569)

General Government

BUDGET (PASSED): A $74.5 billion budget. Provides raises for state workers and additional money for teachers. Increases tuition for state colleges, universities and workforce education by 3 percent. (SB 1500)

PUBLIC RECORDS (PASSED): Keeps voters’ email addresses confidential. (HB 249)

DISABILITIES (PASSED): Replaces term "mental retardation” with "intellectual disabilities” in state law. (SB 142/HB 1119)

PENSIONS (FAILED): Prohibits new state employees, teachers and county workers from enrolling in Florida Retirement System, steering them instead toward private investment plans. (HB 7011)

PENSIONS (FAILED): Encourages new state employees, teachers and county workers to enroll in private investment plans. (SB 1392)

PENSIONS: (FAILED): Allows cities more revenue from insurance premium taxes now being used for extra pension benefits for police and firefighters. (SB 458)

PENSION REPORTING (PASSED): Requires local pensions to downgrade investment projections by applying conservative benchmarks to returns. (SB 534)

MORTGAGE SETTLEMENT (PASSED): Allocates $200 million from the foreclosure fraud settlement, mostly on affordable housing programs. (SB 1852)

Guns

GUN CONTROL (FAILED): Mandates that only licensed dealers can sell guns at gun shows. (SB 1272/HB 1051)

DOCS VS. GLOCKS (FAILED): Repeals the 2011 "Docs vs. Glocks” law that banned doctors from asking patients about guns. (SB 314/HB 4017)

GUN CONTROL (PASSED): Prevents people voluntarily admitted to a mental institution from possessing a firearm. (SB 1000/HB 1355)

GUN CONTROL (FAILED): Gives local governments the ability to regulate firearms in public locations. (SB 374/HB 97)

GUN CONTROL (FAILED): Creates firearms sales tax, uses revenue for school safety. (SB 1208/HB 325)

GUN CONTROL (FAILED): Allows counties and cities to regulate firearms. (SB 1018/HB 993)

GUN CONTROL (FAILED): Creates a 4 percent tax on gun sales, using the funds to support mental health treatment. (SB 1234/HB 1209)

BULLET CONTROL (FAILED): Requires people to take anger management classes before purchasing ammunition. (SB 1678/HB 1229)

GUNS IN SCHOOLS (FAILED): Allows principals to designate certain schools employees to carry concealed weapons in schools. (SB 1418/HB 1097)

BACKGROUND CHECKS (FAILED): Requires universal background checks for all gun sales. (SB 1640/HB 1343)

STAND YOUR GROUND (FAILED): Repeals controversial Stand Your Ground law, which provides immunity to people who use deadly force in self-defense. (SB 622/HB 4009)

STAND YOUR GROUND (FAILED): Limits Stand Your Ground law, clarifying that it does not apply when innocent bystanders are hurt or killed. (SB 362/HB 123)

STAND YOUR GROUND (FAILED): Expands Stand Your Ground protection to people who fire warning shots in self-defense. (SB 1446/HB 1047)

STAND YOUR GROUND (FAILED): Limits Stand Your Ground law, clarifying that police can detain a suspect and mandating law enforcement to track all Stand Your Ground cases. (SB 136/HB 331)

STAND YOUR GROUND (FAILED): Clarifies that Stand Your Ground defense does not apply to "aggressors” in an altercation. (SB 930)

Health Care

DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS (FAILED): Sets up a domestic registry; allows basic rights primarily related to health care, visitation and property for unmarried couples. (SB 196/HB 259)

SMOKING (FAILED): Prohibits smoking at government-owned beaches, parks and playgrounds and at entrances to private workplaces. (SB 258/HB 141)

CUBA-TRAINED DOCTORS (FAILED): Bans some doctors who voluntarily trained in Cuba from receiving a medical license in Florida. (SB 456/HB 517)

SICK LEAVE (PASSED): Bans local governments from requiring employers to provide sick-leave benefits for their workers. Does not affect "living wage” ordinances. (SB 726/HB 655)

MEDICAID EXPANSION (FAILED): The House and Senate could not reach agreement on how to expand coverages for the uninsured without expanding Medicaid, each rejecting a plan championed by the other chamber. (HB 7169)

TRAUMA CENTERS (PASSED): Sets new rules allowing hospitals in a handful of rural counties in the Panhandle and Central Florida to build a trauma center. Creates an expedited review process to allow a nursing home to be built in high-density retirement communities. Allows a 10-bed labor and delivery ward at Miami Children’s Hospital. (HB 1159)

COUNTY MEDICAID (PASSED): Sets a new formula for billing counties for Medicaid that factors in the percentage of enrollees that live in a county and the state’s rising Medicaid costs. (SB 1520)

FAMILY CONTRACTS (FAILED): Reins in the use of "personal services contracts’’ to redistribute a person’s assets so they can qualify for Medicaid long-term care coverage. (HB 1323)

DRUG REPACKAGING (PASSED): Caps the cost of repackaged drugs some doctors prescribe to patients on workers’ compensation. (SB 662)

BAKER ACT (FAILED): Allows nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to Baker Act a person who is suicidal or homicidal. (HB 9)

EYE DOCTORS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Allows optometrists to prescribe pills and other medications to treat eye diseases. (HB 239)

ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES (FAILED): Tightens ALF oversight, standardizes fines and sets up rating system for homes. Requires special license if one or more residents have mental health issues. (SB 646/HB 1319)

DRUG DATABASE (FAILED): Requires that doctors enter new prescriptions into a state database within two days and allows drug companies to help fund the program. (HB 831)

MEDICAL MARIJUANA (FAILED): Legalizes use of marijuana for medical reasons. (SB 1250/HB 1139)

Higher Education

PRE-EMINENCE (SIGNED INTO LAW): Provides additional funding for the state’s two highest-ranking universities, University of Florida and Florida State University. (SB 1076)

IMMIGRANT TUITION (FAILED): Extends in-state tuition to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. (SB 180/HB 7051)

MIAMI DADE COLLEGE (FAILED): Allows Miami-Dade County to levy a voter-approved half-penny sales tax to support capital projects at Miami Dade College. (SB 1718/HB 1295)

FINISH IN FOUR (FAILED): Guarantees in-state students who enroll in a state university and maintain a full-time schedule that their tuition and fees will not change for four years. (SB 920)

Insurance

CITIZENS (FAILED): Creates an inspector general for Citizens Property Insurance. Proposal passed in a different bill. (SB 386/HB 433)

CAT FUND (FAILED): Reduces the size and liability of the $17 billion Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. (SB 1262/HB 1107)

CITIZENS INSURANCE (FAILED): Clarifies that 10 percent cap on rate hikes applied to both new and renewal policies. (SB 96/HB 107)

PROPERTY INSURANCE (PASSED): Creates "clearinghouse” to steer Citizens Property Insurance homeowners into private insurance and adds accountability measures for state-run insurer. (SB 1770)

AUTO INSURANCE (FAILED): Repeals the state’s "no-fault” Personal Injury Protection law, replacing it with a Bodily Injury Liability coverage system. (SB 7152)

Miscellaneous

PERSONAL RECORDS (PASSED): Makes it illegal to possess without authorization other people’s personal information such as Social Security numbers and credit cards. (HB 691)

ABORTION (FAILED): Provides for felony charges if a fetus dies during an assault on a pregnant woman. (SB 876/HB 759)

ABORTION (FAILED): Prohibits abortion in most circumstances. (SB 1056/HB 395)

ABORTION (FAILED): Requires doctors to sign an affidavit stating an abortion was not performed based on sex or race. (SB 1072/HB 845)

ABORTION (PASSED): Requires health providers to provide emergency medical care to an infant who survives a failed abortion or face criminal charges. (SB 1636/HB 1129)

FORECLOSURES (PASSED): Speeds up the foreclosure process but imposes more requirements on banks and lenders to prove they own a loan for the property before foreclosing on it. (SB 1666/HB 87)

CHILDREN’S HOMES (PASSED): Increases regulations of boarding schools and the group that oversees religious homes that have chosen to take a religious exemption from licensing. (HB 7129)

FERAL CATS (FAILED): States that someone who spays or neuters a feral cat and releases it is not breaking the law. Allows counties and cities to adopt ordinances to curtail the feral cat population. (SB 1320/HB 1121)

ANIMAL SHELTERS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Requires animal shelters and control agencies that accept public money to keep records of cats and dogs they take in and what happens to them. (SB 674)

INTERNET CAFÉS (SIGNED INTO LAW) Outlaws the use of electronic slot machines at Internet cafés and adult arcades in the wake of federal and state investigations. (HB 155)

PreK-12 Education

CLASS SIZE (FAILED): Eases the monetary penalty school systems face for not meeting the state’s class size requirements. (SB 1370/HB 189)

COMMON CORE (FAILED): Pushes back the timetable for implementing the new Common Core curriculum. (SB 524/HB 377)

CYBERBULLYING (PASSED): Prohibits cyberbullying in public schools. (SB 626/HB 609)

ARTS EDUCATION (FAILED): Factors participation in arts courses into school grading formula. (SB 428/HB 283)

EPIPENS (PASSED): Allows schools to stock a supply of EpiPens to give to students who don’t already have a prescription. (SB 284/SB 369)

GRADUATION (SIGNED INTO LAW): Revamps graduation requirements so that passing certain end-of-course exams is no longer required. Creates two new diploma designations, one for students taking industry-certification courses, and one for students enrolled in college-level courses. (SB 1076)

CHARTER FACILITIES (FAILED): Creates a recurring revenue stream for charter school facilities out of the Florida Education Finance Program. (SB 1396/HB 1267)

DATA (FAILED): Allows the state Department of Education to create a searchable online data warehouse for education information. (SB 878/HB 7027)

LOCKDOWNS (FAILED): Requires schools to hold lockdown drills as often as fire and other emergency evacuation drills. (SB 790/HB 989)

REGULATIONS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Repeals education regulations that were unnecessary or cumbersome. (SB 1096)

TESTING (PASSED): Requires districts to approve testing schedules and publish them online. (SB 1664/HB 53)

EARLY LEARNING (PASSED): Establishes the Office of Early Learning under the Department of Education. Reduces the portion of state funding that can be used on overhead and administrative costs. (SB 1722/HB 7165)

PARENT TRIGGER (FAILED): Allows parents to demand sweeping changes in failing public schools, including a charter-school conversion. (SB 862/HB 867)

SCHOOL SAFETY (FAILED): Funnels tax money collected on firearms and ammunition into a trust fund for school safety initiatives. (SB 1208/HB 325)

SCHOOL SPORTS (FAILED): Eases the rules on student athletes transferring schools and revamps the Florida High School Athletic Association. (SB 1164/HB 1279)

TUTORING (PASSED): Eliminates a requirement to spend 15 percent of federal dollars for poor students on private tutoring services. (SB 1514)

CHARTER SCHOOLS (PASSED): Tightens accountability for charter schools, grants high-performing charter schools additional flexibility. Prevents students from having poor-performing teachers for two consecutive years. (HB 7009)

SCHOOL BOARDS (FAILED): Requires school boards to meet at least once each quarter during the school year. (SB 134/HB 127)

TEACHER PAY (PASSED): Prohibits teachers from being evaluated based on students they’ve never taught. (SB 1664)

SPECIAL ED (PASSED): Gives parents the final say on individualized education plans drawn up for special-needs students. (SB 1108/HB 465)

VIRTUAL (PASSED): Allows private virtual learning providers from outside of state to qualify for a larger share of public dollars. Allows students to take classes at virtual schools in other counties. (SB 904/HB 7029)

TEACHER RECORDS (FAILED): Exempts the data used in teacher performance evaluations from public records laws for three years after the evaluation takes place. (HB 7161)

TAXING DISTRICT (FAILED): Allows municipalities to set up special taxing districts to fund school safety initiatives. (SB 514/HB 873)

Social Services

FOSTER CARE (PASSED): Gives teens option of staying in foster care to age 21 instead of "aging out” at 18. (SB 1036/HB 1315)

FOSTER CARE (SIGNED INTO LAW): Empowers foster care parents to make everyday decisions for kids; eases rules so kids can participate in "normal” activities without a court order. (SB 164/HB 215)

INMATE RE-ENTRY (FAILED): Requires state to give inmates state ID or driver’s license upon release from prison. (SB 1032/HB 7121)

WELFARE BENEFITS (PASSED) Prevents people from using welfare benefits at certain "adult entertainment” establishments, casinos or in a liquor store. (SB 1048/HB 701)

Taxes

ECONOMIC INCENTIVES (PASSED): Tightens accountability and reporting requirements for economic incentives and tax breaks used to lure businesses. Eliminates sales taxes for manufacturing and machinery beginning in April 2014 and lasting for three years. (SB 406/HB 7007)

PET TAX (FAILED): Allows local taxpayers to create special taxing districts for the purpose of spaying and neutering animals. (SB 1738/HB 1127)

INTERNET SALES TAX (FAILED): Requires online-only companies like Amazon to collect sales tax on purchases made in Florida. (SB 316/HB 7097)

INSURANCE TAX BREAK (FAILED): Repeals 26-year-old tax credit for insurance industry and uses revenue to reduce motorist car and truck registration fees by $12 a year. (SB 1832)

BUSINESS TAX CUT (FAILED): Increases exemption for the corporate income tax from $50,000 to $75,000. (SB 562/HB 401)

DOLPHINS (FAILED): Allows Miami-Dade County to raise mainland hotel tax to 7 percent to help fund renovation of Miami Dolphins stadium. Also allows sports teams to compete for $13 million pot of annual sales tax breaks. (SB 306/HB 165)

ORLANDO SOCCER (FAILED): Adds Major League Soccer to list of sports eligible for an annual $2 million tax subsidy. (SB 358/HB 219)

JAGUARS STADIUM (FAILED): Provides additional $2 million annual tax subsidy for renovation of EverBank Field in Jacksonville. (SB 922/HB 721)

DAYTONA SPEEDWAY (FAILED): Provides up to $2 million annually in tax breaks for a renovated International Speedway in Daytona. (SB 1394/H

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