State Rep. Paul Renner Selected as Next Florida House Speaker

Florida State Rep. Paul Renner (R-FL-24) has been selected as the next Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. Renner will succeed current Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-FL-65) when Sprowls’ term ends after the 2022 legislative session.

After being selected, Renner touted traditional conservative policies, and moving toward policies rooted in freedom rather than a vision of moving away from freedom.

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Prolific Jacksonville Politician Tommy Hazouri Dies at Age 76

Tommy Hazouri, Jacksonville native and Jacksonville City Council president who had served in multiple political positions over the last 47 years, died Saturday at the age of 76 from recent complications that traced back to a lung transplant he received last year.

Prior to his most recent position as a City Council member, Hazouri began his political career by spending 12 years in the Florida House of Representatives from 1974 to 1986. In 1987 he was elected as the first Arab-American mayor in Jacksonville history, where he would serve until 1991.

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Florida House Representative Ramon Alexander Files for Democratic Leadership Role

Florida House Representative and Democratic Whip Ramon Alexander of District 8 filed Monday to become the next House Democratic leader. Alexander filed after the previously anticipated candidate, Rep. Ben Diamond, decided to run for the seat in the U.S. House vacated by Charlie Crist in his campaign for Governor in 2022.

Having experience as a House Rep. since 2016 and as the Democratic Whip since 2018, Alexander received support from multiple Florida House Reps. and told Florida Politics that he was “overwhelmed by the amount of support from our caucus.” Alexander also gained experience in statewide electoral politics with his involvement in Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012.

During the current session, Alexander has strongly opposed controversial bills, including the elections bill (SB 90) which changed vote-by-mail rules and the anti-riot bill (HB 1) that Democrats viewed as criminalizing civil disobedience.

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Florida House Passes Bill Banning Vaccine Passports

The Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives Wednesday passed a bill would ban “vaccine passports.”

SB 2006 passed by a vote of 76-40 in the House. It now heads back to the Florida Senate after the House added an amendment. 

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Florida Legislature Hearing Bills to Curb Foreign Influence

Florida House Chamber

The Florida Legislature is working through two pieces of legislation aimed at curbing foreign influence in Florida’s colleges and universities, primarily research institutions.

The Florida House has already passed HB 7017 unanimously and sent it to the Senate for consideration. The bill will require state agencies and political subdivisions to disclose foreign grants and donations of over $50,000 or more to the state. Also, all donations of any size will be required to be reported from seven hostile nations. Among those nations deemed hostile are: China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria, and Venezuela.

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Parental Bill of Rights Legislation Heads to DeSantis’ Desk

The Florida Legislature passed a bill instituting a “parental bill of rights” and sent it to the desk of Governor Ron DeSantis.

The bill, HB 241, worked its way through the Florida House and then passed through the Florida Senate on Thursday. It was passed on a nearly party-line vote, with Sen. Lauren Book (D-32), the lone Democrat, siding with Republicans and voting to approve the bill.

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Florida House Hearing Police Reform Bill

The Florida House is taking up a bipartisan, compromise police reform bill today. The bill would increase the amount of training for law enforcement officers and correctional officers.

The bill, HB 7051, has been a product of House Republican leadership, the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, and key voices within law enforcement to try and limit the use of chokeholds only under instances when on-site officers perceive immediate threats of serious bodily injury or death to themselves or other people. It would also require other officers to intervene when they witness other officers using excessive force.

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Florida Legislature Hearing Elections Reform Bills

Dennis Baxley

The Florida House is hearing an elections reform package and the Florida Senate is hearing a bill amending Florida’s election law related to ballot drop-boxes and absentee ballot signature verification.

Sen. Dennis Baxley’s (R-12) SB 90 passed the Senate Rules Committee by a 10-7 vote, and Baxley said the bill is well-intentioned designed to protect Florida’s voters and the integrity of Florida’s elections.

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