Florida Legislative Session Has Come To An End

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Updated by: James Buechele
May 2, 2014, 11pm

Florida's 2014 legislative session has come to an end.

The session wrapped up about 10 minutes ago with the dropping of the white handkerchief.

Legislators are still gathered in the Capitol Rotunda giving interviews to reporters and media.

It took a little longer than expected to hash out the budget this year, finishing around 10:30pm - 10:45pm. Last year, session ended between 7:00pm - 7:30pm.

The budget is now on its way to Governor Rick Scott for his approval.

After the handkerchief was dropped, Governor Scott talked about some of the highlights, including paying benefits for military members across the state of Florida, the importance of passing the money for education, and many others.

Updated by: Lanetra Bennett
May 2, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - Today is the last day of Florida's regular 60-day legislative session.

Governor Rick Scott says, "This is a historic day. It's a great day for citizens of our state."

Undocumented FSU student, Juan Escalante, was thrilled to hear Governor Rick Scott pledge to sign the in-state tuition bill. Immigrant students would be allowed to pay the same rate as other residents if they had attended a Florida school for at least three years prior to graduation.

Escalante says, "I have two younger brothers and my family came here to give us a better education, a better life. Unfortunately, the immigration system has made that a lot more difficult. For Florida to recognize this as a priority is very encouraging."

The House passed the bill on the last day of session Friday, without proposed changes.

Also, passing this session, is the Medical Marijuana bill. It will allow doctors to prescribe a strain of marijuana that contains low amounts of THC, which causes users to feel high. The marijuana would be converted into liquid form for medical use.

Tallahassee resident Mary Kidd was in the chambers when the Senate approved the bill. She disagrees with it. Kidd says, "It's always been a stepping stone for other drugs. I know that there should be other ways for doctors to administer this to needy patients without it being sold going through marijuana."

Lawmakers gave authorization for the speed limit to be raised above 70 miles an hour on major highways.

The Senate rejected proposed changes to the "Stand Your Ground" Law.

The Back-to-School Tax Sales Tax Holiday was approved. It will be August 1st through 3rd.

Activists are disappointed that Florida's Medicaid was not extended.

Tune in tonight to Eyewitness News to find out when lawmakers officially end session with "sine die," which is the unofficial last day. It means "without day" in Latin.

Updated by: James Buechele
May 2, 2014

The final hours of 2014 legislative session are upon us, and the last day has arrived with a flurry of activity in both the Senate and the House.

Lawmakers, lobbyists, and aides are all gathered in the Capitol Rotunda as the final minutes tick down.

It's called "Sine Die", which is the unofficial last day. It means "without day" in Latin.

The famous handkerchief drop is supposed to happen between 8:30-9pm tonight; however, it could be postponed one both the House and Senate vote on the budget, which would then go to Governor Rick Scott's office later on this next week.

By: Emily Johnson
May 1, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - Florida's legislative session is quickly coming to an end and it had state lawmakers celebrating tonight. The Florida Legislative Black Caucus and The Florida Hispanic Legislative Caucus came together at The Moon Night Club. There were plenty of people on hand to enjoy the last night before session ends and to celebrate what they've accomplished under the dome this year.

"We're going to continue to already start working for next year educating our colleagues that we're going to have a record budget once again and we can not have a budget that large and not take care of state employees," said Rep. Alan Williams, Florida Black Caucus Chair.

Tonight was also about raising scholarship funds that each caucus gives out every year.

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