Florida Legislature briefs: Legislature backs pay raises for workers

March 29, 2013 

Legislature backs pay raises for workers

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida legislators are backing a pay raise for state workers.

Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland and House budget chief, announced Thursday that the House would propose the first across-the-board pay increase for state employees since 2006.

The $1,400 pay raise -- which would take effect on Nov. 1 -- would be included in the initial House budget.

The Senate, meanwhile, is proposing a three percent across the board pay raise for state workers.

Gov. Rick Scott proposed giving employees a $1,200 one-time bonus while also setting aside money for performance bonuses.

The House and Senate are working on a new state budget to cover the fiscal year that begins July 1. Legislators have until early May to reach a final deal.

House committee approves mortgage foreclosure bill

A bill to speed up Florida's residential mortgage foreclosure process is headed to the state House floor.

The measure (HB 87) won approval from the House Judiciary Committee on a 12-6 vote Thursday in its last committee stop before a looming vote in the full House.

Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, says her bill is aimed at unclogging the foreclosure process in a state that's been swamped by foreclosures.

Passidomo says the bill offers guarantees to make sure that borrowers with a "meritorious defense" will be heard in court.

One provision added to the bill would allow judges on senior status to hear foreclosure cases.

The bill proposes several changes to the procedures governing foreclosures in Florida.

Surveys indicate that Florida still has about a quarter of the nation's foreclosures.

Senate panel clears anti-drones bill

Another Senate panel has unanimously cleared a measure that would limit Florida's law enforcement agencies from using drones.

The Senate Appropriations committee voted Thursday for the bill (SB 92) that addresses different sizes of aircraft that are piloted remotely.

Drones have become known from their use by the U.S. against terrorists overseas.

Sen. Joe Negron's bill would restrict use of drones to preventing "imminent danger to life" or serious damage to property.

The bill would also make police get a search warrant before using a drone to collect evidence. An exception would be a credible threat of terrorist attack.

Only Miami-Dade Police and the Orange County Sheriff's Office have drones among Florida law enforcement. A Miami-Dade police lieutenant previously said his agency hasn't yet used a drone.

-- Associated Press

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