Capital Report: 03-16-2018

Mar 19, 2018

Within one week, Governor Rick Scott not only signed a gun safety bill into law, he also approved the budget, which includes millions of dollars for school safety purposes. Still, that didn’t prevent the National Rifle Association from filing a federal lawsuit against a provision in the new safety law. And, on the one month mark of the Parkland mass school shooting, thousands of kids across the nation walked out of their schools. Some Parkland families also asked officials to put ideas on the ballot to ban assault rifles and have universal background checks, AND lawmakers in Washington D-C may be moving forward on gun safety bills of their own. Sascha Cordner has the latest.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the nearly 89 billion dollar state budget, and stakeholders in education are crying foul.  Superintendents, teachers unions and gubernatorial candidates fear cuts to K-12 programs. Now, they’re condemning Scott after calls for a veto and special session went unheeded. Ryan Dailey reports.

It was one of the least productive legislative sessions in recent times—at least when it comes to the number of bills Florida lawmakers approved. In addition to big issues such as sexual harassment and human trafficking, Lynn Hatter reports there were a bevy of other issues legislators decided to pass on for the time being.

A hard-fought battle over a bill aimed at combating human trafficking at Florida hotels and other businesses finally ended in the waning hours of the legislative session. But the survivors who watched the bill's death on the Senate floor were anything but discouraged.

The measure would have allowed victims of sex trafficking to sue both their perpetrators and the establishments that showed "willful blindness" of the crimes taking place on their premises. Its fortunes had swung back and forth for weeks. Survivors gave their shocking testimony to committees, then became a constant presence in the Senate gallery. Because they'd been trafficked in hotels, they could not stay overnight in one, so they traveled back and forth to Tallahassee daily.

Waiting in the gallery for the bill's final fate, Linsey Ruth – who' been trafficked by her ex-husband – told Margie Menzel that no matter the outcome, the terms of the debate had changed:

As lawmakers shifted their spending priorities this legislative session to school safety initiatives following the Parkland High School shooting, that left less money available for local water projects. And as Regan McCarthy reports in many cases the projects that did receive funding are generally located in South and Central Florida—leaving small, rural, North Florida communities high and dry.

Just over one month and one week after the Valentine’s Day shooting in Broward County, a nationwide series of marches will take place demanding further changes to America’s gun laws.  Tom Flanigan reports on the preparations for Tallahassee’s “March for Our Lives.”