Representative Janet Adkins

Rep. Adkins' twitter

A Florida lawmakers says for her last legislative session, there were some highs as well as some lows.

MGN Online

A bill aimed at helping to address the state’s rape kits backlog is now heading to the Governor, after passing the Florida Legislature unanimously.

MGN Online

Bills creating statewide standards to help in the processing of Florida’s thousands of untested rape kits as well as future kits are now heading to the floors of the House and Senate, after passing their last committees Thursday.

Getty Images

There are more than 13,000 untested rape kits in Florida. That’s according to a $300,000 assessment surveying law enforcement crime labs, announced Monday. Getting those bits of DNA tested has been a major focus for Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Florida Channel

A Florida lawmaker has filed a measure aimed at speeding up the processing of DNA evidence collected in sexual assault investigations. That’s after a recent call by Attorney General Pam Bondi to get more funding for crime labs all across the state to test thousands of untested rape kits.

National Center for Victims of Crime

Florida is expecting a budget surplus this year. Legislative leaders have suggested that money should be earmarked for education or handed back to Floridians in the form of tax breaks. But the state’s attorney general is hoping some of that money will be used to support the testing of what she estimates are thousands of untested DNA samples stacking up in crime labs.

Florida Guardian ad Litem

Governor Rick Scott recently signed bills aimed at changing Florida’s guardianship laws. One relates to helping the exploited elderly and another aims to help developmentally disabled kids aging out of Florida’s foster care system.

Florida Channel

A bill that would help identify guardians and guardian advocates for children with developmental disabilities aging out of foster care passed its first committees this week.

Gerry Glynn is the Chief Legal Officer for Community Based Care of North Florida. But, before that, he worked as a law professor and child advocate in 2009. In that role, Glynn says he chaired a committee reviewing the tragic death of a young man by the name of Regis Little.

MGN Online

A couple of abortion-related bills passed the Florida House Friday. Representative Larry Ahern’s (R-Seminole) bill makes it a separate crime to kill or injure the fetus at any stage of development, during an attack against the mother.

But, Rep. Lori Berman (D-Lantana) says there are unintended consequences to passing such a bill.

“You could have a woman playing soccer and her friend or someone she didn’t know accidentally kicks her in the stomach and causes a miscarriage. That woman could be subject to jail time,” said Berman.

MGN Online

A couple of abortion-related measures are moving in the Florida Legislature, while others appear stalled. One bill inspired by the so-called “abortion pill victim” is already heading to the House floor and its companion could be taken up on the Senate floor next week. Another measure dealing with late-term abortions just cleared its first House panel, but has yet to get its first hearing in the Senate.

Unborn Victims of Violence Act

Sen. Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) is the Senate sponsor of the “Florida’s Unborn Victims of Violence Act.”

PBS

A bill moving through the Florida House would create a new website for keeping track of treatment-resistant bacterial infections. The bill is aimed at fighting such infections also by fostering new research into so-called “superbugs.”

PBS viewers might recall the October FRONTLINE episode called “Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria.” FRONTLINE examined the rise in the number of bacterial infections that are resistant to all known treatments. They can kill otherwise healthy people and can be spread through contact with everyday settings, such as playgrounds.

Florida House of Representatives

*Correction: It was originally reported that Florida has a total of 8,000 registered sex offenders and predators. But, those only represent offenders that are still on probation and under the supervision of the Department of Corrections. FDLE reports that there are 63,000 total registered offenders and predators. The original numbers were taken from the bill's staff analysis. 

MGN Online

A bill aimed at making sure locked-up juveniles get the education tools they need is heading to the House floor, after it passed unanimously at its last committee stop in the House Education Committee Thursday.

Fernandina Beach Republican Representative Janet Adkins says on visits to Florida Department of Juvenile Justice detention facilities, she’s seen students many years behind where they should be academically.

Bay News 9

A little less than ten weeks ago, 8-year old Cherish Perrywinkle’s abduction and death at the hands of registered sexual predator Donald Smith made national headlines.  It also prompted the Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper to run an investigative series looking at the number of released offenders who reoffend.

That series led Fernandina Beach State Representative Janet Adkins to call a town hall meeting in Jacksonville earlier this week. She said as a parent and a public servant she wants to see more done to strengthen current statutes.

Florida Channel

Florida could be close to joining 43 other states in removing the so-called “R-word” from state law. The measure replacing the words “mental retardation” with the term “intellectual disability” is now heading to the Governor’s desk.

“The R-Words that apply to me are ‘responsible’ and ‘remarkable’ and I deserve respect. So, please end the R-Word in Florida,” said Tyler Creamer.

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Several advocates and Florida lawmakers are hoping this will be the year that they can get rid of the so called “R-word.”  They’re hoping to get a bill passed in the Florida Legislature that would remove all references of “mental retardation” in state law and replace them with “intellectual disability.”

“We’re here to officially kick off a campaign in our state. What’s that campaign," asked Michelle Poole.

"End the R-Word," exclaimed a group of advocates and lawmakers at a press conference Thursday at the Florida Capitol.