Representative Lori Berman

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After many failed efforts, a group of Democratic Florida lawmakers are hoping this is the year the state legislature will close the pay gap between men and women.

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The Florida House is forging ahead with a measure funneling millions of dollars to a pregnancy support organization that opposes abortion.  The move could sideline Planned Parenthood.

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Instead of heading to the Governor, a Stand Your Ground-related bill is now headed back to the Senate for approval. That’s after the House passed its own version of the bill Wednesday.

Rep. Lori Berman (D-Lantana)
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State lawmakers will consider a raft of gun bills this session primarily aimed at expanding rights.  But one representative is focused on making it easier to get firearms out of abusive households.

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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.

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A bill allowing people to carry a gun without a concealed carry permit during a declared emergency evacuation is now heading to Governor Rick Scott.

Barbara Devane addressing a Roe v. Wade rally on the Capitol steps.
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Some say time heals all wounds.  But this week saw the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, and all these years later, the ideological canyon separating opponents in the fight over abortion seems just as impossible to bridge.   

In the US House of Representatives Thursday, the temptation to use Roe v. Wade’s anniversary as a chance to vote on anti-abortion legislation was simply to great to pass up.  But it was the legislation they didn’t vote on that made the nightly news.

The Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and a Florida lawmaker are joining forces to speak out against two-abortion related bills that cleared the Florida Legislature this year and are awaiting Governor Rick Scott’s signature.

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A bill filed to make sure tragedies like Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting don’t happen in Florida passed the state House Monday. But, the measure that could allow teachers to carry guns on school campus drew a lot of fire from Democrats.

It’s been more than a year since the Sandy Hook mass shooting that left 26 people dead—mostly kids. And, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) says according to a national report, close to 50-percent of the incidents—similar to Sandy Hook—are known to last less than 15 minutes.

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Today, there’s no Florida law on the books to protect pregnant women from workplace discrimination. For months, the Florida Supreme Court grappled with that decision, and Thursday, they ruled employers can’t discriminate against pregnant women under the state’s civil rights act. But, one lawmaker says that still needs to be codified in state law.

For more than 30 years, pregnancy has been protected from employer discrimination under federal law. But, in the Sunshine state, it’s a different story.

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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.

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On Monday, a House committee watered down a measure originally requiring the state to license and inspect providers that care for as few as four children. The bill now advancing to its final committee maintains the status quo of five or more children but does clarify how daycare providers can advertise their services.

On Monday afternoon, four children under age five were playing in Nettie Callaway’s Tallahassee home.

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Florida lawmakers have filed more than 60 bills dealing with firearms this legislative session. Some urge the President to protect citizens’  Second Amendment rights. One creates a three-day waiting list to purchase a gun. And another prohibits the sale of ammunition to anyone who hasn’t completed an anger management program. Now there is one more bill is up for discussion – this one creating background checks for all firearm purchases.

As several measures that would make it harder for women to get abortions move through the legislature—proposals some say attack women’s rights—Representative Lori Berman talks about increasing equality for women. 

As several measures that would make it harder for women to get abortions move through the legislature—proposals some say attack women’s rights—Representative Lori Berman talks about increasing equality for women.