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February 26, 2021

Republican State Senator Manny Diaz has been at the forefront of school choice issues in recent years. This time around, he’s pitching a really big idea: it’s a plan to consolidate the state’s 5 school choice programs into two. The measure also changes how those programs would be funded. And that’s where Democrats are drawing a deep line - more like a gaping chasm - into the legislative sand. Lynn Hatter spoke with Diaz on what he calls his main legislative priority.

Florida lawmakers appear set to dive into criminal justice issues when they return to Tallahassee next week. On the list, creating new criminal offenses, changing how and when a minor can be tried in adult court and where gun license holders can bring their weapons. Blaise Gainey gives us an overview.

The number of people depending on Medicaid in Florida has increased by 20 percent since the start of the pandemic. Medicaid is the state and federal program that provides insurance for the lowest income Americans. Just as costs for that program have increased, state revenues have been on the decrease. Now, Regan McCarthy reports as lawmakers prepare to hammer out a budget this legislative Session, healthcare cuts could be part of that discussion.

State lawmakers are facing pressure this Session to fund environmental projects at the behest of Governor Ron DeSantis. This comes as money is tight due to constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Robbie Gaffney reports on the water quality issues coming up during the 2021 lawmaking Session.

Amy Green, environmental reporter at Orlando’s WMFE, has written a new book on a little-known facet of the long struggle to restore and conserve the Florida Everglades. She talks about that book, “Moving Water,” with Tom Flanigan.

Scores of bills related to government transparency have been introduced in the state legislature ahead of the regular Session. Valerie Crowder reports a couple of those are showing promise after passing through the committee process.