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March 16, 2021

Republican Senator Dennis Baxley’s plan to revamp the state’s Bright Futures Scholarship program is moving again after a significant rewrite of the bill. The proposal ties funding to academic programs the state determines will lead to jobs. But instead of completely cutting off funding to students who don’t choose majors from a state-approved list, the bill reduces the amount of scholarships awarded to those students. Lynn Hatter reports even with the modifications, the bill is drawing opposition.

Florida’s G-O-P state lawmakers are pushing for legislation centered on remembering millions of lives lost under communist regimes. As Valerie Crowder reports, proposals to establish a state holiday and bring first-hand accounts of those who’ve fled totalitarian countries to the classroom have received bipartisan support in the early weeks of Session.

A proposal increasing rates for Floridians who carry state-backed Citizens Property Insurance has passed its first committee. Kevin Del Orbe reports lawmakers are preparing to address the struggles of the state’s “insurer of last resort.”

Environmentalists are concerned over a series of bills aimed at promoting consumer choice by preempting local government control of energy-related. Senate Bill 1128 is one of them. Robbie Gaffney reports it would stop local governments from being able to restrict or ban utilities from using certain fuel sources like natural gas.

Lawmakers want to give local governments the ability to regulate tobacco use on city and county-owned property, such as parks and beaches. But Regan McCarthy reports some are worried about what those changes could mean for the rights of smokers.

This session continues to be one for the history books in terms of being so different from just about anything that has come before. Grass-roots advocacy has gone virtual in Tallahassee, like most everything else because of the pandemic. Steve Bousquet reports on an effort by one of Florida’s largest counties - namely Broward - to connect at the Capitol under these challenging conditions.