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September 3, 2021

Florida’s Republican legislative leaders say Sunshine State lawmakers could soon consider implementing a Texas-style abortion law. The Texas law prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected and lets private citizens sue people who help someone seek an abortion. In separate statements, Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson indicated they expect to see a similar bill come up in the legislative session that starts in January. Meanwhile, state Democrats have already pledged to fight against any such move. Regan McCarthy spoke with Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Executive Director Laura Goodhue about what she expects to see as the conversation continues.

The battle between the DeSantis administration and a growing number of Florida school districts over mask mandates in public schools is providing lots of business for lawyers. Lynn Hatter talks it over with Tom Flanigan. Just before this edition of Capital Report went to air, Governor DeSantis’s administration did indeed file an appeal with the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee. That means a stay on Circuit Judge John Cooper’s ruling invalidating the mask mandate ban.

The United States Senate is expected to take up legislation later this month that would challenge the so-called “elections security” laws that have passed Republican legislatures this year in Georgia and Florida. As Valerie Crowder reports, voting rights advocates called for passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act in downtown Tallahassee. It came on the 58th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s March on Washington.

The United States/Mexico/Canada Agreement – called U-S-M-C-A – was supposed to help U.S. farmers. But Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says farmers in her state are still hurting. And the deal is apparently not stopping Mexico from engaging in what she’s calling “unfair trade practices,” as we hear from Robbie Gaffney.

For more than 40 years, Rick Flagg has provided radio and more recently podcast coverage of state government in Florida. Now he’s retiring and his assessment of how the people and politics at the Capitol have changed over the years is anything but positive.