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March 11, 2022

Despite no real surprises this session, the Florida Legislature is heading into overtime. Politico Florida’s Matt Dixon tells Tom Flanigan why he thinks this happened.

Amid a session filled with high-profile culture war issues, some substantive legislation actually did get through. For years, mental health advocates have been trying to get the state to re-examine its laws around involuntary psychiatric commitment—and while the legislature has, in the past—taken some incremental steps—this year marks the biggest change yet. Still, as Lynn Hatter explains, some who practice in the area say the work to reduce the number of people being committed against their will, isn’t over.

It’s now easier for Florida governors to appoint state agency heads. A bill approved this week says appointed state leaders no longer need unanimous support by the Florida Cabinet. Gina Jordan reports the bill was quickly signed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

A measure to create a state elections police force is heading to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk. The bill also contains other changes to the state’s voting laws, including tougher penalties on ballot harvesting and mandatory annual checks of local voter rolls. Valerie Crowder spoke with the President of the Florida Supervisors’ of Elections Wesley Wilcox about the changes.

A bill that would increase incentives to help attract more law enforcement officers into the workforce is heading to the governor’s desk. The measure offers 5-thousand-dollar bonuses and other benefits for law enforcement recruits. But as Regan McCarthy reports the bill also got a last-minute change that now allows sheriffs to shift money in their budgets with little oversite from county governments.

It wouldn’t be a legislative session without the perennial fight over how legal notices appear in newspapers or on websites. Steve Bousquet reports on the latest showdown between the newspaper industry and Florida lawmakers.

There were lots of truly serious issues addressed by Florida lawmakers this session. Including the matter of what should be the state’s “official dessert.” We get that story from WUSF’s Rick Brunson.