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Capital Report: February 17, 2023

Activists and Democratic lawmakers are pushing back after two Florida medical boards voted to move forward with state rules banning gender affirming care for transgender kids. The boards also removed an exception for research and clinical trials. Regan McCarthy reports the decision has been met with frustration and anger.

The last few months have been especially rough for Florida Democrats. They lost midterm races up and down the ballot in November, even as the party’s candidates performed better in other states. Then former state party chair Manny Diaz stepped down after the holidays. Democrats will choose his replacement later this month. And as Valerie Crowder reports, the party’s leaders are trying to take a different approach to rebuilding.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission was established just a few weeks after the Parkland shooting in 2018. It was tasked with finding what went wrong and how to prevent future school shootings. WLRN’s Gerard Albert the Third has this update – as Tuesday of this week (2/14) was the 5th anniversary of the mass shooting.

Nearly 7 million children could lose health coverage as the COVID public health emergency unwinds and states begin re-determining Medicaid eligibility.
That's according to a new report from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families. Executive director Joan Alker [AL rhymes with pal - ker] says the vast majority of kids will still be eligible for the program - and could instead lose coverage due to administrative issues, like a renewal letter going to the wrong address. Alker talked with Health News Florida's Stephanie Colombini about why kids in this state are especially at risk.

Forests store more than a quarter of the earth's carbon dioxide and are crucial to limiting rising temperatures. But trees don't grow fast enough to compete with the amount of fossil fuels released into the atmosphere. That’s the word from scientists who are learning that a surprisingly small solution could have a big impact in fighting climate change, as WUSF's Cathy Carter reports.

A lot of rehabilitated manatees have been released in Florida this month. WMFE’s Amy Green reports the releases represent a rare bright spot during an otherwise bleak time for Florida’s manatees – but things may be looking up.