Cabinet Members Speak On Gun Control And Citrus Industry

Mar 7, 2018

Credit Nick Evans

Wednesday marked the Florida Cabinet’s final meeting for this year’s legislative session. After, Governor Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam shared their thoughts on current issues the state will have to deal with this session and beyond.

Governor Rick Scott won’t say whether he’ll sign off on a gun safety bill if it passes the house.

“When a bill makes it to my desk, I’ll do what they don’t seem to be doing in Washington. I’m gonna review the bill line by line, and the group that I’m going to be talking to, the groups that I care the most about right now because it impacted them so much, is the families,” Scott says.  

The measure passed the Senate on Monday. In its current state it places certain restrictions on rifle sales, funds mental health programs, raises age limits on purchases, and allows some teachers to carry guns. Scott says that is something he opposes.

“I’ve been clear. I don’t believe we oughta be arming teaches. I think we oughta be increasing our law enforcement presence, law enforcement presence in all of our schools. So that’s what I’m gonna focus on. What the Senate did two days ago was a step in the right direction, but again, I’m gonna read the bill,” Scott says.

State Agricultural Commissioner, and gubernatorial candidate, Adam Putnam says, because of the age restriction, his support for the bill only goes so far.

“I fully support what they’re doing to harden our schools and tighten the mental health restrictions to prevent people who are mentally unfit from owning a gun, but I’m still opposed to raising the age restriction,” Putnam says.

Meanwhile, when asked about the dire state of Florida’s Citrus Industry, Putnam says he is hopeful the staple crop will survive into the future.

“There’s an awful lot of optimism in the industry right now. Growers are hopeful about a good crop next year, which is the nature of optimistic farmers. And I believe with some tools that science will develop for living with greening, and treating greening, that you’ll see the industry recover. Probably not to its historic high, but certainly recover to a sustainable multi-billion dollar industry,” Putnam says.

According to current reports by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Florida produced 46 million boxes of oranges. At its peak, Florida was able to produce more than 220 million boxes a season. Hurricane Irma battered Florida’s agriculture industry, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.