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Capital Report: 03-27-2013

A couple of House panels took up several bills Wednesday that were abortion-related. They include a ban on having an abortion based on sex or gender and another that would require the care for infants born alive after an abortion procedure. As Sascha Cordner reports, while all the bills passed out of their respective committees, it was not without controversy. 

Students with disabilities and their families face different challenges when it comes to navigating their education. Some require more assistance than others, and under federal law, they’re required to have an individual learning plan, called an IEP. Many times, those plans are crafted without much input from parents, but as Lynn Hatter reports, bills in the legislature are working to change that.

In February of 2010 the federal government allocated funds to several states, including Florida, to help nurse their ailing housing markets back to shape and to help stop foreclosures.  Since then, Florida has received a total of 1 billion dollars in aid, as part of the “Hardest Hit Housing Markets” fund.  But as Steve Rodriguez reports, one Congressional leader is calling foul on how the money has been managed.

Should Florida’s governor have the power to remove and replace people from the committees that nominate judges whenever he wants?  A bill that’s made it past a House committee would allow just that, and Jessica Palombo reports, it’s drawing fire from groups including the nonpartisan League of Women Voters and the Florida Bar.

An Orange County woman has been arrested and charged with defrauding Medicaid of $3 million dollars. At a press conference in Orlando Wednesday / this afternoon, Attorney General Pam Bondi said the money was used to support a lavish lifestyle. From member station WMFE, Matthew Peddie reports

What’s known as “agritourism” is becoming something of a money maker in Florida. Tourists are encouraged not just to visit the state’s sunny beaches, but to also venture out for trips to places like the Greathouse Butterfly Farm in Eartleton or to stop to pick a few Persimmons from Ken’s Orchard in Newberry. A bill making its way through the statehouse would remove local regulations for such businesses in an effort to help them grow, but Regan McCarthy reports local governments worry without rules, things could spiral out of control.

A long, hard day of lawmaking can really work up an appetite.  But during a frenzied legislative session, there’s often little time and few places near the Florida Capitol to find a tasty, healthy meal.  But Ryan Benk found there is a convoy of food trucks rolling to the rescue in Tallahassee