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Capital Report: 03-29-2013

Florida’s jobless rate continues a slow but steady decline.  And a University of Florida analyst says Florida would see lots of new, high-paying jobs if lawmakers pull down federal healthcare money.

As marriage equality rights are the focus of the U-S Supreme Court this month, domestic partnerships are a hot-button topic in the Florida House.  Eleanor Sobel, a Democrat from Hollywood, has been sponsoring a domestic partnership bill for the past five sessions.  As Jessica Palombo first reported back in February, this session is the first in which Sobel’s bill has been assigned to a committee.  Here’s a bit of her report from that hearing and we’ll get an update from her right after.

Florida Public Radio’s Lynn Hatter shares her insights on various education-related bills pending before lawmakers, as well as the ongoing healthcare debate.

Florida lawmakers hadn’t planned on doing much in regards to gambling this year.  But Florida Public Radio’s Regan McCarthy says that all changed with criminal charges against those operating an Internet café chain and the sudden resignation of the state’s lieutenant governor.

In recent weeks, the public employee pension issue has been one of the hottest topics at the Florida Capitol.  There are two competing proposals for dealing with the state sponsored program that provides retirement benefits to public school teachers, some police and fire organizations as well as state government workers.  The House plan that ultimately ends the traditional state pension program has pitted unions and Democrats against House Republicans.  The Senate’s looking at a different plan that could lead to an inter-chamber battle among Republicans.  Sascha Cordner has a preview of what may happen next.