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Capital Report: 04-04-2013

The Florida Senate took up a number of closely watched bills today (Thursday). Regan McCarthy reports the measures look into alimony, internet cafes and the prescribing powers of optometrists—issues that have been hotly debated by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Meanwhile, in the northern chamber of the State Capitol, The Florida House today signed off on proposals giving kids more access to online courses and charter schools, while cracking down on charter abuses. Lawmakers also paved the way for parents to have a greater say in the fate of failing public schools. Lynn Hatter reports the action now moves to the senate, where versions of the proposals are pending as lawmakers work on some compromises

Babies who survive abortions, people who steal from the elderly, and whether public-assistance money can be used at casinos and strip clubs were all on the agenda of one busy House committee today [on Thursday.] Jessica Palombo reports, the three bills are headed to the House floor after passing the Health and Human Services Committee.

There are many aspects to the present U-S immigration debate and here’s one twist to that tale.  Jose Godinez-Samperio was born in Mexico.  At the age of nine, he was brought to the United States.  He grew up in Florida, graduated from Florida State University’s law school.  Then went on to pass the bar exam.  But because Jose was an undocumented immigrant whose visa had expired, the Florida Bar wasn’t sure whether to admit him or not.  The Bar asked the Florida Supreme Court for advice on the matter.  And now Steven Rodriguez reports the high court has made a preliminary ruling in that case.

Florida lawmakers are looking to streamline the death penalty process to avoid the lengthy appeals they say are currently plaguing the system. As Sascha Cordner reports, two measures aiming to do just that cleared another committee Thursday, and are one step closer to coming up for a vote by the full Legislature.