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Capital Report: 04-10-2013

So far this year, there hasn’t been a lot of drama in the Florida Legislature.  There was the mad rush to ban Internet cafes, following the sudden resignation of Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll – we’ll have more on that later – but everything else has been somewhat low key and not overly adversarial.  But those tame times could be coming to an end.  House Democrats have been trying to convince their Republican counterparts to extend low-income health care in a way that would tap billions in federal funds.  But that hasn’t happened and now, as Lynn Hatter reports, those Democratic house members now vow they’ll vote against the state budget unless the Republicans either expand Medicaid or pass an acceptable alternative.

As session starts winding down, lawmakers are ramping up their efforts to push bills that haven’t made it through committee hearings yet. One such bill is a measure to update the state’s Baker Act rules. Regan McCarthy reports it would let nurse practitioners sign the needed paper work to enter a suicidal or homicidal person into an emergency involuntary commitment facility.

A bill that makes it easier for manufacturers to get a sales tax exemption has started moving in the Florida House. Jessica Palombo reports, supporters of the change say it will create high-paying jobs, but some lawmakers are worried about taking away

Florida lawmakers are hoping to make kids who age out of the foster care system self-sufficient when they go out on their own. As Sascha Cordner reports, a bill that aims to do just that passed with bipartisan support Wednesday in a House budget panel.

The broad courtyard between the old and new Florida Capitol buildings sometimes needs the services of traffic cops during the legislative session.  Many advocates and interest groups from all over the state use that space for rallies, receptions and other events.  Ryan Benk reports it was the Florida Realtors in the Capital Courtyard today.  Their event not only signaled a rebound in their business, it also was the occasion to give a special gift to a special family.