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March 19, 2021

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are questioning the motives behind a long-running effort to survey the state’s college and university faculty, staff and students on intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity. Republicans tout the bill they’re backing as an effort to ensure students aren’t being shielded from unpopular views. Lynn Hatter reports the measure has cleared the House on a party line vote as Democrats argue the measure opens a Pandora’s box of potential conflicts and confrontations.

State legislators are making good on their promise to move proposed COVID-19 liability protections to the governor’s desk early this session. The Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would make it harder to take businesses, hospitals or nursing homes to court for failing to follow coronavirus health and safety guidelines. Valerie Crowder reports the House is set to take up the legislation next week.

A major election fraud scandal has erupted in South Florida. The question is whether that will demand action by the Florida Legislature. Steve Bousquet reports on the latest developments in the case that involved a controversial figure, the former State Senator Frank Artiles (ar-TILL-ees.)

As this year’s Florida lawmaking session got underway, environmentalists were concerned about four legislative proposals that would preempt local government control over energy-related issues. Now, they’re focused on one of these measures. That’s the one they argue would take away local communities’ ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Susan Glickman is a long-time clean energy advocate. Robbie Gaffney spoke with Glickman to get her take on preemption legislation.

In most communities, when a person is experiencing a mental health crisis and needs help, law enforcement officers are often the ones who respond to the call. But most of those officers have limited training on how to deal with a person’s mental health needs. Now Regan McCarthy reports one lawmaker is working to address the issue by requiring the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to develop a course on mental health response.