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March 25, 2021

A proposed criminal justice spending plan has riled key lawmakers and stoked bipartisan opposition. Three words buried in a budget spreadsheet said, quote: “consolidate prison capacity,” the projected savings for which would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $140 million next year. That’s bureaucratic jargon for closing four prisons, none of which have yet been identified. But even the possibility infuriated Republican Senator Jeff Brandes, a key member of the budget committee for criminal and civil justice. It also marked a rare, public spat in a budget process often shrouded in mystery. Steve Bousquet pulls back the curtain.

The Florida House version of a plan to consolidate the state’s school choice programs is out and its sponsor acknowledges it’s still a work in progress. Lynn Hatter reports on where the House and Senate bills align and how they differ.

A measure aimed at shoring up the state’s struggling property insurance market is now headed to the floor of the Florida Senate. Kevin Del Orbe reports on critics of the bill who say it will make it harder for property owners to sue their insurance company for not following through on claims.

Insulin prices in recent years have been skyrocketing. That’s left some people with diabetes who depend on insulin for their health making tough choices. Now, as Regan McCarthy reports, Florida lawmakers are working to address that by capping how much people with health insurance can be charged for the drug. But now everyone agrees that move will get at the root of the problem.

A handful of sales tax exemptions are moving through the legislature again this session. Three bills seek to offer some relief to seniors, families and small businesses. As Valerie Crowder reports, proponents say they believe the bills are needed now more than ever due to the pandemic.

President Joe Biden has picked former Florida U-S Senator Bill Nelson to lead NASA. Nelson, of course, is no stranger to space policy. For much of his three-decades-plus in congress, the Florida-native Democrat championed space programs and steered federal funding to both NASA and his home state. He even flew on the Space Shuttle Columbia back in 1986. From Orlando’s WMFE, Brendan Byrne looks at what’s ahead for Nelson’s Senate confirmation, and what Florida stands to gain with him at the head of NASA.