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March 30, 2021

For the third year in a row, Florida legislators want to make it more difficult to amend the state constitution. Two bills - both highly controversial - are gaining momentum as the session nears the midway point. Steve Bousquet reports.

Florida lawmakers say it’s time to abolish the state’s Constitution Revision Commission. The body meets once every 20 years and can put recommended changes to the state constitution directly on the ballot for voter approval. But as Regan McCarthy reports, the group drew ire from lawmakers after its last meeting in 2018, when it grouped multiple issues together and took up subjects many lawmakers thought should have been left to the legislature.

Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law COVID-19 liability protections for businesses and health care providers. The legislation now makes it harder for people to sue grocery stores, churches, schools, hospitals and nursing homes for failing to follow health and safety guidelines. As Valerie Crowder reports, Republican leaders are touting the protections as among the most aggressive in the nation.

Florida lawmakers are considering giving colleges and K-12 schools a reprieve from potential lawsuits and school grades. Sarasota Republican Senator and State G-O-P Chair Joe Gruters’ proposal combines some of the biggest concerns of higher education institutions and school districts regarding how to deal with students in the pandemic. Lynn Hatter reports the proposal got bipartisan approval in its first hearing.

Bills limiting the participation of transgender girls in school sports has been criticized for lacking scientific basis. And as Daniel Figueroa IV from WMNF in Tampa reports they also look a lot like restrictions in other states that have already been struck down.

A measure to limit the scope of executive orders by Florida’s local government leaders is garnering support in the state Senate. Kevin Del Orbe reports on legislation that some lawmakers say will prevent local governments from stepping on personal freedoms. The bill recently passed its second committee stop on a party line vote with Democrats in opposition.