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April 19, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has approved a bill he says will curb violence and property damage during protests. It’s a response to last summer’s protests following the death of George Floyd and calls to defund the police. Some of those protests became violent. Lynn Hatter reports DeSantis signed off on the measure today (Monday) at a news conference in Polk County - the same place where he first introduced the proposal seven months ago.

With the specter of Florida’s Hb1 “anti-riot” bill looming, protestors in St. Peter were back on the streets Friday to demand justice for Duarte Wright, the 20-year old Black man killed by police in a Minneapolis suburb, and others. Protestors didn’t know if the bill’s new restrictions on protesting would go into effect as they marched, or what it could mean for them as we hear from WMNF’s Daniel Figueroa IV.

Florida lawmakers met this past weekend to being ironing out the differences between the House and Senate budgets. Regan McCarthy reports budget leaders came closer on at least one remaining difference in the health care budget. House Speaker Chris Sprowls has thrown his weight behind a move to give new mothers Medicaid coverage for a year after they give birth. The initiative wasn’t included in an initial Senate budget proposal, but during the weekend budget conference, the Senate offered to meet the House half way be extending coverage for new mothers from the current two months to six months.

Local governments wouldn’t be able to ban or restrict the types of fuels utilities use to power customers’ homes and businesses under a bill that has cleared its last House committee stop. Those powers would be preempted to the state. Robbie Gaffney reports elected officials are joining environmentalists in opposing the measure.

Florida’s Democratic lawmakers are speaking out against some of the most controversial proposals that have come out of this year’s state legislative session. We already heard about Governor DeSantis signing a bill into law that aims to crack down on violent demonstrations, which opponents have criticized as anti-democratic. Democrats are also taking issue with a recent bill to ban transgender athletes from women and girls’ sports teams, along with changes to the state’s elections laws. As Valerie Crowder reports, Democrats describe the G-O-P’s state legislative priorities as unnecessary and problematic.

In the final days of this legislative session, hard-fought battles over money are common as a budget deal starts falling into place. But as Steve Bousquet reports, this fight is very different - and involves the legacy of a popular former governor.