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April 21, 2021

If this year’s legislative session is going to end on time, Florida lawmakers have less than one week to negotiate a nearly 100 billion dollar budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Both the House and Senate chambers are still working to come to an agreement on their spending plans before a final package arrives on Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk. Valerie Crowder reports lawmakers are still working out how they’ll spend billions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief aid.

Floridians who buy items from out-of-state online businesses will be charged state sales tax under a law Governor Ron DeSantis signed this week. The money from the tax will replenish the state’s unemployment trust fund. Robbie Gaffney reports Florida business groups are excited to see the change.

Grandchildren of veterans who reside in Florida could qualify for in-state tuition under a plan by Republican Senator Dennis Baxley. The measure has been changed from its original version, which would have allowed grandkids of Florida residents to qualify for the in-state rate, regardless of where the child lived. Lynn Hatter reports even though the measure has been scaled back, lawmakers still have concerns about how much revenue public colleges and universities stand to lose under the bill.

A growing number of Florida cities are forming special response teams. These would be dispatched to non-violent 911 calls in which mental health issues are involved, instead of uniformed, armed police officers. Tom Flanigan reports Tallahassee is the most recent city to adopt such teams.

A raft of bills aimed at addressing illiteracy among Florida students has passed in the Florida House. More on that story from Regan McCarthy.