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April 30, 2021

Florida lawmakers have passed their largest budget ever, totaling about 101-point-five billion dollars to keep the state running through the next fiscal year. Passing a balanced budget is the only constitutionally mandated task lawmakers must complete each regular session. Valerie Crowder reports an increase in federal stimulus aid boosted this year’s spending plan.

North Florida is often an afterthought when people think about the state as a whole. The same often holds true during the legislative session when money is doled out for member projects. Part of this is tied to representation and population. There are more people in South and Central Florida. That means more representation in the legislature. But this session the House Appropriations chair was Panama City Republican Representative Jay Trumbull. Blaise Gainey caught up with him and a Democratic North Florida representative to hear how they worked together to ensure more money for their parts of the Florida Panhandle.

Governor Ron DeSantis says he will sign a bill amending Florida’s election laws. The move follows the 2020 presidential cycle. The left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice says more than 45 states have proposed election changes since March. Lynn Hatter reports the Florida legislation follows disproven claims of voter fraud in other states by former President Donald Trump.

A proposal to create a “purple alert” for missing adults with certain disabilities or brain injuries is heading to the governor’s desk. Robbie Gaffney reports the proposal is for people who have cognitive, developmental, physical or emotional disabilities as well as those with brain injuries who go missing and cannot be returned safely without law enforcement intervention.

Steve Bousquet has been covering Florida’s lawmaking sessions for more than 3 decades. He shares his take on this one with Tom Flanigan.

A measure banning so called “vaccine passports” is on its way to the governor’s desk. Republican supporters say people shouldn’t be barred from going to work or entering stores because of a personal choice not to get the coronavirus vaccine. But some Democrats have raised concerns the measure doesn’t protect people who have been vaccinated from facing discrimination. Regan McCarthy has more.