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Tallahassee Roundup: Week 7

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BRADENTON – This week, the House set up a clash between deeply divided chambers on health care access for poor Floridians; a Senate bill seeks to restore the provision for verified witnesses on absentee ballots; a House amendment seeks a three-year moratorium on local fertilizer bans; and a drone bill that bans local law enforcement from using the devices without a warrant or threat of a terrorist attack is headed to the governor’s desk.

A House health care proposal would turn federal money and insure only about a 115,000 Floridians at a cost to taxpayers of $237 million annually. The bill is much weaker than the Senate’s, which has the endorsement of Governor Scott, meaning the final three weeks will include a down to the wire showdown on the issue.

A law that easily passed both chambers, would ban local law enforcement officials from using drones without a warrant or threat of a terrorist attack. The governor says he will sign it into law. It would be the first such regulation of drones passed in any U.S. state. 

A proposed amendment would enact a three-year ban on new fertilizer ordinances, starting July 1 (unless they are the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's state model fertilizer ordinance). Coastal resort towns, who often suffer expensive economic impacts from excessive red tide algal blooms, argue that cookie cutter rules do not always suffice.

The House also passed a block of bills centered around divisive social issues, ranging from anti-Sharia law, to abortion and miscarriage to alimony, most of which are expected to meet resistance in the Senate.  


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