Florida News That Impacts You – March 23rd, 2023
Bottom Line: Your daily recap of the biggest news from around the state that impacts you in South Florida. Gas prices continued lower through the weekend.
- Recent movers in the state legislative session included a bill which would expand coverage of Florida KidCare. The current program which provides healthcare subsidies for families would expand coverage for children ages 5 through 18 from families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level to 300% of the poverty level. The legislation passed a key House committee with a unanimous vote. Legislation which would fast track nursing degrees for combat medics passed the full Senate on a unanimous vote, the House has a companion which is expected to pass as well. Legislation aimed at making fertilizer sold and used in Florida more bio-sustainable passed a key House committee. Concerns persist about the impact of fertilizer nutrients making their way into Florida’s waterways contributing to toxic algal blooms among other negative environmental impacts. A bill sponsored by Boca Democrat Tina Polsky which would enable fentanyl test strips, passed a key Senate committee unanimously. A bill which would enable a jury to call for the death penalty without a unanimous vote passed a key Senate committee on a mostly partyline vote as well on Wednesday. The legislation was inspired by calls from Parkland parents after one juror prevented the death penalty being issued for Nikolas Cruz.
- The Senate finished procedural matters in preparing for a full vote on Florida’s Universal School Choice bill, HB1. Instead of reconciliation between the Senate companion and House bill, the Senate has now replaced their version with HB 1 and is set to take up a vote before the full chamber which would likely send the legislation to Governor DeSantis’ desk.
- Open carry won’t be coming to Florida this year. An amendment to Florida’s permitless carry legislation, which would have introduced the open carrying of firearms, was withdrawn Wednesday. The amendment lacked consensus support. Permitless carry is poised to pass the legislature this cycle.
- Gas prices dropped another two cents on Wednesday. Statewide the average price for regular unleaded is $3.41 per gallon – 4 cents higher than a week ago. In Palm Beach County the price remains $3.61 per gallon, which is the highest price in the state.