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Florida Matters Preview: 2017 Legislative Session

It's that time of year again -- Florida's legislative session begins next Tuesday, March 7. This week on Florida Matters we're exploring some proposals lawmakers are considering in the upcoming session, and talking about the politics behind it all.

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The Justice Department may step up enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have voted to legalize its recreational use, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

"I do believe think you'll see greater enforcement of it," Spicer said, during his daily press briefing. He added that the Department of Justice will be looking into the issue further.

Advocates say more conservative Republicans are seeing the wisdom of reforming minimum mandatory sentencing laws.

State lawmakers want to make it harder for Floridians to amend the constitution. The plan would up the percentage of voter approval needed to pass a measure from 60 percent to more than 66 percent.

The Florida House unveiled its version of a gambling overhaul bill Thursday. What’s inside came as a surprise to lawmakers like Sarasota Republican Rep. Alex Miller (R-Sarasota).

"Decoupling would eventually in my estimation eliminate the cruelest form of entertainment we have here in Florida and as a freshman I was excited to be put on this committee to decouple. And instead I’m put on this committee with the idea that we won’t be able to do anything for 20 years. So it’s personally disappointing for me,” Miller said.

While extending an olive branch of sorts to Governor Rick Scott, House Speaker Richard Corcoran says he is determined to ax the state’s business recruitment arm, Enterprise Florida.

Florida health officials who oversee the medical marijuana program have started processing identification card applications for patients and caregivers.


Bill Would Permit Optometrists To Perform Surgery

Feb 24, 2017

A state senator Thursday proposed a bill that would allow optometrists to perform surgical procedures, rekindling a long-running political battle between optometrists and ophthalmologists.

Farmer Veteran Coalition

A growing number of veterans are looking to agriculture for their next career and entrepreneurial opportunity.

Study: Some Floridians Still Struggling Financially

Feb 23, 2017
Albuminarium

Nearly half of the people living and working in Florida still struggle to make ends meet after the Great Recession, according to a new study from the United Way.

Accurate numbers are hard to come by, but state and federal wildlife officials are raising their official estimate of the number of endangered Florida Panthers.

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