House Panel to Consider Guns On Campus
A House panel is expected next week to take up a bill that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to carry guns on the campuses of state colleges and universities.
The bill (HB 4005), filed by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. It comes after a shooting incident in November at Florida State University that left three people wounded and the gunman killed by police.
Steube and other supporters have argued that allowing people to carry guns on campus could help prevent incidents such as the Florida State shooting.
But a similar bill failed in 2011, at least in part because of another shooting incident at the Tallahassee university. Ashley Cowie, 20, was at a campus party when a gun held by another student accidentally discharged, sending a bullet through her chest and killing her. The girl's father lobbied against the 2011 bill, arguing that putting guns in an area where drugs and alcohol are commonly used would make campuses more dangerous.
Steube's proposal will be the first bill taken up by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee as it prepares for the annual legislative session, which starts March 3. Senate Criminal Justice Chairman Greg Evers, R-Baker, has filed an identical proposal (SB 176) in the Senate.
Senate to Take Up Pensions, Greyhounds, Child Welfare
As lawmakers return to Tallahassee next week for a second round of committee meetings, senators will revisit high-profile issues including an effort to bolster local pension plans.
The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee next Wednesday will take up a bill (SB 172), filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, and committee Chairman Jeremy Ring, D-Margate, that would revamp local pension plans.
A similar bill died last year when it got tangled in a controversial proposal by then-House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, to overhaul the Florida Retirement System, which includes state employees and other workers such as teachers.
Also next Wednesday, the Senate Regulated Industries Committee will consider a much-discussed proposal (SB 2) that would set reporting requirements for injuries to racing greyhounds.
Meanwhile, the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee will get an update next Thursday about how the Department of Children and Families is carrying out a new law aimed at improving child welfare.
The discussion will come little more than two weeks after the highly publicized death of 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck, whose father is accused of throwing her off a bridge in Pinellas County. The committee meetings are in preparation for the 2015 legislative session, which starts March 3.