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Gayle Harrell

House sends back Senate’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ bill

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self defense

The House on Wednesday OK’d the Senate’s fix to the state’s “stand your ground” law to streamline claims of self-defense—with one change. The House version changes the measure (SB 128) to switch the burden of proof to “clear and convincing evidence,” a lower threshold than the Senate’s “beyond a reasonable doubt,” to overcome self-defense. Members voted 74-39 for the amended bill, sending it back across the rotunda. The Republican majority in the Legislature wants to shift the burden to prosecutors, making them disprove a claim…

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Senate continues to roll bill making secretary of state an elected position

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A bill to make Secretary of State an elected, Cabinet-level post advanced Wednesday through the Senate Rules Committee. Legislation by Fernandina Beach Republican Aaron Bean (SB 882) rolled through the committee with neither debate nor discussion. Historically, the Secretary of State in Florida was elected by the public, but that changed in 1998 when constitutional changes removed that position from the elected Cabinet of the executive branch. Bean has argued in committee meetings that four is an odd number for the…

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House advances bills ‘cracking the whip’ on domestic abuse, child offenders, recovery centers, terrorism

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A litany of bills Tuesday show legislators intend to crack the whip on several social, criminal and commercial problems affecting the state. Each bill passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, covering issues as wide ranging as child predators, domestic violence, addiction recovery homes, skimming devices, the department of corrections, probation, terrorism — and protection of marine turtles. All the measures facing the committee were built around a single theme, improving language in bills already on the books or simply to…

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House bill advances to give University of Florida $2.5M for medical marijuana study

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The University of Florida would get about $2.5 million to study the effectiveness of medical marijuana under a bill that cleared the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday. HB 3159 by Cape Coral Republican Rep. Dane Eagle is aimed at the compassionate use bill lawmakers approved in 2014, which legalized low-THC, high-cannabidiol marijuana for the treatment of some diseases, such as epilepsy in children. A similar, $1 million UF study was approved by the legislature back in 2015, with that…

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Dismayed, DCF head Mike Carroll explains fragments of Facebook Live suicide case

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Standing before the members of the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee Thursday, Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll admitted Naika Venant had been in out of foster care since 2009. Since April alone, she had been in 10 foster homes alone that included a hotel and a child welfare office building, according to one report by the Miami Herald, citing the girl’s attorney. But Naika, 14, closed her chapter on this planet through suicide, hanging herself, shockingly,…

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House committee passes controversial changes to ‘Stand Your Ground’

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Members of the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice passed a highly-contested bill Tuesday, potentially changing the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws. If passed, it would place the burden of proof on the prosecution (or state) in cases of those who claim self-defense immunity in acts of violence when brought before judiciary proceedings. HB 245 was co-sponsored by 41 legislators, led by Rep. Bobby Payne, who was present at the subcommittee. The bill gives procedural clarification in those cases of…

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Janet Cruz says Florida Dems won’t ‘mainstream hate speech’ in 2017

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While some Republicans in Tallahassee were startled last week when Democrats walked out of a committee hearing in reaction to a speaker who made controversial comments, Janet Cruz says her caucus won’t be “mainstreaming hate speech as a legitimate part of political debate” anytime soon. The Democrat House Minority Leader was referring to Thursday, when five Democrats in the House’s Children, Families and Seniors subcommittee panel stood up and walked out in reaction to chair Gayle Harrell giving Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, the platform (via…

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