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Rick Scott gets bill requiring autism training for police

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Florida police officers may soon be required to undergo training to better deal with autistic individuals under a bill that has passed the state Legislature. The measure was sent to Gov. Rick Scott on Friday. It comes after a North Miami shooting that left an unarmed black therapist shot and injured while he tried to protect his severely autistic client. The client had been the original target in the shooting. If signed into law, police departments across the state would…

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Today on Context Florida: Military power, needle exchange, Pledge of Allegiance and Autism Lab

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Today on Context Florida: Jac Wilder VerSteeg asks what to Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush and some Florida lawmakers have in common. They’ve all said some pretty disturbing things recently about the use of military power. VerSteeg notes we should add Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to the list. Dr. Hansel Tookes notes that Florida has the highest rate of new HIV infections of any state in America. In addition, Miami-Dade and Broward counties are ranked first and second, respectively,…

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Legislature passes measure to aid disabled

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In what Senate President Andy Gardiner called the last of a “trifecta” of first-week bills, a measure to help people with disabilities get jobs is heading to Gov. Rick Scott. The Florida Senate unanimously approved the bill (HB 7003) on Friday. Gardiner, an Orlando Republican, has a son with Down syndrome and has pushed several bills this year to help those with disabilities. The final bill in the package is intended to encourage state agencies to hire disabled employees. It also establishes a…

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Today on Context Florida: Right-wing losses, Dog Days of Summer and vaccinations

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Today on Context Florida: Martin Dyckman says it is amusing, in a wry sort of way, to witness the tantrums and hear the gnashing of teeth in right-wing circles over the several big cases they have just lost at the U.S. Supreme Court. Spare them no sympathy. You might think that losing has become more than they can bear. For Major League Baseball fans like Dan Tilson, “Dog Days of Summer” describes the sultry stretch of the six-month regular season when…

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Senate bill allows parents to seek autism diagnosis — even if doc doesn’t think screening necessary

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Parents and guardians could override their pediatrician and have their children taken to an autism specialist or the Early Steps Program for evaluation under a bill that cleared he Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday. Sponsored by state Sen. Jeremy Ring, SB 146 allows parents “direct access” to the specialist if the physician conducting the initial evaluation determines that a referral is not necessary. Specialists parents could access without a referral include: psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists or a developmental or behavioral…

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