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Florida bolsters response to opioid-addiction crisis

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Wednesday to combat opioid abuse in the state, where he said the number of overdose deaths has reached epidemic proportions. Scott’s executive order will free up nearly $30 million in federal funds for prevention, treatment and recovery services. And it comes as a series of workshops focused on addressing the opioid abuse crisis launch in the state’s hardest-hit areas. “I know firsthand how heartbreaking substance abuse can be to a family…

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Bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana likely dead for this year

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A Senate proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana was temporarily postponed, effectively putting an end to any hopes that legislators would act on the legislation this year. Sen. Jeff Clemens, the Lake Worth Democrat sponsoring the bill (SB 1662), asked that the Senate Criminal Justice Committee temporarily postponed the measure after a 15-minute discussion Monday. While Clemens said he was thankful that Sen. Randolph Bracy, the committee’s chairman, decided to hear the bill, he said he knew…

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71% of Floridians think conversion therapy for minors should be illegal, bills to prohibit it stalled in Legislature

in 2017 by

A recent poll shows an overwhelming number of Floridians believe conversion therapy should be illegal, leading LGBT advocates to renew their call for a statewide ban. According to a recent Orlando Political Observer-Gravis Marketing poll, 71 percent of Florida voters think conversion therapy should be illegal for minors in Florida. The poll found 18 percent of respondents said they were uncertain, while 11 percent said they thought conversion therapy should be legal. The survey of 1,243 registered voters was conducted…

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Florida Democratic Party chair chips in $100K during Q1 of 2017

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The Florida Democratic Party got a $100,000 boost from their new chair last month according to new finance documents filed with the Florida Division of Elections. Stephen Bittel has been in place as the Democratic Party chair since January, when the Miami-Dade Democrat won a five-way race for the position with 55 percent of the vote. Bittel’s $100,000 infusion was the largest single contribution the party took in for the month, which saw it bring in a little over $840,000.…

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Pam Bondi’s office to Emily Slosberg: Local government can’t outlaw texting while driving

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The Legislature can’t create an exception for Palm Beach County to make texting while driving in a school zone a primary offense there, Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office said in a recent letter. The answer came in response to a question from state Rep. Emily Slosberg, a Boca Raton Democrat elected last year. The informal legal opinion letter, dated Feb. 3, was part of an Attorney General’s Opinions Digest released Monday. Slosberg wanted to know “whether the Legislature may provide express authority for…

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Coalition says anti-discrimination bill would boost state economy by $5B

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Bills to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would boost Florida’s economic output by more than $5 billion over the next 10 years according to a study touted by Florida Competes. The anti-discrimination advocacy group pointed to the study as part of their push for bills banning discrimination against LGBT individuals. According to the Thinkspot study, such legislation could boost the state’s standing among skilled workers, which could create about 36,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. The…

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Controversial public records bill clears second Senate panel

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A bill giving judges some discretion over whether to award attorney’s fees in public records cases cleared its second committee hearing Monday, but not before being amended in an attempt to alleviate opponents concerns. The bill (SB 80), sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube, aims to give judges discretion in whether they should award fees to the plaintiff and requires request be made in writing in order to be eligible to collect attorney fees. The committee amended the bill Tuesday to…

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