Three bills about guns clear Senate
The Senate on Thursday approved a trio of bills that supporters say will ensure citizens' constitutionally protected gun rights. One measure restricts doctors from asking patients about gun ownership, and another prohibits local governments from passing stricter gun laws than the state. Those two already have been approved by the House and await Gov. Rick Scott's signature. The third, which began life as a proposed "open carry" law, was modified to decriminalize the accidental showing of a concealed weapon. It goes to the House, which is expected to also approve it. The accidental display bill (SB 234) was approved by a vote of 26-11. The bill banning local gun control laws (HB 45) passed 30-8. The guns and doctors bill (HB 155) was approved 27-10.
Drug amendment called a 'mistake'
Senate President Mike Haridopolos said "a mistake was made" when the Senate quickly passed an amendment to provide $1.75 million in state funding for the prescription drug monitoring database. He said he will require the Senate to repeal it. The amendment was introduced by Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, the sponsor of SB 818, which is intended to curb prescription drug abuse in the Florida. When asked by Haridopolos to explain the amendment on the floor, Fasano said, "This funds the prescription drug monitoring database." The amendment passed with no discussion. Fasano's bill also repeals a current law that prohibits using state money for the database. The House bill maintains that provision and bans pharmaceutical companies from providing funding.
SBA records law renewed in House
The House voted to renew a law that keeps private certain State Board of Administration records involving the growing number of private investments. The vote on HB 7225 came without discussion and was 114 to 1. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Destin, cast the lone dissenting vote. The SBA manages $156 billion in pension funds and other state money. In recent years, the agency has come under criticism for risky investments and lax oversight. The bill renews a 2006 law giving the SBA an exemption from public records requirements for "proprietary confidential business information."
Times staff writers Janet Zink and Jodie Tillman contributed to this report, which uses information from the Associated Press.