Florida Five: Legislators have a lot of balls up in the air for final week of session

Five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips:

Medical marijuana bill clears Florida Senate: Epileptic children who suffer from debilitating seizures would be able to legally turn to a non-smokable, low-THC variety of medical marijuana for relief under a measure given final approval by state senators Monday. Named after a Colorado child, the strain of cannabis known as “Charlotte’s Web” is high in the non-euphoric cannabidiol (CBD), and low in the high-inducing chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Read more.

House passes bill to allow guns in schools: A bill to allow guns in Florida schools made it through the Florida House on Monday, passing with a vote of 71-44.Legislators voted mostly on party lines. HB 753, sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, would allow local school boards or school principals to designate employees — typically former or current law enforcement officers — to carry guns on campus. HB 753 would require trained officials to complete 40 hours of school safety training as well as eight hours of active shooter training and four hours of firearm proficiency training. The training programs would be administered across the state by State of Florida Criminal Justice Training Centers. Read more.

Governor tests waters on special session, finds no support: If Gov. Rick Scott was taking the temperature of the Florida Legislature last week about its interest in a special session to ratify a gambling compact, he has gotten the cold shoulder. Legislative leaders in both the House and Senate have all but rebuffed the governor’s offer to hold a special session in May after his deputies hinted that he was “getting close” to an agreement with the Seminole Tribe over the gaming compact that expires next year. Read more.

Florida lawmakers act on flood insurance, Alzheimer’s research, public pensions and more: After homeowners received a major scare about rate increases, the Florida House approved a bill aimed at encouraging more private insurers to write flood-insurance coverage in the state. The Senate approved the bill earlier, but the measure will have to return to the Senate because of changes made in the House. Lawmakers began looking for ways to expand private coverage after it appeared that tens of thousands of Florida homeowners could get hit with massive increases under the National Flood Insurance Program. . Read more.

‘Growler’ bill gets watered down before heading to Senate: Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, filed an amendment Sunday to SB 1714 that would allow the state’s 80 to 90 craft beer establishments to sell malt liquor in popular half-gallon “growler” containers. Under the bill, those selling fewer than 2,000 kegs a year would have no restrictions imposed. Those above that level couldn’t sell more than 20 percent of their annual brew for take-home consumption, according to the amendment adopted Monday. Instead, they would be required to sell the product through one of the state’s established beer distributors, then buy it back — at marked-up prices — before they could sell it to consumers who can drink it at home or elsewhere. Read more.

BONUS: ‘The big dog’ is coming to Florida for Dems’ Jefferson-Jackson dinner

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page

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