Florida Five: Florida’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Terri Schiavio’s legacy ten years later

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

PolitiFact Florida: Does Florida have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act like Indiana’s? – Likely presidential candidates have reacted to Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act as Gov. Mike Pence has had to defend the law against those who say it discriminates against gays and lesbians. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sided with Pence in a radio interview on Monday. “I think Gov. Pence has done the right thing,” Bush said in an interview with Hugh Hewitt “Florida has a law like this. Bill Clinton signed a law like this at the federal level.” Read more

Terri Schiavo
Photo credit: Screen shot NBC News video

Ten years after Terri Schiavo, death debates still divide us: Bioethicist – Terri Schiavo died 10 years ago [Tuesday] — not long after her feeding tube was removed by order of a Florida judge acting at the request of Schiavo’s husband that his wife be allowed to die. She was 41 and had spent nearly half her life in a vegetative state after suffering a cardiac arrest in 1990, causing a severe lack of oxygen and brain damage. The highly publicized legal case surrounding her husband’s plea not to keep her artificially alive roused debates across the world and at the U.S. Supreme Court. What is Schiavo’s legacy? Read more

Florida moves to repeal 1868 law banning ‘sinful’ cohabitation – The Florida legislature is moving to legalize unwed cohabitation, repealing an 1868 law that makes “lewd and lascivious behavior” among consenting adults a misdemeanor punishable by 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. “The times have changed,” Senator Eleanor Sobel, a South Florida Democrat, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. “Currently, over a half-million couples in Florida are breaking this law. The government should not intrude into the private lives of consenting adults.” Read more

Fifth-grader suspended for recording teacher verbally abusing students – Some parents are saying a fifth-grade Florida student was unfairly suspended after she took matters into her own hands and exposed her belittling school teacher who was on a serious power trip. Eleven-year-old Brianna Cooper from Fort Pierce said her teacher had been mean in the past and the only way to prove it was to record her. “I thought I did the right thing,” Brianna told WSVN 7 News. Read more

School guns bill suffers setback in Florida Senate – A contentious proposal that would let designated teachers bring their guns to school suffered a serious setback Tuesday when a Senate panel declined to vote on it. Because the Senate Education Committee won’t meet again, the bill (SB 180) won’t have another opportunity for a committee hearing. It could still be incorporated into another proposal, but Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg said he would raise strong objections. “It would be a large lift knowing that the Education Committee (deferred) it,” he said. Read more

2016 Watch: Campaign watchdogs claim 2016 hopefuls, including Jeb Bush, skirting finance laws

Spring break update: Florida county bans beach alcohol during spring break  

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

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