Nick Evans

Nick Evans is a masters student in communications at Florida State University.  Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years.  He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan.  When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.

The Florida House is moving forward with a new capital sentencing scheme after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the existing system just over a month ago.  But even with last minute changes, lawmakers are hesitant to completely embrace unanimity.

The House Health and Human services committee sent two measures to the floor that would’ve been unthinkable just a few years ago.  The full House will now consider a needle exchange pilot program and a new medical marijuana proposal.

After years of trying, lawmakers are finding success with a plan to create a needle exchange pilot program in Miami Dade County.

A needle exchange program some lawmakers have been trying to get off the ground for years is moving in the House. 

The state Legislature is on the verge of extending healthcare to thousands of Florida children.  Revisions to the KidCare program will cover children of legal immigrants.

Lawmakers are pushing a measure encouraging the use of abuse-resistant opioids. 

State lawmakers are taking steps to protect seniors from guardian abuse.  Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) says it’s too easy for private guardians to take advantage of their wards.

There are few issues that find more support among the Republican Party than guns, and Florida’s GOP dominated statehouse is no exception.  When lawmakers return to Tallahassee for the 2016 regular session, they’ll be coming back loaded for bear.

While Florida Republicans push measures allowing concealed weapons on college campuses and open carry throughout the state, a Democratic senator wants permit holders to have their papers ready for first responders.  

State health officials have selected the five nurseries charged with growing medical marijuana but their job is far from done.  Wednesday they laid out a set of rules to ensure nurseries grow the plant safely and securely.

Although the Department of Health has awarded licenses to grow cannabis, patients could still be waiting more than nine months for treatment.  But one of the nurseries is hoping to push that timeline forward.

Two Republican lawmakers are pitching a moderate expansion of the medical marijuana system they pushed through the Legislature almost two years ago.  The measure removes limits on potency, but only for terminally ill patients.

State health officials are nearing a decision on who will get to grow medical marijuana in the Florida.  Meanwhile two lawmakers are hoping to expand the pool of eligible patients.

Florida is still grappling with the pill mill crisis of four years ago.  But with the problem of too many prescriptions receding in the rear-view mirror, the problem now is too few.

Guns on campus is grabbing Florida’s attention, but it’s not the only bill aimed at expanding gun rights.  One lawmaker wants to allow open carry in the state as well.

The First District Court of Appeal is considering whether to compel public universities to allow guns in school housing.

Whether Medicaid expansion will ever come to Florida is far from certain.  But after more than a year in the works, one health fight finally appears settled.

A proposal mandating an abortion waiting period took center stage Tuesday on the House floor.  But lawmakers discussed a handful of other measures that could affect health administration in the state, too.

Drugs can play havoc on the body but for some drugs the mode of delivery can be just as dangerous.  That’s why one Florida lawmaker wants to launch a needle exchange program in Miami-Dade County.

Two bills that will allow concealed weapons throughout Florida’s public school system are headed for the House floor.  But Nick Evans reports their prospects for final passage are very different.  

The Florida House is close to amending the state’s Civil Rights Act to prohibit pregnancy discrimination.  It’s a symbolic move, and far from a sure thing, but lawmakers are happy to see it moving forward.

With another challenge of the Department of Health’s medical marijuana rules filed, state lawmakers are trying to untangle the mess that has become of last year’s so-called Charlotte’s Web law.  The Senate Regulated Industries committee took up the matter Tuesday.

A House measure placing greater restrictions on the use of red light cameras passed its first committee this week.  While it differs from a similar proposal in the Senate, the arguments against it sound about the same.

Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St.Petersburg) is shepherding a bill through the Senate that calls for new requirements on red light cameras.  Namely, jurisdictions that employ cameras would need to submit annual reports and show they’ve already tried alternative safety measures before setting up any new ones. 

Speaking after Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, Florida Gov. Rick Scott echoed House Speaker Steve Crisafulli’s statements on the prospect of losing federal funds for hospitals treating low income patients.  Scott claims expanding Medicaid would not replace low income pool, or LIP, funding.

“LIP is completely separate from Medicaid expansion,” Scott says.  “If you go look at Texas, go look at California, one expanded Medicaid, one didn’t, and both of them are getting significantly more dollars under LIP than what Florida’s getting today or ever gotten.”

Mothers and fathers of children with intractable epilepsy made impassioned pleas Monday at the Department of Health’s medical marijuana rulemaking workshop.  Both parents and Department officials hope this meeting will be the last.

Despite broad opposition on Florida’s campuses, state lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to allow guns at universities.  Three months ago today, there was a shooting at Florida State University, and this week the controversial measure began its path through the Senate.

A controversial measure to allow concealed weapons on university campuses passed on a close party-line vote in a senate committee Monday. 

Concealed carry licenses in Florida are limited.  Places like bars, courtrooms—even career centers are set aside as gun-free zones.  But Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) is taking aim at a different area: public universities. 

Evers invited Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) to introduce the bill, and during his presentation Evers holds up a sheet of paper for Steube to see.

Some say time heals all wounds.  But this week saw the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, and all these years later, the ideological canyon separating opponents in the fight over abortion seems just as impossible to bridge.   

In the US House of Representatives Thursday, the temptation to use Roe v. Wade’s anniversary as a chance to vote on anti-abortion legislation was simply to great to pass up.  But it was the legislation they didn’t vote on that made the nightly news.

The House committee overseeing Florida’s rules and regulations will likely have to give their blessing before a low-THC marijuana framework can be put in place.  But some lawmakers don’t think it will be a stumbling block.

  A plan for drug testing welfare recipients in Florida came before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals this week.  The American Civil Liberties Union is looking to the Fourth Amendment to challenge the policy.

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