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Capitol Today: Guns, Pharmacy

Wednesday is Paella Day at the Capitol -- a happy coincidence for gun-safety advocates, who were planning a 12:45 press conference on the Old Capitol steps, right there in the courtyard where the paella will be served up. Last year, the Spanish dish event drew hundreds of state workers.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will call on the Legislature to give local cities and counties the power to enact their own gun controls and oppose bills that allow more guns in the public sphere, according to a press release.

However, the Legislature seems to be marching in the opposite direction. On Wednesday morning, the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee passed a bill that would allow school superintendents and principals to decide whether concealed weapons could be carried on their campuses.

CS/SB 753, the "School Safety Bill," is sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton. The  vote was 8 to 4, with Democrats accounting for "no" votes. (see the votes on this page).

On Tuesday, as News Service of Florida reported, a bill that would let people without concealed weapons licenses carry guns during emergencies narrowly passed a Senate committee that had been sitting on it for weeks. SB 296, opposed by the Florida Sheriff's Association but backed by the NRA, passed 5 to 4 in the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee.

Senate sponsor Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, had twice delayed votes on the measure until he could collect enough support to pass it.

On another health-related issue, the Senate Rules Committee will take up SB 278 at a 4 p.m. hearing. The bill would increase the number of technicians that pharmacists are allowed to supervise -- something that chain pharmacies really want, but has drawn criticism on grounds of safety. 

The bill, by Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, would also change the makeup of the Board of Pharmacy. A similar House bill (HB 323) passed its final committee last week, but its sponsor said he would change the language before it gets to the floor, as the Florida Currentreported.


Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.