Abortion, Gun Bills Pass Before Break
After passing several major bills so far during the 2014 session, the Florida Legislature is taking the week off to observe the Passover and Easter holidays, the Associated Press reports.
Among the bills passed by the House was a proposal redefining the viability of a fetus and eliminating late-term abortions now legal under state law (HB 1047), according to the Orlando Sentinel. The bill was approved by the House in a 70-45 vote Friday and its Senate counterpart passed a key committee earlier last week, the Sentinel reports. The House also passed a plan for harsher criminal charges for anyone causing a woman to miscarry in the course of committing a crime, reports the Sentinel.
Lawmakers passed another bill (HB 209) on Friday that allows people without concealed weapons permits to carry guns during government-mandated emergency evacuations, according to the Political Fix Florida. After heavy lobbying by the National Rifle Association, the bill passed the House almost along party lines with an 80-36 vote.
Lawmakers will return still needing to pass the state budget, which in the House has added almost $37 million to reduce the number of elderly and disabled Floridians in need of long-term health services and community care, the Palm Beach Post reports. That increase, however, will only reduce the 9,000-person waiting list by just 751 people.