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Here are some health care-related legal issues to watch in Florida this year

George Hodan
Public Domain Pictures

Some of the health-related cases that will go before the state Supreme Court involve ballot referendums, with issues including abortion and marijuana.

State and federal courts in 2024 are expected to buzz with major Florida cases involving health care. Here are five issues to watch:

ABORTION: The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments in September in a challenge to a 2022 state law that prevented abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. If the court upholds the law, it also could clear the way for a six-week abortion limit passed in 2023. Meanwhile, justices could decide whether a proposed abortion-rights constitutional amendment will go on the 2024 ballot. Attorney General Ashley Moody is urging the court to reject the proposal.

MARIJUANA: The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments in November about whether it should clear the way for a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow recreational use of marijuana. Supporters of the proposal have submitted enough petition signatures to get on the 2024 ballot but need Supreme Court approval of the proposed ballot wording. Attorney General Ashley Moody has argued the court should reject the proposal.

NURSING HOME KIDS: A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in January in a decade-long battle between Florida and the U.S. Department of Justice about children with complex medical needs receiving care in nursing homes. A federal district judge sided with the Justice Department and ordered Florida’s Medicaid program to take increased steps to help children live with their families or in their communities.

TRANSGENDER LAWS: After Florida passed laws and rules aimed at transgender people, a series of legal challenges are playing out in federal courts. They include cases about the state blocking Medicaid coverage for transgender people seeking hormone therapy and puberty blockers; the state barring such treatments for minors and placing restrictions on treatments for adults; and a law designed to prevent children from attending drag shows.

GUNS: Nearly six years after Florida lawmakers passed a measure to prevent sales of rifles and other long guns to people under age 21, a Second Amendment challenge to the law is pending at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The full appeals court said in July it would hear the case, after a three-judge panel upheld the age restriction. But the case has been effectively on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a Texas case about gun restrictions.

Jim Saunders is the Executive Editor of The News Service Of Florida.