WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden urged Senate Democrats on Tuesday to rally behind a $1.9 trillion COVID-relief bill and stood by his proposed $1,400 payments to individuals, even as some party moderates sought to dial back parts of the package. “He said we need to pass this bill and pass it soon. That’s what the American people sent us here to do, and we have to get America the help it needs,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters, describing a 20-minute conference call Biden had with Democratic senators.
Proposed state legislation to shield businesses and health care providers from coronavirus-related lawsuits could pass early this session. "I look forward to these great bills becoming law early this session," State Senate President Wilton Simpson told fellow lawmakers in his opening address. With support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state could join many others that have already adopted similar COVID-19 business liability protections.
The Senate bill to grant legal protections to health care providers in COVID-19 cases passed its second hurdle Wednesday. The Health Policy Committee approved St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes‘ bill (SB 74) on a 5-4 party-line vote, advancing a measure that could make Florida one of a few dozen states to extend temporary provisional immunity to providers for COVID-19 infections.
PASCO COUNTY (CBSMiami) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced COVID-19 vaccinations are coming to Florida Walgreens locations. Two Walgreens pharmacies in Pasco County, will be the first to provide the shots starting Friday, DeSantis announced at a news conference in Zephryhills. The governor did not say when Walgreens would expand its vaccine program to other parts of the state.
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Teachers in Florida can get vaccines at CVS, which said it is following CDC guidelines. CVS plans to allow vaccination appointments for K-12 teachers, daycare and preschool workers and staff members, with no age or medical requirements. Florida’s new guidelines are more restrictive, with only K-12 personnel age 50 and older eligible for the vaccine. Anyone under 65 who has a doctor’s note about specific medical conditions is now eligible to get the vaccine, under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ expanded order.
It will be up to doctors to decide which “extremely vulnerable” people under age 65 will be allowed to get COVID-19 vaccinations in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday, clearing up confusion over how newly eligible residents will prove they qualify. “[Doctors] have seen how this virus is impacting different folks,” DeSantis said.
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Last fall, voters in Key West approved three restrictions on cruise ships. So the cruise industry has appealed to Tallahassee for relief. One ballot measure limited the number of cruise visitors to 1,500 per day. Another prohibited ships that carry more than 1,300 passengers from docking. The third assigned docking priority based on a company’s health and environmental records.
A massive public works proposal to build three new toll roads through three separate rural corridors of Florida is heading for the nearest exit ramp. A proposal (SB 100) to repeal the state law that created what's known as MCORES cleared its first legislative panel — the Senate Transportation Committee — on a 5-3 party-line vote Wednesday. The bill would redirect some $132 million tapped for the new highways to create alternate paths for expanding rural trucking routes and improving intersections.
The House version of a reclaimed water bill (HB 263) sponsored by Rep. Randy Maggard passed the Environmental, Agriculture and Flooding Subcommittee 17-0, but not without question. If passed, utilities would begin eliminating non-beneficial surface water discharges within five years, instead, working to make that water safe to drink. The technical term refers to the practice of treating water, including sewage, into clean drinking water, a practice colloquially referred to as toilet-to-tap.
The Florida legislative session began Tuesday in a largely-deserted state Capitol amid unprecedented restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No crowds. No flower baskets on senators' desks. Visitors' galleries were mostly empty and the hallways quiet on Day One. The Senate session opened with a senator, Jeff Brandes, joining his daughter in singing the National Anthem.
News 4 Jax
The contentious “anti-riot” legislation supported by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis got its second of three committee hearings in the House on Wednesday. Supporters of the bill say it would help crack down on violent protests, while opponents argue it’s an attack on First Amendment rights. The Republican-controlled House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee signed off Wednesday on the House proposal (HB 1) in a party-line vote, after hearing from dozens of people who condemned the measure.
With the sponsor saying the proposal would help hold down housing costs, a House panel Wednesday approved a bill that would reduce the authority of local governments to place design restrictions on new homes. The House Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee voted 12-6 along party lines to approve the bill (HB 55), sponsored by Rep. Toby Overdorf, a Palm City Republican.
Located on the tallest hill in the highest part of the state, halfway between Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida’s Capitol is hard to reach for most Floridians during the annual legislative session. But this year, as legislators opened their 60-day session Tuesday trying to navigate a global pandemic and stay healthy enough to avoid disrupting their activities, access to elected government