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FL Legislators Struggle After Shooting 02/18 11:33

   TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Stunned by a horrific shooting at a Florida high 
school that left 17 people dead, the Florida Legislature is grappling with what 
to do in the aftermath.

   Legislators have just three weeks left in their annual 60-day session. 
Normally, lawmakers are trying to wrap up work on a new state budget in the 
final days.

   But the shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland has 
revived an ongoing legislative debate about how to respond to gun violence.

   Democrats want the Legislature to take up gun control bills that have 
languished again this year, but Republican legislative leaders are talking 
about boosting mental health programs in Florida's public schools as well 
considering measures that would bolster safety on school campuses.

   Gov. Rick Scott has said he plans to talk to legislative leaders in the 
coming week about what could be done to make it harder for people who are 
mentally ill to purchase a gun.

   Senate and House leaders have also said they are willing to help pay to tear 
down the three-story building where the shootings happened and place a memorial 
on the site. It could cost up to $30 million to replace the school building 
with a new building placed in a different location on the campus.

   Some GOP legislators wanted to consider a bill to put trained armed 
volunteers or school employees inside the state's public schools. The Senate 
Judiciary Committee was scheduled to take up the legislation (SB 1236), but 
Sen. Greg Steube, the committee chairman, announced late Friday that the 
measure would not be taken up after all. Steube made his decision after several 
top senators said they were opposed to considering the bill. Groups opposed to 
the bill flooded legislators with phone calls the last two days.


(KA)

 
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