From guns to abortion, Florida Legislature to tackle controversial issues

Controversial issues spanning from guns to abortion will be on the Florida Legislature’s agenda during the 2019 session that starts Tuesday.

State legislators will decide whether teachers should be allowed to carry guns at schools. Patients could be authorized to smoke medical marijuana. Sports betting could be legalized. New restrictions on abortion could be approved.

The fate of suspended Broward Sheriff Scott Israel’s political career hangs in the balance.

The session will provide a test for recently elected Gov. Ron DeSantis. The new GOP governor will need to work with the Republican-controlled to implement his agenda.

The state’s largest teachers union, the Florida Education Association, opposes the proposal, arguing that educators should be focused on teaching — not providing armed security.

Another bill would allow some people to carry guns on college campuses, which are considered “gun-free zones” under Florida law. That measure would apply to people with concealed weapons permits, who must be at least 21 years old and demonstrate competency with a firearm.

Efforts also are underway to repeal the gun control provisions passed last year in response to the Parkland massacre. Those items included raising the age to purchase a rifle from 18 to 21 years, a statewide three-day waiting period to buy a long gun, a “red-flag” provision that makes it easier for law enforcement to seize guns and a ban on bump stocks, a device that allows guns to fire more rapidly.