FLORIDA BRIEFS

Guns, medical marijuana at issue in House
As lawmakers continue preparing for the 2016 legislative session, House panels next week will take up a bill that would allow people to openly carry firearms and will get an update about a medical-marijuana law passed last year.

The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday will consider a measure (HB 163), filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to openly carry firearms. The bill also calls for other changes in gun-related laws, including giving direction for judges to use “strict scrutiny” when reviewing laws dealing with the right to bear arms or self-defense.

“The right to bear arms is a fundamental and individual right that exists in any place that a person has the right to be, subject only to exceptionally and narrowly tailored restrictions that employ the least possible restriction on the right in order to achieve a compelling government interest,’’ the bill says.

Meanwhile Tuesday, the House Health Quality Subcommittee will receive an update about how the state is carrying out a 2014 law that allows the sale and use of non-euphoric types of medical marijuana. Backers of the law said it could help patients such as children with severe forms of epilepsy, but the cannabis remains unavailable, at least in part because of delays stemming from legal disputes.

Scott, Cabinet back change after marriage ruling
Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet gave approval Tuesday to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to update transfers of titles on cars and boats to reflect the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The department intends to change a single check-off box on title-transfer forms. The change involves where people can declare why they shouldn’t be subject to sales and use taxes when transferring the ownership of motor vehicles, mobile homes or vessels. The phrase “a married couple” will replace “husband and wife.”

The proposal was one of two department rule changes approved during a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. Under the other change, aspiring motorists who fail driving tests may be able to retake the tests the same day. The change is intended to clarify a state law by removing language that prohibits people from taking more than one driving test on any day unless they can get the approval of officials from county driver-license or tax-collector offices.

The change allows county offices to administer second or subsequent tests the same day to people who fail the tests if time is available. The state motor-vehicle agency noted that the county offices operate under an appointment system and in most cases can handle additional testing during regular hours.

– From The News Service of Florida

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