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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Sep. 30, 201512:00 PM EST

Medical marijuana, guns 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.

Lawmaker proposes paid family leave bill

A Senate Democrat on Tuesday proposed a bill (SB 384) that would require employers to allow six weeks of paid family leave for workers after children are born or adopted.

The bill, filed by Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, will be considered during the 2016 legislative session and, if approved, would take effect Jan.1, 2017.

“The Legislature finds that it is in the public interest to provide paid family care leave to workers for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a new child,’’ the bill says.

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