PBC TV to present live coverage of Legislature’s final week of session

As it has done in previous years, Palm Beach County’s government channel, PBC TV Channel 20, will suspend most of its local programming this week, March 5 through 9, to present The Florida Channel’s live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the final week of the 2018 Florida Legislative Session from Tallahassee.

»RELATED: The latest in Florida political news

The only exceptions to this special coverage will be the Palm Beach County School Board Special Meeting on Wednesday, March 7 at 3 p.m. and the Palm Beach County Planning Commission meeting on Friday, March 9 at 9 a.m. These complete local meetings will be presented live. While the 2018 session is scheduled to conclude Friday, the Legislature could extend it, if needed, and PBC TV will continue live coverage until the session adjourns.

PBC TV is available on Comcast xfinity channel 20, AT&T U-Verse channel 99, Hotwire/Fision Digital Access channel 20 and can also be seen on the county’s website, www.pbcgov.com.

House OKs public records exemption for mass shootings

Nearly three weeks after 17 people were slain at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Broward County, the Florida House on Monday unanimously passed a bill that would prevent the release of photos or recordings that show the deaths of victims of mass shootings or school shootings.

The bill (HB 653) would expand a public-records exemption that already prevents the release of photos, video recordings and audio recordings that show the killing of law-enforcement officers. “The Legislature is concerned that, if these photographs and recordings are released, terrorists will use them to attract followers, bring attention to their causes, and inspire others to kill,” the bill said. “The Legislature also finds that dissemination of these photographs and recordings may also educe violent acts by the mentally ill or morally corrupt.”

A similar Senate bill (SB 1178) has cleared one committee.

House OKs Seminole gambling deal

Though it remains unclear whether a deal can be reached with the Senate, the House on Monday approved a gambling bill that includes ratifying a long-term deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

House members voted 70-40 to approve the bill (HB 7067), which would lead to the Seminole Tribe paying $3 billion to the state over seven years. In exchange, the tribe would have exclusive rights to conduct banked card games, such as blackjack, at five of its casinos. It also would continue to have exclusive authority to offer slot machines outside of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and pari-mutuel facilities would be barred from offering “designated player” card games.

A Senate version (SB 840) has moved through committees, though it includes key differences from the House bill.

House, Senate OK nursing home generators

Nursing homes will be required to have generators and 72-hour fuel supplies on site by July 1, under a rule issued by Gov. Rick Scott’s administration and approved Monday by the Legislature.

The House unanimously approved a measure (HB 7099) that ratified the rule, and the Senate followed suit later in the day.

The chambers still differ, though, on whether to impose similar backup power mandates on assisted living facilities, which were included in a different rule. The rules followed the deaths of residents of The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Broward County after Hurricane Irma, and ratifying them has been a top priority for Scott’s administration during the 2018 legislative session.

The rule requires nursing homes to have backup power capability and adequate fuel supplies to maintain safety systems and equipment needed to maintain indoor air temperatures for 96 hours after a loss of electricity. According to the state, the rule will increase costs for nursing homes by more than $121 million in the next five years.

The backup generator mandate would increase regulatory costs for roughly 3,000 assisted living facilities by about $243 million over the next five years.

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