Fla. House Passes Three Controversial Bills

It's been called the most conservative House in Florida history, and Thursday it took up a bill so controversial and graphic the speaker put parents on notice.

"If this matters in how you choose to remain in the gallery, I just want to give you that heads-up."

At issue: whether to require a 24 hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion. The bill would also mandate that only doctors be allowed to own abortion clinics, and if a baby happens to be born alive during an abortion, those doctors would have to save it.

"Whatever happens, we want it to be safe, legal and rare," said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. "This bill accomplishes that."

The abortion bill passed, 78-33.

Also going through is a measure to allow student-led prayer at public school events. For that to happen, local school boards would have to sign off. Supporters say it could help prevent tragic events like the school shooting in Ohio earlier this week.

"This is about freeing up our students to explore who they are, to explore their core, and to realize that the time has come for us to allow our students to lead the way!" said Rep. Fred Costello, R-DeLand.

Finally, the House approved legislation to let parents with kids in a failing public school vote to turn it into a privately-run charter school. Opponents contend that would only hurt the public school system.

The House also took up and passed a bill that would bar certain types of welfare recipients from using their government-issued debit cards at liquor stores and gambling halls.

The school prayer bill is on its way to the governor. The rest have to be taken up by the Senate.

In the Senate a final vote was delayed on a bill to allow Florida's property insurance company turn policies over to unregulated private companies. Insiders say supporters continue to have trouble rounding up enough votes to pass it.

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