Florida lawmakers have until Friday to pass bills through the committee process or see them die. They've saved the most controversial pieces of legislation for last.
Even with overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans are still divided on a handful of issues, and that means even vastly outnumbered Democrats may have a say in the outcome.
“Leave our uteruses alone!”
Today Planned Parenthood held a massive rally against 18 bills, each of them they complain aimed at restricting abortion rights.
The most controversial one... a requirement that women obtain an ultrasound before they can have an abortion. The activists say the tea party wing of the GOP is behind the movement.
“Instead, they are dismantling women's rights and attacking women's health,” said Staci Fox of Planned Parenthood. “Legislators should be tackling the budget, not attacking women!”
Meanwhile, a House committee unanimously approved a bill to block the release of surveillance videos depicting sexual assault or murder. Tampa PD Assistant Chief Marc Hamlin says the families of his department's two officers killed in the line of duty last year are entitled to their privacy.
“Once that case is resolved, it would become public record, and then it could show up on places like the Internet or in movies or television, for that matter, and the families of that victim should have the right to say, 'yes or no',” Hamlin said.
Another contentious topic... whether to ban doctors from asking their patients if they own a gun. An NRA-backed bill would do exactly that, and it passed a key Senate committee.
The so-called ‘Don't Ask' bill still has to pass the powerful budget committee before the end of the week. The Surveillance Video Bill is now headed to the house floor.
Most insiders also expect at least a few of the abortion bills to get up or down votes, but as in years past, the outcome looks to be anything but certain.