State Capital Briefs: Thursday, March 9, 2017
STATE CAPITAL BRIEFS (EVENING EDITION): THURSDAY, MARCH 9, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

©2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited. You can view the Terms of Use on our website.

'STAND YOUR GROUND' BILL TEED UP IN SENATE
Florida senators could vote as soon as Wednesday to approve a bill (SB 128) that would shift a key burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases. The Senate took up the measure Thursday and positioned it for a vote. The proposal stems from a Florida Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that said defendants have the burden of proof to show they should be shielded from prosecution under the "stand your ground" law. In "stand your ground" cases, pre-trial evidentiary hearings are held to determine whether defendants should be immune from prosecution. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, would shift that burden of proof from defendants to prosecutors. "This is the most serious and solemn power that our state government exercises ... and the burden should be high on the government from the beginning of the case to the end," Bradley said Thursday. A House version (HB 245), sponsored by Rep. Bobby Payne, R-Palatka, and Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.

HOUSE MOVES FORWARD WITH LOBBYING RESTRICTIONS
Addressing a priority of Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, the House is ready to approve a measure that would place additional restrictions on lawmakers and statewide officials who want to become lobbyists. The House on Thursday took up the bill (HB 7003), sponsored by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, and could pass it Friday. Currently, lawmakers and statewide elected officials are barred from lobbying their former agencies for two years after leaving office. The bill would extend that prohibition to six years and make it apply to lobbying any state government body or agency.

FLORIDA CITRUS FORECAST TAKES ANOTHER HIT
Already on pace for its worst growing season in decades, Florida's citrus industry has been advised its orange harvest may be 4 percent lower than projected a month ago. Mark Hudson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Statistics Board, announced that Florida's citrus industry is now on pace to produce enough oranges to fill 67 million 90-pound boxes during the current crop season. The decrease is the third consecutive month the forecast has declined, going from 72 million boxes in December to 71 million in January and 70 million in February. The industry filled 81.6 million boxes during the 2015-2016 season. Florida, which accounted for 49 percent of total U.S. citrus production in the past season, has been struggling for a decade with citrus greening, an incurable bacterial disease. During the decade before the disease was found, the state's orange harvest annually topped 200 million boxes, with a high of 244 million boxes in the 1997-1998 season. Meanwhile, grapefruit production dropped from 9 million 90-pound boxes in February to 8.9 million boxes in the March forecast. The outlook for grapefruit started the current season at 9.6 million boxes, down from 10.8 million boxes filled in 2015-2016.


--END--
3/9/2017

© 2017 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved. Posting or forwarding this material without permission is prohibited. You can view the Terms of Use on our website.

Independent and Indispensable