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Capital Report: February 16, 2024

Critics of recent laws allowing school books and other classroom materials to be challenged and removed have categorized the effort as book banning. And many school districts have taken steps—some drastic—to keep themselves from running afoul of these new state laws. Gov. Ron DeSantis himself has spearheaded the efforts to keep inappropriate books away from kids, but now he’s endorsing a plan to curb what some see as excessive challenges while also saying widespread book banning is a hoax. Lynn Hatter explains.

Republican lawmakers are trying to mandate anti-communist education in Florida schools at all ages. But as Tristan Wood reports, some Democrats are concerned elementary students might be too young for the topic.

A bill that would bar kids younger than 16 from accessing social media is undergoing a series of changes in the Florida Senate. Adrian Andrews reports the move follows concerns that the bill could violate the US. constitution.

Florida is facing a healthcare worker shortage, and state officials say part of that shortage includes workers who can help treat mental and behavioral health conditions. Regan McCarthy reports a bill to address that would create behavioral health teaching hospitals.

A proposal aimed at helping charities like food banks get discounted prices for fresh foods is moving in both chambers of the Florida Legislature. Gina Jordan reports lawmakers are considering a pilot program to help curb food insecurity.

The company behind a 400-million dollar research monkey breeding facility is suing Decatur County – just north of the Florida state line - after its officials rescinded a vote to offer millions in tax breaks. The decision to walk back the vote comes amid public outcry over the facility and accusations of skirting open meetings laws. Alexandra Dresner brings us that.

It appears bills that would prevent local governments from removing historical monuments or flying non-government flags on government buildings are dead in the Florida Senate.

Florida was once considered the Hollywood of the south. Now, movies set in Florida are actually being filmed in other states and even other countries. That can be blamed – in part – on the lack of an incentive program in Florida, which is driving movie makers to other states. WUSF's Craig Kopp has more on Florida's rich film history... and potentially dim future.