As Gov. Rick Scott (R) contemplates a challenge to Sen. Bill Nelson (D), he “is embroiled in a fierce debate over gun control that has seen the governor split with President Donald Trump and some members of his own party over what should be done to prevent another mass shooting. The escalated sniping between Nelson and Scott may presage a heated campaign in a swing state that twice supported President Barack Obama but then backed Trump.”
“Nelson mocked Scott, saying he lacked ‘guts’ for skipping an emotionally charged town hall forum attended by survivors and family members of those killed at the Parkland school. He also criticized Scott because the state had offered financial incentives to gun manufacturers. Scott snapped back at Nelson, saying he had failed to pass any substantial gun measures during his three terms in office.”
“Right now polls suggest voters in Florida are on Nelson’s side. A poll by Quinnipiac University, which was done more than a week after the shootings in Parkland, said 62 percent support a nationwide ban on ‘assault weapons’ and 96 percent support background checks on all gun buyers.” (AP)
LEGISLATION. Nelson and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) are pushing a bill that would “help alert state law enforcement agencies to allow them to enforce existing laws against individuals who attempt to purchase firearms but have no legal right to do so.” The legislation is backed by several other senators, including Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). (Florida Politics)
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"The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed sweeping bipartisan opioid legislation, concluding the chamber’s two-week voteathon on dozens of bills to address the drug abuse epidemic. The measure combines more than 50 bills approved individually by the House focusing on expanding access to treatment, encouraging the development of alternative pain treatments and curbing the flow of illicit drugs into the U.S. It was passed 396-14, with 13 Republicans and one Democrat voting against the package."
In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Trump wrote that he's continuing the national emergency status with respect to North Korea, citing the country's “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions," which "continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States. In a series of tweets following his meeting with Kim Jong-un, Trump said Americans could sleep well at night because North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.
"The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military’s task in implementing President Donald Trump’s 'zero tolerance' policy for people caught crossing the Southern border." The document outlines plans for "temporary and austere" internment camps for 25,000 migrants "at abandoned airfields just outside the Florida panhandle," and in Alabama, for 47,000 people near San Francisco, and "as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton" in California. The document estimates that operating a camp to detain 25,000 people for six months would cost approximately $233 million.
"The United States is preparing to shelter as many as 20,000 migrant children on four American military bases" in Texas and Arkansas, "as federal officials struggled to carry out President Trump’s order to keep immigrant families together after they are apprehended at the border."
"House Republican leaders are further delaying a vote on a compromise immigration bill, planning to make changes to the legislation for a vote next week. The news comes after a two-hour Republican Conference meeting Thursday, in which authors of the bill walked through its contents and members raised concerns about issues the bill doesn’t address, multiple GOP lawmakers said. Many members requested the addition of a provision to require employers to use the E-Verify database to cheek the legal status of their employees."