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Guns, greyhounds and privacy dominate constitution hearing

Guns, greyhounds, and privacy.

Two of the three most commonly- and passionately-discussed topics at Monday’s first public hearing for the Florida Constitution Revision Commission’s proposed amendments weren’t even among the 37 active propositions.

Yet dozens of speakers at the Maxwell C. King Center in Melbourne Monday spoke of their desire to see a Florida Constitution amendment banning assault weapons, a proposal that initially irked Chairman Carlos Beruff when League ofWomen Voters of Florida President Pamela Goodman first urged its consideration. But Beruff recovered, and expressed more tolerance and patience listening to numerous successors to Goodman on the topic.

Many of those speakers, and many others, also urged the commission to keep dead a proposal from Commissioner John Stemberger that would revise the state’s privacy guarantee in a way many of the speakers said was a clear attack on women’s rights to chose abortion.

Stemberger is president and general counsel of the anti-abortion group Florida Family Policy Center. He listened quietly and did not address the opposition to his Proposal 22, which was voted down by the commission’s judicial committee, but still could be revised by the full commission.

Since neither was on the agenda, none of the more than 220 registered speakers spoke in favor of assault weapons nor Proposal 22 on Monday, and the 15 commissioners who attended, with a few rare exceptions, just listened and said nothing.

That was not the case with greyhounds, subject of Proposal 67 from state Sen. Tom Lee of Thonotosassa. Dozens of speakers, including children, spoke about the horrors they had heard about or seen involving the lives of racing greyhound dogs, and they urged the commission to put the proposal on the ballot.

“It’s shameful that our state provides strong anti-cruelty laws other dogs, but allows greyhound racing dogs to suffer and die,” said Janet Winikoff, director of education for the Humane Society of Vero Beach, and a board member of the Florida Associations of Animal Welfare Associations.

Numerous representatives of the industry dispute the claims of dog abuse, contending that, as businessmen, they could not possibly succeed if they did not take good care of the dogs, and arguing that thousands of jobs were on the line.

“We have to fight to save these people’s jobs, including mine,” said Frank McCarron, owner of Seminole Animal Supply.

The high stakes led to high levels of animosity, with shouts of “Lies!” against one speaker, and exchanges of insults as speakers passed each other heading to and from the microphones.

There was that level of passion for a handful of other issues, including the upstart effort to get an assault weapon ban into the constitution, and to protect the privacy rights.

Also drawing powerful emotional support was Proposition 96, which would bring so-called “Marsy’s Law” provisions into Florida to protect the victims of crime, with, among other things, notifications of when their attackers are released from jail or prison. Several victims of violent crime, including women stalked and haunted in later years by their attackers, pleaded for its support.

Proposal 88 to offer “bills of rights” to nursing home residents got mixed responses, as did proposals to address local elections, Proposals 13 and 43, and a handful of more specifically-targeted proposals dealing with items ranging from the hiring of security in courtrooms to Bar Association membership requirements.

Much of the audience took on a progressive political attitude, salted in part by a large press conference held prior to the meeting, involving the League of Women Voters, the National Organization of Women, and Planned Parenthood, among others, who all then went inside and signed up to speak.

The strongest oppositions came to such things as Proposition 4 to allow for state funding of religious schools, decried as a proposition that would tear down of the state’s wall between church and state; and the strongest support came for such things as Proposition 91, banning oil and gas drilling off the Florida coast.

Parkland students begin trip to Tallahassee in search of legislative action

Students who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting are traveling to Tallahassee on Tuesday in search of legislative action that can prevent a future massacre like the one they experienced.

Meetings with Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Senate President Joe Negron and other legislative leaders have been set up for Wednesday, according to student group leader, Jaclyn Corin.

“This is not about Republicans or Democrats,” Corin said, “but about the 17 lives that we have lost — they will not die in vain.”

As of now, the teenager-led #NeverAgain movement is focused on lobbying four Senate bills: SB 1476, which could repeal a provision that does not allow state or local government agencies to keep track of privately-owned firearm; SB 838, which would require a three-day waiting period for private handgun sales; SB 196 that bans the sale and transfer of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines; and SB 1434, which would boost funding for mental health in schools.

The last bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, is the only one with Senate leadership backing. The other Democrat-championed bills eyed by the group of students are unlikely to move in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

“Our hope is that the Senate may have a Special Session in the future using our suggestions for new bills,” Corin said.

While students will be lobbying for these proposals, the next Senate president, Bill Galvano, is crafting legislation that would make it illegal for someone under 21 to buy an assault rifle and would impose a three-day waiting period for purchasing assault rifles. Negron has also said he intends to propose $100 million in mental health funding for schools.

As the Senate leads the conversation on proposals in wake of the mass shooting, the House has yet to hatch a concrete plan on what it seeks to do. While sources tell Florida Politics the efforts will likely mirror those being talked about in the Senate, Corcoran has been vague on what he wants to do.

“I look forward to working with the Governor and Senate to find solutions that fulfill the most fundamental mission of government — to keep our citizens — our children —safe,” Corcoran said.

As the student head to the Capital to march and talk to legislators, Leon County schools will excuse absences of students who wish to  participate in events occurring at the Capitol on Wednesday.

“I just want people to take action to fight for what they think needs to be done even if that’s only mental healthcare and no gun reform or just the opposite,” David Hogg, one of the students who survived, said.

“I don’t care how it’s done, I just know I don’t want to see anyone else die.”

Gun control could become key issue in November

An aversion to gun-rights restrictions has been a bedrock of Republican campaigns in Florida — a testing ground for model NRA-backed legislation — for years.

But a 19-year-old killer, armed with a semi-automatic rifle he purchased legally and used to fatally gun down 14 students and three faculty members at a Broward County high school, may have changed that.

Major political donors on both sides of the aisle say they plan to use support for what one called “common-sense” legislation as a litmus test for candidates during the 2018 midterm elections, and possibly beyond.

The metamorphosis comes less than a week after gunman Nikolas Cruz shot dead 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Al Hoffman, a prominent Republican donor and former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, has pledged to shut off the money spigot for Republicans who don’t support laws restricting access to semi-automatic rifles like the one Cruz used — and purchased legally a year before, with no waiting period — in Wednesday’s shooting spree.

“I hope it becomes a wedge issue,” Hoffman, who founded WCI Communities, a company that built much of Parkland, told The News Service of Florida in a telephone interview Monday.

Hoffman, whose two teenage children attend high school, said he asked other GOP donors to join his effort to shut down contributions to candidates who don’t support a ban on assault-style rifles, the weapon of choice for mass shooters in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, and, now, Parkland. At least one, Jacksonville’s Peter Rummell, has reportedly signed on.

“That’s all I know to do. What else are we going to do? How do we create a movement? How do we create a wedge issue for these candidates who are going to run in November?” Hoffman, who lives in North Palm Beach, said. “Get rid of these assault weapons. They’re military design, military use, and now they’ve been adapted into our society for fun, but they’re not.”

State lawmakers aren’t considering a flat-out ban on the weapons.

But a proposal rolled out Monday by state Sen. Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who has served more than a decade in the Legislature, includes gun control measures that even a week ago would have been taboo, at least for the GOP.

Galvano, who will take over as Senate president after the November elections, is floating a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons to people under the age of 18, as well as a potential three-day waiting period before the weapons can be purchased, two things now required before people can buy handguns in Florida. The Senate leader also wants to ban the sale of “bump stocks” and is exploring loopholes in the current background screening process.

Galvano said his plan, which also includes elements focused on mental health services, school security and law enforcement, isn’t motivated by this fall’s elections.

Instead, the Parkland massacre has become an “enough is enough” moment for politicians in Florida — who ignored demands for gun control in the wake of other mass shootings — as well as their critics.

“You mention other incidents that have taken place. While there is significant motivation to revisit all aspects of school and human security in the wake of Parkland, it’s also a result of the aggregate of these type of events are occurring on a far too regular basis. That is drawing our attention back to issues that in the past didn’t get attention,” Galvano said. “We never want to see this type of violence occur in another school anywhere, let alone in the state of Florida.”

Christian Ulvert, a Democratic political consultant, called the Parkland disaster “a wakeup call for the state and the nation.”

“I think this time is different,” Ulvert, an adviser to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine, said in an interview. “When you hear prominent Republican donors like Mr. Hoffman lay down a firm position on where he’s going to be in supporting future candidates, it says that we’re finally making a breakthrough. It’s not only Democrats asking for swift change, it’s also Republicans. And in this case, it’s a Republican putting his money where his mouth is.”

Florida, which gun-control advocates have disparaged as the “The Gunshine State,” has been a stronghold for the National Rifle Association. The NRA’s Florida lobbyist, Marion Hammer, a former president of the national organization, pushed the country’s first “stand your ground” law in 2005. Also, more than 1.84 million Floridians have concealed-weapons licenses.

Republican legislators covet the “A-plus” grades given by Hammer on an annual report card that evaluates lawmakers’ performances and is distributed to the organization’s members. Most Democratic members consider a failing grade a badge of honor.

Hammer, long viewed as one of the Capitol’s most-powerful lobbyists, declined to comment when asked for an interview Monday.

Gov. Rick Scott, who demanded last week that FBI Director Christopher Wray resign after the federal agency admitted it had not followed up on a tip that Cruz posed a threat to the community, has organized workshops Tuesday to hear from law-enforcement, mental-health and education leaders regarding possible solutions.

Scott and lawmakers have just less than three weeks to address the issue before the Legislative Session ends on March 9.

Mike Moskowitz, a major Democratic donor who lives in Parkland, predicted politicians will face “monumental public pressure at the voter’s booth” later this year if they don’t accomplish something, and quickly.

“That is a nonpartisan statement. Forget about Democrat and Republican. I know that people like to portray this as a Democratic or Republican issue. Forget it,” Moskowitz, whose son, Jared, serves in the state House, told the News Service.

In his last term as governor, Scott is mulling a run against veteran U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is among Democrats demanding that a lapsed federal ban on assault weapons be reinstated.

“If Scott does not support reasonable and fair gun legislation, right now in the Legislature, right now, he can kiss his chances goodbye,” Moskowitz said.

Brian Ballard, a powerful lobbyist who was a major fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s campaign and is close to Trump and Scott, downplayed the impact of the shooting — and potential legislation — on the elections.

But he admitted politicians are under pressure to act.

“These things seem to have a moment in time and then things fade,” he said. “It’s always easy to throw out the gun issue if you want to demagogue. I do think politicians are going to be in trouble if they don’t react to make sure schools are safe and to make sure our criminal justice authorities are talking to each other.”

Busloads of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students are headed to Tallahassee to meet with legislators Wednesday and to hold a rally. Many of the students became overnight media sensations following their eloquent and impassioned pleas for gun-control legislation.

The young people could make the difference for candidates in November, Ulvert predicted.

“If they’re going to ignore the cries of students, that’s going to be a campaign issue. And we’re not going to make it a campaign issue. It’s going to be 17- and 18-year-olds who had to flee for their lives who will make it a campaign issue,” he said.

The shooting in Parkland, an affluent enclave in heavily Democratic Broward County, could help drive to the polls Democrats, whose turnout rates drop off in midterm elections.

“It’s going to boost turnout in South Florida as a whole, and it’s going to motivate people to put their sneakers on and to go into districts and to advocate against the person who won’t discuss fair and reasonable legislation and for the person who will,” Moskowitz said. “These kids … are going to put their sneakers on and make their voices heard with their feet.

Greg Evers retirement dispute goes to judge

Nearly six months after former Sen. Greg Evers died in a traffic accident, the State Board of Administration filed a court document Friday that said his wife and children are in a dispute about who should receive his state retirement money.

The State Board of Administration filed what is known as a “complaint of interpleader” in Leon County circuit court that indicated Evers’ wife, Lori Weems Evers, and his children, Jennifer J. Evers, Robert S. Evers and Stephanie E. Barlow, are battling about Evers’ Florida Investment Plan account.

Greg Evers named his wife as beneficiary but then subsequently named his children as beneficiaries, with each child to receive an equal third share, the document said.

The State Board of Administration, which administers the retirement system, said it can continue to hold the money if directed by a judge while the dispute plays out.

“Each defendant (Lori Weems Evers and the children) has demanded plaintiff (the State Board of Administration) pay the entire FRS Investment Plan account to her/them,” the document said. “Plaintiff has no interest in the FRS Investment Plan account and did not cause the conflicting claims between defendants. Plaintiff cannot determine which defendant is entitled to the FRS Investment Plan account and runs the risk of paying the account twice if it decides between defendants.”

Greg Evers, a 62-year-old Republican who served in the state House and Senate, died Aug. 22 when his truck ran off a road near his home in Baker in Northwest Florida. The court document did not indicate how much money is in the retirement account, only that the amount is more than $15,000.

Rick Scott will skip CNN town hall, workshop student safety instead

Gov. Rick Scott will not attend a CNN-hosted town hall discussion with students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, their family members and the surrounding community.

The reason? Scott’s staff said the governor will be busy in Tallahassee addressing the issue of student safety.

“With only three weeks left of our annual legislative session, Governor Rick Scott will be in Tallahassee meeting with state leaders to work on ways to keep Florida students safe, including school safety improvements and keeping guns away from individuals struggling with mental illness,” McKinley Lewis, Scott’s Deputy Communications Director, said in a statement provided to Florida Politics.

CNN announced the town hall in the wake of the tragic Parkland massacre to help “facilitate a discussion” between elected officials and those affected by the incident.

The event, “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action,” will be moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper, who took to Twitter over the weekend to personally alert officials, like Scott, who were invited to the discussion.

U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, along with Democratic Florida U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, have accepted the invitation. President Donald Trump will not attend the town hall. It’s scheduled to air live on Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Scott’s planned absence from the event has drawn criticism, including from Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum.

In declining the request, Scott seemed to point to a sense of urgency in the state’s lawmaking process. Later on Monday, he followed through by announcing a series of planned workshops for law enforcement leaders, school administrators, teachers, mental health experts, and state agency heads to discuss school safety improvements and keeping guns away from individuals struggling with mental illness.

Those workshops will take place throughout Tuesday. Scott will hold a roundtable to discuss findings at the end of the day.

Scott, who said he’s spent the past week in the area surrounding Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said, “A tragedy like what occurred in Broward County must never happen again and swift action is needed now. I am bringing local and state leaders together to find solutions on how to prevent violence in our schools and keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill individuals. This is an urgent matter that we must address quickly.”

The meetings are closed to the public, but will be live-streamed on the Florida Channel. Viewers will be able to provide public input via a website.

Workshops will take place from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m at the Florida Department of Education to focus on “school safety improvements and updating school security protocols and emergency plans.”

At the Florida Department of Children and Families, workshops will take place from 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. to focus on “ways to expand mental health services for Floridians, especially students, and improve coordination between state, local and private behavioral health partners.”

Potential safety improvements and an emphasis on keeping guns away from the mentally ill will be the focal points of workshops held from 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m. at the Florida Sheriffs Association.

Scott’s roundtable is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Capitol.

Richard Corcoran puts more money behind new immigration tv ad

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is doubling down on his tough-on-immigration talk with a new television ad that calls for more deportations.

The television ad is less incendiary than his first one, which was hcriticized by Democrats for portraying immigrants who came into the country illegally as a danger to Floridians.

Records show the new media buy will run at least on the CBS affiliate in Orlando — not Fox News, which was the focus of his first buy.

“President Trump is right, we need to end chain migration, ban sanctuary cities and deport criminal illegals,” Corcoran says in the ad.

Between 2016 and 2017, federal immigration agents deported 7,082 undocumented immigrants in the Miami responsibility area, which includes Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Of those deported, 51 percent were “noncriminal” deportations, meaning the subject did not have previous criminal convictions.

It remains unclear exactly how much money Corcoran spent to run the new ad. Taylor Budowich, a spokesman with Corcoran’s Watchdog Pac, declined to comment on it. But according his political committees’ expenditure reports, nearly $97,000 were dropped on a media placement buy on Feb. 14.

The move to air the ad in the wake of the Parkland high school mass shooting has already drawn some criticism from the Florida Democratic Party.

“While Floridians are demanding action to prevent gun violence, Richard Corcoran is still demonizing immigrants with divisive, fact-free TV ads,” FDP spokesman Kevin Donohoe said. “If Corcoran is serious about making Florida safer, he should start working to pass common sense gun control bills.”

Corcoran has yet to officially announce his run for Governor, but these ads continue to erase doubt that he will run once the 2018 Legislative Session ends. It also appears that immigration will be a core issue in his campaign.

League of Women Voters urges gun ban amendment, Carlos Beruff dismisses it

The League of Women Voters of Florida led a coalition of groups responding to last week’s Parkland mass shooting by urging the Florida Constitution Revision Commission to take up a proposed amendment to ban assault weapons.

But at the commission’s second public hearing on its 37 proposals, held at the Maxwell C. King Center in Melbourne Monday, Chairman Carlos Beruff was having none of it.

League of Women Voters of Florida President Pamela Goodman said she met with and is representing student survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and urged the commission to consider such a ban, or to use their influence with the Florida Legislature to do so.

“Let’s start calling them what they are: weapons of mass destruction,” Goodman said outside in a press conference, and then again before the commission.

“There is a distinction with no difference in killing power,” she added.

However, Goodman’s pitch to the commission ran longer than the two minutes allowed per speaker. And when she reached two minutes, Beruff stopped her, told Goodman that her time was up, and then rebuffed her for addressing something the commission is not considering.

“Gun bans, that is not one of the 37 proposals before this commission,” Beruff advised. “Gun bans is not one of the proposals. This is a process… So we appreciate your comments. If you want to come up and take y our two minutes and talk about that, that’s fine. But it is not one of the proposals before us.”

Support builds for Florida GOP mega-donor’s ultimatum on assault weapon ban

On Monday, Al Hoffman repeated his claim on CNN that he will withhold raising any more money for Republican candidates or committees unless they embrace a ban on the sale of assault weapons to civilians.

For several years, the top GOP fundraiser had helped collect large financial donations for Republicans in both Florida and presidential races. Hoffman claims to have raised more than $600 million for Republicans during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns of George W. Bush.

The North Palm Beach developer’s company, WCI, also helped construct thousands of homes in Parkland, the location of last week’s gun massacre at Marjorie Stoneham Douglas High School where 17 people died.

Hoffman said that, for him, the shooting hit home.

“I intend to contact every single Republican donor that I have in my little Rolodex file here, and I want to persuade them to hold up their check to their candidates until we can come around and create a movement here that does the right thing,” Hoffman told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota Monday morning.

Hoffman issued an email Saturday to fellow Republican donors calling them to join his refusal to bankroll Republican candidates unless they support an assault weapons ban. The ultimatum led to a story published Sunday in The New York Times.

One person that could be affected most by Hoffman’s threat is Gov. Rick Scott, who never discussed any gun control measures since he was first elected governor. Scott is expected to run for the U.S. Senate later this year against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson.

“I have not talked to him about this particular incident, but he said that all options are on the table, I believe, and I really want to try to help persuade him to adopt this principle,” Hoffman said about how he believes Scott will feel about his proposal.

In a news conference Wednesday night, Scott declined to say whether policymakers should take a stand on gun control, insisting that “there’s a time” to have such discussions.

“There’s a movement coming,” Hoffman added, referring to the measures lawmakers passed in Connecticut after the December 2012 school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. “And the state of Florida better get with it and pass this assault (weapon ban).”

Legislators in Connecticut significantly expanded an existing ban on the sale of assault weapons, prohibited the sale of magazines with more than 10 rounds and required the registration of existing assault rifles and higher-capacity magazines. The state also mandated background checks for all firearms sales and created a registry of weapons offenders, including those accused of illegally possessing a firearm, The New York Times reported Sunday.

When challenged that the National Rifle Association could make up in financial contributions to GOP politicians who may no longer receive backing from Hoffman, the Republican mega-donor said he didn’t care about the gun-rights organization.

Since the publication of the Times article, Hoffman said he’s received “hundreds of tweets” from GOP donors, with a vast majority in favor of his idea.

This is not the first time that Hoffman has threatened to cut off donations if Republicans didn’t support gun control measures. In an interview with the Palm Beach Post in 2013, Hoffman said he would be reluctant to raise money for candidates who do not support “reasonable” gun control.

A measure to pass universal background checks died in the Senate in April 2013.

Florida Democrats request emails between ‘NRA sellout’ Adam Putnam and gun lobby

The Florida Democratic Party is requesting copies of any communications between Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and the gun lobby.

The specific scope of the request, according to a FDP media release is for “any emails, text messages, faxes, and letters, between Putnam or his staff and the National Rifle Association, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, Florida Carry, and Florida Gun Rights” since 2011.

The Democrats also want a copy of meeting records between Putnam and those parties. Additionally, the FDP seeks communications between “Commissioner Putnam, his staff, or the leadership of the division of licensing and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, or Attorney General’s office related to the Florida Department of Agriculture’s access to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.”

“After another senseless and tragic mass shooting, Floridians aren’t just mourning —they are outraged by the power that the gun lobby has over our politicians,” said FDP spokesperson Kevin Donohoe. “Adam Putnam has proudly called himself an NRA sellout and Floridians deserve to know what promises he has made to the gun lobby — and whether Floridians’ safety has been compromised in the process.”

Putnam has championed a bill that would allow the Department of Agriculture to issue concealed weapon permits without complete criminal background checks; in the wake of the Parkland massacre, the bill’s consideration has been temporarily postponed.

Florida Carry, one of the groups named in the request, denied any role in crafting the legislation.

The language in question was in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ annual legislative package (HB 553SB 740) that’s now on hold after Wednesday’s mass shooting at Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the deadliest school shooting in Florida history.

Putnam asked lawmakers to delay the bill, the Senate version of which was set for hearing this week.

Material from James Rosica was used in this post.

Governor’s Office rejects FBI, DCF comparisons post-Parkland

A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott Sunday rejected comparisons between a 2016 state investigation into the Parkland school shooter and the FBI’s lack of follow-up on tips on his potential danger.

“It is absurd and irresponsible to compare the DCF’s investigation, completed nearly 18 months ago in response to allegations of caregiver abuse and neglect, with the FBI’s failure to do anything after receiving a tip last month that this individual would carry out a school shooting,” said McKinley Lewis, Scott’s Deputy Communications Director, in an email.

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old now charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder for last Wednesday’s mass shooting at Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was in fact investigated by the Department of Children and Families.

Cruz reportedly was on the Snapchat social media and messaging service “cutting both of his arms,” according to reports, and had “stated he plans to go out and buy a gun.”

But, as the Miami Herald reported Sunday, DCF instead looked into the matter as then 18-year-old Cruz being an “alleged victim” of neglect and inadequate supervision by his now-deceased mother, 68-year-old Lynda Cruz, the “alleged perpetrator.”

A DCF spokeswoman also Sunday said “Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates if caregivers are committing abuse or neglect of adults” under state law.

“These investigations determine if an adult is safe and has access to necessary services.” Jessica Sims said.

“APS does not take adults into custody,” she added. “Also, only the court, a law enforcement officer, or a licensed clinician can initiate a Baker Act exam. In Florida, community mental health services are administered by providers independent of DCF and the state of Florida.”

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll separately said “the APS report related to this individual remains confidential pending a court order for release, (but) we have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the 2016 case.

“Mental health services and supports were in place when this investigation closed,” he said. “We look forward to Monday’s hearing, where we will ask that these records are released, so the public can have access to this important information.”

But Carol Marbin Miller, the Herald’s award-winning social services reporter, reported Sunday that DCF’s “investigation appears to have lacked rigor.”

“An exceptional student education specialist who worked with (the accused shooter) repeatedly declined to return phone calls from DCF’s adult protective services investigator.

“The school’s resource officer, a deputy,‘ refused to share any information’ at all, except to confirm that a mobile crisis unit had been out to the school to assess” the 19-year-old.

And the defendant “himself also wouldn’t cooperate, saying that ‘he talked about the situation enough.’ ”

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