Around the South for Mar. 9: FL, AR & AL

Florida: Legislature passes gun-control bill. For the first time in 20 years, Florida’s lawmakers have passed significant controls on the purchase of guns. Buyers must be at least 21 years of age, must wait three days after the purchase before taking possession of the weapon, and cannot buy bump stocks, which increase the speed of assault rifles. The legislation also provides for armed “guardians” at schools, including by non-teaching staff, or teachers with military or law enforcement background. The measure now goes to Gov. Rick Scott (R), who has said he will read it carefully and decide whether to sign it, reports the Orlando Sentinel ……. Arkansas: Legislature expands Medicaid. After the state Senate narrowly passed a bill to provide $8.2 billion for increasing the number of people covered by the needs-based medical care program, the House followed suit by a vote of 79 to 15. The appropriation also includes $5.7 billion in federal funds, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ……. Alabama: John Buchanan dies. Former US Rep. John Buchanan, a moderate Republican who lost his seat when the religious right gained political strength, died March 5 at the age of 89, reported the Washington Post. Buchanan was a Baptist minister, following in the steps of his father and grandfather. After he was out of office, Buchanan worked as a lobbyist for People for the American way, a liberal group based in Washington, DC …….