As Florida’s 2018 legislative session begins this week, WGCU is launching a weekly series of legislative roundtable discussions for each Monday edition of “Gulf Coast Live!” throughout the 60-day session.  These conversations are intended to provide an in depth look at the latest developments in the state capitol and how they impact Southwest Floridians.


Several Florida Republican lawmakers are against a Trump administration proposal that could increase the amount of offshore drilling.

The U.S. Department of the Interior proposed making more offshore leases available for oil and gas exploration for 90 percent of the Outer Continental Shelf, Thursday.

The Outer Continental Shelf consists of submerged land off America’s coasts that are beyond states’ jurisdiction. 

Quincy J Walters / WGCU News

A Fort Myers city councilman held a press conference Thursday to address the Dunbar dumpsite.

For decades during the 20th century, the city of Fort Myers dumped lime sludge in Dunbar — a predominately black neighborhood near downtown.

RELATED: More Tests On Dunbar Dumpsite As Fort Myers Hires Legal Counsel

The most recent tests from near the dumpsite show arsenic levels that are five times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's safe standard. Those tests were published at the end of last month.

Hush Naidoo via unsplash

A pair of Democratic state lawmakers have introduced joint resolutions for the 2018 legislative session that propose an amendment to the Florida constitution to expand Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act.  The proposals, from Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana and Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, would have to be approved by at least 60 percent of voters in a ballot referendum next fall. 

Quincy J Walters / WGCU News

Laura, a Curious Gulf Coast inquirer, asked: 

"When we moved to Southwest Florida from the Pacific Northwest we were surprised that Florida doesn't have a plastic bag ban plastic bags that end up in the ocean hurt wildlife and people get used to bringing their own reusable bags and it seems like a no brainer to keep the state beautiful and protect the environment.”