TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is scrambling to get approval to hire 77 more employees to process concealed weapon and armed security guard licenses.

Fried says the department has cut the time of processing the licenses by about half since she took office in January, but the pace isn't sustainable because the staff has been working up to 20 hours a week of overtime. That includes nearly 20 workers who are in temporary positions.

Fried wants 77 new full-time employees, including converting the temporary positions into permanent jobs. She proposes $4.6 million come out of a $90 million trust fund built on license fees to pay for the jobs.

She has less than two weeks to convince lawmakers to authorize the positions. That's the time left to settle the state's budget.

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