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February 12, 2021

Environmental advocacy groups say Governor Ron DeSantis’s proposed budget is a good start. But they worry it doesn’t put enough money toward protecting Florida’s natural resources. They’re also concerned it doesn’t do enough to address the cause of climate change as we hear from Robbie Gaffney.

Florida’s Legislative Black Caucus members are calling on Republicans to give Caucus-supported bills a hearing. It’s not unusual for Democrats to struggle to get their proposals into committees in the G-O-P-dominated chambers. But the social justice protest this past summer focused more attention on racial health disparities as the pandemic gained speed. As Blaise Gainey reports, Caucus members say their bills are now too important to be ignored.

Florida lawmakers are considering an expansion to the state’s safe haven law. A bill moving through the Legislature approves the use of baby boxes outside fire stations and hospitals. Supporters say allowing parents to surrender their infants using these devices anonymously could save lives. But Regan McCarthy reports not everyone agrees it’s the right move.

Florida’s Hispanic residents are more likely than whites to contract COVID-19 and die from the disease. Yet early vaccination data shows they’re getting the shots at lower rates. Valerie Crowder reports coronavirus vaccine misinformation and mistrust are contributing to the disparity.

Each year, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles tries to spread the word that drivers need to stay at the scene of an accident. But as WUSF’s Susan Giles Wantuck [jylz onetuck] reports, the message is more urgent because of the higher number of hit- and-run deaths last year.

Psychedelics like “magic mushrooms” or psilocybin and LSD –– have a reputation as dangerous illicit substances. But some medical experts argue these substances are going through a renaissance, as new research points to the positive effects they can have on mental health, in specific circumstances like those suffering from PTSD. A new course at Florida International University explores society’s history and future with these substances. Luis Hernandez spoke with FIU Anthropologist Dr. Jerry B. Brown, who’s spent the past four decades studying psychedelics.