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Capital Report

May 1, 2020

Governor DeSantis orders Florida to reopen for business a little at a time. Also this week, As Florida takes baby steps to reopen, experts say contact tracing is one of the most important tools for stopping the spread of infectious diseases. We’ll also explore how the online schooling forced by the coronavirus has shown a spotlight on Florida’s digital divide and we’ll talk to the attorneys who are suing the state over its failed unemployment system.

This week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced exactly what would make up the first phase of Florida’s gradual business reopening. Ryan Dailey has the details.

As Florida moves forward with its initial phase of reopening, experts say contact tracers are a key piece of helping to monitor and quash the spread of the coronavirus. But who are contact tracers? And how does that even work? Regan McCarthy has that.

But while Florida’s restaurants might now be deemed to be somewhat safe, the same can’t be said for the state’s prisons. Florida lags far behind other states in reforming its criminal justice laws. But the fight continues for prison advocacy groups and their allies in the Legislature. Steve Bousquet reports on how the coronavirus pandemic has intensifed concerns about an aging prison population.

This week, a federal appeals court tossed out a ruling that said a decades-old Florida law about how candidates should be listed on the ballot is unconstitutional. The law gives top billing to candidates who have the same party affiliation as the governor. Gina Jordan talks about the case with Jim Saunders from our news partner, the News Service of Florida.

Florida’s journey into remote and online education is revealing new divisions among the haves and have-nots: those with Internet access and those without it. The gap is most prevalent in rural parts of the state where school districts are using workarounds to keep kids engaged. The issue is bolstering an argument that’s been simmering for quite a while: is the Internet a want, or a need? Lynn Hatter brings us the story.

The statewide Florida Realtors organization says housing prices won’t drop significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group’s chief economist says builders have been cautious since the last recession. That’s resulted in them building fewer homes and in turn, creating a statewide shortage. Robbie Gaffney sorts it out.