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Capital Report

May 8, 2020

A federal court case this week considers whether released felons who can’t afford to pay all the fines and fees connected to their case can still be allowed to vote. A prominent Florida prosecutor is among those saying a recreational marijuana amendment to the state constitution should not go before the voters. Little by little, bit by bit, Florida’s economy starts to reopen. Of course when it comes to business, Florida’s biggest business is tourism. And COVID-19 has hit that business hard! A disease researcher sees a silver lining in Florida’s experience with the pandemic. And if you want to see the economy come back quickly, one of the best and simplest things all of us can do is simply wear a mask.

A federal trial that could impact the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of Floridians ended this week, after seven days of arguments. Last year, a Florida law passed that required anyone with a felony conviction to pay any money connected to their case before regaining the right to vote. This was after voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4, automatically restoring voting rights for most people with felony convictions. WLRN’s Danny Rivero has been following the case, and he brings us this report from the groundbreaking VIRTUAL trial.

The Florida Supreme Court is reviewing a proposal that would put recreational marijuana to a vote on the 2022 ballot. Only adults 21 and older would be allowed to use the drug. Robbie Gaffney reports a new law signed in April could halt the initiative well short of the ballot.

Florida has taken what Governor Ron DeSantis calls its first “small step” to reopening. Ryan Dailey reports lawmakers and economists are trying to get a sense of the fiscal hit that’s come from weeks of closures.

As the steel industry used to be to Pittsburgh, the tourism industry is to Florida. Now Florida tourism is facing some of the biggest impacts from efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Regan McCarthy looks into how the state’s tourism marketing arm is hoping to help the industry bounce back.

Research shows Florida is different from the rest of the nation in terms of how our climate impacts flu transmission. What does that have to do with our current situation with COVID-19? Gina Jordan reports.

As Florida and other states work on reopening their economies, the big question is how to do that in a way that doesn’t cause big spikes in COVID-19 infection. Tom Flanigan talked with a doctor who believes the answer is simple. Everyone needs to wear a mask.