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January 1, 2021

Celebrated Florida Political Scientist Susan MacManus was the guest of honor at Capital Tiger Bay Club’s final event of the year. Ryan Dailey tells us that MacManus dissected what the 2020 elections meant for both political parties going forward.

Back in 2018, Floridians passed Amendment Four. It restored the right of most Florida felons to vote once they had completed all terms of their sentences. But not long after, the legislature passed a law requiring felons to discharge all financial obligations connected to their crimes in the form of court fees, restitution and a host of other possibilities, before they could get their voting rights back. As a result, the right to vote remains elusive for many former convicts. The matter ultimately headed off to federal court and Blaise Gainey filed this report on the lawsuit’s progress.

Back in September, just over 100 people marched on the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee to protest police violence against people of color. Hundreds of law officers suddenly moved in to break up the demonstration, arresting more than a dozen people. Governor Ron DeSantis is now proposing legislation that would further criminalize what he calls “mob activity” and Lynn Hatter discusses it with Tom Flanigan.

Various common products suddenly became difficult - or even impossible - to find as the pandemic ramped up in 2020. Robbie Gaffney discovered that put a real strain on the people whose cultures consider those products absolutely essential to life.

Throughout the holiday season now ending, many people were watching their mail boxes anxiously, wondering if the gifts they’d entrusted to the system would arrive on time. The U-S Postal Service had already projected this season would be one of its busiest as more people turned to online shopping and mailing gifts rather than delivering them in person. All this in an attempt to minimize possible exposure to the coronavirus. Regan McCarthy takes us back to another recent time when people were watching the mail closely. In August of 2020, policy changes at the post office were raising concerns about a mail slowdown just as voters needed to get their ballots turned in for the primary election.

In the early days of the pandemic, spring breakers in Panama City Beach were telling Capital Reporter Valerie Crowder they had no plans to let the coronavirus stop them from having fun. They were flocking to the popular tourist town in mid-March, right before Governor DeSantis moved to close the state’s bars and nightclubs. A restriction that has since been lifted.