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March 17, 2021

Florida lawmakers are continuing a years-long effort to improve Internet access in rural areas. The issue again caught lawmakers’ attention last year when schools and businesses were shuttered, forcing people inside and online. The problem is that tens of thousands had no or very little access to broadband services needed for them to go to school, apply for unemployment benefits or see their doctors through telehealth. Now, as Lynn Hatter reports, lawmakers are again trying to shore up the state’s broadband infrastructure.

More than a dozen states in the country have already enacted some sort of COVID-19 liability protections for businesses and health care providers. It would appear the state of Florida may soon join those states. As Valerie Crowder tells us, the legislation is moving quickly through both chambers, despite opposition from consumer and worker advocates.

June 19th could be a state-recognized holiday under a Senate bill now moving through the Legislature. That date, also known as Juneteenth, is seen nationally as a day to celebrate the freeing of the nation’s enslaved peoples at the end of the Civil War. But as Robbie Gaffney reports, in Florida, many people have historically recognized May 20th instead. That’s the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation was read for the first time in Florida.

During the pandemic, the use off telehealth has skyrocketed as people have worked to get the care they need, while staying at home and working to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. It’s proven to be a good tool for routine doctor visits, mental health care and reaching people who otherwise might have had trouble accessing a doctor. Now, as Regan McCarthy reports, lawmakers are looking into a plan that would expand the remote care option to pets.

Although older folks have faced more of a physical threat from COVID-19 than younger people, the pandemic has actually meant personal growth opportunities for a surprising number of seniors. Tom Flanigan found many sharpened their technological skills to overcome many of the restrictions imposed by the disease.