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May 14, 2021

Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law a measure expanding the state’s school choice programs. The historic expansion was a big win for the GOP and its base. As Valerie Crowder reports, it was also a blow to Democratic efforts to ensure public schools are fully funded.

Making decisions about when and where people can carry firearms in Florida is up to the state. That’s been the case since 1987 when lawmakers barred cities and counties from passing any local gun regulations that are stricter than the state rules. A law passed in 2011 put more teeth into the provision But, Republican lawmakers say some local governments are still trying to put rules in place, including unwritten policies. Regan McCarthy reports Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a new law to crack down on that.

COVID-19 vaccination rates for rural areas in north Florida are low. That’s according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers for the total population compared with how many people have received at least one shot of the coronavirus vaccine. Robbie Gaffney reports.

Florida State University is interviewing nine people to replace outgoing President John Thrasher. One of those candidates, State Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, is drawing scrutiny from some quarters, mainly, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits FSU. Lynn Hatter reports while Corcoran’s bid to succeed Thrasher has supporters, it also has detractors.

At the moment only one of Florida's public universities is headed by a former Speaker of the Florida House. Tom Flanigan reports that background gives outgoing Florida State University President John Thrasher a unique perspective from which to assess this year's legislative session.

Former Jackson County Sheriff Zachary Wester is on trial for planting drugs in cars during traffic stops. He’s charged with racketeering, official misconduct, fabricating evidence, as well as perjury. He’s facing more than 70 charges. The state spent four days proving its case to the jury. Gina Jordan talks with Blaise Gainey about the case.