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May 28, 2021

Tech companies are suing Florida over a new law that requires social media companies to post their policies on banning users. It also allows people and the state itself to sue those companies. This was among the most contentious issues debated during the legislative session this year. Lynn Hatter reports both Governor DeSantis and the tech companies are wielding the First Amendment’s free speech guarantees in their fight over the new law.

This is Friday. That means you can often expect a flurry of political appointments from Governor Ron DeSantis. These appointments include such important positions as judgeships, university trustee boards and regulatory panels all over the state. But DeSantis is not making enough appointments and its causing controversy. As Steve Bousquet reports, the situation led this week to a serious meltdown.

A nationwide moratorium on evictions spared millions of people struggling to pay their bills. But the same didn’t happen for utilities, though many companies did offer grace periods to help cash-strapped customers. But that had mostly ended. Now, as Blaise Gainey reports, hundreds of thousands of Floridians have had their power shut off and the money earmarked for residential relief hasn’t been able to help everyone.

A non-profit government watchdog group called Florida Taxwatch is urging Governor Ron DeSantis to cut nearly 160 million dollars from the Legislature’s record 101-billion dollar state budget before signing it into law. Most of the funding identified for veto consideration would’ve benefited communities in South Florida. Some of the projects are in cash-strapped towns recovering from Hurricane Michael. But as Valerie Crowder reports Taxwatch isn’t recommending the governor slash projects based on merit, or lack thereof. Instead, it’s all about how those expenditures found their way into the budget.

When lawmakers met during Florida’s Special Legislative session earlier this month to work out details of a gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, they also passed legislation that made changes for race tracks and jai alai frontons. Regan McCarthy reports many worry the move will mean far fewer races, which could hurt Florida businesses.

Federal officials have declared an unusual mortality event for Florida’s manatees. An investigation is underway as to why they’re dying off so quickly. Robbie Gaffney reports more than 700 manatees have died in Florida so far this year. That’s more than double the previous annual average.