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January 7, 2022

Education has been a contentious issue during the pandemic—with how best to teach students during times of social unrest and a raging public health crisis. About a dozen Florida school boards and their superintendents publicly flouted directives issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis, resulting in a lawsuit that was later dismissed. And the state’s superintendents’ association had to distance itself from its national arm, after that group likened some enraged parents to domestic terrorists. Now, Lynn Hatter reports, it’s fueling the Republican-led legislature’s efforts to further curb local school district powers while placing more dictums on how and what public schools can teach.

Among Florida lawmakers key tasks in the upcoming session is passing a budget. Governor Ron DeSantis has put his plan forward — highlighting education among the spending priorities. Though the governor is proposing a record-level of funding for K-12 schools, education advocates say it doesn’t go far enough. As Valerie Crowder reports, DeSantis’ proposed teacher bonuses, starting pay raises and per-student spending increases could prove sufficient in winning over voters…

Democrats seeking to curb gun violence face headwinds in the Republican-controlled legislature. But Republican proposals seeking to loosen gun restrictions may also face pushback, as Gina Jordan reports.

Coronavirus cases are on the rise once again in Florida. That’s putting added strain on healthcare workers who are already tired and frustrated from the last few years. Regan McCarthy reports lawmakers are expected to look for ways this session to address shortages and high turnover in the medical field.

Cities and municipalities could face legal action from businesses if a local ordinance hurts their bottom line. Brett Rutherford reports that’s under a measure business groups and local government organizations are watching closely this session.