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Capital Report: April 28, 2023

Leon Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna has been outspoken in his criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis and the education policies pushed by the state’s conservative legislature. Much of that pushback is at the center of a parent complaint that’s led the Florida Department of Education to announce it will punish Hanna over what it says are the effects of his political views on his job as superintendent. Lynn Hatter reports those threats have not stopped Leon’s Superintendent from speaking out throughout the course of the investigation.

Voting rights groups say Florida’s voter registration form is flawed and it’s leading to people’s arrest. Regan McCarthy reports the League of Women Voters and the N-double-A-C-P filed suit yesterday (Wednesday) alleging the form violates the National Voter Registration Act.

As the 2023 Florida legislative session winds down, LGBTQ people and their allies are feeling unwanted, sad, and very concerned. That’s because this year has seen the passage of several measures they say clearly target them. Brendan Brown has been following the issue all session and prepared this report.

A bill that lets landlords charge fees instead of security deposits is nearing the finish line. Supporters of the bill say the legislation allows people to get into apartments more easily without having to pay a chunk of money upfront. But as Adrian Andrews reports some worry the rule would let landlords take advantage of renters.

Florida is home to 24 very large mounds that look like giant piles of sand or dirt. They’re all over the state but primarily in central and south Florida. You may have seen one, not knowing it’s a phosphogypsum (FAHS-foh-JIP-suhm) stack. Phosphogypsum (FAHS-foh-JIP-suhm) is a radioactive, solid waste byproduct. Now, Gina Jordan reports the House has approved a bill to study whether Florida could use it in road construction.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium has broken ground on a facility to treat manatees that have been dying at a record rate in the past several years. Three things are causing most of the deaths: the seagrass manatees eat is being smothered by algae, red tide is making the animals sick, and they are being struck by boats. WUSF's Steve Newborn attended the groundbreaking, where he spoke about the need for the new treatment center with James "Buddy" Powell, the aquarium's chief zoological officer.