State News

Fried speaks at podium
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Florida is edging closer to a legal hemp industry. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) wrapped its final rulemaking workshop Monday.

Flying drone in action
tostphoto / Adobe Stock

Triumph Gulf Coast is setting aside funds it hopes will help students soar thanks to a drone training program the board recently approved.

Two e-scooters are standing up on the sidewalk. A winding road with trees can be seen behind them.
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU-FM

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed off on granting e-scooter riders the same rights as bicyclists. Now, cities across Florida are implementing e-scooter programs.

Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

Suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel recently appeared before the Senate special master in his appeal hearing. Israel pointed to Governor Ron DeSantis’ allegations of incompetence on the job as political.

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium in his Press Office
Blaise Gainey / WFSU

Gov. Ron DeSantis on  Friday signed the state’s $90.9 billion budget. 

Arrow pointing up on a graph
naypong / Adobe Stock

Florida’s economy is currently 17th largest in the world. Florida Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Wilson wants it to be in the top 10.

Marine Oil Snow Is Falling In The Gulf Of Mexico

Jun 19, 2019
An Ceann Corr via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/acreisner/

Oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill continues  sinking to the Gulf of Mexico’s sea floor. Now a researcher from the University of Delaware is shedding light on a phenomenon he’s calling Marine Oil Snow.

Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

Suspended Broward County sheriff Scott Israel’s appeal hearing is expected to be a three-day affair. Tuesday marked day one, and saw Israel take the stand.

A field of hemp plants
jessicahyde / Adobe Stock

The Florida Agriculture Department has released its first draft of proposed rules for a state hemp program. This comes ahead of hemp rulemaking workshops beginning later this week.

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking at a podium in his Press Office, Department of State Secretary Laurel Lee, Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley, and Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux in attendance.
Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis essentially reversed his predecessors’ actions by giving back $2.3 million  to elections supervisors to spend on cyber security. The money was left over from a $19 million grant the federal government gave the state prior to the 2018 primary election.

A yellow anaconda is held with two hands close to a woman's chest. Its head rests on the woman's finger.
Chris Tefme / Adobe Stock

Reptile owners and vendors affected by an addition to Florida’s prohibited species list are filing a petition to challenge the decision.

Steve Cannon / AP Photo

Governor Ron DeSantis today signed off on a bill banning so-called “sanctuary cities” in Florida.  The effort sparked controversy during this legislative session, but its backers say it’s all about following the rule of law.

FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute via twitter

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is declaring an unusual mortality event for bottlenose dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico, ranging from Franklin County, Florida to Louisiana. 

Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

Last week marked the anniversary of D-Day, when American troops stormed the beaches at Normandy during World War II. The organization Honor Flight flies veterans to Washington, D.C. at no cost to them to visit war memorials. With each passing year there are fewer WWII vets to participate.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Three years after the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub that left 49 dead, dozens gathered on the steps of Florida’s Historic Capitol to remember the victims. A coalition of LGBTQ rights activists say they will “honor them with action.”

Estate agent broker giving pen to client signing agreement contract real estate with approved mortgage application form, buying or concerning mortgage loan offer for and house insurance
Ngampol / Adobe Stock

Wednesday, state-backed property insurance corporation, Citizens discussed a new law that makes changes to assignment of benefits process.

Emerson George / Courtesy Ron DeSantis For Governor

Breaking precedent, Florida Governor Ron Desantis is hiring a Chief Resiliency Officer to combat the effects of Climate Change. 

In the wake of last summer’s worst blue-green algae outbreak in Florida’s history, water management continues to be at the forefront of conversation in Florida. Now the state’s newly founded Blue-Green Algae Task Force has convened it’s first meeting. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Canadian and international drug importation programs in Florida are a step closer to becoming a reality. Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to do so into law Tuesday.

Assault Rifle
singha103 / Adobe Stock

As a response to the Parkland shooting which left 17 dead, Ban Assault Weapons Now is pushing to get assault weapons banned in the state. Monday, they announced that they’ve reached the threshold to trigger a Supreme Court Review. I spoke with the chairperson of the committee about what exactly the ban does.

New Law Gives Female Inmates Free Hygiene Products

Jun 11, 2019
Photo of Women's March participants on hill with posters.
Margie Menzel

Female inmates will now get basic hygiene products such as pads and tampons for free after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act.

Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

Suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s lawyer wants access to materials that led to the arrest of former deputy Scot Peterson. He’s facing charges for failing to act during the Parkland school shooting last year. Israel is set to go before the Senate Special Master for an appeal hearing next week.

Close-up of a M4A1 weapons and military equipment for army, Assault rifle gun and pistol on camouflage background.
ARTFULLY-79 / Adobe Stock

A petition aimed at banning assault weapons has earned a constitutional review by the Florida Supreme Court. Ban Assault Weapons Now, an organizations led by survivors of mass shootings and their families, announced Monday they had 103,000 signatures.

Arrow down and many houses.
adragan / Adobe Stock

For nearly a decade, homeowners’ insurance companies have been asking the legislature to help them address fraud within the Assignment of Benefits process. They argued extreme costs of litigation was causing rates to rise for policy holders, and some companies refused to write any new policies at all. Now they have a fix thanks to a new policy change. And rates are expected to dip.

This is an image of Bill Shepherd, a lawyer in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C. and West Palm Beach offices. He is the former statewide prosecutor of Florida.
hklaw.com

The Florida Supreme Court issued a surprise ruling in late May regarding expert witness testimony. 

Six years ago, the Florida Legislature adopted the Daubert standard for expert witnesses in court cases. But the state’s high court exercised its right to keep the Frye standard in place, which sets a lower threshold for what can be considered expert testimony.

The makeup of the Florida Supreme Court changed last January when three retiring justices were replaced with appointments made by Governor Ron DeSantis. The newly revamped court quickly decided to implement the tougher standards.

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