State News

John Raoux / AP Photo

State tourism wing Visit Florida is reporting record tourism numbers for the first half of 2019.

rocky hanna in a red shirt speaking at podium
Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

After a software error caused confusion and delays with bus routes, Leon County Schools is making changes.

ked in a New York restaurant. Maine is banning single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene foam. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill into law Tuesday, April 30, 2019; environmental advocates say that makes Maine the first state to b
Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

A Miami-Dade appeals court has blocked the city of Coral Gables’ attempt to ban Styrofoam food containers. They aren’t alone in their attempt to be more environmentally friendly.

Four men hold a massive brown and white snake
facebook / Big Cypress National Preserve

When Florida wildlife leaders effectively declared “open season” on iguanas, they called for the animals to be killed on private property. And just this week, they doubled down on python eradication. Both animals are considered invasive species in Florida, but recent and past issues with how the animals have been killed has led to accusations of animal cruelty. The state says all killings have to be done “humanely”. But, what does that actually mean? 

The paper mill is in the background of the image. Smoke rolls off the mill's tower toward a giant field in front of the plant.
Robie, Ray W. / Florida Memory Project

Big changes are coming to North Port St. Joe and not everyone is onboard.

Miami Downtown Florida road signs Key Biscayne
lunamarina / Adobe Stock

Leon County Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled Friday that a state law abolishing the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority known as MDX is unconstitutional. 

Valerie Crowder

As part of a statewide campaign to increase access to mental health services, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced on Thursday that K-12 students in every public school across six Northwest Florida counties can receive virtual counseling and psychiatric without ever leaving campus.

 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Currently, the state Department of Education does not keep a complete database of all substitute teachers in the state. But one violent tragedy in Tallahassee last year has raised concerns, and sparked a push for better record-keeping at the state level.

F-35B aircrafts fly over the Akrotiri Royal air forces base before landing.
Petros Karadjias, Pool / AP Photo

After Hurricane Michael ripped through the panhandle last year it left much of the area battered and beaten. One of the most impacted counties is Bay, where Tyndall Air Force Base is located. The base suffered nearly $5 billion in damage. But officials at the base used the disaster as a chance to rebuild for the future. Their hope was that the Air Force would bring in F35 fighter jets and that plan has now paid off.

male hands in handcuffs
BortN66 / Adobe Stock

Based on referrals from the Florida Department of Children and Families four arrests have been made in North Florida relation to exploiting seniors and disabled individuals.

Petros Karadjias, Pool / AP Photo

The United States Air Force is committed to sending F-35 jets to Tyndall Air Force Base by 2023. The move could help the storm-damaged base get back on its feet.

Tom Flanigan

It’s more than a year until Florida’s next election. Still, the first candidate to file for Florida House District Nine is wasting no time presenting herself as a friend of public education.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Former city commissioner Scott Maddox and Downtown Improvement Authority head Paige Carter Smith pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges Tuesday.

Amy Baker, Director of the Legislative Office of Economic and Demographic Research, discusses issues regarding slot machines during a meeting of the House Business Regulation committee, Thursday, March 10, 2005, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Phil Coale / AP Photo

Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research known as EDR is tasked with predicting outcomes of proposed legislation, new laws, or constitutional amendments. But a new law has now changed how much work goes into predicting petition initiatives. EDR’s Coordinator Amy Baker spoke about what the changes mean.

This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein is set to return to court Wednesday, July 31, 2019, to face sex trafficking charges just days after he was found injured in his cell.
New York State Sex Offender Registry / AP

Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered the state’s department of law enforcement to take over a criminal investigation reviewing Jeffrey Epstein’s time in a Palm Beach County work release program. Blaise Gainey has more.

Following mass shootings in Ohio and Texas President Donald Trump is calling on states to adopt laws temporarily preventing someone from accessing a gun. Florida already has such a law and is using it. Now two state lawmakers want to see the law expanded.

Bethune-Cookman University President Brent Chrite speaking at Florida's HBCU Impact Summit on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Tallahassee, FL.
Marquel Brown / Florida A&M University SJGC

Bethune Cookman University is one of four Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Florida. The school is on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an accrediting body for universities. BCU President Brent Chrite spoke about the issue during the HBCU Impact Summit in Tallahassee.

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Attorney General Ashley Moody last week asked the state Supreme Court to block a ballot initiative that would ban assault weapons. On Monday, the state’s top attorney fielded questions from reporters about the move.

Three men sit at a wooden desk and speak into microphones
Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano is ordering a review of mass shootings and gun violence. This, following two mass shootings in two days in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left at least 30 people dead.

Florida's HBCU Presidents sit amongst a panel during the Florida HBCU Impact Summit.
Marquel Brown / Florida A&M University SJGC

Presidents of Florida’s four Historically Black Colleges & Universities met on the campus of Florida A&M University to discuss the future of HBCU’s.

A field of hemp plants
P. Solomon Banda / AP Photo

Florida’s state-run crime labs don’t have the ability to determine whether a product is weed, CBD or hemp and the issue is stopping law enforcement in its tracks.  The state’s new hemp law is creating a patchwork of enforcement efforts and will likely need the legislature to step in.

A green iguana lies in the grass
Brynn Anderson / AP

Last month the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission effectively declared "open season" on iguanas by allowing them to be killed on private property. Since then, the agency has had to backtrack a bit after reports of the animals being killed and mutilated. Now, FWC officials are investigating a disturbing video posted to Instagram of one iguana being killed in a way the agency head calls, "despicable."

Brynn Anderson / AP Photo

A proposed citizens ballot initiative to let all voters, regardless of party affiliation, vote in primary elections could be headed to the 2020 ballot. One of its sponsors, Steve Vancore, believes the move would change the way Florida politicians campaign.

Head shot of Julia Nesheiwat
United States Department of State

Florida has it’s first chief resiliency officer. Dr. Julia Nesheiwat will take on the role, as Governor DeSantis breaks an almost nine year precedent by formally addressing climate change.  

Rep. Sullivan (R-Mount Dora) receiving a standing ovation from fellow Republicans after floor debate for the abortion waiting period law in 2015.
Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

The First District Court of Appeal has reversed a ruling that declared a 2015 law requiring a one-day wait before an abortion unconstitutional. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union is preparing for court once again.

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