State News

Ron DeSantis speaking at the podium.
Wilfredo Lee / AP

Governor Ron DeSantis signed a tax bill Wednesday that is estimated to save Florida families nearly $47 million during two sales tax holidays. Another part of the bill is expected to save commercial real estate renters more than $64 million by reducing the tax rate.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has set his sights on Duval County Schools. The district has nearly a dozen chronically low-performing ones and at Wednesday’s state board of education meeting, Corcoran clashed the district’s new superintendent over how to improve them.

Two bald men in dark suits pose side-by-side in a wood paneled office
Governor's Press Office

A member of Florida’s public school oversight board is taking a stand against arming teachers. In Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting Michael Olenick called the move “wrong”. 

New Home Loan Progams for Hurricane Michael Relief

May 22, 2019

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation is backing two new home loan programs to help Hurricane Michael victims. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

A group just shy of 100 people will accompany Governor Ron DeSantis and the rest of the Florida cabinet on a trip to Isreal this weekend. That group includes leaders in academia and business, lobbyists and state agency heads.

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a committee meeting
Andrew Harnik / AP

Gov. Ron DeSantis is ordering a review of the state’s election systems. This comes after two Florida county election offices were hacked.

D'alemberte
Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU

Much of Florida’s legal community is mourning the death of Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, whose career as one of the state’s brightest legal minds spanned decades. WFSU's Ryan Dailey spoke with D’Alemberte’s longtime friend and former colleague, Paul Jess, about his passing. Jess is director of the Florida Justice Association, which represents trial lawyers in the state.

Vice President Mike Pence visited the Schultz Center in Jacksonville Monday to kick off a 26 city tour to build support for a new trade deal.

During Florida’s 2019 Legislative session, lawmakers had two months to debate hundreds of bills. In the end, the House and Senate worked a half-day of overtime to approve a $91-billion budget -- with record spending on the environment and even more planned for public schools.

But the session closed with hundreds of measures left undebated and a number of high-profile issues that didn’t pass.

adobe stock

Earlier today the Florida Democratic Party announced the launch of a voter protection program as a result of the recently passed amendment four bill and other perceived voter suppression tactics in past elections.

President Donald Trump on Sunday denied reports that hundreds of migrants would be flown from the Mexican border to Florida and other areas in the U.S. interior to lessen the workload at crowded Border Patrol facilities.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, also on Sunday, acknowledged that federal officials did initially alert local leaders of the possibility that migrants would be flown to two South Florida counties. But Trump appeared to blame the media for "false reporting."

As the dust settles from this year’s legislative session, school district superintendents are evaluating funding and new policies handed down from state lawmakers. In North Florida, superintendents in three counties have different takes.

A bucket filled with blueberries.
Robbie Gaffney / WFSU

The latest round of tariffs levied by the Trump Administration is taking a toll on the nation’s agriculture industry. In Florida, the tariffs threaten a trade deal that’s been years in the making. 

Cars on a road during Sunset
Xiaolong Wong / Unsplash

Governor Ron DeSantis has approved a measure that could pave the way for the state’s first major highway expansion in decades. The effort has been led by state Senate President Bill Galvano who pushed the roads as a way to aid in evacuations, promote growth in rural parts of the state and help transport an ever growing population. But environmentalists argue the idea could be a disaster for fragile ecosystems. 

Employees at the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office count ballots from the Mid-term election, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in Lauderhill, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

Most of the discussion about a recently passed elections bill has focused on 2018’s Amendment 4. It restored the right for certain felons to vote. But the bill does many more things aimed at fixing issues within Florida’s elections system.

Scott Goodwill / Unsplash

Panhandle farmers whose crops were devastated by Hurricane Michael will now be able to apply for emergency no-interest loans to help recover. One Holmes County farmer is glad to see some financial relief on the horizon.

FEA Facebook

Researchers with state teachers’ union the Florida Education Association are estimating Florida’s new plan for a private school voucher program will come with a huge price tag. 

A rocket takes off amid a plume of smoke from Cape Canaveral.
SpaceX

 

Florida leaders are continuing the push for a Space Command headquarters in Florida — despite the Air Force official ruling out the state.

Just last week, Florida leaders announced the state was still in the running to host the new combatant command unit. But in a statement Tuesday from the Secretary of the Air Force, the branch identified six locations in Colorado, Alabama and California for the new headquarters.

Florida Cabinet Meeting in Israel

May 15, 2019

The Florida Cabinet’s upcoming meeting in Israel is raising questions about public access.

darkly lit, soft focus photo of person gambling, playing a card game such as black jack.
Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

The Seminole Tribe of Florida has stopped remitting gambling payments to the state. The tribe announced the move in a letter delivered to Governor Ron DeSantis Tuesday. But it doesn’t come as a surprise.

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

Governor Ron DeSantis says voter data was stolen in 2016 when election systems in two Florida counties were hacked. Previous reporters had identified only one county, but DeSantis says  the breach didn’t impact voting.

pill bottles
David Kessler on Flickr. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) / https://flic.kr/p/5Ya3x

Attorney General Ashley Moody will have access to information in a prescription drug monitoring database under a bill passed this session.

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez is getting an office away from Tallahassee. Florida lawmakers are allowing Nunez to work remotely from South Florida. Nunez sees the move as a practical way to address the difficulty of travel to Tallahassee.

Morgan Martin

Many Hurricane Michael victims are still feeling the effects of the storm.  It not only caused physical damage to the area, but has left scars on the hearts and minds of survivors. 

A marijuana plant
Dan Balilty / AP

Thirty-eight attorneys general signed a letter this week urging Congress to bring marijuana money into the federal banking system. But Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s signature was notably absent.

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