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Updated 12:46 p.m. ET

A spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday that the agency's plan to end its distribution of emergency food and water in Puerto Rico and turn that responsibility over to the Puerto Rican government would not take effect on Jan. 31.

WUSF Public Media

Emergency phone services have been restored to several counties and cities around the Tampa Bay Area after an outage took 911 lines down Wednesday.

Boastful even within the traditional confines of a State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump inflated the impact of his tax cuts Tuesday night, declared an end to a "war" on energy that did not exist when he took office and displayed a faulty grasp of immigration policy.

A contentious bill that calls for a crackdown on cities and counties that don't comply with federal immigration authorities is running into trouble in the Florida Senate.

After past deals have collapsed amid infighting among Florida's gambling interests, the Republican-controlled Legislature is trying yet again to pass a comprehensive gambling bill.

Florida lawmakers began moving forward Tuesday with proposals to fight sexual harassment in state government, an issue that's been under increased scrutiny with recent resignations and the national movement to put a focus on sexual misconduct.

Bill Would Ban University 'Free Speech' Zones

Jan 31, 2018

Free-speech zones would be banned, and state universities and colleges could be sued for disrupting campus speakers or peaceful protesters under a bill approved Tuesday by a House committee.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Larry Black's family has grown oranges at the Peace River Packing Company for five generations.

 Driving through his groves in Fort Meade, Black points out all of the trees that are infected with the disease known as greening. 

Photo Courtesy: Transportation Security Administration

Tampa International Airport was one of the worst offenders last year in terms of the number of firearms confiscated from fliers.

The federal Transportation Security Administration said in 2017, 97 firearms were found at Tampa International Airport, ranking sixth in the nation for firearms found.

Four months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, FEMA analysis showed that only 1 percent of island residents still rely on emergency food and water to survive. So the federal agency plans to “shut off” those supplies on Jan. 31, 2018.

Photo Courtesy: League of Women Voters

The first of three Pinellas County solar energy cooperatives was launched Tuesday to help homeowners obtain discounts on residential solar power.

Dozier Victims Measure Moves Forward

Jan 30, 2018

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday approved a bill that will create a process allowing the certification of victims of abuse at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and a related juvenile facility in Okeechobee.

Florida State University President John Thrasher is rolling back portions of a ban on Greek life after the hazing-related death of a student. Fraternities and sororities will now have to meet stricter rules to stay on campus.

Like so many recently arrived immigrants in South Florida, Nykoll Hernandez is proud of the college education she’s getting here – and just as proud to tell you what she’s studying at Broward College.

“I’m doing my major in hospitality and tourism management,” she says.

Except, “major” was not what came out of Hernandez’s mouth. What she said instead was “mayor.” In other words, she uttered one of the most common accent mistakes any native Spanish speaker makes in English: turning the j into a y.


  South Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is one of a few lawmakers who are bringing Dreamers as their special guests to Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. 

 

A bill making its way through the Florida Legislature could radically reform the way children are handled in the criminal justice system. The measure would put stricter limits on when and how juveniles can be tried as adults.

Florida is one of 15 states that allow prosecutors to unilaterally decide to charge children as adults. That process is called direct filing.


Another fact-finding expedition into why Jacksonville-based cargo ship El Faro sank in the Caribbean two years ago is set to take place Tuesday, this time in Congress.

Aliman Senai / Wikimedia Commons

Florida could ease some of the restrictions now in place for so-called payday loans.

Office of Rep. Kathy Castor

A Tampa woman who sprang into action to help Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria will attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Ringling College for Art and Design

Ringling College for Art and Design has received a $15 million donation for the world’s first degree in virtual reality.

The gift from husband and wife Dr. Joel Morganroth and Dr. Gail Morrison Morganroth is the largest donation for the Sarasota university in its 86 year history.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Despite the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Atlantic Division losing to the Pacific Division in the National Hockey League All Star final game, there were some memorable moments.

There was the return of former Lightning player Brian Boyle, now a forward for the New Jersey Devils. He was a Tampa fan favorite while playing here (2014-2017) and was welcomed back with a standing ovation followed by thunderous cheers  every time he took the ice.

AP Photo

Vancouver’s Brock Boeser was more than happy to just be at the NHL All-Star game, mingling with some of the high-profile players he grew up admiring.

Leaving Amalie Arena as the first rookie to take MVP honors since Mario Lemieux in 1985 on Sunday far exceeded anything he imagined possible.

“Shocked,” the 20-year-old said Canucks star said, describing his reaction. “I never would have dreamt this any time in life.”

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

Fans from around the world descended on Tampa this past weekend for the National Hockey League All-Star Weekend, a swirl of events that included a fan festival, live concerts, and a red-carpet extravaganza to welcome the players.

Oh, and a hockey game or three broke out as well.

While it’s so far gone nowhere in the state Senate, a proposal critics are dubbing the “union-busting bill” has passed the Florida House.

Florida House Signs Off On Slavery Memorial At Capitol

Jan 29, 2018

With the idea also moving quickly through the Senate, the Florida House on Thursday unanimously passed a bill to create a slavery memorial at the state Capitol.

The bill (HB 67), sponsored by Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, calls for the Florida Department of Management Services, working with the state Division of Historical Resources, to develop a plan for the memorial on the Capitol grounds.

Polk County Sheriff's Office

A Florida man suspected of igniting several marine flares in a mall corridor has been arrested.

U.S. House of Representatives

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown is expected to begin a five-year federal sentence for her part in a fraud scheme that helped end her long career.

AP Photo

Sen. Marco Rubio said Saturday that he has fired his chief of staff after getting reports of “improper conduct” with subordinate staffers.

MyFloridaHouse.gov

Gov. Rick Scott is calling for the board of directors at two regional job centers to schedule emergency meetings to deal with allegations that the agencies inflated the number of job placements reported to state officials.

Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Line is dry-docking its Paradise ship in February on the heels of an introduction of a larger ship — the 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle — to serve the Tampa market.

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