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Dara Kam - News Service of Florida

Dara Kam is the Senior Reporter of The News Service Of Florida.

Ballots in boxes
Thomas Iacobucci/WUSF Public Media

Face shields, temperature checks and disposable pens are just some of the safeguards Florida officials plan to employ to combat COVID-19, as they brace for elections in August and November.

application for mail-in ballot and a pen
U.S. Air Force

Laying the groundwork for an upcoming trial in a case seeking to expand the state's vote-by-mail procedures, a federal judge on Friday tossed out an effort by left-leaning groups to require county elections officials to pay for postage for mail-in ballots.

Leon County COVID-19 Information Portal

Calling it a “radical infringement” of constitutional rights, the head of the Republican Party in Leon County teamed with a conservative state representative Thursday to challenge a local ordinance requiring people to wear face coverings to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Rainbow wristbands
DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

LGBTQ advocates are hailing Monday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that gay, lesbian and transgender workers are covered by federal anti-discrimination laws, but they say Florida needs to do more.

vacation rental homes
iStock

Vacation rentals have rolled out the welcome mat in Florida again, but counties are imposing a variety of restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

female domestic violence victim in front of window
iStock

The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence is suing two insurers, asking a court to force the companies to cover costs resulting from state lawsuits against the embattled domestic-violence agency because of allegedly “exorbitant” executive compensation.

Florida counties are pushing Gov. Ron DeSantis to release nearly $1.3 billion in federal money that has been sitting in state coffers for more than two months, as local officials struggle to keep their communities afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

prisoner in handcuffs
iStock

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle gave the state months to come up with a way to carry out a constitutional amendment, approved by more than 64 percent of Florida voters in 2018, that restored voting rights to felons “who have completed all terms of their sentences, including parole and probation.”

screen grab of vacation rental website
Air BnB

Since late March, Florida hotels have been allowed to operate without state restrictions, while rental properties across the street or even in the same building have gathered dust.

Man in orange 'inmate' vest and hard hat holds a stop sign on the side of the road.
Jana Lumley / Adobe Stock

The federal trial over a 2018 Florida law requiring felons to pay off their fines and penalties is underway. Plaintiffs argued Tuesday about how difficult that can be.

"I say if you’re not poor coming in, you’re certainly poor going out," said Carey Haughwout, a public defender for Palm Beach County.

As the stock marketed plummeted Monday morning, House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, indicated that fears about the novel coronavirus could affect the ongoing negotiations about a new state budget.

Felons voting rights
Daniel Rivero WLRN

Gov. Ron DeSantis asked an appeals court Friday to continue preventing felons from voting while the state appeals a federal judge’s finding that a law requiring indigent felons to pay “legal financial obligations” to be eligible to vote is unconstitutional.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida House on Thursday intensified an inquiry into Florida’s domestic violence agency, calling for additional investigations and issuing subpoenas over the former head of the taxpayer-backed organization’s compensation.

Vape shops would have to be permitted and regulated by the state, under a House effort to combat an “epidemic” of electronic-cigarette use by teens.

Midpoints can carry a split sensation of dread and relief.

Castigating the tactic as a “publicity stunt,” Attorney General Ashley Moody is asking a judge to reject an effort by the nation’s two largest pharmacy chains to add 500 unidentified physicians to the state’s lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry over the opioid epidemic. 

Clifford Williams says he relied on his faith during more than four decades behind bars, including five years on Florida’s Death Row.

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis has heard from troubled teens struggling with depression, anguished homeowners whose dwellings were decimated by Hurricane Michael and first responders trying to remain stoic after horrific disasters.

ProCon.org

Siding with Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida Supreme Court decided Thursday that a state law requiring payment of “legal financial obligations” properly carried out a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

Over the objections of the National Rifle Association, a Senate panel Monday unanimously signed off on a far-reaching measure that would close the gun-show “loophole,” create a record-keeping system for private gun sales and set aside $5 million to establish a “statewide strategy for violence prevention.” 

Felons voting rights
Daniel Rivero WLRN

As a legal battle continues over a constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to felons in Florida, a federal appellate court Friday ended a separate, bitterly fought challenge to the state’s clemency process.

Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. A Sebring bank. A yoga studio in Tallahassee. A naval air base in Pensacola.

As sales boom in retail establishments throughout Florida, state regulators are now keeping tabs on CBD products that marketers claim can ease arthritis, anxiety and sleeplessness. 

Felons voting rights
Daniel Rivero WLRN

Felons in a federal lawsuit who have completed their time behind bars but can’t afford to pay court-ordered fees and fines can continue to register to vote but cannot cast ballots yet, under an order issued this week by a federal judge.

As state lawmakers ponder how -- and if -- to respond to teens’ skyrocketing use of electronic cigarettes, one university student is influencing the Florida Senate leader’s stance on the issue.

A federal judge on Tuesday excoriated lawyers representing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, accusing the state of trying to "run out the clock" to keep felons from voting in next year's elections.

After dropping an attempt to keep secret the identities of two plaintiffs, the National Rifle Association has relaunched a federal court challenge to a Florida law that raised the age to purchase rifles and other long guns.

In moves that will pave the way for Gov. Ron DeSantis to appoint two more justices to the Florida Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Justice Robert Luck’s appointment to a federal appeals court and set the stage for Justice Barbara Lagoa to join him.

Delivering a victory to Democrats, a federal judge Friday declared unconstitutional a decades-old Florida law that requires candidates who are in the same party as the governor to be listed first on the ballot.

The National Rifle Association condemned a proposed constitutional amendment that aims to do away with assault weapons in Florida as a “classic example of impermissible political rhetoric” designed to inflame voters’ emotions.

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