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News Service of Florida

Prison bars
Michael Coghlan/Wikimedia Commons

The state has launched more than 900 investigations into deaths in Florida prisons over a five-year span, with causes ranging from overdoses to homicides, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement official said Wednesday.

Inmate in orange jumpsuit at Sarasota County Jail
Sarasota County Sheriff's Department

The Florida Department of Corrections and researchers at Florida State University said Monday they will partner to study whether treating symptoms of trauma in incarcerated men can help reduce chances of returning to prison.

In a case stemming from a woman’s lung-cancer death, an appeals court Friday urged the Florida Supreme Court to look again at whether the state has a medical-malpractice insurance “crisis” that justifies limiting damages in certain lawsuits.

Publicdomainpictures.net

Importing, exporting and selling shark fins would be illegal in Florida, under a proposal filed Thursday by state Rep. Kristin Jacobs, D-Coconut Creek.

With shark fins considered a delicacy in parts of Asia, "finning" is already an illegal practice in Florida and the U.S. That practice involves cutting off fins at sea before sharks are dumped back into the water to die. The state requires sharks harvested in Florida waters to be brought to shore in a whole condition.

Tampa Electric Co. received state approval Thursday for two large solar-power projects in Hillsborough County, part of a multi-year plan to build solar facilities.

An effort to abolish the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which successfully put seven constitutional amendments before voters in 2018, continued to move forward Monday in the Senate.

Cuba coral
Steve Newborn / WUSF News

With the sponsor pointing to concerns about skin cancer, a Senate committee Monday approved a measure that would prevent local governments from banning over-the-counter sales of sunscreen.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services expressed concern Wednesday about a virus dangerous to tomatoes and peppers that has been found in tomatoes imported from Mexico.

Techniques to manage Florida’s black bear population over the next decade, including the possibility of regulated hunting, are outlined in the draft of an updated 10-year plan released Tuesday.

This courtroom shows where businesses believe they are unfairly treated, especially in Florida, which ranked 46th in the nation for its business lawsuit climate.
Karen Neoh/Flickr.com

Florida foster parents and safe-house workers who help victims of human trafficking will be required to get training on how trafficking for forced labor intersects with the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

teacher in class with children
U.S. Department of Education

The powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee filed a proposal Friday that would repeal the state’s long-controversial “Best and Brightest” teacher bonus program.

With his execution scheduled for Nov. 7, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal from a Death Row inmate convicted in the 1985 murder of a 14-year-old girl in Pinellas County.

State Rep. Mike Hill, R-Pensacola, will make a renewed attempt during the 2020 legislative session to pass a “fetal heartbeat” bill that would dramatically limit abortions in Florida.

Most four-legged patrons of pet-friendly restaurants would have to remain outside, under a bill proposed this week by state Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando.

House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee wants college student-athletes in Florida to be able to cash in on their names and images, similar to a measure that California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Monday.

An author of a new law that toughened the state’s texting-while-driving ban wants to require motorists to go fully “hands-free” if they are using wireless phones.

Nine county school boards, including Polk County, are going to the Florida Supreme Court in a battle about the constitutionality of a controversial 2017 law that sought to bolster charter schools.

Protesters lined up in front of U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's office for a "Close the Camps" rally, aimed at shutting down immigration detention centers.
Ti'anna Davis / WUSF Public Media

Central Florida has been taken off a short list to house a federal detention center for unaccompanied migrant children, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., announced in a tweet Friday.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott want to allow Canadians to be able to stay longer in the United States.

House Rules Chairman Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, was formally chosen Tuesday by his Republican colleagues to become the next House speaker. Sprowls will take the gavel after the November 2020 elections and serve as speaker for two years.

Nearly $10 million in property-insurance claims have been filed for Hurricane Dorian, which skirted Florida’s East Coast this month.

Chris Sprowls
Florida House of Representatives

The Tampa Bay area should get a larger voice in the state legislature next year. Members of the Florida House on Tuesday named Chris Sprowls of Pinellas County as its next speaker.

Duke Energy Florida said Monday it expects to see a reduction in customers’ monthly electric bills in 2020 because of factors such as lower fuel costs for power plants.

GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE; DAYLINA MILLER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA; WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Florida Supreme Court justices are the highest-paid statewide officials, with their salaries substantially higher than the amounts paid to the governor, state Cabinet members and legislators.

Pixabay

A state appeals court is allowing the Florida House of Representatives to intervene in a lawsuit that could upend the state’s medical marijuana system.

The decision Friday by a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal paved the way for the House to enter a lawsuit filed by Florigrown, a Tampa-based business trying to gain entry to the state’s highly restricted medical-marijuana industry, and overturned a ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson.

While expressing sympathy for the couple, a state appeals court Friday upheld financial penalties against two Sarasota County residents who received a homestead exemption in Florida while also receiving a property-tax exemption on a home in Ohio.

The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board agreed Thursday to double its number of hunters who are trying to eradicate invasive Burmese pythons.

Nikki Fried speaks about gas skimmers.
Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspectors found "skimmers," used to steal credit-card or debit-card information at gas pumps, while checking gas stations for Hurricane Dorian damage.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is part of a coalition of attorneys general from across the country who are investigating Facebook for possible antitrust violations.

Pointing to issues such as low natural-gas prices, Tampa Electric Co. said this week it expects customers’ monthly bills to be reduced in 2020.

The utility on Tuesday made filings with the state Public Service Commission that take into account expenses such as fuel costs for power plants.

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