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News Service of Florida

Hepatitis
Pixabay

Florida had another 49 reported cases of hepatitis A last week, bringing the total this year to 3,327 as of Saturday, according to new figures from the state Department of Health.

With the end of the year nearing, the number of hepatitis A cases in 2019 has dwarfed the totals in past years as health officials have tried to combat an outbreak. By comparison, the state had 548 cases in 2018, 276 cases in 2017 and 122 cases in 2016.

Many Floridians will spend part of this week tearing into presents, sipping eggnog or gazing at blinking Christmas lights as they gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays.

But some top-notch lawyers and judges will be polishing their resumes as they try to get appointed to the Florida Supreme Court. Wannabes for two seats on the high court face a Tuesday deadline to submit applications.

Donald Trump rallies at the USF Sun Dome in 2016.
WUSF News

President Donald Trump will hold a campaign event Jan. 3 in Miami to launch an “Evangelicals for Trump” coalition, according to an announcement Friday.

“The event will bring together evangelicals from across the nation who support President Trump’s re-election,” the announcement from his campaign said.

The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. Jan. 3, though the campaign did not announce the location Friday. Trump is expected to look for heavy support from evangelicals during the 2020 campaign. Winning in Florida also is important for his re-election hopes.

Florida’s unemployment rate approached the end of 2019 at a historic low.

The rate fell to 3.1 percent in November, down from 3.2 percent in October and putting it at a mark hit twice in the past 40 years, most recently in March 2006, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office.

Backers of a recreational-marijuana legalization effort announced Monday their proposal will not be on Florida’s 2020 ballot -- though a separate legalization drive continues.

Citizens Looks To Move Policies To Private Market

Dec 15, 2019
graphic of Citizens decreasing market share
Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

The state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., considered an insurer of last resort, is again looking at ways to downsize its policy count.

Voting sign
WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Florida’s application has been approved for membership in a program that allows exchanging voter-related data with other states, an effort long-sought by county supervisors of elections, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday.

Pointing to “the senseless act of violence,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday ordered that flags be flown at half-staff for a week to honor victims of a shooting a Naval Air Station Pensacola.

A Leon County circuit judge has rejected a request for a preliminary injunction against a state rule that largely bans anacondas in Florida.

Move over Puppy Bowl, the 2020 Super Bowl has a new sideshow.

In very Florida fashion, Miami-Dade County will host a Python Bowl, in conjunction with the Super Bowl, to hunt the invasive snakes in the Everglades.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Windermere, want exoneration for the “Groveland Four,” expanding on pardons granted in January by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet in a prominent case from Florida’s Jim Crow era.

Some counties across the Tampa Bay region would receive the most amount of funds under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ teacher pay plan.

Techniques to manage Florida’s black bear population over the next decade, including the possibility of regulated hunting, will be among the items the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers during a meeting next month.

People in line to vote
Mary Shedden/WUSF

Leaders of the Florida Republican and Democratic parties don’t agree on much.

But they --- along with Attorney General Ashley Moody --- are united on one thing: They want to scuttle a proposed constitutional amendment that would overhaul Florida’s primary-election system.

Picture of Planey Hollywood building in Orlando
Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has filed a lawsuit against Planet Hollywood International, Inc., alleging the company did not comply with requirements after receiving $288,000 in state incentives to add jobs in Orlando.

Gavel and sign saying Public Records
Creative Commons - Alpha Stock Images

Seeking information as part of an effort to address “over-incarceration,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida has asked a judge to require the state Department of Corrections to provide access to records about issues such as tentative release dates and demographic information of inmates.

Two people texting on mobile phones
Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Florida’s top law enforcement agency did not have safeguards in place to ensure text messages sent and received by its employees were retained as required by state law, according to a new audit.

a florida black bear
Wikimedia Commons

Techniques to manage Florida’s black bear population over the next decade, including the possibility of regulated hunting, will be among the  items the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers during a meeting next month.

Rep. Brad Drake, chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee, is the latest Panhandle lawmaker to seek a second round of state funding to aid areas still struggling from Hurricane Michael. In a series of bills filed for the 2020 legislative session that begins Jan. 14, Drake, R-Eucheeanna, is requesting more than $65 million for storm-battered communities in his Northwest Florida district. Drake’s largest request is $60 million for a 200,000-square-foot commerce center in Washington County (HB 4685).

GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

Speaking to a group of supporters at The Villages, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday once again vowed to require Florida businesses to use a federal system to check the immigration status of new hires.

President Trump at rally
flckr.com

President Donald Trump will take another step toward becoming a full-time #FloridaMan with a “homecoming” rally Tuesday in Sunrise.

In late September, the president and First Lady Melania Trump officially "relocated" their residence from New York to the Sunshine State, where Trump has long owned property in Palm Beach County.

School building
WIkipedia.com

Public school students would have to pause for up to two minutes of silent “reflection” each day, under proposals filed in the House and Senate.

Rep. Kimberly Daniels, a Jacksonville Democrat, on Friday filed a measure (HB 737) that would direct public school principals to require teachers to set aside at least one minute for a moment of silence at the start of the school day. Ocala Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley filed an identical proposal (SB 946) earlier this month.

Joe Redner
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

The Florida Supreme Court has refused to wade into a dispute about whether prominent Tampa strip-club owner Joe Redner should be allowed to grow his own medical marijuana to help fight lung cancer.

After weeks of silence about the event, Republican Party of Florida leaders said Tuesday their big annual fundraiser -- with President Donald Trump as the keynote speaker -- will be held Dec. 7 in Miami.

State education officials continue to consider changes to the operations of Florida Virtual School, which has faced a number of problems, including questionable spending and a wide-ranging data breach.

Leaders of the Republican Party of Florida on Friday sent out a blast email to support University of Florida student body President Michael Murphy, who faces impeachment over his decision to bring Donald Trump Jr. to campus last month.

Service members and veterans could use their military experience for course credits at Florida public universities, colleges and career centers under a proposal approved Wednesday by a Senate panel.

The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously rejected an appeal seeking to prevent the execution of Death Row inmate James Dailey in the 1985 murder of a 14-year-old girl in Pinellas County.

White and red boxes of Narcan stacked on a table.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Medicine cabinets at Florida schools could get a new addition: an antidote for people who overdose on opioids such as heroin.

Attorney General Ashley Moody, Gov. Ron DeSantis and his administration have asked a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit challenging a 2018 constitutional amendment that banned greyhound racing in Florida.

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