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A decade ago a fight broke out in Florida over whether to require businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure employees are eligible to work in the United States. The solution at the time was an executive order by then-Governor Rick Scott requiring state employers use E-Verify. Now the idea is back: pitched by governor Ron DeSantis and it’s no less controversial than it was a decade ago.

Record-breaking warmth experienced this week in Florida is likely to be replaced by colder-than-normal temperatures early next week. Multiple freezes are even possible across the northern third of the state, as arctic air surges in behind a strong cold front over the weekend.

Fees, Fines For Ex-Felons; Legal Recreational Marijuana

Jan 17, 2020

On Friday's Roundup, we discussed the Florida Supreme Court ruling that former felons have to first finish paying any fines and fees they still owe before they can vote. Also, voters will not get to decide the fate of recreational marijuana, but state lawmakers might.

Non-flyers looking to check out Tampa International Airport will be happy to hear that it is expanding its “TPA All Access” program.

The program, which was created in May 2019 to give the public access to TPA’s airside boarding gates on Saturdays, will now be made available every day of the week.

Fines could soon be doubled for people who drive around, or fail to stop for school buses with their stop arms out. A bill moving through the House has just one committee left to go.

A plan to revamp Florida’s fireworks law is headed to the Senate floor. 

Several southern states including Georgia and Mississippi have enacted similar laws requiring employers to check the immigration status of new hires. The state laws have become part of the national debate over immigration.

Previous efforts to get an E-Verify bill through the Florida Legislature failed, and leading Republican lawmakers were not fully behind the governor's position as the 2020 session began earlier this week.

Days before the beginning of the legislative session, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez said DeSantis is "trying to fulfill one of his campaign promises."

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would give survivors of childhood sexual assault a "look back window" to address previously unreported claims. It would allow them one year to open cases with an expired statute of limitations.


State lawmakers are set to consider legislation that would mandate increased safety measures for bus drivers and strengthen criminal penalties for passengers who become violent. 

Last fall President Trump halted U.S. commercial flights to all Cuban cities except Havana. On Friday he did the same for U.S. charter flights. But the political risks for Trump could outweigh the benefits he sees here in Florida.

Now Hiring: The U.S.Census Bureau

Jan 11, 2020

The US Census Bureau is hiring hundreds of thousands of temporary workers across the country to help with the 2020 count, and southwest Florida is no exception. All counties in the area will be hiring and hourly wages will vary from $14 to $17 dollars per hour, according to federal website 2020Census.gov. Recruitment is beginning now and the bulk of the work will take place in the spring of this year. Scheduling is flexible. Applicants should be at least 18 years old and be US citizens with a social security number. There is no upper age limit.

MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa was placed on lockdown early Friday morning amid concerns of an armed suspect on or near the base. Authorities eventually learned there was no threat, but the incident had some residents fearing the worst.

Scans of the Tampa property owned by Richard Gonzmart and his Columbia Restaurant Group have revealed at least 115 probable graves of the Zion Cemetery.

While thousands of mourners crowd the streets of Tehran, the reaction to the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani outside Iran is more mixed.

Duke Energy is saying the more than 34,000 Pinellas County customers affected by a power outage late Tuesday morning are now back in service.

As tensions grow in the Middle East, gas prices could rise, according to AAA.

Vickie Oldham has made it her personal mission to preserve the history of Newtown, where she's lived almost her entire life.

As part of our Telling Tampa Bay Stories series on one of the first African American communities in Sarasota, Oldham talked about how Newtown Alive, the community organization she’s the director of, chronicles the neighborhood’s stories.

The Department of Homeland Security has agreed to share certain government records from its databases to help the Census Bureau produce data about the U.S. citizenship status of every person living in the country.

11th Circuit Court of appeals building
U.S. Federal Court of Appeal

A federal appeals court Friday cleared the way for a lawsuit that alleges the Florida House and Senate have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing closed captioning on online videos of legislative meetings.

Patrick Carter spent most of his childhood in Newtown, one of the first African American communities in Sarasota. He left to play college football at Florida State University before moving on to the NFL. While he still remains involved in the Newtown community, particularly through sports mentorship, he chose to live in Bradenton instead.

As part of our Telling Tampa Bay Stories series on Newtown, Carter shares some of his fond memories growing up in the community and explains why he decided not to return.

La'Tiara Love recently moved to the Newtown as she was looking for a predominantly African American community to live in.

As part of our Telling Tampa Bay Stories series on Newtown, Love, 33, talked about why she moved there and what she’s found so far.

More than 25,000 people, including the prime minister of Greece, are expected to attend the annual Epiphany Celebration in Tarpon Springs on Monday.

With the exception of the time he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, Willie Charles Shaw has lived his entire life in Sarasota, much of it in the African American neighborhood of Newtown.

As part of our Telling Tampa Bay Stories series on Newtown, Shaw shared what the neighborhood was like when he was young, and how it’s changed over time.

The former acting mayor of Port Richey was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to a scheme with his jailed predecessor.

David Stern, a basketball Hall of Famer and former commissioner of the NBA, died on Wednesday at age 77. The NBA issued a statement saying that his death was the result of a brain hemorrhage that he suffered in mid-December.

It’s been a decade of wild swings and weather extremes in Florida. Record-setting temperature and precipitation trends were noted during the first half of the decade, while multiple major severe and tropical weather events characterized the last five years. We summarized the major weather stories from each year in the article below.

2010: A year governed by climate signals

Sunshine Savior: Retiring Barbara Petersen Is Florida's First Amendment Champion

Jan 1, 2020

For 25 years, Barbara Petersen has been Florida’s defender of First Amendment rights. She’s stepping down from her official role. But she can never truly let go.

“Enforcement time” has come for motorists caught texting and driving by Florida Highway Patrol troopers.

The state spent the past two years cracking down on fraudulent billing practices by clinics that provide behavior analysis therapy to children on the autism spectrum.

But now, behavior analysis agencies say the state is making provider credentialing difficult, and in some cases, is retracting the credentials for a position called a registered behavior tech, even if the agency previously approved their paperwork.

WUSF's Daylina Miller was the first reporter in Florida to identify this issue and her reporting led to changes in how the state was addressing the problem.

PICPEDIA

The U.S. Census Bureau on Monday released 2019 population estimates that showed Florida continues to be one of the fastest-growing states in the country. Here are some key comparisons:

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