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A wind chill advisory is in effect for the entire Tampa Bay area, and a freeze warning is up for most of the area, as temperatures are expected to drop into the low to mid 30s tonight into Wednesday morning.

As a result, cold weather shelters are set to open in a number of places.

The coldest air mass in two years has engulfed the Florida peninsula, and subfreezing temperatures or wind chills are possible as far south as the Everglades by Wednesday morning.

Florida lawmakers are considering companion bills in the House and Senate that would establish a "Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights."

State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, says Florida should do more to attract film and TV productions.

Gruters has sponsored a bill (SB 530) that would allow studios to get a rebate on some of the expenses they incur while filming in Florida. Productions would have to hire a Florida-based crew and spend 70 percent of their production time in the state to be eligible.

More than four million Floridians are likely to experience a freeze over the next two nights, including rural areas of Southwest Florida by Wednesday morning. The cold spell follows a week of abnormal warmth in the Sunshine State, when more than a dozen record highs were tied or broken.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Thousands of gun ownership enthusiasts and armed militia members gathered at the Virginia State Capitol on Monday for a rally aimed at quashing new gun restrictions. The rally ended without any violence, but Richmond remains under a state of emergency and Gov. Ralph Northam's temporary ban on weapons on Capitol grounds will remain in place until Tuesday.

From a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday, Elon Musk's SpaceX launched its latest rocket test into the Florida sky. Less than two minutes later, it exploded — just like the company hoped it would.

The explosion itself wasn't so much the success as was what came just before it. That's when the Crew Dragon, a capsule meant to carry astronauts into space, separated from the rocket. That separation was the goal of Sunday's test.

The Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in Miami next month, after dominating the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers, respectively, in their conference championship games on Sunday.

Kansas City ends a 50-year drought

The Kansas City Chiefs knocked out the Tennessee Titans 35-24 in the AFC Championship game on Sunday to secure their first trip to the Super Bowl in 50 years.

SpaceX has completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in as little as two months.

A monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been moved from Lakeland's Munn Park.
Florida Archeological Network

A federal appeals court will consider a dispute over the movement  of a Confederate soldier from a prominent town square park in Lakeland to a veterans memorial park.

Florida is getting two grants totaling nearly $175,000 to combat animal diseases as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Friday.

The fourth annual Women's March descended on the streets of Washington on Saturday. But unlike the first demonstration that brought hundreds of thousands to the capital the day after President Trump's inauguration, the march drew just a fraction of the original turnout as the movement has struggled with changes in leadership and questions about inclusivity.

The demonstration in Washington was the main march, but sister marches were also held in more than 200 cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Brussels.

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments April 1 in a dispute about how much State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. should pay to a firm that provided MRI services to auto-accident victims.

Armed Guardians work at the Manatee School for the Arts.
Manatee School for the Arts

Two Democrats who are critical of Florida’s school guardian program have filed long-shot legislation seeking to redirect money earmarked for training and arming school personnel toward other school security measures.

The "Phase 1" trade deal with China that President Trump signed this week is unlike any previous free trade agreement. From Trump's point of view, that's the whole point.

"We are righting the wrongs of the past," Trump said Wednesday during a White House signing ceremony, "and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families."

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.

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