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Mugshot of Robert Joseph Long
Florida Department of Corrections

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed his first death warrant, with an execution scheduled May 23 for Tampa-area serial killer Robert Joseph Long, according to documents posted on the Florida Supreme Court website. 

Toll lanes on Interstate-295 between Interstate-95 and the Buckman Bridge are in the final calibrating stage before going into operation within the few months.

‘Marsy’s Law’ Requests Records From Prosecutors

Apr 23, 2019

Backers of a November constitutional amendment designed to expand crime-victims’ rights said Monday they have requested records from prosecutors across the state about how the amendment is being carried out. 

Sea World Publishes Decades Of Orca Data To Help Wild Whales

Apr 23, 2019

The endangered killer whales of the Pacific Northwest live very different lives from orcas in captivity. 

In a move that’s ignited fierce debate, Florida lawmakers appear set to approve controversial legislation that aims to ban so-called "sanctuary cities" in the state. Bills in the House and Senate both passed their final committees last week and are making their way to discussion. 

The legislation would require local police to honor requests from federal immigration authorities to detain people who are thought to be in the United States illegally. The House version would fine local governments that don’t cooperate with federal requests.

Under an order from Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida counties will be required to provide Spanish and English ballots.
Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered Spanish-language ballots to be provided across Florida. The move comes amidst legal pressure from a number of groups and a judge's order.

Hurricane Michael was reclassified as a Category 5 hurricane.
NOAA

Hurricane Michael, which devastated a swath of the Florida Panhandle last fall, has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm, only the fourth to make recorded landfall in the United States and the first since 1992.

The announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Friday came as no surprise to those still struggling to recover from the storm's destruction.

"My thought is simply that most of us thought we were dealing with a (Category) 5 anyway," said Al Cathey, mayor of Mexico Beach, which bore the brunt of the storm when it hit.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says immigrants and non-citizens in South Florida should not fear a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

During a visit to Miami Thursday to meet with local business leaders, Ross—who oversees the census—emphasized that Census Bureau workers cannot share people’s responses with other government authorities. The comment came in response to continuing concerns that immigrants will sit out the census for fear their answers could be released to federal immigration authorities.

Severe Storm Risk Blowing Through Tampa Bay, All Of Florida

Apr 19, 2019
There's a risk of severe storms across Florida today, including a tornado watch through 4 p.m.
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

A tornado watch is in effect until 4 p.m. for northeast, north-central, and west-central Florida, including the Tampa Bay area.

Update 1:20 p.m. The National Weather Service in Ruskin has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for a large portion of the Tampa Bay area until 2:30 p.m.

Those areas include Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, northwestern Manatee County, Hernando County, southeastern Citrus County and Sumter County. 

To mark Ron DeSantis's 100th day in the Governor's office, environmentalist groups gathered across several cities in Florida on Wednesday for a day of action to ban all forms of fracking, the controversial oil-drilling technique, in the state. 

A small group of about 20 people gathered in front of the state Department of Economic Opportunity in Oakland Park in the early evening to call on the governor to ban all forms of fracking, and not just some. 

Downtown Bradenton in Manatee County.
Manatee County Government

Housing prices and rents continue to rise across Florida. Thursday, a group of community leaders and advocates gathered in Bradenton to discuss Manatee County's ongoing affordable housing crunch at an event sponsored by the Manatee Tiger Bay Club.

Nationwide, an average wage earner would need to spend 32.7 percent of his or her income to buy a median-priced home. But for Manatee residents, that figure is 46.3 percent.

Updated FEMA flood maps indicate risk zones in Pinellas County.
Pinellas County Government

Flooding is one of the most common and costly disasters during storms. Pinellas County is the latest area to have adjustments made to its flood map to better reflect the risk that some homeowners may face.

A dangerous squall line of thunderstorms is expected to approach the Florida Panhandle Thursday night, then sweep across the entire Florida Peninsula Friday.

Florida Bill To Ban Sanctuary Policies Draws Raucous Debate

Apr 18, 2019
State Capitol
Wikimedia Commons

A proposed ban on sanctuary policies evoked talk of fear and bigotry, shouts of "Shame on you!" and the scolding of a Democratic senator who admonished a woman Wednesday for disparaging Miami, the Florida city with the largest Hispanic population. 

Central Florida Cities Among Fastest Growing In US

Apr 18, 2019
Orlando skyline at night.
Bill Dickinson / Wikimedia Commons

When it came to population growth last year, cities in central Florida grew by stadiums. 

Fla. Senate Poised To Back Move Of Law Enforcement Officers From FWC To DEP

Apr 18, 2019

A shift of 19 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law-enforcement officers to the Department of Environmental Protection, a change sought by Gov. Ron DeSantis, was teed up Wednesday by the Senate for a final vote.

Two big criminal justice reform bills are moving through the Florida Legislature. Backers of the similar bills in both chambers are going through negotiations down the stretch to position a final measure for passage.

Florida workers and union members are pushing for a $15 minimum wage. But it may not be an easy feat in the state.


When Florida is hit by a hurricane, utility companies must go in and help recover immediately. They pay for the cost up front and later charge customers to recoup their losses. A senate bill aims to lower both the price tag and time of recovery by forcing utility companies to strengthen their infrastructure before a storm.

Senate Poised To Take Up School Safety, Toll Roads

Apr 16, 2019

In two of the highest-profile issues of the 2019 legislative session, the Senate on Wednesday is slated to take up proposals designed to bolster school safety and build or expand three toll roads. 

Waste Management Buying Ponte Vedra-Based Advanced Disposal for $4.9 Billion

Apr 16, 2019

Waste Management Inc., the largest U.S. waste company, agreed Monday to buy Ponte Vedra-based Advanced Disposal Services Inc. for $4.9 billion.

Here’s a job opportunity that doesn’t come along every day.

Updated on Tuesday at 5:25 a.m. ET

Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the world's most famous churches, erupted in flames Monday in Paris, losing its spire but remaining otherwise largely intact after firefighters worked through the night to contain the fire.

The Florida Cabinet is planning to hold its next meeting in Israel next month.

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis said the trip’s main purpose is to promote investment in the state.

Local Tax Referendums Targeted in Florida House

Apr 15, 2019

After a sometimes-heated debate, the Florida House on Thursday approved a proposal that would make it harder to raise local sales taxes.

Awards were presented on April 13, 2019 for the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters contest.
Florida Associated Press Broadcasters

WUSF Public Media journalists won 11 honors Saturday night in the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Contest, including five first-place finishes and a second-place award for Station of the Year.

Magnolia

SeaWorld, the owner of Tampa's Busch Gardens, has laid off an undisclosed number of employees around the country in a move its says is aimed toward improving efficiency. 

'Gunshine State:' Florida Nears 2 Million Concealed Weapons Permits

Apr 14, 2019

Already leading the nation with the highest number of concealed weapon permits, Florida is nearing a new threshold: granting authority to 2 million civilians who can lawfully carry guns tucked in waistbands, under jackets or inside purses into restaurants, shopping malls and elsewhere.

Florida Considered Public Money For Troubled Executive

Apr 14, 2019
Linkedin

Florida considered paying $250,000 to a former used car salesman in Kansas – with tax liens and a history of bankruptcy, failed business ventures, legal problems and millions of dollars in past-due debts over the last decade – to develop new digital license plate technology for cars and trucks in the Sunshine State.

Malak Silmi was taking her first real journalism class last January when her professor said something that changed her life: Watch what you post on social media because it might just come back to bite you.

Silmi's Twitter account at the time was one she'd had since she was 14. It was a public profile with her content ranging from memes and status updates to opinions on foreign policy. But she decided something had to change if she wanted to be taken seriously as a journalist. So, she deactivated it.

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