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Drowning is the top preventable cause of death in the Tampa Bay area.
U.S. Navy

The number of children under the age of four who die from drowning in Florida every year could fill up to four preschool classrooms. According to Florida Health, drowning is now the leading cause of preventable child death in the Tampa Bay area.

Housing is scarce and evictions in the Panhandle are on the rise, leaving many with nowhere to go.

WUSF/Bradley George

More than 20,000 people packed Amalie Arena Sunday night as Baylor beat Notre Dame to become the new champions in Division I women's basketball.

Florida Senate passes $90.3B state budget; House next up

Apr 4, 2019
State Capitol
Wikimedia Commons

The Florida Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a $90.3 billion budget plan for next fiscal year, while the House began work on its version that is about $400 million less in total spending. 

As the legislative session continues in the Florida Capitol, advocates question if lawmakers are making climate change a priority. 

An international program that has helped South Florida cities address climate change and other livability challenges is ending. 

People who kill or seriously injure police dogs in Florida soon could face tougher penalties after the Senate unanimously passed a bill inspired by the shooting death of a canine named Fang.

The bill passed Wednesday would make that crime a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It's now a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Republican Sen. Aaron Bean said his bill was inspired after Fang was "executed" in Jacksonville last year. The 3-year-old German shepherd was killed as police chased a 17-year-old carjacking suspect.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District is working on more than $4 billion in storm disaster recovery projects in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Filter Lead From Water In Older Schools Sen. Cruz Says

Apr 3, 2019

Florida schools built before 1986 would have to install filters in all drinking fountains to remove lead that seeps in from old plumbing, under a bill unanimously passed Tuesday by the Senate Education Committee. 

Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a proclamation making April Child Abuse Prevention Month. 

At a news conference at the Capitol Tuesday morning, the governor also announced the appointment of the First Lady to chair the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet.

Casey DeSantis says she’ll work with residents who relied on state services growing up.

Florida Lawmakers Back Restrictions On Ballot Drives

Apr 3, 2019

Changing the Florida Constitution with citizen-led ballot initiatives could soon be harder under a proposal that cleared a Senate panel Monday on a party-line vote.

Students at Take Back the Night write messages for survivors of sexual assault.
Sonu Trivedi / WUSF Public Media

One in three women and one in six men in the United States experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Throughout April, events at the University of South Florida will bring attention to the issue as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

UF Dr. Scott Rivkees Named State Surgeon General

Apr 2, 2019

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday named a top University of Florida doctor and professor as the state’s next surgeon general.

As of Monday morning, a strong cold front was located just north of the I-4 corridor where the contrast between conditions on both sides was very evident.
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

The weather is fooling many Floridians today, and it's not just a mean joke. A strong cold front has moved into the Sunshine State, producing rain and dropping temperatures by nearly twenty degrees in some places. As of Monday morning, the front was located just north of the I-4 corridor where the contrast between conditions on both sides was very evident.

Saratoga Apartments in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg Housing Authority

The St. Petersburg Housing Authority was recently cited by a federal agency for allowing its chief executive officer to live at an apartment complex designated for low-income families.

The Newton Historic Building Preservation Pilot Program started with the intention of restoring, rehabilitating and renovating properties in the 100-year-old African American enclave.
Newtown Alive

The city of Sarasota is taking a stand for its African American community of Newtown by launching a program to preserve its historic properties.

Aerial view of University Mall in Tampa.
Google Maps

The University of South Florida's planned Institute of Applied Engineering will build its headquarters at the re-developed University Mall in Tampa.


A committee bill in the Florida house looking to make sweeping changes to the state’s election laws has cleared a key committee stop. A number of them would modify the state’s vote-by-mail procedure, which sparked a partisan debate about voter access.

Florida lawmakers approved a series of new laws last year cracking down on telemarketers. Those laws went into effect last summer, and addressed everything from unwanted voicemails to allowing phone companies to pre-emptively block robocalls. And yet, the bad calls are still happening.

Could Florida have something to teach the country about gun control? 

The tourism industry pushed Wednesday to keep the doors open at the state’s tourism-marketing agency as House and Senate budget committees advanced competing spending plans for next year.

FWC Says Virus Might Be Killing Turtles In St. Johns Watershed

Mar 29, 2019

The mysterious die-off of freshwater turtles throughout the massive St. Johns River watershed continues despite an ongoing year-long investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and its partners to determine the cause and prevent damage to the ecosystem with the loss of the species.

Florida Senate Democrats voted to reaffirm their opposition to a ban on sanctuary cities moving through the legislature. 

Some college students are pushing Florida lawmakers to allow immigrant students access to state financial aid. 

A bill exempting recordings of mass shootings from public record cleared the Senate Wednesday. The House version is headed to that chamber’s floor.

Sarasota’s sustainability staff introduced a proposal to limit plastic pollution, specifically polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam.
Jason Bartolone

The City of Sarasota is moving forward with a ban on single-use polystyrene products, commonly known as Styrofoam, in public spaces.

Florida Lawmakers Eye Tougher Texting While Driving Ban

Mar 27, 2019

An effort to put more teeth into Florida’s ban on texting while driving continued its Senate journey Monday, after lawmakers stripped out proposals that could have allowed police to pull over motorists for potential distractions such as talking on cell phones, eating hamburgers or self-grooming.

Coastal flood maps for Hillsborough County are being revised for the first time in 30 years.
Hillsborough County

Residents and businesses may see changes to their flood insurance rates as Hillsborough County coastal flood maps are updated for the first time in 30 years.

Trump Administration Wants All Of 'Obamacare' Struck Down

Mar 26, 2019
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Trump administration has told a federal appeals court it wants the entire Affordable Care Act struck down, an outcome that could leave millions uninsured and re-ignite a winning political issue for Democrats.

Some Florida lawmakers say it’s too easy to change the state’s constitution. They want to raise the bar in an effort to keep what they say are policy changes out of document that lays the ground work for Florida’s government.

Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala) is behind the bill (SB 0232.)

“This resolution provides that to amend the state constitution, this is recommending an increase in the percentage to a 2/3rds majority, or 66 2/3 percent,” Baxley says.

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