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Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Tim Fanning / WUSF Public Media

Some local government leaders are saying state legislators are choking their ability to pay for programs for their communities. City and county governments across Florida face a possible decline in tax revenue. That’s because of a proposed homestead exemption on the November ballot.

At the same time, local leaders are scrambling to find funds to pay for state mandated programs, such as Pinellas County's new $20 million school safety officer requirement.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Pinellas County Schools face a massive budget deficit in the wake of new legislation spurred by the Parkland shooting.

The law requires school safety officers to be assigned to every public school in Florida.

Hafsa Quraishi / WUSF Public Media

Governor Rick Scott outlined his recently unveiled safety plan at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Wednesday. The proposed $500 million plan calls for new laws that keep guns from mentally ill people and improve school safety, among other measures.

The move comes in response to the school shooting in Parkland two weeks ago that killed 17 people. 

Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

Four Florida deputies have been suspended for allegedly neglecting their duties during Hurricane Irma.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Even before the bands of Hurricane Irma swept through Pinellas County, emergency officials were preparing for the aftermath.

They told people who've left the county not to rush back as soon as the storm has passed - because they won't be allowed back in.

Tourists at Clearwater Beach.
WUSF Public Media

Access to the Pinellas County barrier islands had already been restricted since Friday morning to residents, business owners and employees in advance of Hurricane Irma. 

Starting Sunday at 6 a.m., no one will be allowed in - even if they live there. 

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Six teenagers who were involved in the crash of a stolen vehicle that killed three of the teens in a violent wreck had been arrested 126 times in recent years, Florida authorities said Monday.

Bob Gualtieri, the sheriff of Pinellas County, spoke soberly about the problem of juvenile car theft during a news conference.

"These kids couldn't have cared less about their crimes," he said. "When there's no consequence and no fear of consequence, you end up with kids who get arrested 126 times."

Pinellas County Sheriff

Authorities say three teenage girls have been found dead inside a car they stole after driving into a pond while fleeing sheriff's deputies in Florida.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said the driver apparently missed a sharp turn near the Royal Palm Cemetery in St. Petersburg and went into the water early Thursday morning.

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