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Florida’s Upcoming Legislative Session, Thanksgiving Etiquette During COVID, Jane Wood Reno’s 'Extraordinary Life'

Newly elected members of the Florida Senate take the oath of office in the Senate chamber on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, at the Capitol in Tallahassee. New Miami-Dade Senator Ileana Garcia is at the far left.

Florida lawmakers gear up for 2021. Etiquette for a different kind of Thanksgiving. And remembering one of Miami’s greatest journalists.

On this Monday, Nov. 23, episode of Sundial:

Florida’s Upcoming Legislative Session

Florida state lawmakers will return to Tallahassee in March for the next legislative session.

Last week, they were at the capitol to swear in the new officers and lawmakers and, in doing so, gave a sense of what their future priorities will be.

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“[Wilton] Simpson [the Senate President] spoke about the one thing that is really the only bill the legislature is required to pass: the budget. He talked about the enormous challenge they're going to face because of the pandemic, that we've now got a $5.8 billion hole over two years in the state budget, which means that they will have to cut the budget and reduce programs,” said Mary Ellen Klas, Tallahassee bureau chief for the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.

Simpson has suggested that raising tuition at Florida public universities may be one way to meet shortfalls in state revenues.

In the Florida Legislature, Republicans currently hold the power in both chambers, having gained five additional seats in the House and one in the Senate after the November general election. Neither party has a supermajority (two-thirds of either chamber) that would allow them to easily push through legislation.

Florida’s Upcoming Legislative Session

Thanksgiving Etiquette During COVID

As the holiday season approaches, this year will look different than previous ones, with the COVID-19 pandemic upending how we socialize with others.

Health experts recommend that the safest way to celebrate this year is at home with the people you live with.

“We have to be very clear this year, as a host or hostess, it's always our responsibility to let our guests know what the event is going to be like. That's part of the rules of etiquette," said Yvonne Salas, the director of Etiqueta Excellence Manners school in South Florida. "If we want them to be wearing masks, if we want to make sure that they don't show up with anyone that we don't know, whether we're having it indoors or outdoors."

She also suggests using disposable napkins and cutlery, and having hand sanitizer available.

For virtual gatherings, Salas says to schedule a specific time to meet over a platform like Zoom. She says it’s important that if there are children within the family, to give them an activity like coloring or making cards to make them feel close with family members who may be far away.

“I have so much to be grateful for. And that's exactly the approach we have to have — that we always have to look for what we are grateful for. We have blessings, all sorts. So we have to look at that side of concentrating on the pandemic,” Salas said.

Thanksgiving Etiquette During COVID

Jane Wood Reno’s Extraordinary Life

Jane Wood Reno was a renaissance woman who played a critical role in Miami’s journalism history in the 20th century. Through her writing at the Miami Daily News she exposed a child racketeering scheme and reported on the infamous Dozier School for Boys.

She also built her family home from scratch while raising four children, including her daughter Janet — who would go on to become U.S. Attorney General under President Bill Clinton.

The new book "The Extraordinary Life of Jane Wood Reno: Miami’s Trailblazing Journalist" takes readers into Jane’s world — through the eyes of her grandson, author and historian George Hurchalla.

“She got a foothold in the paper through the use of the men's names till they realized it was a woman producing all of this and how good of a journalist she was that she was able to eventually get a foothold on the staff there,” Hurchalla said. “[She was] always being painstakingly accurate in that empathetic, nonjudgmental way with no preconceptions rather than a lot of people who tried to form friendships or tried to gain access.”

The book was featured as part of this year’s Miami Book Fair.

Jane Wood Reno’s Extraordinary Life

Suria is Sundial's fall 2020 high school intern and a production assistant.
Leslie Ovalle produces WLRN's daily magazine program, Sundial. She previously produced Morning Edition newscasts at WLRN and anchored the midday news. As a multimedia producer, she also works on visual and digital storytelling.