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Florida’s new laws, summer meals for kids, rowing across the Atlantic Ocean for climate change

Rowing Canaries_Julen Sanchez.jpeg
Courtesy of Julen Sanchez
Julen Sanchez rowed a boat across the Atlantic to make a statement about people’s carbon footprint.

Florida’s new restrictions on abortion access, new laws and the impact on this year’s elections. Plus, where you can find meals for the summer while school is out. And a man who rowed a boat across the Atlantic to make a statement about people’s carbon footprint.

On this Wednesday, July 6, edition of Sundial:

Florida’s new laws

Nearly 150 new laws went into effect in Florida on Friday.

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Of course, making the news has been the 15-week abortion ban. It was temporarily halted with an injunction, which was appealed by the state. It’s now in effect but still in the courts.

“Today, the state asked to have the case expedited straight to the Supreme Court, bypassing the district court of appeals. So I don't know when that will actually occur or if it will. But it's like a bouncing ball, and it's really difficult for people to follow,” said Susan MacManus, a University of South Florida Distinguished University Professor Emerita and political analyst. “The state Supreme Court now is very differently configured than [when] the three previous cases that involve the privacy portion of the amendment. The court now is much, much more conservative.”

The state’s Supreme Court is run differently than the federal court.

“Florida's Supreme Court has retention elections. It's not like the Supreme Court of the United States, where someone is appointed for life. Every six years, because we have a term of office for six years, these Supreme Court justices, whose term is nearing the end, have to go up for a retention vote. Now, think about this — this year, five of Florida's seven Supreme Court justices have to be on the ballot for retention,” she said, adding that the court could become an object for political campaigns.

MacManus joined Sundial to discuss the state’s new laws if they will withstand pushback in the courts and how they might impact upcoming elections.

Other laws that went into effect include the Stop WOKE Act, which restricts race-related topics in school and the workplace. The Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed by critics the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

And other laws that will impact health care, law enforcement, local government — and even making the strawberry shortcake the new state dessert.

Florida’s new laws

Summer meals for kids

Kids are out for the summer, and while many may like having less homework, for the students who rely on going to school to get free and reduced meals, this season can be harder on families.

That was true even before inflation and supply chain issues made the average grocery bill higher.

Don't get discouraged. Despite more challenges this summer, kids can still eat at hundreds of schools and libraries across South Florida.

WLRN's Education Reporter Kate Payne joined Sundial to talk about meal options for children and families in South Florida. Find more of that reporting here.

Sundial also heard from Paco Vélez, the President and CEO of Feeding South Florida. He joined to discuss how inflation and supply chain issues impact food access.

Summer meals for kids

Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean for climate change

Courtesy of Julen Sanchez
Julen Sanchez rowed a boat across the Atlantic to make a statement about people’s carbon footprint.

Think about this for a second: imagine being alone, miles and miles from another human being for almost four months.

That was life for Julen Sanchez, who took more than a hundred days to row across the Atlantic Ocean and land on Florida’s coast. He didn’t stop there — he got on a bicycle and rode from South Florida to Pittsburgh.

He hopes it'll raise awareness about the state of the environment and people’s carbon footprint.

He joined Sundial after arriving in Pittsburgh, finishing his international adventure. Currently, he is on a short break but has plans to cycle the Trans-Canada Highway from East Coast to West Coast, continuing his human-powered journey across continents and oceans.

Learn more about his strenuous journey here.

Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean for climate change
Rowing Sunset_Julen Sanchez.jpg

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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.
Caitie Muñoz, formerly Switalski, currently leads the WLRN Newsroom as Interim Managing Editor. Prior to transitioning to leadership from production, Caitie reported on news and stories concerning quality of life in Broward County and its municipalities for WLRN News for four years.