Dara Kam - News Service of Florida

Dara Kam is the Senior Reporter of The News Service Of Florida.

As the number of coronavirus cases in Florida continues to climb, local education officials and parents are grappling with a statewide mandate to reopen schools in August.

Miami Herald file

TALLAHASSEE --- Plaintiffs in a Florida voting-rights case have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate an appeals-court decision that would prevent hundreds of thousands of felons from registering and voting in next month’s primary elections and could keep them from casting ballots in November.

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

In a win for Gov. Ron DeSantis, a federal appeals court on Wednesday agreed to the state’s request for a rare full-court initial review of a voting rights ruling that could open the door for hundreds of thousands of Florida felons to participate in this year’s elections.

TALLAHASSEE --- Amid pushback from law-school deans, graduates and lawmakers, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners on Wednesday canceled in-person exams scheduled for late this month and announced the tests will be administered online in August.

The decision to nix in-person Bar exams in Tampa and Orlando on July 28 and July 29 came as the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida continues to skyrocket, with state officials reporting an increase of more than 6,500 new cases on Wednesday.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

TALLAHASSEE --- Face shields, temperature checks and disposable pens are just some of the safeguards Florida officials plan to employ to combat COVID-19, as they brace for elections in August and November.

Collectively, Florida’s 67 county supervisors of elections have decades of experience responding to disasters. They’ve combatted hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and even the historic Bush v. Gore meltdown in 2000.

WP PAARZ / FLICKR

TALLAHASSEE --- Laying the groundwork for an upcoming trial in a case seeking to expand the state's vote-by-mail procedures, a federal judge on Friday tossed out an effort by left-leaning groups to require county elections officials to pay for postage for mail-in ballots.

Al Diaz / Associated Press

With a closely watched trial set to begin next month, a federal judge on Wednesday struck a blow to left-leaning groups seeking to expand Florida’s vote-by-mail procedures.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle denied most portions of the groups’ requests for preliminary injunctions in the case, which is a consolidation of three lawsuits, saying the plaintiffs lack “a substantial likelihood of succeeding” on the vast majority of the issues.

Chris Day / Fresh Take Florida

TALLAHASSEE --- Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking a federal appeals court to put on hold a ruling that would pave the way for hundreds of thousands of Floridians who have been convicted of felonies to register and vote in November, arguing the decision could “corrupt” the integrity of the state’s elections.

Al Diaz / Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE — Accusing Florida officials of ignoring “the harsh reality of the pandemic,” left-leaning groups are asking a federal judge to move forward with legal challenges to state vote-by-mail restrictions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel Lee late last month asked U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to dismiss the challenges, arguing that they are based on “speculative fears” about what might occur later in the year.

LGBTQ advocates are hailing Monday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that gay, lesbian and transgender workers are covered by federal anti-discrimination laws, but they say Florida needs to do more.

The court’s 6-3 opinion, authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, found that the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to workers’ gender identity and sexual orientation.

Columbia City Blog /Flickr

TALLAHASSEE --- A federal judge on Sunday refused to put on hold his decision allowing hundreds of thousands of Florida felons who have completed prison or jail sentences to register and vote in this year’s elections.

Keeping secret the identity of a police officer who shot a black crime suspect might seem anathema during a national time of reckoning about police brutality and racial disparity.

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

TALLAHASSEE --- More than two months after Florida received the money, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that the state will start to release nearly $1.3 billion in federal funds to cash-strapped counties struggling amid a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chris Day / Fresh Take Florida

TALLAHASSEE --- Arguing that the case is of “exceptional importance,” lawyers for Gov. Ron DeSantis have made a rare move of asking a full appellate court to consider a challenge to a voting-rights ruling that would pave the way for hundreds of thousands of felons to cast ballots in the November elections.

Appeals in federal lawsuits are almost always initially heard by three-judge panels, whose decisions can be revisited later by the full court in what are known as “en banc” hearings.

Miami Herald

TALLAHASSEE --- The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to ban possession of assault-style weapons does not meet requirements to go before voters.

Supporters of the Ban Assault Weapons NOW initiative did not submit enough petition signatures to make it on the 2020 ballot but needed support from the Supreme Court to go before voters in 2022. The group began the initiative after 17 people were killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

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