Jim Turner

Jim Turner is a reporter for the News Service of Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law measures that include bigger fines for dumping pollutants into waterways and new rules for septic tanks and agricultural runoff, though environmentalists said the rules don’t go far enough.

Senate Democrats called out state Republican leaders Wednesday amid increasing cases of the coronavirus, including questioning Gov. Ron DeSantis for maintaining Florida is “not going back” on its reopening.

Florida’s ban on serving alcohol to people in bars will be reevaluated daily, the state’s top business regulator said in a series of tweets over the weekend that also offered apologies for the crackdown.

A bar near the University of Central Florida has had its state alcoholic beverage license suspended for violating reopening guidelines after 13 employees and at least 28 customers tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will announce Friday additional “phase one” measures to reopen the state’s economy, with the moves expected to include allowing more people to be seated in restaurants and allowing gyms to operate.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said it’s time for professional sports teams to play ball again in Florida.

DeSantis, who is still rolling out the first phase of the state’s economic recovery effort amid the coronavirus pandemic, said Wednesday he will lift restrictions so teams would be welcome to train and play games in empty stadiums in Florida.

News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida’s next budget remains on hold pending another round of federal stimulus money, which could also dictate how state lawmakers readdress the spending plan.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he has put off formally accepting and reviewing a $93.2 billion budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that was approved by the Legislature in March and is slated to take effect July 1.

John Raoux / AP

TALLAHASSEE --- Coronavirus hair can soon be professionally snipped.

Gov. Ron DeSantis posted a video Friday featuring Orlando barbershop owner John Henry, who announced that starting Monday, barbershops, hair salons and nail salons will be allowed to reopen in most of the state after being shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

John Raoux / AP

Barber shops and hair salons are still on the sidelines as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening of select businesses during the coronavirus pandemic begins Monday.

DeSantis laid the foundation for the reopening of personal grooming businesses during a roundtable with barbers and hair stylists in Orlando on Saturday.

News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — A Tampa Republican lawmaker on Friday called for an audit of the state’s overwhelmed unemployment-compensation system, as work was underway to finalize a paper version of the benefits application.

Florida Lawmakers Agree On $92 Billion Budget, Will Vote Next Week

Mar 15, 2020

Legislative leaders completed a roughly $92 billion budget on Saturday afternoon, settling numerous education and health care issues as they fine-tuned the state spending plan in anticipation of an economic hit from the novel coronavirus.

News Service of Florida

Readying for negotiations with the Senate, the Florida House approved a tax package Friday that some Democrats decried as being too focused on giving breaks to special interests.

The House voted 97-16 to pass the package (HB 7097), which would cut revenue by an estimated $115 million next fiscal year.

Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed concerns Monday about legislative proposals that would further prevent local governments from regulating short-term vacation rentals.

vectorolie / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Local governments would be barred from licensing food truck vendors in their communities, as part of broader deregulation proposals that cleared final House and Senate committees Thursday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee and House Commerce Committee approved similar bills (SB 474 and HB 1193) that meet part of a call by Gov. Ron DeSantis to scale back occupational regulations.

Travelers might again get a free cup of Florida’s homegrown beverage when they cross the state line, through funding tucked in the Senate’s proposed budget.

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