The Florida Roundup

Fridays at 12 PM

Listen to a panel of journalists and newsmakers discuss every week with hosts Melissa Ross and Tom Hudson the issues that define the Sunshine State. 

This show is co-produced with WJCT in Jacksonville. 

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Now that U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has resigned over criticism of his role in a plea deal reached over a decade ago with billionaire financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, attention is likely to zoom in on the dozens of women who were victimized by Epstein — many at his home in Palm Beach County. 

That’s long overdue.

Many of those girls were as young as 14 when they were abused and trafficked by Epstein, a hedge fund manager. 

On Friday, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned due to the role he played in the Jeffrey Epstein case while serving as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Back in 2008, Acosta approved a plea deal for Epstein, a convicted sex trafficker. The deal offered very little jail time, even though a 53-page indictment detailed all of Epstein’s alleged crimes.

Our guests for the discussion were:

David Goldman / AP

As of July 1, Florida is expanding several new toll roads. A new law extends the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; expands the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area to the Georgia border; and adds a new multi-use corridor, including a toll road, from Polk County to Collier County.

This week on an encore edition of The Florida Roundup, we revisit that and other top stories from 2019.

The first Democratic presidential debates took place in Miami Wednesday and Thursday nights at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade.

JOE RAEDLE GETTY IMAGES

In Florida, immigration is a hot-button issue for voters. And during two nights of Democratic debates last week, many of the 20 candidates repeatedly leveled criticism of Trump’s immigration policies and his handling of the crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Some even spoke in Spanish. 

But was that enough to satisfy Florida Democratic voters? 

At least one prominent Florida Republican called out the debate’s moderators and the candidates for failing to bring up the immigration issues that most affect the state.

Eyeing 2020: Will Florida Go For Trump Again?

Jun 24, 2019
JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES

In the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s visit to Orlando to announce his re-election campaign, and as 20 Democratic candidates ascend on Miami for primary debates this week, one question looms large: How will the ultimate swing state vote in 2020?

Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Three years after the deadliest act of violence against LGBTQ people in the history of the country, at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, activists across the state are encouraged by what they say are positive steps forward for Florida’s LGBTQ community. 

In spite of significant challenges, including from conservative lawmakers who hold the majority of seats in the statehouse, a federal memorial is in the works at the site of the shooting in Orlando. And this week, Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis voiced his support for the gay community. 

Later this month, the Supreme Court is expected to decide a brewing fight over the 2020 Census. It has to do with a proposed citizenship question the Trump administration wants to place on the Census.

We spent the full hour taking a closer look at what this might mean for Florida. Our guests for the discussion were:

Hansi Lo Wang / NPR

The Supreme Court will decide this month whether the Trump administration can include a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census, and Florida Republican Congressman Greg Steube says he believes the court will decide to include the controversial query.

Rep. Steube of Florida’s 17th congressional district, the Sarasota area, said Friday on The Florida Roundup that opposition to the citizenship question amounts to "a lot of Democratic political posturing."

JOHN VAN BEEKUM/FLORIDA CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING / Miami Herald

There’s a war going on in Florida between the state legislature and environmental groups around the state. At stake is the biggest toll highway expansion the state has seen in more than  half a century. Legislation  has passed to expand the Suncoast Parkway, extend  Florida's Turnpike and create a new toll road connecting Polk and Collier counties. The bill was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD

An expert on the impact of climate change on financial markets has advice for anyone thinking of buying a home in Florida: don’t.

Spencer Glendon of the Woods Hole Research Center said Friday on the Florida Roundup that financial institutions are going to wreck Florida’s economy if they don’t confront the risk to coastal real estate and slow their lending. He warned that home buyers in the state should no longer be receiving 30-year mortgages.

JACQUELYN MARTIN / AP

Days after Alabama’s governor signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, a conservative lawmaker in Florida says he’s encouraged about what that could mean for similar legislation here.

“I certainly expect that this discussion will continue and that I will be a part of it,” State Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala said Friday on The Florida Roundup. “As policymakers we now have a lot to look at. And I think that we see a growing number of people moving more to some pro-life views.”

This week we learned not one but two Florida counties had their voting databases hacked, but we didn’t learn which two.

This week, we discussed President Trump’s visit to the Panhandle - which is still recovering from Hurricane Michael - with Jessica Foster of WJHG News, NPR Correspondent Greg Allen and Arek Sarkissian of POLITICO Florida.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The FBI will brief Florida’s congressional members this week on Russian attempts to hack the 2016 election, after the Mueller report revealed last month that the election system of at least one Florida county was compromised.

But even before details emerge, a former supervisor of elections in Florida is saying he is not surprised that the state’s system was compromised. Ion Sancho, the longtime former supervisor of elections of Leon County, said Friday on The Florida Roundup that Florida’s election infrastructure is, frankly, “not secure.”

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