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. 

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Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida got a big boost this week from Orlando attorney John Morgan. He's credited with helping to legalize medical marijuana by advocating for Amendment 2 in 2016. 

Morgan backs the inclusion of a question about the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state's 2020 ballot. The proposed initiative would require nearly 800,000 signatures of registered voters and a review by Florida's Supreme Court to make it to the voters. The proposed amendment would require 60 percent of  approval to become law.

On this week's Florida Roundup we spent the full hour taking a closer look at the politics of pot in the Sunshine State with:

We devoted the full program to the issue of gun control in the Sunshine State.

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Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer plans to introduce an ordinance this month banning guns from public facilities in his Broward County city. Thanks to a recent court ruling, Stermer can put his proposal on the city commisson's agenda without being subject to a fine or getting thrown out of office.

Phil Sears / AP

A proposed new “citizens amendment” could be on the ballot for Florida voters in 2020. It would replace two words in the state constitution with one word. Instead of saying every citizen can vote, it would say only a citizen can vote.

The measure is picking up steam, even though it’s already illegal for noncitizens to vote. In fact, a group called Florida Citizens Voters has raised more than $4.6 million and says it has gathered more than double the amount of signatures that a petition needs to be included in next year's ballot. 

On this week's Florida Roundup we look at the proposed "citizens amendment." 

Florida’s heat set record highs last month. The Union of Concerned Scientists says in less than 20 years, Florida will be so hot for so much of the year that it could literally be life threatening. The scientists in a new report say the world must reduce carbon emissions now or face extreme heat that will take lives within decades. 

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

As parts of Florida deal with record temperatures this month, regular triple-digit weather may become a way of life for Floridians in the foreseeable future.  A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists concludes Florida will soon experience life-threatening, scorching temperatures for about a quarter of the year.

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. 

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