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. 

MATIAS J. OCNER / Miami Herald

After mounting pressure, this week Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state of Florida to try to slow the spread of COVID 19. DeSantis resisted issuing the order for weeks and said he’s taking his cues from the White House.

WILLIAM BRAWLEY / FLICKR

If you’re congested, sneezing, and have watery eyes or a sudden fever, you probably shouldn’t worry about the coronavirus. Understandably, anyone with these symptoms would be concerned. If you’re you're obsessing about the pandemic and feeling anxious, experts say it’s important to remember this is spring allergy season. Colds and the flu are common, and items in your home could trigger your allergies.

Matias J. Ocner / Miami Herald

At least nineteen long-term care facilities in Florida have either a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. The disease has already proven deadly at one senior care facility in Broward County. Four residents have tested positive for the virus at an assisted living facility in Jacksonville.

 

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew says she has sent experts to the affected facilities. But citing federal privacy laws, the state has been reluctant to release specific details about which facilities have had confirmed or suspected cases. 

 

Miami Herald file

Florida voters overwhelmingly chose Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s primary election. Access to quality health care plans and paying for health insurance were top of mind for voters as Florida remains under a state of emergency and the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow.

 

Brynn Anderson / AP Photo

The state of Florida and several counties are in states of emergency as more Floridians test positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus.  Mary Mayhew, Florida’s secretary for the Agency for Health Care Administrations, which oversees nursing home and other assisted care facilities, said on Friday there was no community spread of the COVID-19 virus in Florida.  

 

WOKANDAPIX / PIXABAY CREATIVE COMMONS

The arrest of a six-year-old girl with special needs in Jacksonville earlier this month is renewing calls to change Florida's Baker Act. 

Dake Kang / AP

There have been no cases of the coronavirus reported in Florida so far, according to the Florida Department of Health. 

State health officials say they can’t release information about how many people have been tested for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

 

Lydia Bell / Greenpeace

It’s called “the plastic monster.” The 15-foot sculpture made of plastic bags, bottles, and packaging visited the state Capitol in Tallahassee earlier this month and has stopped in Publix parking lots throughout the state. Now, the monster is part of an effort by Greenpeace to bring attention to single-use plastics, the companies that use them and legislative efforts to prohibit local governments from banning certain plastic products.

 

Mark Wallheiser / AP

Parkland father Fred Guttenberg was removed from President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday after the president proclaimed that he would protect Second Amendment rights, and Guttenberg retorted in frustration: “What about the victims of gun violence, like my daughter?”

Fifth Third Bank/AP

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando is working to change Florida’s private school voucher program ‘Step Up for Students’ because he says it violates state law. Smith says Floridians have a constitutional right not to face discrimination regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification.

Aileen Perilla / AP

A Florida bill that would require teenagers under 18 years of age to get parental permission for an abortion passed its final Senate committee this week. The legislation requires parents of minor girls seeking an abortion to have a notarized consent form before a doctor can perform the procedure. Florida law currently requires parents to be notified.

A doctor who doesn’t get the parents okay could face prison time. Democrats argue that the bill is an attempt to erode abortion rights. Republicans disagree—arguing the legislation protects minors.

DANIEL RIVERO / WLRN

The Florida Supreme Court ruled this week that former felons must pay all outstanding fines and fees before having their voting rights restored under a constitutional amendment passed in 2018.  The controversial ruling seeks to clarify outstanding questions raised in the execution of the amendment.

Supporters of the ruling, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, say voting is a privilege; and paying fines, fees and restitution is part a felon’s punishment.  Critics say requiring the payments amounts to a poll tax.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Teachers throughout Florida are making their way to Tallahassee to protest on Monday, the eve of the start of the 2020 legislative session. The teachers unions expects thousands of teachers, parents, and supporters of public education to take part.

Florida Education Association says inadequate funding has turned Florida’s public education system into one of the worst in the country. Despite Governor Ron DeSantis proclaiming this is the “Year of the Teacher” and proposing a minimum teacher salary of $47,500, and another $300 million in bonuses—Florida teachers want more.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

With the presidency on the ballot this year, there are real fears of attempts by foreign powers to interfere in Florida’s election. Increasing election security is a priority for local, state and federal officials.

Walter Michot / Miami Herald

The environment will likely be a top story in Florida in the upcoming year. 2019 has been one of the hottest on record. King tides were some of the highest recorded. And, while Hurricane Dorian skirted along the Atlantic coast, it was a reminder of how vulnerable Florida is as climate change fuels more intense and wetter storms.

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