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. 

Florida Charter Schools Get Mixed Marks for Success

Sep 13, 2019
Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Nearly 300,000 students attend charter schools in Florida. Charters are taxpayer funded, privately run and are changing the state’s public education system.

This week, Hurricane Dorian devastated the northern Bahamas and stalked Florida, which was spared a direct hit, for days.

AP

Floridians are bracing for a major hurricane just as funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is being directed away from disaster relief and to the southern border of the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security announced this week it will move $155 million dollars from FEMA to border security. 

Governor Ron DeSantis said on Thursday he doesn’t think the move will affect any money needed after Hurricane Dorian and that he is “confident it’s not going to affect Florida in a negative way.”

Hurricane Dorian may become the strongest storm to hit Florida’s east coast since Hurricane Andrew. As The Florida Round was going on the air, it was tracking closer to the coast, but there were still lots of questions about where it will actually go.

We spent the full hour taking a closer look at how Floridians around the state are preparing for Dorian  with:

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Florida’s Department of Health is investigating a claim filed by seven workers who say they were told to stop speaking Spanish at work. The nurses say they were threatened with termination if they did not comply. It happened at a state health clinic in Polk County.

One nurse says being bilingual was a hiring requirement because many of the clinic’s patients speak Spanish and English. It’s illegal to require workers only speak English at work, except for what the Department of Labor calls “very limited circumstances.” 

Miami Herald File

Florida schools are reopening for a new academic year. With the new year, comes new changes, including a new rule that Florida public schools are now required to provide mental and emotional health education to middle and high school students.

Schools will give information about coping skills, ways to sustain good mental health, suicide prevention and the impacts of substance abuse. It comes as attending school is potentially becoming more stressful.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Flickr

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. 

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