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Heard On Sundial: Amendment 4, South FL’s Economy, Children’s Mental Health And Long Distance Affair

Daniel Rivero

On this Tuesday, May 26, episode of Sundial:

Felons Voting Rights

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled on Sunday that the requirement by the state that all former felons must pay back all fines and fees before registering to vote was unconstitutional. As many as 800,000 felons across the state of Florida could be impacted by the ruling. The high profile court case has been followed across the country for the ramifications it could have on the November 2020 election — and beyond.

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In November of 2018, Florida voters overwhelmingly voted in support of Amendment 4, which restores felons' right to vote. But the state passed Senate Bill 7066, which required all fines and fees be paid back before those Floridians could register to vote. WLRN reporter Daniel Rivero has been following the story for the past two years and joined Sundial to discuss what's next for these new voters and if Gov. Ron DeSantis will decide to appeal the ruling.

South Florida’s Economy 

The extent of Florida’s unemployment crisis is continuing to worsen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 12.9 percent of Floridians are currently unemployed. Economists have warned that South Florida’s tourism marketplace will take awhile to recover from the pandemic.

“It will ultimately depend on how resilient the American public proves to be,” says Johnny Taylor, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management. “I look back to 9/11, everyone thought that was the end, people won’t stay in large hotels or fly in planes. But it came back pretty quickly and things changed. We will just have a different way of experiencing tourism.”

Dr. Alex Alonso is the organization’s chief knowledge officer. He, along with Taylor, spoke with Sundial's senior producer Chris Remington about the future of the marketplace and the challenges of coronavirus testing in the workplace.

Children’s Mental Health

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on people's physical and mental health is already apparent, as well as in children. With remote learning, kids are being forced to socially isolate. They're also witnessing their parents’ struggles or are dealing with illnesses themselves.

The Centers for Disease Control found nearly 2 million children are suffering from depression and more than 4 million have anxiety disorders. Dr. Howard Pratt is a child psychiatrist with Community Health of South Florida. He joined Sundial to explain what he’s hearing from clients now and what resources are available for children in need.

Long Distance Affair

Miami's Juggerknot Theatre has partnered with Pop-up Theatrics of New York in an online theatrical project called "Long Distance Affair." Performers from around the world act, in real-time, in a series of vignettes, telling 10-minute stories. 

The artists are from cities like New York, Paris, Madrid and now — Miami. 

Long Distance Affair is currently running until May 30. Pop-up Theatrics' Tamilla Woodward joined Sundial to talk about how the project has brought on new meaning because of the pandemic and what the future of theater could look like.

Sherrilyn Cabrera was an intern with WLRN in 2019 and has been a freelance contributor ever since. During her time at Florida International University, where she recently earned a B.S. in Journalism, Sherrilyn Cabrera interned for the South Florida News Service - a digital journalism platform where stories are written, photographed and edited by FIU students. As part of her senior project, she reported on the influx of Puerto Ricans who migrated to Florida after Hurricane Maria, and the potential impact on the November 2018 midterm elections.
Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.