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Free speech in Florida 

Phil Sears
Members of Moms Demand Action view a field of about 2,849 white silk roses in front of the Old Capitol in Tallahassee on March 9, 2023. They planted the roses to symbolize Floridians shot and killed last year.

Throughout the history of America, people have used protests to make their voices heard and advocate for change. But in Florida, a new rule clamps down on who gets to say what at the State Capitol. Now, any group that wants to hold a rally or demonstration at the Capitol must get an official sponsor and the rally has to align with a state agency's mission.

This comes as a proposal moves through the Legislature that would make it easier for people to sue media outlets for defamation. The bill would make a number of sweeping changes to defamation standards and create a presumption that statements provided by anonymous sources are false.


Senate President Passidomo on ‘Live Local Act’ 

The "Live Local Act" passed the Florida Senate unanimously last week with bipartisan support. Even Democrats are touting the measure — a priority of Republican Senate President Kathleen Passidomo — as a huge step in mitigating the state’s affordable housing crisis.


Red tide returns to Florida’s beaches

Spring break is in full swing on Florida’s beaches, and even an outbreak of red tide isn’t getting visitors down. Still, dead fish are washing ashore, and beachgoers are facing respiratory problems on beaches in Southwest Florida.


  • Tom Bayles, senior environmental reporter for WGCU.
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Bridget O’Brien is an award-winning, versatile audio producer with more than eight years of experience in radio, audience engagement and storytelling across a diverse range of outlets. You can reach Bridget at bobrien@wjct.org.