The Florida Roundup

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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.

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. 

JOHN VAN BEEKUM/FLORIDA CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING / Miami Herald

There’s a war going on in Florida between the state legislature and environmental groups around the state. At stake is the biggest toll highway expansion the state has seen in more than  half a century. Legislation  has passed to expand the Suncoast Parkway, extend  Florida's Turnpike and create a new toll road connecting Polk and Collier counties. The bill was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The FBI will brief Florida’s congressional members this week on Russian attempts to hack the 2016 election, after the Mueller report revealed last month that the election system of at least one Florida county was compromised.

But even before details emerge, a former supervisor of elections in Florida is saying he is not surprised that the state’s system was compromised. Ion Sancho, the longtime former supervisor of elections of Leon County, said Friday on The Florida Roundup that Florida’s election infrastructure is, frankly, “not secure.”

CAITIE SWITALSKI / WLRN

When a federal judge ruled Thursday not to suspend election recount deadlines across Florida in the races for U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner, he also had some harsh words to say about the state’s handling of the elections.

"We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election," U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said.

A controversy has exploded in Florida after Sen. Bill Nelson said there was evidence of Russia’s trying to hack into Florida’s voting records. His assertion was sharply criticized by Gov. Rick Scott, who is challenging Nelson for his seat, and state elections officials.

We discussed the matter with Gary Fineout, reporter for the Associated Press;

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan; and Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor in the Cyber Science Department at the U.S. Naval Academy.

BENBILL / FLICKR

Living in the Florida Keys is life in paradise, but it comes at a cost. 

Day-to-day life in the Keys can be a struggle despite the natural beauty of the archipelago. Still, the affordability challenges, threats from hurricanes and risk of higher seas can't dilute the Conch spirit of independence, personal resiliency and individualism. 

Disney may be the next company facing public pressure over its political contributions in Florida.

Kim Jong Un
KRT via AP Video

President Donald Trump came to Miami one year ago, on June 16, 2017, to announce he was rolling back some of the Obama-era changes in America’s Cuban policy. In doing so, Trump went after the communist dictatorship on the island.

 

Opioid Lawsuit

The state of Florida is going after major opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Tuesday at a recovery center in Tampa announced the state is seeking to recover all damages allowable. She predicted a likely settlement in the billions.

Bondi said 15 people die every day in Florida from opioid abuse. More than 10,000 Floridians have died from what Bondi calls the state’s “opioid crisis.”

Medical Marijuana

Hector Gabino / El Nuevo Herald

Charlie Hand has been living in Miami's Spring Garden neighborhood for almost two decades. He has dealt with the area’s changes firsthand.

“In this restaurant district, there’s music coming from restaurants and yachts out back and fireworks,” he says. “And that has diminished our quality of life, to be woken up in the night and early morning.”

South Florida Faces A Costly Sewage Problem

Jan 28, 2018
Las Olas Fort Lauderdale
Wally Gobetz via Flickr / WLRN

From Delray Beach to Virginia Key, South Florida is spending millions of dollars to fix old sewer systems. 

 

Does Miami Have A Chance To Host Amazon HQ2?

Jan 21, 2018
AP

Miami is still in the race. This week Amazon announced the 20 cities on its short list as it decides where to build its second headquarters (HQ2) – a $5-billion investment promising 50,000 high-paying jobs.

Though the final list singles out Miami, the proposal was a regional effort. 

A state judge says it’s unconstitutional to make Florida women wait to get an abortion while another sex scandal opens the state legislative session. Plus, the political world in Florida and nationwide is on fire over allegations President Donald Trump used an expletive term.


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