March For Our Lives

MIKE STOCKER / South Florida Sun Sentinel

Florida’s voter registration data will be cross-checked against information from 28 other states for the first time starting next year, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday, promising increased accuracy of the state’s voter rolls.

During an appearance with election officials at the Orange County supervisor of elections office in Orlando, DeSantis said Florida will join the nonpartisan Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a bipartisan cooperative working to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

With their hopes fading that lawmakers in Washington will pass new gun safety measures, young activists from March for Our Lives have their own plans on how to stem gun violence.

AMY BETH BENNETT / South Florida Sun Sentinel via Miami Herald

On Thursday, Feb. 14, Gail Schwartz drove to the Star of David Memorial Gardens Cemetery in North Lauderdale to visit the grave of her nephew, Alex Schachter.

Schachter was one of the 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one year ago. He was 14 years old.

A longtime Trump ally pushed to have two fathers of Parkland victims tossed out of a congressional hearing on gun violence — a reflection of the vociferous nature of the debate Democrats have made a priority in the new Congress.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., sparked commotion in the hearing when he listed circumstances in which violence was committed by undocumented immigrants, and said the solution would be to build the Trump-backed wall along the Southwest border.

Gun control advocates view 2018 as a turning point in their campaign to strengthen the country's gun laws.

They cite widespread success in passing laws through state legislatures. They're also buoyed by Democratic victories in the midterm elections, which flipped control of the House of Representatives. Another benchmark: In this election cycle, gun control groups outspent gun rights groups for the first time ever.

When we set out to try to look back on the year that was in politics, we started with a list that grew ... and grew ... and grew. After a couple of days, the list was just shy of 100 news events. That's about one notable story every three days.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Activist Emma González, who became famous after giving an impassioned speech in Fort Lauderdale days after the shooting at her Parkland high school in February, stood on the steps of Florida's old state Capitol building on Monday and urged people to vote.

"Gun violence is on the ballot," González said. "Our lives are in the hands of the people that we elect. Vote in every election like it's your last, because it very well could be."

Nancy Pelosi/Ted Deutch
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

It's been a little over eight months since the shooting that took 17 people’s lives in Parkland. 

At a roundtable in Coral Springs City Hall on Wednesday, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and South Florida Congressman Ted Deutch met with grieving alumni, parents and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

"All I’m ever asked is 'how are you, how is everything going?'" Sarah Stricker, 15, a student, told the lawmakers. "The only thing I’m doing is surviving - I can’t do anything else." 

In the battle over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the usual suspects are lining up in support and opposition. At the grass roots, however, there is one new entry nervously eyeing the Kavanaugh nomination. It is March For Our Lives, started by high school students in Parkland, Fla., after the shooting there, and aimed ultimately at enacting more effective gun regulations.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

After the May school shooting in Texas, President Obama's secretary of education tweeted support for a radical idea: "What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe?"

Now, Arne Duncan is working to make his hypothetical a reality: a national public school boycott. But first, he wants input from people in Parkland.

The families of the 17 victims killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting will each receive $400,000 from a $10.5 million fund. Eighteen of the injured survivors will receive $1.63 million.

Claire Thornton / WLRN News

During rush hour in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, March for Our Lives activists rallied for increased gun control  on the steps of the federal courthouse - the same place where they challenged lawmakers by "calling BS" over four months ago.

Friday's rally was part of a state-wide bus tour that includes all of Florida's 27 congressional districts. The students say their main goal is increasing the youth voter turnout rate.

A crowd of 200 filled Selby Library auditorium in Sarasota Wednesday night for a town hall featuring students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Hundreds more were unable to get a seat after the hall reached capacity.

This summer, students involved in the March For Our Lives movement are traveling across the country to energize young people. Local organizers say they want to educate and encourage them to vote.   

Student activists from a high school that suffered a mass shooting have kicked off a March for Our Lives Florida bus tour, where they plan to visit all 27 of the state's Congressional districts.

Peter Haden / WLRN

A phone call about a possible hostage situation in Parkland on Tuesday morning led police officers to swarm the home of one of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's most outspoken student activists.

It turned out to be a prank called "swatting" — an illegal hoax call increasingly employed as a harassment tactic.

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