News Service of Florida

News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE --- As powerful Hurricane Dorian threatened to crash into the state’s East Coast last September, Florida Power & Light brought in crews and took other steps to prepare for potentially massive electricity outages.

TALLAHASSEE --- Amid pushback from law-school deans, graduates and lawmakers, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners on Wednesday canceled in-person exams scheduled for late this month and announced the tests will be administered online in August.

The decision to nix in-person Bar exams in Tampa and Orlando on July 28 and July 29 came as the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida continues to skyrocket, with state officials reporting an increase of more than 6,500 new cases on Wednesday.

MATIAS J. OCNER / MIAMI HERALD

TALLAHASSEE --- Pointing to a failure to call a “Code Red” that could have locked down the school, an appeals court Wednesday refused to dismiss a case against a campus security monitor who spotted and followed accused gunman Nikolas Cruz before the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

New Budget, More Than 100 Laws Hit The Books In Florida

Jun 30, 2020
Michael Rivera (Own work) / Wikimedia Commons

TALLAHASSEE --- More than 100 new laws will hit the books Wednesday from the 2020 legislative session, with issues ranging from expanding school vouchers to increasing fines for bear poaching.

Out of 156 bills Gov. Ron DeSantis had signed into law as of Tuesday afternoon, 112, including the state’s new $92.2 billion budget, will take effect Wednesday, the start of the state’s fiscal year.

Holly Pretsky / WLRN

TALLAHASSEE --- Face shields, temperature checks and disposable pens are just some of the safeguards Florida officials plan to employ to combat COVID-19, as they brace for elections in August and November.

Collectively, Florida’s 67 county supervisors of elections have decades of experience responding to disasters. They’ve combatted hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and even the historic Bush v. Gore meltdown in 2000.

Florida Looks For ‘Way Forward’ On Bars

Jun 28, 2020

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida’s ban on serving alcohol to people in bars will be reevaluated daily, the state’s top business regulator said in a series of tweets over the weekend that also offered apologies for the crackdown.

DeSantis Signs School Vouchers Expansion

Jun 25, 2020
Scott Keeler / Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE --- Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed legislation that will dramatically expand a voucher program that helps students go to private schools, the latest step in a two-decade push to expand school choice in Florida. 

The Republican governor said the bill “expands and builds off the success” of the Florida Empowerment Scholarship program, which he pushed to create shortly after taking office in 2019. The bill (HB 7067), passed during the legislative session that ended in March, will help nearly 29,000 more students receive vouchers next school year.

State Sends Message As It Suspends Bar’s License

Jun 23, 2020

TALLAHASSEE --- A bar near the University of Central Florida has had its state alcoholic beverage license suspended for violating reopening guidelines after 13 employees and at least 28 customers tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Yercombe / flickr

TALLAHASSEE --- Pointing to “range anxiety” as an obstacle to motorists driving electric vehicles, Florida Power & Light is asking regulators to approve a proposal that could lead to more vehicle-charging stations in the state.

Scott Keeler / Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE --- Continuing to gradually finish the work of this year’s legislative session, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday signed 21 bills, including measures aimed at improving school-bus safety and preventing bear poaching.

Chris Day / Fresh Take Florida

TALLAHASSEE --- Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking a federal appeals court to put on hold a ruling that would pave the way for hundreds of thousands of Floridians who have been convicted of felonies to register and vote in November, arguing the decision could “corrupt” the integrity of the state’s elections.

Florida Gets 86,000 Jobless Claims, As Numbers Trend Down

Jun 18, 2020
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

TALLAHASSEE --- Economic reopening efforts across Florida were reflected Thursday in a report on initial unemployment claims, which fell last week below six figures for the first time since the coronavirus shuttered businesses in March.

University of Florida

TALLAHASSEE --- The University of Florida Board of Trustees is asking a federal judge to toss out a potential class-action lawsuit that contends the school should be required to refund tuition and fees to students after closing its campus in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Attorneys for the trustees last week filed a 17-page motion to dismiss the case, which alleges breach of contract and “unjust enrichment” by the university after students were forced to take online classes to finish the spring semester.

Al Diaz / Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE — Accusing Florida officials of ignoring “the harsh reality of the pandemic,” left-leaning groups are asking a federal judge to move forward with legal challenges to state vote-by-mail restrictions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel Lee late last month asked U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to dismiss the challenges, arguing that they are based on “speculative fears” about what might occur later in the year.

Questions Remain About Reopening State Offices

Jun 16, 2020
Creative Commons

TALLAHASSEE --- More than a month after Gov. Ron DeSantis began restarting Florida’s economy, his administration has not issued guidance for how state agencies should reopen offices to workers and the public.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many state workers have been working from home and have been following telework and sick leave policies issued in March by the Department of Management Services, an executive agency that oversees state personnel matters.

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