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Today’s top stories
• Ron DeSantis officially becomes Florida’s new governor today at noon. He plans to announce his first choice for the Florida Supreme Court after being sworn-in and has promised the people that he will quickly get to work, perhaps replacing Broward County’s sheriff in the process. Two women — the lieutenant governor and his wife — also say they plan to work closely with him to make his administration a success. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sun Sentinel)
• Today is the day when former felons can begin registering to vote in Florida. (WMFE)
• Nikki Fried last night celebrated the beginning of her time as agriculture commissioner at an inaugural ball. She was the only Democrat elected to a statewide office in November. Here’s what she has planned once she starts the job. (Florida Politics, WFSU)
• The government shutdown continues to impact many employees statewide. A University of Florida molecular biology professor, for example, has put his projects on hold due to a lack of communication with NASA. Would-be beachgoers can’t access Canaveral National Seashore. And ferry access to the Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola also remains in limbo. (Gainesville Sun, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Pensacola News Journal)
• Former Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes is fighting in federal court to be reinstated after she was suspended for failing to turn in ballots from the midterm election in November. (Miami Herald)
• The state of Florida revoked the license of a Broward County nursing home where 12 people died after Hurricane Irma in 2017. (News Service of Florida)
• A former state Representative and grandson to Ben Hill Griffin Jr., Baxter Troutman, is charged with aggravated battery against his wife — all because of an alleged dispute over her wanting to purchase a house in her name. (Lakeland Ledger)
• Marion County, also known as the horse capital of the world, is building a World Equestrian Center with hopes of a grand opening in 2021. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• A Panhandle business owner has reached out to lawmakers, saying he’s concerned wildfires will become more of a threat because of the damage that Hurricane Michael left behind. (Florida Politics)
• Broward County schools now have a $621,000 surveillance system that recognizes and remembers people’s movements and characteristics, though not their face. (Sun Sentinel)
• The folks at r/GNV have a nice list of the new restaurants worth trying in Gainesville.
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