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Today’s top stories
• The 2019 legislative session opens today, and here are four worthwhile reads about the Florida political scene. Politico poses five questions we’re likely to have answered over the next two months. NPR catches up on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first two months in office ahead of his first State of the State speech today. WFSU says Senate President Bill Galvano’s priority remains an expansion of three major road projects, including one — the Suncoast Parkway — that would likely cut through this area. And future bans on plastic straws might themselves be banned, according to the Miami Herald.
• The tornadoes this weekend in Alabama hit too close for comfort to those still dealing with hurricane destruction in Panama City. And in Alford, one homeowner’s place survived Hurricane Michael but a tornado took off part of the roof on Sunday. (Panama City News Herald)
• WFSU reports the latest damage total from Hurricane Michael at $25 billion.
• Alachua County parents waiting to hear on Friday about their child’s acceptance into a magnet program were still waiting through part of the weekend. The first year of a $145,000 contract the district signed with a vendor to handle the applications has proven messy. (Gainesville Sun)
• Orlando-area lawmakers are ready to fight any punitive proposals that legislators might make against the University of Central Florida. “Please don’t hurt the students,” one asks. (Florida Politics)
• UF Health Jacksonville is hoping for funding to renovate its trauma center and emergency room. (WJCT)
• In Melrose, a court decision last month will allow for the construction of a controversial new RV park near Santa Fe Lake. (WUFT News)
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News from NPR
• National: How Federal Disaster Money Favors The Rich