Subscribe to The Point to invite us into your inbox with the most important Florida news from Monday through Friday at 8 a.m.
Today’s top stories
• Melina Farley-Barratt earlier this fall became the first openly trans person to run for the Florida Senate. She is not sure how many years she has left, but she is sure of two things she wants to do with them: live publicly as a woman and change the Constitution of the United States. One of our reporters followed her in the weeks leading up to her decision to run, as she raced to leave a legacy and finally ratify the ERA. (WUFT News)
• Gun control supporters are seeking the Florida Supreme Court’s signature on a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at blocking the possession of assault weapons, claiming the proposal meets legal tests to appear on the ballot before voters. (News Service of Florida)
• Paul Skalnik has a decadeslong criminal record and might be one of the most prolific jailhouse informants in U.S. history. He has admitted to giving false testimony as an informant. And the state of Florida is planning to execute a man based largely on his word. (ProPublica)
• The proposed ballot initiative, Florida Changes to Energy Market Initiative, has divided environmentalists by proposing a deregulated, competitive market for electric power. If approved, it would allow all Florida residents to generate, use and sell their own electric power, creating more opportunities for solar power usage. (WUFT News)
• The City of Gainesville is looking to spend as much as $500,000 next year beginning to replace aging septic tank systems — assuming at least half that total is approved during the legislative session that starts in January. (WUFT News)
• A report to Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Cabinet shows Florida’s debt is $20.6 billion as of June 30, down $400 million from last year. The report shows a nine-year trend in debt reduction that began in July 2010 when Florida’s state debt reached a peak of $28.2 billion. (Florida Phoenix)
• The family of Joshua Kaleb Watson, a 23-year-old service member who was one of four victims killed in the Naval Air StationPensacola shooting on Friday, was astounded at the voluntary military turnout at the funeral. “Heavily wounded, he made his way out to flag down first responders and gave an accurate description of the shooter,” said the victim’s father, Benjamin Watson. “He died serving his country.” (Florida News Journal)
• Remember dumpster baby? Freddie Figgers, the infant abandoned next to a dumpster in the Florida panhandle in 1989 shortly after being born, is now a successful entrepreneur, the owner of Figgers Wireless and worth millions. (Washington Post)
• All Voters Vote, a petition-driven constitutional amendment that aims to create a “top-two” primary system, where all registered voters vote for all candidates for state legislature, governor and cabinet, regardless of party affiliation, has earned a place on the November 2020 ballot. If approved by at least 60% of voters, it would take effect Jan. 1, 2024. (Florida Today)
• According to a statewide survey conducted by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, the university’s Sea Grant program and the Ocean Conservancy, Floridians know about and are concerned about red tide and blue-green algae — most even agreed they’d be willing to pay higher taxes to help get rid of blooms. (TCPalm)
• Marion County School Board Attorney Paul Gibbs, who was hired in a similar capacity in Brevard County, will start his new position on Jan. 6, two weeks before his 60-day notice ends. (Ocala Star-Banner)
• A ceremony last night recognized the 48 men from Alachua County who were killed in the Vietnam War. (WCJB)
Today’s sponsored message
Crime Prevention Security Systems has more than 40 years of experience in providing peace of mind for businesses and families in North Central Florida. With its free app, local monitoring and state of the art security equipment, Crime Prevention is the local leader in security systems and home technology. Upgrade your existing system now for remote access to your security, lights, locks and thermostats – from your smartphone or tablet. Call 352-376-1499 or visit www.cpss.net.