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The top stories near you
• From our Fresh Take Florida team: The registration deadline for voters in the Florida primary is Feb. 18. But for the almost 1.4 million ex-felons in Florida, their right to vote may not be restored in time. The U.S. Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments today on the implementation of Amendment 4 in Florida, a constitutional amendment in 2018 that aimed to restore ex-felons’ voter rights. (WUFT News)
• Gainesville Sun ($): As Clarence Thomas arrives to teach, some students protest. “This week, (Clarence) Thomas will begin to co-teach a two-week course: Religious Clauses of the First Amendment…But outside the classroom, student groups have organized events in protest of the Supreme Court justice, who was accused of sexual harassment by Anita Hill in 1991.”
• The Alligator: UF lobbyists ask legislators for $50 million to achieve top five rank. “If won, the money will go toward hiring more staff and purchasing equipment like a $167,500 research vessel, according to the budget request.”
• Ocala Star-Banner: Ocala boy honored with global award. “His father, Phillip, told him he had been named a recipient of the 2020 Global Child Prodigy Award and invited to a gala celebration in New Delhi, India, on Jan. 3…Miguel (Secillano), age 10, is a fifth grader at Dr. N.H. Jones Elementary School in Ocala.”
• Gainesville Downtown: Matheson Exhibit Revisits Ugly Period When Homophobia Reigned at UF. “The new exhibit, “McCarthy Moment: The Johns Committee in Florida,” examines a time 60 years ago when gays were not welcome on campus.”
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Around the state today
• Miami Herald ($): Legislative wild card would authorize sports betting in Florida.“It may be the ultimate legislative session wild card, but House and Senate leaders confirmed Monday they are engaged in an effort to reach a deal with the governor that would update Florida’s gambling laws by allowing organized sports betting and bring in new revenue from the Seminole Tribe.”
• Politico: Florida GOP votes to endorse E-Verify. “(Gov. Ron) DeSantis has asked lawmakers to pass mandatory E-Verfiy, a federal program that verifies a prospective worker’s immigration status, but the Republican-led Legislature has long sided with the state’s powerful business lobby, which opposes the idea.”
• WLRN: Bloomberg Kicks Off Jewish Outreach During Florida Campaign Stop. “Bloomberg started off his speech expressing his support for Israel, but also his disgust with the politics surrounding US-Israel policy.”
• Florida Phoenix: Florida lawmakers in D.C. aim to stamp out hair-based discrimination. “Florida Democratic Reps. Al Lawson, Frederica Wilson, Alcee Hastings, and Val Demings are among the U.S. House lawmakers pushing a bill…known as the CROWN Act, (which) would clarify that discrimination based on race or national origin encompasses hair texture and style.”
• New York Times ($): Paula White Says Video About ‘Satanic Pregnancies’ Was Taken Out of Context. “‘In the name of Jesus, we command all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now,’ Ms. White (a Florida televangelist and religious adviser to President Trump) said.”
• Florida Politics: Jeanette Nuñez, Scott Rivkees emphasize efforts to combat human trafficking during Super Bowl. “That game will be held Sunday, Feb. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The annual event is one of the largest in the country, making it a prime target for traffickers looking to do business.”
• WUSF: Gasparilla Beads: Saturday’s Treasure, Sunday’s Environmental Headache.“Last year, a team of volunteer divers from the Florida Aquarium pulled 200 pounds of beads from Tampa Bay.”
• Florida Times-Union ($): Jacksonville’s Cecil Spaceport is counting down to ‘liftoff’. “‘2020 is a big year,’ said Todd Lindner, director of Cecil Spaceport since March 2017 for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.”
• Palm Beach Post ($): Hurricane Dorian: Palm Beach fund distributes final recovery grant after raising nearly $690,000. “The United Way Bahamas Recovery Fund is now empty, because the organization recently issued its last grant — of $90,000 — to help build public docks in Hope Town on Elbow Cay, where the storm made its initial landfall.”
• Sarasota Herald-Tribune ($): Endangered penguin hatches at Florida’s Gulfarium.“The Gulfarium, located on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, revealed that a penguin chick hatched at the park on Dec. 20, 2019.”