The Point, Feb. 20, 2020: U.S. Court Of Appeals Finds Unconstitutional Florida’s ‘Fines And Fees’ Voting Limitation


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• From our Fresh Take Florida team: Florida’s Amendment 4 ‘Fines and Fees’ Limitation Found Unconstitutional In US Appeals Court Opinion.A U.S. appeals court opinion unanimously upheld a Florida-based federal judge’s preliminary injunction ruling that the state cannot restrict ex-felons from voting based on financial ability to pay fines and fees. The decision still leaves it unclear who among Florida’s felons will be allowed to vote in this year’s presidential election, but sends a strong signal to the pending federal court case that such a ruling would be legally justified.” (WUFT News)

• WUFT News: Gainesville Regional Soccer League Fights For Renovations At Forest Park. “The conditions are a problem for the Gainesville Regional Soccer League, whose representatives on Wednesday night advocated for park renovations in front of the Gainesville Public Recreation and Parks Board. Among the laundry list of issues the league has with Forest Park: poor bathroom facilities, limited access to water and a lack of bleachers for each field. But player safety is the main concern for the league.”

• NPR News: Frustration In Florida As State Announces Toll Road Development In Rural Areas. “To prepare for more development, lawmakers in Florida are commissioning new toll roads through rural areas. But some rural communities say they don’t want them.”

• WCJB: Solar company tries to scam GRU customers. “According to the utility company, a solar company called Suncor Energy has been telling customers the company is affiliated with GRU, but GRU has no such partnership.”

• News Service of Florida: Florida officials, doctors tangle over pot complaints. “State health officials have filed complaints against two medical-marijuana doctors — one who practices in the Gainesville area — based on information obtained by undercover investigators posing as patients, in what one physician’s lawyers described as a ‘trap.'”

• Citrus County Chronicle: Duke continues exploring solutions for groundwater contaminations at energy complex. Since an independent report from June documented excessive metals seeping into underground water systems from a coal ash basin at its Crystal River Energy Complex, Duke has been conducting additional tests from nearby monitoring wells to hone in on an origin.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Flu wave spurs call for Alachua County student immunizations. “A second round of flu vaccine is being offered in Alachua County Public Schools. Parents must return consent forms for the free shots by Friday. The vaccines will be administered during school before March 20. Students who were vaccinated in the fall do not need it again.”

• WUFT News: New Gator Mural Graces Wall At Butler Plaza. “On a 65-by-26-foot portion of a wall in Butler Plaza, a massive green gator windup toy is painted. Behind the toy, the shadow of a fully grown, growling gator looms. ‘I can only hope if, and when, people stop to look at the mural that they see themselves in it and understand the message behind it,’ the mural’s artist, Leon Keer, said. ‘We are all the small alligator that hopes to grow into something or someone bigger.'”

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Around the state today

• Florida Phoenix: Lawmakers concerned: FL Surgeon General won’t disclose suspected cases of the deadly coronavirus. “Amid concerns about what residents know and don’t know about the deadly coronavirus, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees appeared before a state Senate committee Tuesday and told lawmakers he can’t provide information about suspected cases of the global virus.”

• WFSU: Law Enforcement Groups Try To ‘Debunk The Myth’ Low-Level Drug Offenders Are Nonviolent. “The Florida Sheriffs and Police Chiefs associations are trying to prove low-level drug offenders are violent, and took that argument to the Capitol Tuesday.”

• WJCT: Ban On Selling, Exporting Shark Fins Closer To Passing In Florida.“Palm Coast Republican Sen. Travis Hutson is co-sponsoring a bill to ban the import and export of shark fins. The proposal made it through a Senate committee unanimously on Tuesday, over the objections of several commercial fishermen who spoke at the meeting.”

• WFSU: Bill To Give Parents More Rights In Schools Heads To Senate Floor. “The Parents’ Bill of Rights allows parents to object to school materials based on religion, morals, and more.”

• Bay News 9: Pinellas School Board in Talks of Joining Lawsuit Against JUUL. “Vaping has become a big issue with teens across the country and in Pinellas County alone, school leaders say there’s been a 738 percent increase in just the last couple of years in the number of students using tobacco products at school, something they attribute directly to vaping.”

• Orlando Sentinel ($): George Zimmerman sues Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren over Trayvon Martin birthday tweets. “George Zimmerman, the former Sanford resident acquitted of murder in the 2012 killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, is suing Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg over tweets they posted to commemorate the teenager’s birthday.”

• WTSP: STDs are on the rise in Florida. Here’s why. “To combat this STD spike, the CDC is expected to release a federal action plan that will focus on STD prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care. It will be released some time this year.”

• Local 10: Miami-Dade commissioners vote unanimously to change name of Dixie Highway. “Miami-Dade County commissioners unanimously approved a measure Wednesday to rename the stretch of Dixie Highway to Harriet Tubman Highway.”

• St. Augustine Record ($): Planned cigar factory hotel a reminder of St. Augustine’s past. “According to the National Register of Historic Places, the building was built in the early days of the industry in St. Augustine, when cigars were growing in popularity at the turn of the century.”

• Sun Sentinel ($): Into watching horseshoe crabs have sex? Florida needs your help. “The state wildlife service is requesting reports of any mating horseshoe crabs so it can track these primitive but important creatures.”

From NPR News

• National: Food Fight: How 2 Trump Proposals Could Bite Into School Lunch

• National: ‘We Are Part Of The United States’: The 1st People Counted For The 2020 Census

• National: Archaeologists Say Border Wall Cuts Through Native American Burial Sites In Arizona

• Politics: Centuries-Old Law Against Cursing In Public Repealed By Virginia Legislators

• Politics: Trump Grants Clemency To 11 People Including Rod Blagojevich

• Health: Coronavirus Is Contagious, But Kids Seem Less Vulnerable So Far

• Health: Musician Plays Her Violin During Brain Surgery

• Race: California Legislature Considers Formal Apology For World War II Japanese Internment

• Art & Design: The Rembrandt That Was Fake, Then Real Again

About Blake Trauschke

Blake is a student reporter for WUFT and can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing

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