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Today’s top Florida stories
• Fresh Take Florida: Verdict: Judge Rules Against Florida Governor In Historic Voting Rights Case. “In a historic civil rights case, a federal judge late Sunday ruled against Florida’s Republican governor and Legislature and dramatically expanded the number of eligible voters in the state to include former felons unable to pay their court fines and fees. In his decision, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said efforts by Gov. Ron DeSantis and state lawmakers were unconstitutional and restricted the voting rights of nearly 1 million citizens who would otherwise be eligible to vote only if they pay those court-imposed fines, fees and restitution to their criminal victims.”
• Fresh Take Florida: ‘I’m In Fear Of My Livelihood’: Florida Commercial Stone Crabbers Say Proposed Industry Regulations Could Put Them Out Of Business. “Florida’s $30 million stone crab industry is snapping mad over a state government change that reduces by five weeks the seven-month harvest season for what is widely considered a classic but expensive delicacy in the Sunshine State.”
• Gainesville Sun ($): Plans for UF still up in air. “UF President Kent Fuchs offered the first sign of students’ return last week during a telephone town hall with Gainesville leaders. Through enough testing and screening provided through UF Health doctors, he said he’s optimistic students and employees can come back in August.”
• Miami Herald ($): When DeSantis issued stay-at-home order, Florida had already logged 188 COVID-19 deaths. “New information released Thursday afternoon by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows that, while the DeSantis administration and state health administrators were still reacting to the pandemic and moving slowly toward a state lockdown, scores of Floridians died — 135 in the final week of March alone.”
• Florida Politics: Rebekah Jones breaks silence on firing from Florida DOH, says firing a ‘badge of honor.’ “During the interview with (CNN anchor Chris) Cuomo, Jones gave her side of the story regarding the data, in which she said she was asked to alter presentation because higher-ups ‘did not like the results.'”
• Daytona Beach News-Journal ($): Crowds pack ‘every bit’ of Volusia beaches for Memorial Day weekend. “As statewide coronavirus cases topped 50,000, sunseekers packed Volusia County beaches Saturday.”
• WMFE: NASA Gives SpaceX Final “GO” For Wednesday’s Human Launch Attempt From Kennedy Space Center. “While all the technical hurdles are just about cleared up, there’s one major thing that could delay the mission: Weather.”
• WTSP: How COVID-19 is clouding government transparency. “The state of Florida says it won’t tell you what its pandemic plan was for schools because it’s a fire hazard.”
• Florida Times-Union ($): Florida traffic fatalities decrease in March, but up in rest of nation. “Florida did not show any increase, with 301 traffic fatalities in March vs. 334 in the same month last year, for a 9.9 percent decrease. Other notable decreases in the first quarter included a 32 percent drop in Hawaii and 28 percent drop in Idaho.”
• TCPalm ($): Sea turtle nesting season along Treasure Coast off to an early start, tallying big numbers. “The first nest of the year — laid by a leatherback turtle and found Feb. 6 just north of Santa Lucea Beach near Stuart on Hutchinson Island — was the earliest nest on record in the state, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.”
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From NPR News
• National: How Pandemic Affects Immigration To The U.S.