The Point, March 11, 2021: Florida Prisoners Are Now Eligible To Earn Civil Rights Just After Their Release


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• Associated Press: Florida Will Soon Lower COVID Vaccine Age Eligibility To 55. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that after the state makes people 60 and older eligible for the COVID vaccine on Monday, it will soon lower the age to 55 and then probably open it up to the rest of the population.”

• WUFT News: Gainesville Seeks To Reduce Low-Level Arrests By Improving Its Diversion And Deflection Program. “Diversion and deflection programs are designed to move individuals who have committed low-level crimes away from the criminal justice system. People who complete the program retain no charges on their criminal record. The city’s deflection program, titled the Gainesville Pre-Arrest Program, was updated in January. Now, police issue pre-arrest referral forms that direct people to the program instead of requiring them to appear in court.”

• WUFT News: Neighbors Work To Keep Weed-Filled West End Golf Course A Green Space. “Over a year after the West End Golf Course closed, people in Newberry and Gainesville are still trying to shape the property’s future. The 75 acres at 12830 W. Newberry Road are currently under contract to be sold. The potential future owner of the land, Sayed Moukhtara, has a plan to develop residential and commercial spaces to replace the golf course.”

• Florida Politics: Bill for broadband internet grants uploaded to final committee, but M-CORES proposal carries implications. “Rep. Chuck Clemons and a bipartisan group of lawmakers are backing legislation in the House (HB 753) to create the Florida Broadband Opportunity Program within the new office to provide grants to extend broadband access to areas without it. For-profit and nonprofit businesses and local governments could file for grants to install and deploy broadband infrastructure under the proposal.”

• WUFT News: Alachua County Public Schools Plans To Revise District Zoning Policy. “Alachua County Public Schools held a community forum on Tuesday to discuss the history and future of rezoning. Parents from East Gainesville, West Gainesville and rural Alachua County spoke on behalf of their communities and discussed their concerns related to rezoning.”

• WUFT News: UF Researchers Launch Plans To Improve Vanilla Through Plant Breeding. “The research aims to read genomes in vanilla species to help researchers at IFAS breed plant species more easily, said Alan Chambers, plant geneticist at UF’s IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center.”

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Around the state today

• News Service of Florida: Florida Governor And Cabinet Drop Waiting Period For People Hoping To Regain Civil Rights After Prison. “For the past decade, felons in Florida have had to wait at least five years after being released from prison before becoming eligible to have their civil rights restored. But on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet, acting as the Board of Executive Clemency, did away with the waiting periods…”

• Associated Press: Florida lawmakers move to ban absentee ballot drop boxes. “Florida Republicans moved Wednesday to revise the state’s vote-by-mail system, banning ballot drop boxes and resetting the absentee ballot rolls in a step that would require millions of voters to reapply for mail-in ballots ahead of next year’s gubernatorial and U.S. Senate elections.”

• Florida Politics: House bill allowing guns at churches with schools heads to final committee. “Although Florida law does not prevent a person from carrying a gun into a religious institution, current statute does prohibit individuals from bringing firearms into houses of worship located on the same property as a school. This proposal would change that.”

• WJCT: Those Opposing THC Medical Marijuana Cap Say It Will Force Patients To Buy More. “As the number of medical marijuana patients in Florida grows, Republican lawmakers in Tallahassee are once again exploring a possible cap on the level of euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in medical marijuana.”

• WKMG-Orlando: UCF to offer COVID-19 vaccines to employees on campus. “Beginning later this week, the University of Central Florida will offer vaccines to employees on campus, regardless of their age, according to an email from UCF.”

• WUSF: Florida Cities Will Benefit From American Rescue Plan. “The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which Congress passed on Wednesday and President Biden is expected to sign on Friday, includes money for local governments that have lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): Skyway bridge suicide barrier may finally stop the ripples of loss. “A contractor for the Florida Department of Transportation has started work to install steel netting along a roughly mile-and-a-half stretch of the bridge. Officials expect the $3.4 million project to be complete by summer, after a delay blamed on the pandemic.”

• WUFT News: A New Bill Could Change The Way Florida Handles Children’s Mental Health. “If passed, the proposed bill would require the parents or legal guardians of students institutionalized under the Baker Act to be notified prior to the student’s transportation to a receiving facility. If the student’s parent or guardian is unable to be reached, law enforcement agents are advised to proceed as usual.”

• WUSF: ‘Carbon Farming’ Could Soon Be New Cash Crop For Florida Growers. “President Joe Biden wants to reward farmers for using climate-friendly practices on their lands. Big agriculture companies are already paying growers in the Midwest to plant crops that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and use techniques to keep that carbon in the soil. Those developments and others have spurred hope that the business of carbon may soon come to Florida.”

• WLRN: There’s A New Push To Make Puerto Rico A State. Thanks To The State Of Florida’s Pull? “One of the big stories in Washington D.C. right now is a tug-of-war between two Puerto Rican Democrats in Congress – one from Florida and one from New York – who champion different visions for the future of Puerto Rico itself.”

• New York Times ($): Despite Pandemic, 300,000 Expected at Florida Motorcycle Rally. “Bike Week typically draws a half-million people to the Daytona Beach area, but a smaller crowd is expected this year. Still, some worry that it could be a superspreader event.”

• Associated Press: Miami Marlins to use drones to disinfect Marlins Park. “Licensed pilots will use FAA-approved drone technology in the ballpark to apply a formula to large open areas that will inactivate pathogens including coronavirus, the Marlins said. The team said the formula can inactivate pathogens within four minutes and leaves behind no harsh fumes or visible residue.”

From NPR News

• Politics: House Gives Final Approval To $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package

• Politics: Biden’s $1.9 Trillion Rescue Plan Set To Turbocharge U.S. Economy

• Politics: Garland Confirmed As Attorney General 5 Years After Thwarted Supreme Court Bid

• World: China, Russia Announce Plan To Build Moon Research Station

• Health: Alabama Official On Vaccine Rollout: ‘How Can This Disparity Exist In This Country?’

• Health: Antibiotic Use Ran High In Early Days Of COVID-19, Despite Viral Cause

• Business: Young Farmers Face A Barrier Their Parents Didn’t: Student Loan Debt

• National: Iowa Reporter Found Not Guilty By Jury After Arrest At Black Lives Matter Protest

About today’s curator

I’m Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news

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