The Point, March 17, 2021: Florida’s Ban On Texting And Driving Is — So Far — Seldom Enforced

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Today’s top Florida stories

• Fresh Take Florida: Data Show Florida’s New Law Against Texting While Driving Is Rarely Enforced. “With a flourish, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law in 2019 making texting while driving a primary traffic offense in Florida, with a $30 fine for a first offense that routinely climbs to over $100. ‘It’ll make our roads safer,’ DeSantis said. But the new law against texting is rarely enforced, according to official state figures. Florida also has failed its requirements under the law to track comprehensively how many drivers are ticketed statewide – and whether police are targeting minorities. Those in charge of writing tickets also complained that the young law has too many loopholes.”

• WUFT News: Gainesville City Commission Election Results: Incumbent Gail Johnson Reelected, Gigi Simmons Defeated. “Johnson defeated her opponent, Gabriel Hillel, in a landslide with nearly 90% of the vote, but Simmons fell to challenger (Desmon) Duncan-Walker by 119 votes, according to unofficial results.”

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala landlord who shot tenant can’t claim ‘stand your ground.’ “(Circuit Judge Anthony) Tatti said the evidence showed that the shooter, Stanley Jensen, “armed himself with a handgun and entered the residence of the victim without notice or invitation.”

• WUFT News: Alachua County Emergency Rental Fund Open And Accepting Applications. “The fund is taking applications through Sept. 30 or until the funds run out.”

• WFSU: Revamp of Bright Futures Scholarships Gets Moving After Rewrite, Party-Line Vote. “Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley’s plan to revamp the state’s bright futures scholarship program is moving again after a significant rewrite of the bill.”

• Florida Storms: Severe Storms May Threaten Florida Panhandle Late Wednesday Night and Thursday. “Thunderstorms are likely to be in the Lake City, Gainesville, and Jacksonville areas Thursday afternoon.”


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Around the state today

• NPR News: Colleges Canceled Spring Break, But Students Are Traveling Anyway. “Hoarse voices reminiscing about last night’s wild time; young people in oversized university t-shirts crowding the liquor store; a cabal of high heels waiting for ride shares, with nary a mask in sight. Pandemic or not, it’s spring break in Miami Beach, Fla.”

• Politico: ‘Doesn’t make any sense’: DeSantis rejects Rick Scott’s call to return stimulus money. “Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday flatly rejected Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott’s call for governors and mayors to return money from the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, creating another fault line with his potential 2024 rival.”

• Florida Politics: Beach smoking restrictions clear first House committee. “Legislation allowing Florida cities and counties to outlaw smoking at public beaches and parks cleared its first House committee Tuesday.”

• WLRN: Florida Lawmakers Advance Bills Limiting Local Power On Guns, Clean Energy And Disaster Orders. “Falling along party lines, the measure would make it more difficult for local jurisdictions to adopt measures that defy the Republican-controlled state.”

• News Service of Florida: Florida Lawmakers Consider PPE Stockpile Plan. “Florida could set up a stockpile of life-saving personal protective equipment and sell it to health-care practitioners at cost, under proposals now moving in the Legislature.”

• Florida Politics: Larger wine bottles inch closer to reality. “The House Commerce Committee on Tuesday unanimously OK’d a bill (HB 6073) that would repeal a state law prohibiting the sale of wine in containers larger than a gallon.”

 

From NPR News

• National: 8 People Shot To Death At Atlanta Massage Parlors; Man Arrested

• Politics: Intelligence Report: Russia Tried To Help Trump In 2020 Election

• Politics: Trump Encourages His Supporters To Get COVID-19 Vaccine, Within Limits of ‘Freedoms’

• Planet Money: The Data On Legalizing Weed

• Science: Zoo Vaccinates Apes To Protect Both Animals And Humans From COVID-19

• World: Archeologists Discover Additional Dead Sea Scroll Fragments In Desert Caves

• Business: W.Va. Gov. Wants A Population Boom And A Disney Theme Park. His Plan? Income Tax Cuts

• Business: It’s Not Just Cars, Delivery Trucks Are Going Electric Too

• National: Virginia Governor Clears Path For Ex-Convicts To Regain Voting Rights

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 emagoc@wuft.org.

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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