The Point, March 18, 2021: Proposal To Require Political Bias Surveys At Florida Universities Nears House Vote

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• Fresh Take Florida: Bill Would Require Political Bias Surveys In Florida Universities, Allow Students To Record Professors’ Lectures. “The bills would measure whether college instructors – widely perceived as skewing left – were presenting “competing ideas and perspectives” during class lectures. They are intended to help Republicans broaden the party’s appeal to young voters, who traditionally lean Democrat. So far, the bills in the House and Senate have won approval on votes along party lines. The House bill was expected to be debated on the House floor Thursday. The Senate version was awaiting a vote in the Appropriations Committee, also expected Thursday.”

• WUFT News: Activist Groups Request Hearing Over Ginnie Springs Water Pumping Permit. “Florida Springs Council and Our Santa Fe River are challenging the legitimacy of the permit, which the Suwannee River Water Management District approved in late February. The petition contests the board’s decision on the grounds that Nestle can’t benefit from the permit as it is not an official applicant, and the board did not consider public interest in making the decision.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: FDOT to complete some West University changes this week. “The upgraded crosswalks are part of a series of short-term changes FDOT is making to a stretch of West University near the UF campus. University Avenue is part of State Road 26 so FDOT, not the city, is in charge of changes to the road. The state has already retimed traffic signals on that stretch of road so cars cannot travel through multiple lights without being stopped.”

• WUFT News: UF Removes McCarty Woods From Development Plans, But Activists Push On. “The past three months consisted of heated discussion on whether a patch of woods on the east side of the University of Florida campus should serve as land for possible development. … The efforts to save the small urban forest resulted in the university on Tuesday announcing its decision to remove McCarty Woods from current consideration for development in the 2020-2030 Campus Master Plan.”

• WUFT News: Mobile Grocery Bus Stops In Marion County To Help Seniors. “The grocery store on wheels made a stop at Marion Oaks Community Center. The Fresh Stop bus prepared and donated 50 grocery bags, or about 200 pounds of fresh produce. These bags are filled with zucchini, squash, kale, carrots and tomatoes.”


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Around the state today

• NBC Miami: DeSantis Says Florida Could Lower Vaccine Eligibility Age to 55+ by End of March. “The governor also noted that there is no more stock of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming to Florida ‘for the foreseeable future.'”

• Miami Herald ($): Police raid home of former GOP lawmaker who bragged about planting no-party candidate. “Miami-Dade law enforcement officials on Wednesday raided the Palmetto Bay home of former state Sen. Frank Artiles, who is believed to be tied to a state investigation involving a no-party candidate who likely swayed a key Miami-Dade Senate race.”

• Associated Press: Officials: Suspect in massage parlor killings may have had ‘sexual addiction,’ was headed to Florida. “Authorities also said he was planning to go to Florida in a plot to attack ‘some type of porn industry.'”

• ProPublica: America’s Drinking Water Is Surprisingly Easy to Poison. “The cyberbreach at a plant in Oldsmar, Florida, which could have resulted in a mass poisoning, was a reminder of a disturbing reality: Despite a decade of warnings, thousands of water systems around the country are still at risk.”

• Florida Politics: Bill protecting farmers from nuisance suits gets first House nod despite bipartisan concerns. “Pace Republican Rep. Jayer Williamson‘s bill (HB 1601) would limit lawsuits against farmers by building off Florida’s Right to Farm Act. The House Civil Justice and Property Rights Subcommittee voted 14-4 to approve the measure with three Democrats and one Republican voting against it.”

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Legislation would let local election officials in Florida keep security breaches secret. “Under legislation now under consideration by Florida lawmakers, county elections supervisors would be able to withhold information about the ever-present possibility of systems being hacked and voter records being altered.”

• WFLA: Greek alphabet will no longer be used to name tropical systems, hurricane committee decides. “The Greek alphabet was used whenever the annual list of tropical cyclone names was exhausted for the year before the end of hurricane season. That’s happened twice in the past 15 years in the Atlantic basin – once in 2005 and again during last year’s hyperactive 2020 hurricane season.”

• Health News Florida: CDC: Only 3% Of Floridians Miss Second Dose Of COVID Vaccine. “The CDC found that the 96 percent of Floridians who did return for a second dose matches nearly identically with the U.S. average.”

• News4Jax: DeSantis lashes out at ‘critical race theory’ in push to overhaul Florida’s civics curriculum. “Saying Florida needs to take the politicization out of its civics curriculum, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday announced a $106 million proposal to support civics literacy and civics education in public schools.”

• WUSF: Florida Has Blue Collar Jobs, But People Aren’t Scrambling To Apply. “While the state’s biggest industry — tourism — is still hurting, Florida’s economy has gained in one sector: blue-collar jobs like warehousing, delivery services, and home construction.”

• WMFE: It’s One Year Since The First Case Of Coronavirus In A TSA Officer At Orlando International Airport: What’s Changed Since Then? “In the year since, more than 190 TSA officers at the airport have fallen ill with the virus even with mandatory face masks, deep cleaning and social distancing in place among workers and passengers.”

• WGCU: Mosquitoes That Spread Zika are Becoming Resistant to the Pesticides Targeting Them. “Researchers learned that mosquitoes resistant to this major group of pyrethroids were also more likely to have an advanced infection of the Zika virus, a critical factor for further investigation.”


From NPR News

• Politics: IRS Expected To Push Back Tax-Filing Deadline

• Business: Light At End Of Tunnel? Fed Sees Faster Economic Growth, With Only Modest Inflation

• National: Migrant Surge At Border Is On Pace To Be The Biggest In Nearly 2 Decades

• National: Texas Man Arrested With Guns, Ammo Outside Of Vice Presidential Residence

• World: U.S. May Miss Deadline For Withdrawing Troops From Afghanistan, Biden Says

• Science: Drawing A Line In The Mud: Scientists Debate When ‘Age Of Humans’ Began

• Education: White House Announces $10 Billion For COVID-19 Testing In Schools

• Race: Black Farmers Will Receive Stimulus Aid After Decades Of USDA Discrimination

• Health: How To Get Trump Voters Vaccinated When Half Say They Don’t Plan To

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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