The Point, April 29, 2021: Medical Marijuana Bills Talk Halts As Public Employees Suffer Consequences of Legal Use

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• WUFT News: Florida Medical Marijuana Legislation Stalls As Public Employees Are Fired For Legal Use. “Democratic representatives proposed House Bill 335 to prohibit employers from taking action against qualified medical marijuana patients, was referred to four subcommittees in February and hasn’t been heard since.”

• WUFT News: Construction Of Zion Lutheran Church’s New Sanctuary Leads To Legal Dispute. “The sanctuary site on the northwest side of a prominent Gainesville intersection at Northwest 16th Avenue and 34th Street remains stuck at the same point as when construction stopped in late 2019.”

• WUFT News: UF International Students Make Difficult Decisions About Traveling Home With Pets During Pandemic. “While Liu and Gao successfully took their pets with them, many students could not do so due to the shortage of pet tickets and the cancellation of ESA by most airlines beginning in March 1.”

• WUFT News: Gainesville Police Advisory Council Discuss Overcrowding And Youth Arrest Rates. “Black youth were arrested at higher rates than white ones in 2012 and 2013, when GPD had the highest percentages among police in the state’s 67 counties. Since then, GPD’s youth arrests have dropped by 74% and GPD has dropped to fourth place, Halvosa said.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: Newberry requests rural highway improvement program. “Sharp corners, crumbling pavement and no shoulders are at the top of the list of reasons why the two-lane road that is a popular shortcut between Newberry and Bronson is in dire need of repair…”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Buchholz edges in at No. 95 on U.S. News list of best Florida high schools. “Eastside High came in at No. 137, the Professional Academies Magnet at Loften High School was ranked No. 164, Gainesville High was No. 236, and Santa Fe High came in at No. 314.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Drive-thru nixed, but city pushes bigger development. “A drive-thru that Suburban Heights residents feared could have added to the traffic in their neighborhood won’t be part of a new mixed-use development that was proposed next to the community. But that’s about all that was settled after more than five hours of debate at a Gainesville City Commission rezoning hearing Wednesday night.”

• WCJB TV20: Alachua County agrees to pay millions to GRU for public safety radio system. “County commissioners have voted 4-0 to pay GRU’s current bill, which requires the county to pay a greater share than their counterparts with the city of Gainesville. And it’s a lot more than the county had budgeted.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: UF grad named Cuscowilla manager. “While one maintenance crew is working away at refurbishing the basketball and tennis courts and another is revamping the 110,000 gallon swimming pool, newly appointed Cuscowilla Manager Lexi Green is planning an upcoming summer day camp program.”


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Around the state today

• WFSU: Florida Legislature Approves Guns In Churches Within School Grounds. “HB 259 will let people who have concealed weapons permits carry in churches that share properties with schools. Under current law, concealed weapons are allowed in churches but are prohibited from being brought onto school grounds.”

• News4Jax: Online dashboard will allow residents to track Duval school’s half-cent tax revenue. “As of April 14, the tax had generated $6,689,011, of which $5,766,469 went to DCPS and $922,542 is headed for charter schools, according to the district’s website.”

• Spectrum News: Florida teachers worry legislation could shrink their retirement. “On Monday, the Florida Senate passed an expansion of the state’s voucher program that Gov. DeSantis will likely sign into law. Critics worry it will shift tax dollars from public schools private ones.”

• First Coast News: Florida resumes use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine at mobile vaccination events. “U.S. health officials on Friday lifted an 11-day pause on vaccinations using the Johnson & Johnson product following reports of some people developing an extremely rare type of blood clot.”

• WUSF: Energy Preemption Bills Await Gov. DeSantis’ Signature, And One Could Lead To Lawsuits. ” If signed into law, activists say the measure would take away authority from local governments to control pollution from utilities.”

• WFSU: House Approves Elections Changes, Sends Bill Back To Senate. “Florida could become the latest state to revamp its election laws following the 2020 presidential cycle.”

• Tallahassee Democrat: FSU anti-racism task force votes against removing Doak Campbell’s name from football stadium. “The full panel did vote to recommend that the university and the Athletics Department institute a “high-profile” recognition of black and other underrepresented minority student athletes at the stadium.”

• WFTS: New species of venomous spider found at zoo in Florida. “According to Zoo Conservation Chief Frank Ridgley, the spiders are named after how they build a so-called “trap door” over the top of vegetation and soil to ambush their prey.”

• Bradenton Herald: Anti-Semitic incidents in Florida increased by 40 percent in 2020, according to ADL audit. “Nationwide last year, there were 2,024 incidents of assault, harassment and vandalism in 2020, down 4 percent from the record high in 2019. The audit showed a 10 percent rise in harassment incidents, and an 18 percent decline in vandalism and a 49 percent decline in assaults.”

• WMFE: Alarming Number Of Manatee Deaths Prompts $8 Million In State Budget. “Nearly 700 manatees have been found dead in Florida since January, more than triple the number by this time last year.”

•Florida Politics: Lauren Book elected leader of Senate Democrats after Gary Farmer is forced out. “The move prompted a whirlwind of late-Session drama, putting Farmer on the defensive and raising questions about who is now really in charge.”

•Pensacola News Journal: Pensacola adopts 30 percent renewable energy goal by 2030. “Pensacola’s goal of 30% of its energy coming from renewable sources may look modest compared to 11 other cities in the state that have committed to 100% by the 2040s or 2050s.”

• Sun Sentinel ($): Robert Runcie pleads not guilty — and asks to have perjury charge dismissed. “Robert Runcie formally pleaded not guilty Wednesday, again asking a Broward judge to dismiss the perjury charge that has all but cost him his job as Broward Schools superintendent.”


From NPR News

• National: N.C. Court Considers Release Of Bodycam Video, Brown Family Releases Autopsy

• Health: COVID-19 Has Hit The Amish Community Hard. Still, Vaccines Are A Tough Sell

• Health: Athletes At Tokyo Olympics To Be Tested Daily For Coronavirus, Officials Say

• National: Federal Investigators Search Rudy Giuliani’s Apartment

• National: DOJ Indicts Men On Hate Crime Charges In Ahmaud Arbery Killing

• Environment: Senate Votes To Restore Regulations On Climate-Warming Methane Emissions

About today’s curator

I’m Sky Lebron, a multimedia producer and Morning Edition newscaster at WUFT. I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, originally hailing from Broward County before eventually moving up here to attend UF. I believe Florida is a reporter’s dream, because there are so many fantastic stories to tell. From state politics, to the environment, to character-driven stories, this state has it all, and I think it’s a great honor to help curate these stories for our audience. If you have any feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed, contact me at slebron30@ufl.edu.

About WUFT News

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

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