The Point, Nov. 16, 2021: Florida’s special session begins with eye on banning vaccine mandates, creating state-level OSHA


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Today’s top Florida stories

• WFSU: Florida legislative leaders not concerned about state-federal conflicts over COVID-19 vaccination requirements. “One question that’s come before Florida lawmakers as they meet this week is whether businesses will have to choose between following a proposed state policy governing coronavirus vaccination requirements or a federal rule.”

• USA Today Network ($): Florida House takes first steps in creating state agency for worker safety, bucking OSHA. “A fledgling move to create a new state-level occupational safety and health agency gained expected wings Monday, passing out of its one and only review committee on a party-line vote.”

• WFSU: Health professionals call on Florida lawmakers to reject the governor’s request to ban vaccine mandates. “Before the opening of the special session, several other national health organizations – the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association, and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – also issued a statement calling on the Florida Legislature to reject any proposals that would thwart vaccine mandates.”

• Fresh Take Florida: FSU determines three professors guilty of sexual misconduct with students. “The formal investigations were all previously undisclosed. At least one ran until the summer of 2021. In each case, investigators concluded that the three faculty members violated the university’s sex discrimination and sexual misconduct policies. FSU made no announcements about the cases or outcomes.”

• WUFT News: Gainesville for All volunteers share resources, survey neighborhoods in East Gainesville. “The survey responses will help Gainesville 4 All, which focuses on addressing racial and economic inequities in the community, include resident input in its plans for establishing the GEZ Family Learning Center.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: ACPS disables Facebook comments after threats. “Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) disabled comments on its Facebook page Friday citing an increase in personal attacks and inappropriate comments as the reason.”

• WUFT News: UF staff and adjunct employees form new workers union. “The inaugural meeting on Nov. 15 was held at the Plaza of the Americas on UF’s campus. Members of the organization spoke to the public about their cause. Casey Willits, a residence coordinator at UF, said the union formed to have a seat at the table with UF in its decision making process.”

• Florida Politics: Amid Cuban protest calls, Gov. DeSantis seeks $25M revitalization of Freedom Tower. “As Cubans called for protests against the island’s communist regime Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis called on lawmakers to invest $25 million in the Freedom Tower, a historic site in Miami known for its role in helping those fleeing Cuba.”

• WUFT News: With St. Augustine’s Night of Lights around the corner, a debate over horse carriages continues. “Horse carriage companies in St. Augustine use horses to show tourists the city under a franchise agreement. St. Augustine has 30 franchise agreements available, assistant city attorney Richard Thibault said. With St. Augustine’s annual light festival Night of Lights opening on Nov. 20, some residents don’t agree with the practice and the debate continues.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): Whatever happened to the Palms, dubbed America’s first LGBTQ retirement community? “In the mid-1990s, a retired psychology professor named Bill Laing bought roughly 22 acres of land south of Tampa. Inspired by a friend who had faced discrimination at his nursing home after disclosing his sexuality, Laing envisioned a place where members of the LGBTQ community could live out their later years in safety among their peers.”

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From NPR News

• Business: Warehouses are overwhelmed by America’s shopping spree

• Education: Students are still struggling to get internet. The infrastructure law could help

• National: Tribes hope infrastructure law means they’ll finally get clean drinking water

• Politics: Steve Bannon threatens vengeance after surrendering on criminal contempt charges

• Health: How the Texas ban on most abortions is harming survivors of rape and incest

• World: New Delhi’s air pollution is so bad, officials are calling for a citywide lockdown

• World: Austria and Germany impose restrictions on unvaccinated people as COVID cases surge

• World: Amazon birds are shrinking as the climate warms, prompting warning from scientists

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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