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Today’s top Florida stories
• Fresh Take Florida: ‘Freedom works’: DeSantis mocks Covid restrictions, bashes feds on economy and immigration. “In his State of the State address Tuesday in the Capitol, Gov. Ron DeSantis laid out a red-meat 2022 legislative agenda on crime and immigration, and he ridiculed COVID-19 restrictions in other states as ineffective and anti-American. DeSantis, a Republican who is seeking a second term in November and hasn’t ruled out a White House bid in 2024, called Florida the ‘freest state’ in the U.S.”
• WUSF: Read: Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State speech. “Gov. Ron DeSantis touched on a variety of topics, including education, water quality improvements, and proposed bonuses for law enforcement officers, during his State of the State address.”
• USA Today Network ($): On first day of Florida session, Democrats say DeSantis, Republicans ‘running train off the tracks.’ “He’s up for reelection in November and is already a leading contender in the GOP 2024 presidential primary. While Republicans interrupted DeSantis at least 25 times by standing to applaud, Democrats, outnumbered in the House, Senate and Cabinet sat silently sat in the back of the chamber.”
• News Service of Florida: Incentives are proposed to lure more entertainment industry projects to Florida. “Tax credits of up to $2 million for film, television and digital media productions drew support from senators on Monday as part of an effort to make Florida more attractive to the entertainment industry.”
• Florida Politics: Lawmakers explore ranked-choice voting possibilities for Florida. “No city in Florida has ever fully enacted instant runoffs. Now the Legislature may outlaw the voting methodology before anyone gets the chance. Sen. Travis Hutson, a Palm Coast Republican, has filed an elections package that would, among other things, eliminate ranked-choice voting in Florida.”
• WFSU: The Senate’s congressional remapping plan is more favorable to Democrats than the House proposal. “A Florida Senate subcommittee has recommended two nearly identical U.S. House district maps for further consideration as the legislature’s remapping efforts officially get underway this week. Both would give Republicans a 16-12 seat advantage while adding a congressional district, based on the results from the 2020 presidential elections.”
• Mainstreet Daily News: Cornell vows to fight BOCC expansion vote. “Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell will travel to Tallahassee to counter an effort by Republican state Rep. Chuck Clemons to expand the board of county commissioners from five to seven members.”
• Fort Myers News-Press ($): New life for Florida’s expired COVID tests: FDA extends expiration date by 3 months. “Federal regulators have approved a three-month extension on COVID-19 testing kits that technically expired months ago. This means nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests that the federal government considered expired will now be made available to Floridians who have been struggling to find tests.”
• Bradenton Herald ($): Why are some street lights purple in Florida? There’s a simple answer, FDOT says. “A ‘large number’ of LED streetlights are shining a mysterious purple color, instead of the normal bright white light. Those lights aren’t a trendy new approach to lighting the roadway — they’re defective, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.”
• FLKeysNews ($): How a Key West bartender and his boss helped solve the burning of a beloved landmark. “A bartender with a good memory and his boss with a curious mind figured out the suspects’ names after going through receipts and security camera footage. Cameron Briody, who tends bar at Irish Kevin’s on Key West’s most famous street, awoke New Year’s Day to learn that the giant buoy landmark had been scarred by a fire two people set next to it with a burning pine tree.”
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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 email@example.com.