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The stories near you
• WUSF: Florida house proposal would pull funding from school districts that defied DeSantis’ mask mandate. “Committee chair Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, proposed taking money away from districts (including Alachua County) that sparred with Gov. Ron DeSantis and his mask mandate ban. The money that is equal to the salaries of more than 1,600 district officials would be shifted to other areas, he said.”
• WUFT News: North central Florida growers struggle with frozen crops after low temperatures. “Anne Opalewski and Scott Lunden cleaned off their damaged pea pods the morning of Jan. 31. The couple, who live on a 25-acre farm in Hawthorne, was among those affected by the recent low temperatures. ‘The peas took a whack,’ Lunden said. ‘But there is not much you can do but just hope the rest of the crop doesn’t die.'”
• WUFT News: Alachua County dealerships struggle with car inventory decline amid worldwide microchip scarcity. “Car dealerships across the country have experienced three-month delays for vehicles due to an industry-wide microchip shortage. Cars contain two to three dozen microchips, which control technology ranging from window motors to navigation systems. The scarcity of this component has made this the worst time to buy a car as prices soar and production decreases.”
• WUFT News: Research on glaciers in Florida? Yes, and a UF professor is using machine learning to do so. “Mickey MacKie, an assistant professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Geological Sciences, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze data about glaciers and ice sheets to make predictions and interpretations at one UF’s newest labs.”
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Around the state
• Fresh Take Florida: Senate effectively ends efforts to overturn Florida’s ‘free kill’ law protecting doctors in malpractice lawsuits. “Florida’s Senate has effectively abandoned bipartisan efforts to overturn what critics have derided as the state’s ‘free kill’ law, which generally prevents families from filing medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors or hospitals when the victims are adults. Consumers said the decision in the Republican-controlled Legislature improperly shields negligent doctors. It represents a victory for doctors and hospitals in Florida – and the state Chamber of Commerce – who said the current limits in the law keep their malpractice insurance premiums affordable.”
• WMFE: Florida Department of Education waives standardized testing requirements for third year in a row. “The Florida Department of Education has voted once again to waive the use of these scores to determine whether a student can graduate. Department Deputy Commissioner Juan Copa says SAT and ACT results will be used in their place to determine a student’s matriculation status.”
• WUSF: The EPA is again considering a bee-killing pesticide to combat Florida’s citrus greening disease. “For the ninth consecutive year, federal environmental officials are considering granting emergency use authorization of a harmful pesticide on Florida’s citrus crops. It’s meant to eliminate an insect that’s spreading the deadly and costly greening disease, but it can also kill bees as they pollinate the trees.”
• Florida Politics: Jimmy Patronis warns if auto rates increase, Florida drivers ‘will burn down the Capitol.’ “Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, one of those who has the power to hire or fire the state’s top insurance regulator, maintained that two bills now moving through the Legislature would only drive up bills for motorists. Those bills would repeal the longstanding law that requires drivers to carry $10,000 worth of personal injury protection insurance — also called PIP — and would replace it with a new type of coverage.”
• WTSP-Tampa: ‘The worst we’ve ever seen’: There are 4,200 teacher vacancies across Florida. “The teacher shortage isn’t just caused by teacher burnout, it’s also due to fewer students considering teaching careers. … A board of education report shows the state is only producing a third of the teachers needed to fill current openings.”
• WLRN: UF president discusses new campus in West Palm Beach, reacts to Senate bill on presidential applicants. “UF plans to work alongside local universities and leaders of different areas of service and industry. (President Kent) Fuchs expects the initial set of programs for the new campus in West Palm Beach to be approved this year. He acknowledged that UF still needs to recruit faculty, students and professional staff.”
• WUFT News: Florida youth to have heavy influence on 2022 governor and senate races, analysis suggests. “Tufts University’s 2022 Youth Electoral Significance Index found that Florida is ranked in the top 10 states to have the greatest youth impact on upcoming senate and gubernatorial elections.”
• CBS Miami: Surfside Commission Passes Ordinance That Shortens Building Inspections To 30 Years. “Surfside is taking steps to help prevent another tragedy like last year’s collapse at the Champlain Towers South. … Surfside is the first municipality in Miami-Dade to shorten the county’s 40 year requirement.”
• Spectrum News: Lawmakers consider compromise on ‘net metering’ solar bill. “House Bill 741 and Senate Bill 1024 would grant the Public Service Commission the authority to change the rate/credit system to allow utilities to pay solar users less for that excess energy.”
• NPR News: Actor Bob Saget died in his sleep after hitting his head, his family says. “Actor and comedian Bob Saget, who was found dead in his Orlando, Fla., hotel room last month, died as a result of head trauma, according to a statement from his family.”
• FLKeysNews ($): Cruise ships keep coming to Key West — but the U.S. Navy says one crossed the line. “A Celebrity cruise ship that stopped in Key West over the weekend jutted out into a passageway used by the U.S. Navy. And Naval Air Station Key West says the ship partially blocked the entrance to the Navy’s Truman Harbor. By exceeding the boundary line, the 1,004-foot Celebrity Apex’s mooring at the privately run Pier B had a bigger fallout than your typical bad parking job in a South Beach garage.”
From NPR News
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.