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The Point, April 15, 2022: Florida will ban most abortions after 15 weeks, starting July 1

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The stories near you

• WUFT News: Gainesville’s autonomous shuttle incorporates new technology. “Now, thanks to a radio traffic technology installed by Gainesville’s Regional Transit System along the shuttle’s route, the autonomous vehicle is relieved of one former liability: identifying when the light changes on the road’s traffic lights.”

• Gainesville Sun ($): Alachua County school district subpoenaed for records in federal grand jury probe. "The probe stems from a nearly $4 million land purchase of 37 acres in 2020 that involved two Gainesville real estate agents, Daniel Drotos and Michael Ryals. Drotos and Ryals, who are facing criminal charges in a separate case, are accused of pushing the price higher to boost their commission. The agents deny any wrongdoing."

• WUFT News: UF rises to fourth place for most Fulbright U.S. Scholars in the nation. “Seven University of Florida scholars received Fulbright grants for 2021-2022, placing the university in a tie for fourth place for most Fulbright U.S. scholars this year.”

• First Coast News: UF researchers study crop that could be used as jet fuel. “The crop (called carinata) is seen as beneficial for additional environmental reasons, according to researchers. The winter crop could also lead to increased revenue for farmers and is considered to be a viable option for producers.”

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Around the state

• Associated Press: Abortion ban after 15 weeks signed into law in Florida. “The new law, which takes effect July 1, contains exceptions if the abortion is necessary to save a mother’s life, prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow for exemptions in cases where pregnancies were caused by rape, incest or human trafficking, despite several Democratic attempts to amend the bill. Under current law, Florida allows abortions up to 24 weeks.”

• Florida Politics: Gov. DeSantis’ map reshapes Tampa Bay and eliminates a battleground. “DeSantis’ Office submitted a map (P 0109) on Wednesday as Republican leaders in the Legislature signaled they would support the plan. The proposal is one that would alter the makeup of Tampa Bay and likely leave it with one Democratic Congressman instead of two.”

• Miami Herald ($): Florida universities could lose funding if they violate ‘anti-woke’ law. “If approved, public universities and colleges could be accused of and sued for discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin or sex if a student or employee objects to instructional materials or training sessions that they believe don’t meet a new set of ‘individual freedom’ principles laid out by Republican lawmakers.”

• CBS Miami: Polling Starts On Homeowners Insurance Special Session. “For a special session to be held, Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, would need to get support from three-fifths of the members of both legislative chambers — 24 senators and 72 House members.”

• WFLA-Tampa: Man behind most Florida insurance company ratings paints grim picture if crisis isn’t addressed. “Joseph Petrelli, the president of Demotech, Inc., controls the financial rating of 60 percent of Florida’s insurance companies. He’s now urging lawmakers to hold not one, but two special sessions to address Florida’s skyrocketing property insurance premiums.”

• WFME: New report: opioid overdoses at historic highs. “The report from Project Opioid says that overdose deaths in Florida have increased by 190% since 2015, although the rate slowed some between 2020 and 2021.”

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida city with infamous racial stain earns surprise state grant to repair its abandoned Black cemetery. "It was almost like a miracle touched the abandoned, historic Black cemetery in Groveland, just west of Orlando. After the state rejected the city’s application for $499,000 to restore a graveyard where 70 souls are believed to be buried, Groveland unexpectedly got word a few weeks ago the funds were suddenly available. A surprise $30 million was put into the pool of grant money for African-American projects around Florida that lawmakers added at the last minute to the final budget."

• WSVN-Miami: Florida leaders call on DeSantis for condo reform as anniversary of Surfside collapse approaches. “As the one-year anniversary of the collapse approaches a group of state leaders gathered Thursday to hold a news conference demanding a call to action by the governor.”

• NBC 2-Fort Myers: Florida’s state shell at higher verge of extinction than scientists thought. “If we aren’t careful, we may not find these on the beach or in the water anymore. Instead, we may only see these invertebrates in museums.”

From NPR News

• Politics: Republicans say they're quitting the 'biased' Commission on Presidential Debates

• Energy: For the first time, wind power eclipsed both coal and nuclear in the U.S.

• National: Millions of Americans are resorting to risky ways to buy an affordable home

• Business: Judge cuts the payout in a Black former Tesla contractor's racial discrimination suit

• World: As the war in Ukraine continues, so does the threat to a global food crisis

• Science: The first known interstellar meteor hit Earth in 2014, U.S. officials say

About today's curator

I’m Gregorio Ruiz-Perez, a journalist at WUFT. Originally from Naples, Florida, I’ve always enjoyed running to clear my mind. I am a senior journalism major and am part of a team searching for local state news each week that’s important to you. Please send feedback about today’s edition of The Point or ideas for stories we may have missed to

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news