The Point, April 22, 2022: Florida Legislature passes redistricting plan, along with repeal of Disney’s special status


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• WUFT News: Nonprofit organizations in Gainesville awarded more than $6M in federal funds. “The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), which President Joe Biden signed in 2021, provided the City of Gainesville with more than $6 million to give aid to local nonprofit organizations and programs that benefit the Gainesville community. The funding is meant to offer financial support to nonprofit agencies that are serving residents who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and that are actively providing critical services to citizens.”

• Fresh Take Florida: College stories: Florida students share their (sometimes) rocky roads to graduation. “For the class of 2022, their time was split in halves – virtual and in-person. College students adapted to ‘distanced’ and classroom learning while routinely being administered COVID-19 tests. Students traded their extracurricular activities, sports games and parties for endless Zoom meetings and masks. Some dealt with academic responsibilities while sick with the virus. Many lost loved ones. Despite maneuvering through college classes during a global health crisis, graduates across Florida universities pushed toward the finish line. While the coronavirus injected “what ifs” into their memories, others adapted, pivoted and realigned their goals.”

• WUFT News: Developer’s proposal to build houses on former West End Golf Course gets denied. “The weeds at the former West End Golf Club property will continue to grow after its would-be developer hit a roadblock this week. The Alachua County Planning Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously to deny a land-use change for the golf course on Newberry Road.”

• Ocala Gazette: Marion County School Board tackles concerns over racial disparity in discipline. “Reports highlighting an explosion of disciplinary referrals at all grade levels in Marion County schools, and the alarming racial disparity contained in the numbers, led a group of school district social workers on Tuesday to plead with the Marion County School Board for help.”

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Around the state

• Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald ($): Florida Democrats stage sit-in on House floor over congressional redistricting map. “Florida Republicans powered through shouts and protests from their Democratic colleagues Thursday, putting an abrupt end to a sit-in on the floor of the chamber by voting to end debate and send the governor a congressional redistricting map.”

• WMFE: Legislature votes to repeal Disney World’s self-governing Reedy Creek district in Central Florida. “Brevard County State Rep. Randy Fine sponsored the House version of the bill repealing the Reedy Creek Improvement District and five other independent special districts as of June 2023. The Republican lawmaker says Disney ‘kicked the hornet’s nest’ when it opposed a law banning talk of gender identity and sexual orientation through third grade and limiting instruction to what’s deemed ‘appropriate’ after that. GOP leaders disagree with calling it ‘Don’t Say Gay.'”

• WMFE: Orange County residents’ property taxes could jump by 20 percent after Reedy Creek dissolution. “WMFE’s Danielle Prieur spoke with Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph about the financial implications of such a decision for the Central Florida area.”

• WFSU: Manny Diaz is slated to become Florida’s new education commissioner. “Diaz has long been rumored to be a frontrunner for the job of heading the Florida Department of Education. He has carried several major pieces of education legislation during his time in the Senate — this year, he sponsored HB 7, which restricts how subjects like race can be discussed and taught in public schools and discussed in workplaces.”

• Miami Herald ($): After week of suspense, Florida reveals why some math texts are too woke. “One example: A colored bar chart showing how levels of racial bias can vary by age group. It is part of a mathematical brain teaser involving polynomial models and is nestled on the bottom right-hand corner of page 56 in a pre-calculus online textbook consisting of more than 1,000 pages. The book is not identified on the state’s website. That’s not allowed, the (Florida Department of Education) indicated, adding that the complaint about the chart originated with a member of the public.”

• Florida Politics: What would Uncle Walt think? A Disney historian explains. “If Walt Disney were alive today, what would he think of the Florida Legislature threatening to dissolve Disney World’s government? Disney historian Richard Foglesong hypothesized Uncle Walt fuming at lawmakers for even considering to strip Reedy Creek Improvement District of its powers after all — in Walt’s mind — Disney World had done for Florida.”

• WJCT: St. Johns County gets $62 million to repair nor’easter damage. “St. Johns County will receive up to $62 million in federal funding to repair erosion damage from a nor’easter in November. The storm caused massive erosion along the shoreline with winds up to 63 mph and waves reaching 16 feet, some of the highest water since Hurricane Irma in 2017.”

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