The Point, May 24, 2022: Florida special session opens with discussion of reinsurance bill

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The stories near you

• WMFE-Orlando: At U.S. Senate, Marion County supervisor of elections decries ‘relentless and unprecedented barrage of falsehoods.’ “(Wesley) Wilcox is a Republican and president of the Florida Supervisors of Elections. He appeared Thursday before the Committee on Rules and Administration. He testified that since 2000 Florida elections have become a model for professionalism and security. ‘And now,’ he said, ‘in a short period of time, our institutions are being undermined by falsehoods that continually weaken voter confidence in our elections.'”

• WUFT News: A onetime family farmhouse in Gainesville will soon open as an educational nature center. “The new nature center at Hogtown Creek Headwaters Nature Park opens to the public Friday. … The newly-renovated farmhouse, now a nature center, located in Hogtown Creek Nature Park would focus on educating the public about the beginnings of the 70-acre park, which protects a variety of natural habitats. It was once former pinelands and upland mixed forest to now becoming shady fern-covered wetlands where water slowly seeps from the ground.”

• The Alligator: UF’s presidential search continues. “UF President Kent Fuchs announced his resignation on Jan. 5 and the search for the next president officially began in March. Previous search processes were more subject to the public eye, but new legislature delays release of information identifying the potential candidates. UF students and faculty will only be able to research and meet with finalists 21 days before a new campus leader is chosen.”

• WFLA-Tampa: Woman arrested for smuggling undocumented men through Hernando County, FHP says. “A Texas woman was arrested in Brooksville Monday after Florida Highway Patrol said she was trying to smuggle undocumented men to Tampa. FHP said 21-year-old Josselin Padilla Valladares was paid $900 to take six men from Houston, Texas to Tampa.”


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Around the state

• WUFT News: Florida Senate committee passes first bill to aid property insurance market as special session opens. “The unsteady Florida property insurance market led the state’s legislature on Monday to propose a reinsurance program on the opening day of a special session. The program, known Reinsurance to Assist Policyholders (RAP), passed the Senate Appropriations Committee almost unanimously as its first step toward becoming law. The bill calls for $2 billion from the state’s General Revenue Fund to create the RAP program and establishes new rules to stabilize attorney fees and control coverage denials to property owners.”

• News Service of Florida: Legislators propose fixes to Florida’s property insurance crisis, but they may not be enough. “Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, compared conditions in the industry to having ‘Stage 4 cancer and failing’ but that the proposals were like treating ‘Stage 1 cancer.'”

• Associated Press: An appeals court finds Florida’s social media law unconstitutional. “A Florida law intended to punish social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, dealing a major victory to companies who had been accused by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis of discriminating against conservative thought.”

• Lakeland Ledger ($): Former Lakeland City Commissioner Michael Dunn gets 3 years in prison for 2018 killing. “The sentencing comes about three and a half years after Dunn, 51, fatally shot Christobal Lopez on Oct. 3, 2018. Lopez, 51, was attempting to shoplift a hatchet at the store Dunn managed, Vets Army Navy Surplus just north of downtown Lakeland on Florida Avenue.”

• Associated Press: Florida suspends Pensacola abortion clinic after hospitalizations. “An abortion clinic that serves women from all over the U.S. South had its license suspended this weekend under an emergency order from Florida health officials after two women who underwent procedures at the clinic were hospitalized this year. The state Agency for Health Care Administration ordered the suspension of the license for American Family Planning of Pensacola. It went into effect on Saturday.”

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Florida gas prices: Expect to pay more at the pump than any other Memorial Day weekend in history. “On Sunday, the average price for gasoline in Florida was $4.48 per gallon, according to AAA’s weekly report on gas prices and trends. The state average dipped 3 cents after setting a new record high price of $4.51 per gallon last week.”

• Palm Beach Post ($): Saharan dust clouds reached Florida and the Atlantic coast. How does it affect weather? “Noticing hazy skies in Florida? That could be dust carried from Africa’s Sahara Desert, making it all the way to the Southeast states.”

• NPR News: Divvying up the nearly $1 billion Surfside condo settlement. “The 98 victims ranged in age from 1 to 92 years old. Brad Sohn’s law firm filed the first class-action lawsuit after the collapse. Eventually, the court appointed him and many other attorneys to represent all of the victims. It’s complicated. He says, for instance, someone who died that was a family’s sole provider will likely get paid more than other victims.”

• Miami Herald ($): Dwayne Haskins ‘drank heavily’ at club before he was killed by dump truck in South Florida. “Dwayne Haskins, the NFL quarterback hit and killed while walking on a South Florida highway, had been out at a club drinking “heavily” and had a significant amount of alcohol in his blood, according to medical examiner reports released on Monday.”


From NPR News

• World: With food prices climbing, the U.N. is warning of crippling global shortages

• World: A Russian soldier is sentenced to life in prison in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial

• Health: Monkeypox likely isn’t much of a threat to the public, a White House official says

• Health: If Pfizer’s data pans out, when will little kids get the COVID-19 vaccine?

• Health: What is the future of abortion pills, if the Supreme Court lets states ban abortion?

• Business: Starbucks is exiting Russia, shutting 130 stores

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 emagoc@wuft.org.

About WUFT News

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news @wuft.org

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