The Point, May 5, 2023: Florida’s governor can sign law changing control of GRU


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• Gainesville Sun: Florida Senate sends GRU takeover bill to Gov. DeSantis’ desk for signature. “The bill creates a five-member authority board appointed by DeSantis to make all GRU-related decisions, stripping away the Gainesville City Commission’s century-long control of the municipal utility.”

• Tampa Bay Times ($): US News ranks Florida No. 1 for education. “The ranking, announced this week, was largely based on Florida’s public higher education system, which scored above other states on metrics including graduation rates, cost of degrees and student debt. The state’s pre-K-12 system ranked No. 14, based on high school graduation rates, preschool enrollment rates and results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, among other measurements.”

• Mainstreet Daily News: High Springs chemical plant explosion injures four. “A High Springs chemical plant explosion at Air Liquide injured four people on Thursday morning. High Springs Fire Department firefighters responded to the incident at 4:01 a.m. at 17526 High Springs Main St. Firefighters extinguished the blaze and four people were injured.”

• WUFT News: UF’s concrete canoe team aims for fourth national title. “…UFCC placed first overall at the Southeast Conference ASCE Student Symposium at the University of North Florida this past March. The team simply dominated the other schools in the region, which is made up of Florida schools, Georgia schools and Puerto Rico schools. Now, the team aims to win its fourth national title at the 2023 ASCE Championships, which will be held June 10 to 12 at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.”

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Around the state

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Andrew Gillum found not guilty on FBI lying charges, judge declares a mistrial. “Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has been cleared of lying to the FBI about a trip to New York where undercover agents purchased tickets for the mayor and his associates to see the play ‘Hamilton.'”

• News Service of Florida: Florida lawmakers pass a treatment ban for trans minors. “Teeing up the issue for Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida lawmakers on Thursday passed a plan that would prevent doctors and other health-care providers from offering treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy to transgender minors.”

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Florida lawmakers approve the next step in the fight against human trafficking. “The measure would require the state Department of Children and Families to conduct more oversight of adult safe homes and tighten standards for hotels and motels where trafficking may be taking place.”

• Politico: New College scores millions in Florida’s budget amid DeSantis revamp. “Florida GOP lawmakers this week supported the drastic changes Gov. Ron DeSantis is seeking to transform New College of Florida into a conservative-leaning school by agreeing to send more than $34 million to the school and backing a slate of controversial trustees who are now leading it.”

• Florida Politics: Push to lower Florida’s gun-buying age dead in Session’s final days. “Florida’s minimum gun-buying age will remain at 21 years old. A proposal to return the minimum age to 18 is officially dead this year. The House in April passed a bill (HB 1543) on a 69-36 vote that would have reduced the purchase age for rifles and long guns. But no such legislation was ever filed in the Senate, and the clock has run out on the bill finding another vehicle to reach the Senate floor.”

• Axios: Florida moves to restrict foreigners from property buys. “Real estate professionals and Asian American groups are alarmed at a Florida bill that’s designed to prevent operatives in hostile nations from acquiring sensitive American land but could actually impact a much wider immigrant population.”

• WPTV-West Palm Beach: Transgender teachers leaving Florida after bill on pronouns passes. “Two Palm Beach County teachers said they’re ready to move out of the state after the passage and expansion of what critics call the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”

• NPR News: Advocates in Florida clamor for a fix for the formerly incarcerated who want to vote. “In 2019, legislators passed a law requiring returning citizens to pay all the fees and fines associated with their sentence before they can vote again. But lawmakers never created a system to find out who owes what, says Fentrice Driskell, the Democratic leader of the Florida House.”

• Miami Herald ($): Flood insurance costs soar in South Florida. New rates to double, even triple for many. “FEMA has changed the way it calculates flood insurance prices. Instead of relying on old flood zone maps covering broad areas, it’s now basing premium prices on a wider range of factors, like an individual property’s distance from the ocean, rainfall levels and the cost to rebuild a home.”

• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Sheriff Judd calls Florida law banning texting and driving “useless,” but is it? “…between July 2019 (when the state’s new texting & driving law took effect) and 2021, Florida law enforcement agencies issued just over 8500 citations for texting and driving. In a state with some 15 million licensed drivers at the time, that’s equivalent to just about nine tickets per day statewide.”

From NPR News

• Law: Jury convicts Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys on seditious conspiracy charge

• Business: He’s trying to fix the IRS and has $80 billion to play with. This is his plan

• Business: 2 states launch an investigation of the NFL over gender discrimination and harassment

• Race: John Legend knows the obstacles of life after prison. He wants you to know them too

• National: Library funding becomes the ‘nuclear option’ as the battle over books escalates

• National: Financier buys Jeffrey Epstein’s private islands, with plans to create a resort

• Science: Think you’re a Taurus? Earth’s wobble sees things differently

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