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The Point, May 10, 2023: Wrapping up the 2023 Florida legislative session

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• WUFT News/News Service of Florida: Here’s how 18 big issues settled from the 2023 Florida legislative session. "Florida lawmakers ended the 2023 legislative session Friday. During the 60-day session, the Republican-controlled House and Senate passed numerous high-profile bills that lined up with priorities of Gov. Ron DeSantis. Here are snapshots of 18 different issues, with links to relevant WUFT coverage over the past several months."

• Florida Storms: Summertime pattern of heat with daytime thunderstorms returns to Sunshine State this week. "Ahead of the cold front, some of the warmest temperatures of the season are expected Tuesday into Wednesday as a number of areas reach 90 degrees."

• Gainesville Sun: Commission approve $3M settlement after halting housing project. "Alachua County commissioners have decided to settle with a nonprofit, voting unanimously in unison with community members, to pay $2.9 million to halt an affordable housing project and purchase the land initially meant for development."

• Florida Politics: Blaise Ingoglia to head Ron DeSantis political committee. "Ingoglia (of Spring Hill) is a former House member who was elected to the Senate in 2022. He was also the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida from 2015 to 2019, helping the party raise money and set out a strategy resulting in GOP victories in nearly every statewide election during that time."

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida university graduates share inspiring personal stories. "One had been a homeless, high school dropout. Another overcame a serious disability. Another just learned English a few years ago. Graduates of Florida’s universities share their inspiring personal stories as they walk across the stage with their diplomas this month. Here are the stories of a few notable graduates from around the state."

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Around the state

• Associated Press: DeSantis signs measures that target Florida teachers unions and restrict students' social media use. "Teachers and other government employees will have to write monthly checks if they want to stay in their union after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday banning automatic dues deductions from public employees' paychecks. The anti-union bill also gives employees the right to immediately quit a union for no reason and requires unions to recertify if the number of dues-paying members drops below 60% of those eligible to join."

• WFSU-Tallahassee: Florida's defamation bill failed due to opposition from media of all political persuasions. "Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted to weaken the laws and legal precedents that protect journalists who publish criticism of public figures. The measure failed after media of all ideological stripes opposed it. Bobby Block, the executive director of the First Amendment Foundation, says conservative outlets at first didn’t want to speak against the bill."

• Associated Press: Later school starting times is part of the effort to improve kids' mental health. "Last week, the Florida Legislature approved a bill that would prevent middle schools from beginning earlier than 8 a.m. and high schools before 8:30 a.m. The starting times must be in place by July 2026."

• Lakeland Ledger: More efficient? Duke Energy is building a floating solar farm on a cooling pond in Bartow. "At a groundbreaking on Monday, Shayna White, Duke’s Florida project manager, said the small-scale pilot on Duke property will be a test to determine if the technology behind floating solar arrays have better efficiency and capabilities than land-based solar farms."

• Inside Climate News: Climate Change Forces a Rethinking of Mammoth Everglades Restoration Plan. "Even as the $21 billion effort unfolds, officials realize that its water infrastructure cannot contend with rising seas, violent storms and Florida’s non-stop influx of residents."

• Florida Today: Recent wind, hail storms cause mass mango fallout in Florida. "The falling fruit has caused thousands in losses for some and left others hunting for ideas on what to do with so many green mangos: maybe a mango pickle, a sugar vinegar, or eat them raw with salt and chili powder."

• WFLA-Tampa: Will the Rays leave Tropicana Field? Orlando Magic co-founder hopes to lure MLB team, Rays with $1.7 billion stadium pitch. "On Tuesday, former NBA executive and Orlando Magic co-found Pat Williams revealed plans for a potential MLB stadium in Orlando. Williams also said that if the Rays can’t get a new ballpark in St. Pete, the city of Orlando would welcome the team with open arms."

• Florida Politics: New College to bring in Scott Atlas as commencement speaker. "The former coronavirus adviser to Donald Trump supported Ron DeSantis' reopening of Florida during the pandemic."

From NPR News

• Politics: Rep. George Santos faces federal criminal charge

• Politics: Sen. Dianne Feinstein is set to return to Washington Tuesday following an absence

• Health: If you're 40, it's time to start mammograms, according to new guidelines

• Planet Money: What if AI could rebuild the middle class?

• National: A jury finds Trump liable for battery and defamation in E. Jean Carroll trial

• National: He followed strict rules as a judge and wants Supreme Court justices to do the same

• National: Ft. Hood is now Ft. Cavazos, honoring a Latino general instead of a Confederate one

• National: Swastika Mountain is renamed Mount Halo in honor of a historical tribal leader
Ethan Magoc curated today’s edition of The Point.

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