The Point, May 18, 2023: DeSantis signs anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law


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• News Service of Florida: Small details fill Florida’s big state budget. “Here are examples of some of the details included in the budget: $1.75 million for a meat-processing and training facility in Newberry. A funding request by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, and Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, said the purpose is ‘to serve small cattle, pig, sheep and goat ranchers within a 100-mile radius. It will also provide high-skill workforce training in butchery and other value-added meat processes in coordination with UF/IFAS and Santa Fe College.'”

• Mainstreet Daily News: New law cuts funding to local immigrant ID program. “Under the bill, the city of Gainesville and Alachua County will be prevented from continuing to fund the Human Rights Coalition of Alachua County’s community ID program. Both local governments recognize it as valid identification to use for programs.”

• WUFT News: SRWMD Board recommends state funding for springs protection projects. “The Suwannee River Water Management District is recommending $4.6 million in projects designed to improve and protect the water quality of Poe Springs. One project totals $3 million to expand the City of High Springs wastewater treatment facility and complete the creation of wetlands.”

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Around the state

• Associated Press: DeSantis signs bills targeting drag shows, transgender kids and the use of bathrooms and pronouns. “DeSantis has made anti-LGBTQ+ legislation a large part of his agenda as he prepares to seek the Republican presidential nomination. He signed the bills in front of a cheering crowd at the evangelical Cambridge Christian School in Tampa. The ceremony had a campaign-like feel, with DeSantis tossing Sharpies to a crowd, as opposed to when he privately signed measures on abortion and gun rights.”

• Politico: Florida Democrats think the unthinkable: We’re in play. “Former TV anchor Donna Deegan’s win Tuesday night in the state’s biggest city is giving the party — which doesn’t hold a single statewide office — a glimmer of hope heading into 2024, when there’s a good chance that the GOP challenger to President Joe Biden will come from Florida. Democrats say Deegan’s win is both a repudiation of DeSantis and a sign that all is not lost for them in the Sunshine state.”

• Palm Beach Post ($): Brightline tickets from South Florida to Orlando on sale for Labor Day weekend and beyond. “Officials are confident the intercity rail routes to Orlando will be ready by the Labor Day weekend. One-way and round-trip tickets between South Florida stations in Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport can be bought at or by downloading the app.”

• NPR News: A free speech group is suing a Florida school district over book bans. The largest book publisher in the country has joined free speech group PEN America, parents and authors to push back against book banning, filing a federal lawsuit in Florida’s Escambia County.”

• Pensacola News Journal ($): Florida has 1 billion tons of phosphogypsum that could pave way for ‘radioactive roads.’ “HB 1191, which landed on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk last week, would allow the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to study the use of phosphogypsum in paving projects as ‘construction aggregate material,’ leading to what many have dub ‘radioactive roads.'”

• Fort Myers News-Press ($): Is there something in the water? Scientists suspect pollution impacting panthers. “Thirty years ago it looked like the panther was headed toward extinction, but the population has grown several fold since the cougar genetic introduction. But this neurological disease, which isn’t found in domestic animals or any other species besides bobcats, may be decimating panther numbers.”

From NPR News

• Climate: How a European law might get companies around the world to cut climate pollution

• National: Montana becomes the first state to completely ban TikTok

• Health: Beyond the ‘abortion pill’: Real-life experiences of individuals taking mifepristone

• Science: A terminally ill doctor reflects on his discoveries around psychedelics and cancer

• Business: If you haven’t logged into your Google account in over 2 years, it will be deleted

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