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The Point, March 10, 2022: Florida lawmakers will need more time to finalize next year's budget

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Today's top Florida stories

• USA Today Network ($): With work on state budget not done in time, Florida legislative session goes into overtime. "Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, on Wednesday confirmed that work on the 2022-23 state budget would not be done in time for the 60-day session's scheduled last day on Friday. Instead, lawmakers will adjourn for the weekend and return to Tallahassee Monday to debate and vote on the over $100 billion spending plan that goes into effect July 1."

• WUFT News: Police Benevolent Association chapter feuds with Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson. "There is an ongoing dispute between the North Central Florida Police Benevolent Association and Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson over labor laws. The association’s leadership accuses Watson of violating the labor laws, saying he has not been fair on negotiations for new contracts, offering deputies benefits and policies that had already been declined by the organization."

• Politico: DeSantis agrees to meet with Disney CEO amid 'Don't Say Gay’ fallout. "Bob Chapek, the head of the California-based Walt Disney corporation, said he called DeSantis expressing 'disappointment and concern' over the legislation and that the Republican governor agreed to meet with him and LGBTQ company leaders over the impact the bill could have, according to a readout of Chapek’s comments provided to POLITICO by Disney."

• Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times ($): DeSantis wanted six months without gas tax. Legislature is giving him — and us — one. "Florida will suspend collection of its gas tax in October, saving motorists about $0.27 for every gallon of fuel they buy. ... Despite record gas prices currently, state lawmakers are choosing to wait until October, they said, because it’s one of the months when the state has the fewest tourists."

• Panama City News Herald ($): Wednesday rain helps firefighters get better handle on 3 wildfires of the Chipola Complex. "According to a press release on Wednesday evening from the Florida Forest Service, the Bertha Swamp Road Fire, which still covered more than 33,000 acres, was 20% contained — a 10% jump from that morning."

• WFSU: A bill that lets businesses sue municipalities over rules that cause lost profits goes to the governor. "The measure, titled The Local Business Protection Act, applies to businesses that have been operating for at least three years and that see at least a 15 percent reduction in profits because of a local government rule."

• News Service of Florida: A bill that makes changes to the state's alimony rules is on its way to the governor's desk. "Continuing a decade-long effort to rewrite the state’s alimony laws, the Florida House on Wednesday approved a contentious measure that would do away with permanent alimony and set up maximum payments based on the duration of marriage. The measure, now set for action by Gov. Ron DeSantis, drew emotional debate from people on both sides of the issue during committee meetings in recent weeks."

• Jacksonville Daily Record: Zahn, Wannemacher plead not guilty to federal charges linked to attempted JEA sale. "Escorted into the courtroom in handcuffs and chains, former JEA Managing Director and CEO Aaron Zahn and former CFO Ryan Wannemacher pleaded not guilty March 8 to federal conspiracy and wire fraud charges linked to the attempted sale of the city-owned utility in 2019."

• WUSF: Brightline says a plan for high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando is in the works. "Brightline spokeswoman Christine Kefauver told members of the Hillsborough Transportation Planning Organization they are currently working with Tampa officials to determine where a terminal should be located, along with the best route. It would likely come through Ybor City, close to I-4."

• Fresh Take Florida: Large alligator killed that menaced Florida paddleboarder in viral video. "Florida wildlife officials have now killed a nearly 12-foot alligator that swam within inches of a frightened paddleboarder in a popular state park during an encounter in September recorded on video that went viral. The male alligator – 11 feet, 10 inches long – was shot in the head one evening near dusk last month by a trapper contracted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, according to agency records and a witness."

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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

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