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The Point, March 11, 2022: A proposed ballot initiative that could change Alachua County elections heads to the governor

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The stories near you

• Mainstreet Daily News: Senate clears way for BOCC ballot initiative. "The Florida Senate passed a bill Thursday that could change the way Alachua County residents vote for county commissioners, confirming a House vote and sending it to Gov. Ron DeSantis. If the governor signs the bill, HB 1493, it would place a charter amendment before Alachua County voters to restructure its board of county commissioners from five at-large seats to five single-member districts."

• Florida Politics: ‘We will be back fixing this’: Legislature passes amended bill addressing higher ed accreditors. "The legislation (SPB 7044) would restrict state colleges and universities from being accredited by the same agency for consecutive accreditation cycles. It also would require additional information about textbooks and instructional materials from state universities and colleges, mandating such information be posted at least 45 days before the start of class and kept public for five years. The Senate cleared the bill in a 22-15 vote on Monday."

• Gainesville Sun ($): Major medical marijuana distributor Trulieve to close Alachua County grow facility. "Trulieve has announced it will be closing its marijuana grow facility in Alachua County at the end of the month. The move appears to be the latest setback in a series of high-profile issues affecting the company, which has seen stock prices drop over the past year."

• News4Jax: Putnam County Sheriff DeLoach asks Palatka Mayor Hill to resign at commission meeting. "According to the Palatka Daily News, Deloach addressed the Putnam County Republican Club Tuesday night and accused the mayor, who is an attorney, of going to crime scenes and interfering with deputies’ duties. Hill has called those allegations baseless and defamatory. DeLoach addressed the mayor’s comments during the meeting."

• WUFT News: Buchholz High School track and field teams boosted by new track. "The Buchholz track and field team began training at its $543,000 new facility last month. Alachua County Public Schools approved the project in September, and the high school agreed to pay $12,000 per year for 12 years to satisfy the rest of its $158,000 portion, according to Jackie Johnson, a spokeswoman for the school district."

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Around the state

• USA Today Network ($): Record-setting budget: Florida spending plan weighs in at $112B, vote set for Monday. "The budget was finalized and put before lawmakers at 1:53 p.m. Thursday, starting a constitutionally required three-day waiting period before a vote can be taken on the plan. Lawmakers will lurch into overtime after failing to complete the budget in time for a vote Friday, the last scheduled day of the two-month session. They will return Monday to the Capitol to approve the budget and officially end the session."

• NPR News: Florida lawmakers back the creation of an election crimes investigative office. "The measure, which the GOP-led House passed along party lines Wednesday evening, would create an Office of Election Crimes and Security within the Department of State to probe 'allegations of election law violations or election irregularities.' Election fraud is exceedingly rare, and DeSantis had praised Florida's election administration in the wake of the 2020 election."

• News Service of Florida: Lawmakers do away with the Florida Standards Assessments and pass a new testing system. "It will be replaced with a 'progress monitoring system' that would test students three times a year."

• Politico: Florida lawmakers limit how race can be taught in classrooms and companies. "Florida’s GOP-led Senate delivered a major piece of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2022 agenda on Thursday by passing legislation to root out any possible traces of critical race theory within the state school system while also targeting 'woke' corporate trainings."

• Tallahassee Democrat ($): Richard Corcoran to step down as Florida education commissioner. "Corcoran, a lawyer who was appointed by DeSantis in December 2018, will return to private life and 'looks forward to spending more time with his wife Anne and their six children,' the press release said. The state's salary database shows he was paid $284,280 a year as commissioner."

• Miami Herald ($): Is that school book objectionable? Or this one? Legislature wants more people involved. "Parents and community members could soon have an enhanced role in helping pick books in schools, under legislation approved Thursday that comes as a growing number of titles are under fire in school board meetings around the state and country."

• WFSU: Wildfire crews focus efforts on protecting homes and businesses, while working to contain the blaze. "Making progress on containing the largest fire (in Bay, Gulf and Calhoun counties) hasn't been easy for firefighters. They're struggling against conditions that are extremely conducive to large wildfires: high-winds, dry air and tons of Hurricane Michael tree debris piled on the ground."

• WTSP-Tampa: FHP trooper recalls stopping accused drunk driver while protecting Skyway 10k runners. "When Florida Highway Patrol Master Trooper Toni Schuck positioned her cruiser in an attempt to stop an accused drunk driver from reaching participants in the Skyway 10K, she said she was just doing her job. Other people have since given the 47-year-old trooper a title for her bravery and rising above the call to service: a hero."

• Lakeland Ledger ($): Former Commissioner Michael Dunn reportedly reaches plea deal in 2nd-degree murder case. "Former Lakeland city commissioner Michael Dunn has reached a plea deal with prosecutors in his second-degree murder case, according to his lawyer and court officials. Dunn, 51, is expected to officially enter his plea Friday at 8:30 a.m. in Bartow."

From NPR News

• World: Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (March 10)

• Business: Wall Street banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are pulling out of Russia

• National: Jussie Smollett will serve 150 days in jail for lying about an attack on him

• National: The 2020 census had big undercounts of Black people, Latinos and Native Americans

• Health: TSA extends the travel mask mandate through April 18

• Sports: MLB owners and players reach a tentative agreement

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