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The Point, April 20, 2022: Florida Legislature's targeting of Disney might bring ripple effects for other special districts

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The stories near you

• News Service of Florida: Bradford County Development Authority could be among the special districts dissolved after Florida legislature’s special session. "The legislation would dissolve special districts that were created before November 1968 and have not been reapproved in state law. A state Constitution was ratified in November 1968. A House staff analysis said the legislation would apply to five special districts: the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the Bradford County Development Authority, the Sunshine Water Control District in Broward County, the Eastpoint Water and Sewer District in Franklin County and the Hamilton County Development Authority."

• Gainesville Sun ($): Alachua County planning board to discuss residential development of West End Golf Club. "Alachua County officials are set to consider a controversial proposal by a developer that would rezone approximately 75 acres in the Newberry area from recreational use to residential, while also creating one of the largest parks in the county."

• Ocala Star-Banner ($): Ocala City Manager Sandra Wilson fired in 3-2 vote; Assistant City Manager Pete Lee steps in. "Wilson's firing was not a complete surprise. Last year, when then-Fire Chief Shane Alexander was let go, Wilson was blamed for what some saw as a bad move. There were a few times when the previous council and the present body tried to remove her, but she survived. Tuesday was different."

• Fresh Take Florida: Florida quarterback Richardson was driving faster than 105 mph, deputy says in newly released video. "Anthony Richardson, the young University of Florida quarterback who has electrified fans, could have been ticketed for driving faster than 105 mph earlier this month, but the sheriff’s deputy’s pickup that briefly pursued him couldn’t go any faster, according to newly released video of the traffic stop."

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Around the state

• USA Today Network ($): Gov. Ron DeSantis expands special session to take on Disney after 'Don't Say Gay' law criticism. "The legislation, HB 3C and SB 4-C, the 'Independent Special Districts' bill, quickly advanced in the House and Senate shortly after the governor's announcement. Republicans on the House State Affairs Committee slammed Disney as 'perverted by a woke mob' and 'goofy with power' before the measure passed by a 14-7 vote."

• Florida Politics: Disney could lose Big Tech carve-out in Gov. DeSantis-backed bill. "Lawmakers are moving forward with a plan to end a theme parks carve-out from last year’s social media bill as Republicans crack down on Disney’s influence."

• NPR News: What to know about Judge Kathryn Mizelle, who struck down the travel mask mandate. "Mizelle sits on the District Court for the Middle District of Florida. She was nominated by former President Donald Trump in September 2020 at age 33 and confirmed by a 49-to-41 Senate vote later that year."

• Tampa Bay Times ($): DeSantis signs bill limiting tenure at Florida public universities. "Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that makes it harder for faculty at state universities to retain tenure, framing the legislation as another way that he and the Legislature are working to prevent educators from bringing their political views into the classroom."

• WFSU: Florida's public colleges and universities have to try to find new accreditors. "The bill initially began as an effort to require schools to switch accreditors, following high-profile spats between the state's current accreditor—the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools—and the boards of Florida State University, and the state university system. That fight saw SACS weigh in on FSU's presidential search and its consideration of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran for the role. SACS noted that consideration could be seen as political interference which is barred under the agency's rules.

• Miami Herald ($): Here’s the list of the math textbooks that Florida rejected. "A press release from the Department of Education said that 54 of the 132 textbooks submitted were 'impermissible with either Florida’s new standards or contained prohibited topics — the most in Florida’s history.' No specific passages from those rejected books have been provided as examples."

• WFTS-Tampa Bay: Robotic strawberry picker created in Tampa Bay to deal with shrinking labor force. "

• WMFE: Disney drops face mask mandate. Mickey Mouse ears still encouraged. "Face coverings are now optional for vaccinated guests including in indoor locations as well as aboard Disney transportation."

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