Michael Moline

Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.

Judge: Lawsuit over DeSantis schools mask-policy tests uncharted legal waters

By: - August 25, 2021

The trial pitting parents critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ school masking policies against the administration will extend into Friday. The attorneys presented their last witness on Wednesday, but the judge said he needs to review the evidence before hearing closing arguments. The reason, Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper said during a Zoom hearing, is […]

Teacher in her classroom

DeSantis adviser takes (virtual) stand in lawsuit testing school masks policy

By: - August 24, 2021

Lawyers for the DeSantis administration spent much of Tuesday afternoon trying to undermine the credibility of its key witness in the state court lawsuit challenging the governor’s policy against mask mandates for children in public schools. The witness is Jay Bhattacharya, a researcher specializing in the economics of medicine at Stanford University. He is not […]

Trial opens in parents’ legal challenge to DeSantis ban on mask mandates in schools

By: - August 23, 2021

A trial judge suggested Monday that there may be limits to the state law that Gov. Ron DeSantis argues justifies his insistence that parents decide whether children inside public school buildings wear masks to prevent COVID-19 transmission. That law is the Parental Bill of Rights, which places health care and other decisions about their children […]

high school classroom, school, education

Now it’s seven school districts defying Gov. DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates

By: - August 22, 2021

The Leon County School District is the seventh in Florida to impose a mask mandate for schoolchildren, with exceptions only with documented medical evidence that it would harm students, in defiance of policy established by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Superintendent Rocky Hanna made the announcement Sunday in a live video posted on the district’s Facebook page. […]

Legal challenge to DeSantis masks-in-schools policy is headed to trial

By: - August 19, 2021

The DeSantis administration’s efforts to have a lawsuit targeting his masks-in-schools policy thrown out of court failed Thursday, when a Leon County judge ruled that the case will go to trial. Circuit Judge John Cooper rejected administration arguments that the plaintiffs — parents whose children attend Florida public schools — lacked standing to bring the […]

DeSantis warns Biden’s vaccine push for nursing home staff could disrupt industry

By: - August 19, 2021

President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for nursing home staff could drive workers out of the field and worsen the existing staffing shortage at these facilities, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Thursday. “That is a major hammer to bring down and has not been legislated by Congress — I mean, that’s a pure use of executive power […]

DeSantis goes nuclear on news report about COVID-19 therapy he’s promoting

By: - August 18, 2021

The DeSantis administration is pushing back big against an Associated Press report about investments by a major donor in a COVID-19 therapy that the governor is promoting heavily in appearances across the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis himself, during a Wednesday news conference in Pembroke Pines, suggested a nefarious motive behind the report. “It’s important to […]

Tampa mask mandate protest

DeSantis’ lawyers ask judge to toss parents’ lawsuit over school mask policy

By: - August 17, 2021

The DeSantis administration has cited two school districts’ defiance of his ban on mask mandates in the classroom in defense of that policy. The argument appears in a legal brief the administration submitted to Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper in a lawsuit filed by a group of parents who claim the policy will put […]

Gov. DeSantis seeks Biden’s aid to cope with Tropical Storm Fred

By: - August 16, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked President Joe Biden to declare a federal state of emergency in 23 North Florida counties as Tropical Storm Fred brought heavy rains, storm surge, and high winds to the area. The move would entitle the state to federal assistance. The emergency would cover Bay, Calhoun, Citrus, Dixie, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, […]

Judge promises quick decision in parents’ attack on DeSantis’ school-mask policies

By: - August 13, 2021

A state trial judge has given the DeSantis administration until noon Monday to file written arguments explaining why officials believe he should throw out a legal challenge to the governor’s policies against mask mandates for public school students. Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper on Friday also scheduled a hearing to debate those arguments for […]


FL Appeal Court declares Fort Myers’ anti-panhandling ordinance unconstitutional

By: - August 12, 2021

A state appeals court has overturned a Fort Myers city ordinance prohibiting panhandling, ruling that it was a clear violation of the First Amendment. A three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal, with jurisdiction extending from Pasco to Collier counties, overturned David Joseph Watrous’ conviction for seeking charitable donations at the city’s Rosa […]

In a turnabout, Gov. DeSantis emphasizes COVID therapy over vaccines, face masks

By: - August 12, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis is now de-emphasizing vaccines, social distancing, and face masks in combating COVID-19 in favor of therapies including monoclonal antibodies, which have shown promise in treating early infections. While the White House and many states in the nation are focusing on getting the shots, the governor signaled a striking new development in his […]