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.

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 […]

White House may aid local school officials whose pay gets docked over mask policies

By: - August 10, 2021

As the DeSantis administration threatens to strip salaries of local school officials who buck the governor’s masking policy for children, the Biden administration indicated it might step in to restore those paychecks with federal money. Meanwhile, critics of Gov. Ron DeSantis suggest that if anyone deserves to have his pay docked, it is the governor. […]

Gov. DeSantis has lost a key vaccine ruling on cruises; federal judge blocks state law

By: - August 9, 2021

A federal trial judge has delivered a major legal defeat to Gov. Ron DeSantis, blocking the state from  forbidding ships from demanding proof that passengers have been vaccinated against COVID-19. U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams in Miami delivered the 59-page ruling on Sunday, issuing an injunction that frees Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to begin voyages […]

DeSantis policy on masks for schoolchildren: Is it even legal?

By: - August 9, 2021

The Florida Constitution seems to make clear who runs local schools: “The school board shall operate, control, and supervise all free public schools within the school district and determine the rate of school district taxes within the limits prescribed herein.” However, Florida’s new Parents’ Bill of Rights, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis this […]

Gov. DeSantis highlights good news on COVID: Monoclonal antibody therapy works

By: - August 5, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis, amid spiking COVID cases that have rendered Florida the most dangerous state in terms of coronavirus infections, traveled to Tampa General Hospital on Thursday to highlight what’s turned out to be an effective treatment in early cases. Tampa General’s year-old Global Emerging Diseases Institute has been treating patients with monoclonal antibodies, which […]

DeSantis angrily defends his COVID policies during an impassioned diatribe

By: - August 3, 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis lashed out Tuesday at critics of his COVID policy — especially questions about infections among school-age children. DeSantis last week issued an executive order allowing families to decide whether children should wear masks at school, essentially ignoring local school board decisions. However, most if not all districts across Florida are mask optional […]

Federal appeals court rejects ministry’s defamation claim against Southern Poverty Law Center

By: - August 2, 2021

A federal appeals court has rejected a Florida-based Christian ministry’s claim that the Southern Poverty Law Center defamed it by including it on a list of hate groups. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously upheld a ruling by an Alabama trial judge rejecting Coral Ridge Ministries Media’s […]

DeSantis responds to CDC’s change of mind on masks with mockery

By: - August 2, 2021

Faced with a record spike in COVID infections, caused by the highly contagious Delta variant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Gov. Ron DeSantis have settled on markedly divergent reactions. The federal public health authorities bit the bullet and reversed course, countermanding their earlier advice that vaccinated people need not wear face […]