Briefs

Global report: FL among top states for mass incarceration

BY: - September 8, 2021

Florida and a dozen other states imprison people at the highest rates in the world, without demonstrating that incarceration reduces crime, says the Prison Policy Initiative, a non-partisan research and policy advocacy organization. Florida’s rate of incarceration in prisons and jails was 795 people per 100,000, 13th highest in the United States, according to the […]

Federal court ruling could compel FL to pause on permitting dredge and fill of wetlands

BY: - September 7, 2021

Protecting wetlands and waterways should not be at the broad discretion of states such as Florida that were granted permitting authority in the final days of the Trump administration, says a national environmental law organization, citing a sweeping Aug. 31 federal ruling limiting states’ authority. The ruling in U.S. District Court in Arizona tosses out […]

Schools

Leon School Superintendent: Education Commissioner misinterprets mask rules and would violate FL Constitution

BY: - September 2, 2021

In a strong rebuff to Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Leon School Supt. Rocky Hanna has stated emphatically that the state’s emergency rule on masks has been misinterpreted and would violate the Florida Constitution. Leon, in Florida’s state capital and at the center of a court case on the contentious mask issue, is one of […]

Prison policy report issues FL prisons an “F” grade for COVID response

BY: - September 1, 2021

Florida state prisons had the nation’s third-highest number of COVID-19 deaths among inmates and was 17th highest in its mortality rate, earning an “F” grade for its COVID response in a 50-state analysis by the Prison Policy Initiative, an independent research and advocacy organization that studies mass incarceration. Florida prisons lost 221 inmates to COVID, […]

Fried to DeSantis: State’s top environmental appointment is not his call to make

BY: - September 1, 2021

Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Nikki Fried, Florida’s only statewide-elected Democrat, a Cabinet member, and a gubernatorial contender, wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis late Tuesday cautioning that the appointment of a secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is not entirely up to the governor. Earlier Tuesday, DeSantis announced that interim secretary Shawn Hamilton, […]

New environmental secretary appointed as Florida ecosystems deteriorate

BY: - August 31, 2021

Shawn Hamilton, newly named secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has a daunting task ahead of him, say environmental experts who have been calling for dramatic changes in policy since Gov. Ron DeSantis was elected. Hamilton has been interim secretary since June 4, when Noah Valenstein departed. He has been at DEP for […]

45 states have sent in plans to receive more federal COVID funds earmarked for schools; FL is not one of them

BY: - August 30, 2021

Florida is one of only five states that has not submitted a state plan for COVID relief to the U.S. Department of Education, holding up billions in federal funds to help the Florida education system recover from the impacts of COVID-19 in schools. These funds could be used to address learning loss among students due […]

Tampa mask mandate protest

More families look to leave their current public schools due to ‘COVID harassment’; 10 districts now use strict mask mandates

BY: - August 25, 2021

Almost 70 Florida families are looking to leave their current public schools over “COVID harassment,” a new way to allow students to go elsewhere with taxpayer funded scholarships. Families can send their kids to private schools or other public schools, part of a scholarship originally intended to help victims of bullying, hazing, and other cruel […]

Biden administration to restart oil and gas leasing

BY: - August 25, 2021

The Interior Department will make significant steps toward restarting its leasing programs for onshore and offshore oil and gas development in the coming months, the Biden administration said in a court filing Tuesday. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management anticipates holding a sale for offshore leases in October or November, the administration said. The Bureau […]

Wrongfully convicted Tampa man is going free now after 31 years in prison

BY: - August 23, 2021

A man imprisoned for 31 years was ordered freed Monday after investigators and a judge agreed that he was wrongfully convicted of armed burglary and armed robbery in 1990. Tony Hopps, now 56, had a solid but uninvestigated alibi that should have eliminated him as a suspect in the crime, according to a re-investigation by […]

Parents of disabled children: ‘We need action right now’ on mask mandates

BY: - August 23, 2021

Two Florida parents who filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates in public schools argued Monday that the governor’s mask-optional policies put their kids, who have serious medical conditions already, at greater risk from COVID-19. Plaintiffs’ attorney Matthew Dietz said during a Zoom news conference that “schools are obligated to […]

Bill would name capital’s U.S. courthouse after the late Justice Joseph Hatchett

BY: - August 19, 2021

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Democrat from Tallahassee, has introduced a bill in Congress to name the U.S. courthouse in the capital city after former Florida Supreme Court Justice Joseph Hatchett, a pioneer in Florida’s battle for civil rights. The courthouse at 111 Adams Street would be designated as the Joseph Woodrow Hatchett United States […]