Culture & Society

Parks Foundation to replant rare longleaf pine forests destroyed by Hurricane Michael

BY: - June 23, 2020

Rare longleaf pine trees destroyed by Hurricane Michael in a state park near Bristol will soon be replaced with seedlings paid for and planted by fans of the Florida State Parks Foundation. Longleaf pines, which once covered 90 million acres in the Southeast, were heavily logged in the 1800s, according to the National Forest Foundation. […]

Federal appeals court OKs removal of Confederate monument in Lakeland’s Munn Park

BY: - June 23, 2020

A federal appeals court has rejected a challenge to the transfer of a Confederate monument from Lakeland’s Munn Park to another public park, ruling that nothing about the move violated the constitutional rights of “Lost Cause” nostaligists. Those fans — including individuals affiliated with the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the […]

Dems want Gov. DeSantis to apologize over comments about workers and COVID

BY: - June 22, 2020

Democratic state senators demanded an apology Monday from Gov. Ron DeSantis for comments attributing the uptick in COVID-19 cases to “overwhelmingly Hispanic” construction workers and farm laborers. “Some of these guys go to work in a school bus, and they are all just packed there like sardines, going across Palm Beach County or some of […]

Monetary award to wrongly imprisoned man is a landmark for FL’s conviction review process

BY: - June 22, 2020

Clifford Williams, a Jacksonville man wrongly imprisoned for 43 years for a murder he did not commit, was granted $2.15 million in compensation from the state of Florida this month in a landmark case reflecting the work of a new kind of prosecutor. In 2018, Melissa Nelson, state attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit, based […]

Gov. DeSantis won’t interfere with cities that require residents to wear face masks in public amid COVID spike

BY: - June 19, 2020

Update: Gov. Ron DeSantis staged a news conference Saturday as as the daily number of new COVID-19 cases exceeded 4,000, and appeared to shift his explanation for the rising caseload from increased testing to community spread among young people. He reiterated that the median age for new infections has shifted from seniors to people in […]

FL Gov. DeSantis’ Juneteenth proclamation draws attention to Confederate holidays still on the books

BY: - June 19, 2020

As Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation Friday commemorating the day slavery ended in the United States, questions have been raised about the state’s approach to observing public holidays that represent racial injustice and whether Juneteenth will be added to the list of public holidays. According to Florida statutes, Florida observes legal holidays such as […]

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As the state budget deadline looms July 1, key organizations ask DeSantis to deliver on long-awaited proposals

BY: - June 19, 2020

As Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares to make state budget cuts, a letter signed by 35 Florida organizations calls on the governor to protect longstanding public services by finding funds from every route possible. “The governor must protect crucial programs and services, or else we will see existing racial and economic disparities exacerbated in Florida,” Sadaf […]

DeSantis pushes voters to go to the polls; concedes little to elections supervisors’ ambitions for vote by mail this fall

BY: - June 18, 2020

Gov. Ron DeSantis has rejected calls by Florida’s supervisors of elections to extend early voting to avoid meltdowns at the polls this summer and fall, but will allow them to get a head start on counting what promises to be a mountain of vote-by-mail ballots. Meanwhile, the governor essentially is encouraging voters to go to […]

Supreme Court rejects Trump administration challenge to DACA

BY: - June 18, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday salvaged an Obama-era program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of young, unauthorized immigrants known as “Dreamers” to remain in the country without immediate fear of deportation. In a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court’s liberal wing in finding that the Trump administration […]

Law enforcement leaders push to “rebuild trust and accountability” in communities through new guidelines

BY: - June 17, 2020

Discussions on better police standards and practices are underway, with police chiefs across the state leading efforts to build more trust between police officers and the people they serve. In the wake of the George Floyd killing, the Florida Police Chiefs Association, a large statewide police organization, announced in early June the development of a […]

U.S. Senate GOP unveils police reform bill that draws Democratic rebukes

BY: - June 17, 2020

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans unveiled a police reform bill Wednesday that takes a markedly different approach to police reform efforts backed by congressional Democrats. The Senate GOP bill would incentivize police departments to ban chokeholds, increase the use of body-worn cameras, improve training in de-escalation tactics and take prior records into greater account when making […]

Florida’s Val Demings: On police reform, ‘the president does not go far enough’

BY: - June 16, 2020

Top Florida Democrats were largely unmoved Tuesday by President Trump’s new executive order on police misconduct, saying it didn’t address key issues related to racism amid nationwide outrage over injustices in communities of color. Trump’s order, signed earlier in the day, seeks to bolster efforts to track police misconduct and encourage tougher police trainings and […]