State

News stories impacting Florida.

With same-sex marriage now the law in Florida, a lot of new husbands and wives will be able to join their spouse's state of Florida insurance plan.

Marriage qualifies as a life-changing event under the state's plan, so enrollees won't have to wait for the open enrollment period to add their spouses. But the window to do so is from now to March 6.

That's only about 60 days.

Mark Pudlow is a spokesman for The Florida Education Association. The union represents 140,000 Florida teachers.

Gay Marriage Fight Finds Unlikely Home In Rural Panhandle

Jan 1, 2015
Tom Urban / The News Service of Florida

Chipley, Fla. — Stephen Schlairet and Ozzie Russ have almost as much in common with their neighbors in the tiny Panhandle community of Chipley as the way of life that sets them apart.

They raise horses and dogs. They live on a 20-acre spread on the outskirts of town. They lend a hand for the annual back-to-school fundraiser. They help out with the United Way. They wear cowboy hats.

Kidde

Tomorrow, Jan. 1, a new Florida law aimed at preventing fire deaths goes into effect. Smoke alarms installed in homes must be powered by either electricity or so-called “permanent" batteries.

Before the change, fire alarms in new or remodeled homes had to be connected to the house’s electricity. Now, builders and residents replacing old smoke alarms have another option: a device with a tamper-proof battery that lasts 10 years.

B A Bowen Photography / via Flickr

The Florida Park Service invites the public to start 2015 outdoors by participating in First Day Hikes.

On New Year's Day, many Florida State Parks are offering free guided hikes for the public. This year there are more than 30 events throughout the state, including at parks in St. Augustine, Flagler Beach, and Palatka.

Most of the January 1st hikes begin at 10 a.m.

The events are part of a national initiative by America’s State Parks to get people outside and healthy.

One of the students shot last week at Florida State University is paralyzed.

Farhan Ahmed was shot three times in front of the Strozier Library last Thursday. He was one of three people injured by a gunman. Ahmed's sister, Farhana Ahmed spoke on behalf of the family in an update on her brother’s condition at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Monday.

"He immediately knew something was wrong because one of the first bullets struck his spine and has left him paralyzed from the waist down. But despite his injuries he’s alive and we’re so grateful he’s here with us," she says.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear Florida's lawsuit seeking to limit the amount of water its neighbor Georgia can take from a shared river system.

The court's decision Monday to hear the case was applauded by Florida officials, and marked a new chapter in the decades-long regional battle over rights to take water from the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint river system.

A Florida lawmaker is warning the state’s highway guardrails may be unsafe. Hazard concerns and a lawsuit verdict have caused at least 13 other states to halt installation of a metal guardrail also used in Florida.

New Group To Grow State’s Veteran Population

Oct 21, 2014

A new state-formed group called “Florida Is For Veterans” is charged with helping promote Florida as a veteran friendly state and enticing military members to make Florida their new home.

The legislature created the group through a bill passed last session. During an organizational meeting Monday group members talked about several goals including a plan to contract with a university to create a veteran entrepreneur program. Florida Department of Veterans Affairs Legislative Director, Bobby Carbonell, talked about what that program could look like.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest to remember Steven Sotloff, the South Florida native who was killed ​b​y militant extremists in Iraq.

​Video of Sotloff's beheading was released earlier this week.

On Friday afternoon,​ ​about 600 friends,​ ​family and complete strangers came together in memory of Sotloff.

"They want to celebrate his life, not just his death," said Robert Hersh, executive director of Temple Beth Am.

FSU Investigates Jameis Winston For Title IX Violations

Sep 5, 2014

Florida State University is investigating its star quarterback for possible federal Title IX violations. The investigation stems from a December 2012 incident where Jameis Winston was accused of, but never charged with sexual assault.

Tropical Storm Bertha Takes Aim At The Caribbean

Aug 1, 2014

Tropical Storm Bertha is moving northwest, taking aim at Puerto Rico and expected to skirt the Dominican Republic's coast.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, while the Dominican Republic has issued a tropical storm watch.

Luckily, forecasters with the Hurricane Center say upper level winds are not favorable for further strengthening, so maximum sustained winds should remain at about 50 mph.

David M. Jensen / Wikimedia Commons

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Gainesville just got three new residents from Ohio: former lab monkeys rescued from Wooster University, which has ended experimentation on the creatures.

As tens of thousands children from Central America have been fleeing for the United States, U.S. society is trying to figure out how to deal with the crisis -- at many different levels.

Wikimedia Commons

MIAMI (AP) — A judge in the Florida Keys has overturned the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage after a legal challenge by six gay couples said it effectively made them second-class citizens.

Courtesy John Dykes

A grassroots effort to shield military veterans with post traumatic stress disorder from the fear and anxiety associated with Fourth of July fireworks is gaining traction around the country.

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