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Capital Report: October 13, 2023

As war rages in Israel, Florida politicians have already picked their side—with most siding with Israel. It’s led to tensions across the state as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups clash in skirmishes across the state—from public university campuses, to the streets. Lynn Hatter brings us that.

It took two years and will cost Florida taxpayers $152,000. But Gov. Ron DeSantis and state health officials will resume posting more detailed information on COVID cases. Steve Bousquet reports on a rare victory for transparency over secrecy.

Attorney Ben Crump and other civil rights advocates are calling on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to drop charges against an elderly Black woman, who was recently arrested in Leon County and is accused of voter fraud. Adrian Andrews reports the incident follows the arrest last summer of 20 other former felons, who say they were confused about whether their voting rights had been restored. Now advocates say changes are needed to prevent future arrests and confusion.

Florida’s elections supervisors are asking the Legislature to protect poll workers and elections staff from public records requests that could expose them to threats, harassment or coercion. As Margie Menzel reports, the proposal comes as distrust surrounding elections builds.

School districts across the state are making big adjustments to comply with the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act. That legislation prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for students. WGCU’S Sandra Viktorova reports in Charlotte County, removal of some school library books that district leaders believe is needed to avoid violating that law, has produced headlines and frustration.

Last week, the Florida house named a new speaker to take over in November of next year. This week, as Tom Flanigan reports, the Florida Senate picked its future president.

Five years ago Hurricane Michael crashed into Florida’s Panhandle. The storm was devastating for communities in its path. Homes, jobs and lives were lost. Today, the many of the residents who lived through the disaster say they’re still struggling to recover. Regan McCarthy has more….

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