Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Florida Roundup

Masks In Schools; Abortion Legislation; Proud Boys

ap_photo_manu_fernandez.jpg
AP Photo / Manu Fernandez
/

 Note: This episode was broadcast just before the appeals ruling was issued on Friday, so the information in the show about the mask case is not up to date. 

This week, a flurry of court activity over masks in schools, as a Tallahassee circuit court judge ruled school districts can immediately require students to wear masks and then an appeals court panel reinstated a stay that allows the state to continue enforcing its ban and punish the districts that defy it as the case makes its way through the appeals process. 

In Tallahassee's First District Court of Appeals, Gov. DeSantis is aruging that whether children should wear masks should be parents' choice alone. 

His argument is that the Parents' Bill of Rights, a law he signed in June, gives parents the "fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children," which he says includes masks. As the circuit judge ruled, the law does not prevent school districts from carrying out their constitutional duties to protect students' health and safety. 

Guests: 

  • Rep. Cord Byrd, R-FL11 representing parts of Duval and Nassau counties, a co-sponsor of the Parents' Bill of Rights
  • Carlee Simon, superintendent of Alachua Public Schools
  • Craig Whisenhunt, an attorney representing parents in their lawsuit against the state 

Abortion Legislation

Florida lawmakers say they will consider new abortion restrictions in the weeks ahead as committee meetings begin before the next Legislative session.

A new law that took effect at the beginning of this month in Texas bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected - much earlier than any other abortion restrictions. It does not include exemptions in cases of rape or incest. The law relies on private citizens to sue anyone involved in an abortion, allowing them to collect at least $10,000 if they successfully sue someone involved in a procedure.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson calls the Texas law "a new approach" and said a similar measure would be introduced for lawmakers to consider, though Simpson said he does not support the financial incentive for private citizens to sue those facilitating an abortion.

We invited the senate president to join this program, but he was not available.

Guests:

Proud Boys

Enrique Tarrio, Florida leader of the extremist group the Proud Boys, is now behind bars. Once described as "just a regular Miami kid," he joins the ranks of dozens of Florida residents who are being prosecuted in the aftermath of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. This state has more suspects in the insurrection attempt than any other. 

Two months ago, Tarrio pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of destruction of property and attempting to possess a high-capacity ammunition magazine in a pair of incidents dating back to December of 2020, when members of the Proud Boys burned a Black Lives Matter flag in Washington, D.C. Tarrio returned to the nation's capital a month later and was caught carrying firearm parts in his backpack.

Guests:

  • Joshua Ceballos, staff writer for the Miami New Times
  • Freddy Cruz, analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project

Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.