Dara Kam - News Service of Florida

Dara Kam is the Senior Reporter of The News Service Of Florida.

In a win for Gov. Ron DeSantis, a federal appeals court on Wednesday agreed to the state’s request for a rare full-court initial review of a voting rights ruling that could open the door for hundreds of thousands of Florida felons to participate in this year’s elections.

TALLAHASSEE --- Face shields, temperature checks and disposable pens are just some of the safeguards Florida officials plan to employ to combat COVID-19, as they brace for elections in August and November.

Collectively, Florida’s 67 county supervisors of elections have decades of experience responding to disasters. They’ve combatted hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and even the historic Bush v. Gore meltdown in 2000.

NELSON ANTOINE / ASSOCIATED PRESS

LGBTQ advocates are hailing Monday’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that gay, lesbian and transgender workers are covered by federal anti-discrimination laws, but they say Florida needs to do more.

The court’s 6-3 opinion, authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, found that the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination, applies to workers’ gender identity and sexual orientation.

BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

A federal judge has refused to put on hold his decision allowing hundreds of thousands of Florida felons who have completed prison or jail sentences to register and vote in this year’s elections.

Highway Patrol Images / Wikimedia Commons

Keeping secret the identity of a police officer who shot a black crime suspect might seem anathema during a national time of reckoning about police brutality and racial disparity.

Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

More than two months after Florida received the money, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that the state will start to release nearly $1.3 billion in federal funds to cash-strapped counties struggling amid a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responds to a question at a news conference at the Urban League of Broward County, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Friday, April 17, 2020, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Since late March, Florida hotels have been allowed to operate without state restrictions, while rental properties across the street or even in the same building have gathered dust.

BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle decided more than six months ago that Florida cannot deny the right to vote to felons who have served their time behind bars and are genuinely unable to pay “legal financial obligations” as required by a controversial state law passed last year.

BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

The vast majority of people convicted of felonies in Florida can’t afford to pay court-ordered fees, fines, costs and restitution, public defenders testified Tuesday during a high stakes voting-rights trial.

News Service of Florida

Will they or won’t they? And, if they do, when?

House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes
News Service of Florida

As the stock marketed plummeted Monday morning, House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, indicated that fears about the novel coronavirus could affect the ongoing negotiations about a new state budget.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta is pictured.
News Service of Florida

Delivering a harsh rebuke to Gov. Ron DeSantis, an appeals court on Wednesday upheld a federal judge’s decision that the state cannot bar voting by felons who can’t afford to pay court-ordered fees and fines.

Tiffany Carr, then executive director of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, speaks at a news conference held by Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2004, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Phil Coale / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida House on Thursday intensified an inquiry into Florida’s domestic violence agency, calling for additional investigations and issuing subpoenas over the former head of the taxpayer-backed organization’s compensation.

News Service of Florida

Midpoints can carry a split sensation of dread and relief.

News Service of Florida

Clifford Williams says he relied on his faith during more than four decades behind bars, including five years on Florida’s Death Row.

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis
News Service of Florida

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis has heard from troubled teens struggling with depression, anguished homeowners whose dwellings were decimated by Hurricane Michael and first responders trying to remain stoic after horrific disasters.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is pictured delivering his first State of the State address at the start of the 2019 legislative session.
The Florida Channel

Florida’s 60-day legislative session kicks off Tuesday, and while what’s known as “the process” has evolved over the years, some things remain the same.

Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. A Sebring bank. A yoga studio in Tallahassee. A naval air base in Pensacola.

As state lawmakers ponder how -- and if -- to respond to teens’ skyrocketing use of electronic cigarettes, one university student is influencing the Florida Senate leader’s stance on the issue.

After dropping an attempt to keep secret the identities of two plaintiffs, the National Rifle Association has relaunched a federal court challenge to a Florida law that raised the age to purchase rifles and other long guns.

Jennifer Pahlka / Wikimedia Commons

The messy issue of overhauling Florida’s alimony laws could be making a political comeback, based on a lineup of high-powered lobbyists engaged to wage the 2020 legislative session’s iteration of divorce wars.

Ignoring the conclusions of a Senate special master, a key committee voted along party lines Monday night to uphold Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ouster of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

The Senate Rules Committee’s 9-7 vote was a prelude to a Wednesday vote by the full Senate, which is meeting in a special session to decide the embattled law enforcement official’s fate.

News Service of Florida

Suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel faces a legislative showdown Monday in the fight to get his job back, amid procedural wrangling that began before senators even began considering his fate.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Calling the process “an administrative nightmare,” a federal judge on Tuesday urged the Florida Legislature to revamp a state law aimed at carrying out a constitutional amendment that restores voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

A federal judge appeared highly critical Monday of aspects of a new state law aimed at carrying out a constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to felons, questioning whether one portion of the law was designed to discourage people from registering to vote.

News Service of Florida

Bamboozled. That’s the sentiment Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson expressed after testimony Monday from a panel of experts who appeared before a Senate committee exploring issues related to mass violence and white nationalism. 

Via News Service of Florida

In the wake of two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio last month, contributions flooded into a political committee seeking to ban possession and sale of assault weapons in Florida, according to a new campaign-finance report filed at the state Division of Elections.

News Service of Florida

A split appeals court on Tuesday refused to grant the state’s request to revisit a decision that could revolutionize the way medical marijuana operators do business in Florida.

Via News Service of Florida

Gary Ray Bowles, who was convicted of the 1994 murder of a Jacksonville man who was hit in the head with a concrete block and strangled, was executed by lethal injection shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday night, according to state corrections officials.

In a final pitch to a Senate special master, former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s lawyer is insisting that the suspended law enforcement officer wasn’t to blame for two deadly mass shootings that led to his ouster by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year.

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