Jim Saunders - News Service of Florida

Jim Saunders is the Executive Editor of The News Service Of Florida.

Pictured: Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, is applauded during his state of the state address to a joint session on Tuesday Jan. 14, 2020, in Tallahassee.
Steve Cannon / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis formally started the 2020 legislative session Tuesday by urging lawmakers to boost pay for many public-school teachers, continue addressing Everglades restoration and water quality and curb business regulations.

Pointing to a “narrow timeframe” for meeting petition-signature requirements, backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow recreational marijuana use in Florida said Monday the measure will not go on the November ballot.

From left to right: Former Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Brown, former congresswoman Corrine Brown and the Rev. Jesse Jackson are pictured during Corrine Brown's 2017 trial.
WJCT News file photo

A sharply divided federal appeals court Thursday upheld the conviction of former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown in a charity scam, rejecting her arguments that a juror had been improperly dismissed because he said the "Holy Spirit" told him Brown was not guilty.

A photo of Florida's Capitol budings
The News Service of Florida

The 2020 legislative session will start Jan. 14 as House and Senate members gather to hear Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State address.

A federal appeals court Friday cleared the way for a lawsuit that alleges the Florida House and Senate have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing closed captioning on online videos of legislative meetings.

State and federal courts are expected in 2020 to grapple with high-profile Florida issues, ranging from felons’ voting rights to medical marijuana.

Here are snapshots of five key legal issues to watch in the new year:

The St. Johns River.
The University of North Florida

Five years after Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment aimed at land and water conservation, environmentalists on Monday urged the state Supreme Court to wade into a battle about how money can be spent.

News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday proposed a $91.4 billion state budget for next year, touting plans to funnel more money to public-school teachers and continue “momentum” on environmental issues.

MAURICIO PASTOR / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A federal appeals court has overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit about whether the Florida High School Athletic Association improperly prevented Christian schools, including Jacksonville's University Christian School, from offering a prayer over the stadium loudspeaker before a 2015 state championship football game.

A federal appeals court Wednesday overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit about whether the Florida High School Athletic Association improperly prevented Christian schools from offering a prayer over the stadium loudspeaker before a 2015 state championship football game.

Despite objections from attorneys for utility customers, the Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday continued moving ahead with plans for carrying out a new law that supporters say will help make the state’s electric system better able to withstand hurricanes.

Labpluto123 / Wikimedia Commons

The state Department of Education and the Florida Education Association asked a federal judge Thursday to preliminarily approve a $15.5 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit alleging that the “Best and Brightest” teacher-bonus program discriminated against black and Hispanic teachers.

News Service of Florida

Moments after he was formally elected Tuesday to serve as Florida’s next House speaker, Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls waded into issues such as bolstering the state’s finances and addressing climate change.

The St. Johns River.
The University of North Florida

In a blow to environmental groups, an appeals court Monday overturned a circuit judge’s ruling that said state lawmakers improperly diverted money that flowed from a 2014 constitutional amendment designed to boost land and water conservation.

Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

The Florida League of Cities and three communities this week filed a renewed constitutional challenge to a state law that is expected to help telecommunications companies install wireless technology on city-owned utility poles and in public rights of way.

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