Jim Saunders - News Service of Florida

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

ST. LOUIS CIRCUIT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

In a legal fight that started after the 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland high school, attorneys for the state and the National Rifle Association this month detailed dueling arguments about the constitutionality of a Florida law that prevents people under age 21 from buying guns.

News Service of Florida

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum said in a television interview aired Monday that he is bisexual, as he continues to re-enter the public spotlight after a March incident in which he was found intoxicated in a Miami Beach hotel room.

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office exterior
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

As the possibility of another close presidential race looms in Florida, elections supervisors in eight large counties have gone to a state appeals court in a dispute about whether they should be required to preserve digital images generated when voters cast ballots.

News Service of Florida

State House members Kimberly Daniels and Mike Hill, who clashed with other members of their parties because of sometimes-controversial positions and statements, were unseated Tuesday, while Rep. Al Jacquet also appeared headed toward defeat.

Community organizer Angie Nixon easily defeated Daniels in the Democratic primary in Duval County’s House District 14. With only a write-in opponent on the November ballot, the primary win virtually assured that Nixon will become the district’s next representative.

Weighing privacy issues, a federal appeals court has sided with a transgender student who argued his constitutional rights were violated when the St. Johns County school district prevented him from using boys’ restrooms at his high school.

A custodian wipes down a desk in a classroom.
Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

As school officials across Florida continue grappling with reopening classrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a major group of pediatricians Wednesday released recommendations aimed at reducing risks to children and teachers.

Four months after Florida Power & Light received approval for a similar program, Duke Energy Florida is asking regulators to sign off on a $1 billion plan that would add 10 solar-power plants in the state.

Duke filed a proposal last week at the state Public Service Commission for what it has dubbed the “Clean Energy Connection” program, which would start operating two of the proposed plants in January 2022, four in January 2023 and four in January 2024.

VIA NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida’s COVID-19 cases have raced passed 200,000 with thousands of positive test results pouring in every day.

Gov. Ron DeSantis late Monday signed 28 bills into law, including a controversial measure that will prevent local governments from imposing bans on certain types of sunscreen.

The sunscreen bill (SB 172), spearheaded by Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, stems from a plan by Key West to enforce a ban on the sale of sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. Key West pointed to concerns that the chemicals could damage coral reefs.

TALLAHASSEE --- Continuing to gradually finish the work of this year’s legislative session, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday signed 21 bills, including measures aimed at improving school-bus safety and preventing bear poaching.

TALLAHASSEE --- The University of Florida Board of Trustees is asking a federal judge to toss out a potential class-action lawsuit that contends the school should be required to refund tuition and fees to students after closing its campus in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Attorneys for the trustees last week filed a 17-page motion to dismiss the case, which alleges breach of contract and “unjust enrichment” by the university after students were forced to take online classes to finish the spring semester.

UF Health Jacksonville hospital
UF Health

In the second similar ruling in recent months, a federal judge has rejected UF Health Jacksonville’s arguments in a case about whether it should be shielded from being required to turn over records to a patient in a medical-malpractice dispute.

State university system Chancellor Marshall Criser next week will present guidelines for reopening university campuses in the fall, after students were sent home in March to curb the spread of COVID-19.

A lawsuit has been filed in federal court against the University of Florida Board of Trustees over the online classes.
Spohpatuf / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Alleging “inferior” online classes after campuses closed this spring because of the coronavirus, a Florida International University student has filed what is at least the third potential class-action lawsuit seeking refunds for students in the state university system.

Picture of greyhound racing
News Service of Florida

Turning down arguments about property rights, a federal judge has rejected a challenge to a 2018 constitutional amendment that will end greyhound racing in Florida.

Trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at courthouses across the state, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady on Monday extended a suspension of jury trials and many other in-person court proceedings through May.

Pointing to his “discretionary” powers in dealing with emergencies, Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking a circuit judge to toss out a lawsuit aimed at forcing statewide beach closures because of the novel coronavirus.

The Florida Legislature
The News Service of Florida


As Florida’s 2020 legislative session comes to a close, lawmakers can celebrate the bills they passed. But hundreds of other proposals died along the way, including a bill that would have established a state-wide office of resiliency.

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.

Pointing to issues such as expanding renewable energy, state regulators Tuesday approved a $1.8 billion plan by Florida Power & Light to add 20 solar-power plants by the middle of next year.

A view of the FPL Solar Center in West Kendall, which is west of Miami near the Everglades.
ANDREW QUINTANA / WLRN

State regulators are poised to decide whether to approve a controversial $1.8 billion proposal that would lead to Florida Power & Light adding 20 solar-power plants over two years.

With supporters pointing to attacks on churches and synagogues, a House panel Tuesday approved a measure that would allow people to carry concealed weapons at religious institutions that share properties with schools.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried
News Service of Florida

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried argued Tuesday that an effort to move the Office of Energy from her department to the governor’s administration is more political than policy-driven, as a House panel overwhelmingly approved the proposal.

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.

Florida's Capitol buildings
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.

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