Jim Turner - News Service of Florida


Jim Turner is a reporter for The News Service of Florida.

Masked woman outside of an unemployment office with a "now hiring" sign.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

An effort to increase Florida’s much-criticized unemployment benefits, boosting the amounts and lengths of payments, continued to advance Thursday in the state Senate.

Rep. Cord Byrd (R-Neptune Beach)
News Service of Florida

A bipartisan proposal to add hiring standards and bolster use-of-force training for police and correctional officers began moving forward Thursday in the House.

Flooding in Flagler County.
Flagler County Emergency Services

With less than three weeks left in the legislative session, a key Senate panel Wednesday supported providing a tax break to property owners who elevate homes to address potential flooding, part of a House plan to combat rising sea levels.

A man wades through flood water as he check out damage from Hurricane Matthew Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in St. Augustine , Fla.
John Bazemore / Associated Press

Tens of millions of dollars a year would go to fight the effects of rising sea levels under bills passed by the Florida House and Senate this week.

News Service of Florida

Florida’s unemployment payments, among the lowest in the nation, would increase by up to $100 a week under a measure approved by a Senate committee.

The Carnival Ecstasy is pictured docked at the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal in March 2020.
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Florida is considering legal avenues to challenge federal guidelines that keep passenger cruise ships from sailing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as efforts continue to convince the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to lift restrictions. Jacksonville is among the Florida cities where cruises have been halted since the pandemic.

Residents walk a flooded street to reach their homes, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, where Tropical Storm Eta caused severe flooding in areas already saturated from previous downpours.
Marta Lavandier / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis would get more than he requested for Everglades restoration and water projects in the coming year under an initial Senate budget proposal that also would set up a grant program to address sea-level rise.

A view of Downtown Jacksonville from Friendship Fountain.

Despite the leisure and hospitality industry still struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, Florida’s unemployment rate continues to improve as vaccinations increase and people return to the workforce.

Photo of twenty dollar bills
Elise Amendola / Associated Press file photo

Florida tax revenues slowed somewhat in January from the final months of 2020 but continued a trend of beating a forecast issued as the state phased out COVID-19 lockdown efforts in the summer.

State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota
News Service of Florida

A proposal is ready to go before the Senate that could cut deeply into the state’s revenue shortfall by requiring many out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians.


Contending the state needs to strengthen election integrity, Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing a series of changes in Florida’s voting process.


Contending the state needs to strengthen election integrity, Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing a series of changes in Florida’s voting process.

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

“Significant” passenger cruise operations might not return to Florida waters for another year or longer as fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, according to a port-industry lobbying group.

A Miami police sergeant holds a handgun that was turned in during a gun buyback program held at the Jordan Grove Missionary Baptist Church in this 2016 file photo.

A proposal that would expand the authority of people to carry concealed firearms at religious institutions is moving forward in the Florida Senate.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is pictured speaking Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to spend $25 million next year and more in coming years to set up a program that would help address coastal flooding and other climate-change impacts across the state.

State Sen. Danny Burgess
News Service of Florida

Businesses will remain open for the economic well-being of the state even as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Florida, the head of a Senate select committee on the pandemic said Thursday.

Bobby Caina Calvan / Associated Press

State lawmakers are advising about limited tax dollars amid the COVID-19 pandemic but they have already proposed at least 43 hometown projects worth more than $45 million. 

News Service of Florida

With the coronavirus pandemic significantly reducing state tax revenues, the House appropriations chairman told his committee Wednesday to expect budget cuts.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Questions remain about when extended unemployment benefits from a newly signed federal stimulus package will be available for Floridians out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Downtown Jacksonville

Florida’s unemployment rate held steady in November, as businesses did not boost seasonal hiring as much as usual amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Effects of the coronavirus pandemic on state tourism decreased in October, but recovery for Florida’s vital revenue-generating industry is still at best a year away, according to an association study released Monday.

News Service of Florida

As the most-active hurricane season on record officially ends on Monday, Nov. 30, Florida overall has been relatively lucky.

Photo of a now hiring sign
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Florida’s unemployment rate dropped in October, reflecting the state’s continued push to reopen businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fla. House speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor.
News Service of Florida

Planning work to address flooding from rising sea levels, similar to how the state maps out road and bridge projects for five years, is being considered by the new Republican leaders of the Florida House and Senate.


While continuing to question Republican campaign tactics, state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Miami Democrat, conceded his re-election bid to Ileana Garcia on Thursday after a hand recount didn’t alter the outcome of the District 37 contest.

Florida's historic State Capitol is in the foreground with the State Capitol tower in the background.

A single-seat expansion of the Republican majority in the Florida Senate hinges on several hundred uncounted vote-by-mail ballots in Miami-Dade County. 

Vicki Palombo / Special to WJCT News

Floridians might approach the highest voter-turnout rate for a general election in at least half a century, as more than 41 percent of eligible voters have already cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election.

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press file photo

Voting yes on Amendment 2 to boost Florida’s minimum wage will either give 2.5 million workers a pay raise - or - result in 158,000 jobs disappearing over the next few years, according to counter arguments by advocates and critics.


First-time unemployment claims jumped last week in Florida, as a growing number of major entertainment and travel-related businesses cut hours and lay off employees.

Lynne Sladky / Associated Press May 2020 file photo

Drinks can flow at establishments where alcohol licenses were pulled this summer when the state cracked down on violations of coronavirus rules.