Jim Turner - News Service of Florida

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

The St. Johns River.
The University of North Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law measures that include bigger fines for dumping pollutants into waterways and new rules for septic tanks and agricultural runoff, though environmentalists said the rules don’t go far enough.

A bar near the University of Central Florida has had its state alcoholic beverage license suspended for violating reopening guidelines after 13 employees and at least 28 customers tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

File photo of people voting
TONY DEJAK / ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

As Democrats hope to dent Republican majorities in both legislative chambers, the major parties will clash in 96 of 120 state House seats and 17 of 20 Senate contests, according to data posted by the Florida Division of Elections after the qualifying ended Friday at noon.

Surrounded by sports standouts, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday put his signature on a bill intended to allow student-athletes at Florida colleges and universities to cash in on their names and likenesses.

Evan Vucci / Associated Press

Calling it a “big win,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said Friday he envisions the Republican convention in August as an opportunity to showcase the city and get people back to work following massive shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed 25 bills into law, including approving $2.15 million for a Jacksonville man wrongfully imprisoned for almost 43 years and two measures tied to a series of controversial highway plans.

News Service of Florida

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried asserted Thursday the governor and state Cabinet members should have been jointly coordinating the response to the coronavirus pandemic, as a new report showed another 173,731 first-time unemployment claims were filed last week in Florida.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is pictured at a March 30 news conference in Miami Gardens.
PBS NEWSHOUR

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday the political conventions for both major parties would be great for Florida's coronavirus-damaged economy as President Donald Trump has suggested moving the planned Republican convention out of North Carolina.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that most remaining unsettled claims in the state’s heavily criticized unemployment system are due to incomplete applications.

Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will announce Friday additional “phase one” measures to reopen the state’s economy, with the moves expected to include allowing more people to be seated in restaurants and allowing gyms to operate.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
News Service of Florida

Florida’s next budget remains on hold pending another round of federal stimulus money, which could also dictate how state lawmakers readdress the spending plan.

TALLAHASSEE --- Coronavirus hair can soon be professionally snipped.

Gov. Ron DeSantis posted a video Friday featuring Orlando barbershop owner John Henry, who announced that starting Monday, barbershops, hair salons and nail salons will be allowed to reopen in most of the state after being shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A placard on a restaurant table reminds customers to use social distancing.
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

Servers and other employees won’t be counted toward limits on occupancy when restaurants reopen Monday under coronavirus guidelines, the state’s top business regulator said.

blue and red barber shop pole outside of storefront
Vicki Palombo / Special to WJCT News

Barber shops and hair salons are still on the sidelines as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reopening of select businesses during the coronavirus pandemic begins Monday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that reopening the state after coronavirus-caused shutdowns will be “very methodical” and “data-driven,” and some people might think it is too slow.

Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Florida's overwhelmed online unemployment-compensation system was continuing to show signs of stress Monday morning after being taken down over the weekend as the state scrambles to process applications and reduce a massive backlog of claims caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Shop owners in rural counties without large reported outbreaks of COVID-19 are ready to reopen under new sanitation and physical distancing guidelines, the state’s top business regulator said Friday.

BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

Expect “virtual” or expanded FastPass-style lines, staggered seating on rides, online food ordering and limited crowds when Florida’s major theme parks eventually reopen after being shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson
News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push to get the state’s economy up and running from the crush of the coronavirus might require gradual steps.

A car stops to pick up reemployment forms.
Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Just over 6 percent of people who have filed jobless claims since mid-March had received checks as of Sunday, inching up from roughly 4 percent when Gov. Ron DeSantis revamped management of the overwhelmed unemployment-compensation system last week.

Associated Press file photo

Florida’s unemployment rate jumped in March, but it still remained a sign of better times.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday defended declaring professional wrestling an essential service and raised the possibility of holding other televised sporting events in empty venues as people shelter at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed seven bills into law late Wednesday, including measures that will place additional restrictions on ballot initiatives and provide sales-tax “holidays” around the start of hurricane season and the upcoming school year.

An employment application form.
Mike Groll / Associated Press

Gov. Ron DeSantis is focusing on improvements being made to the state’s overwhelmed unemployment-compensation system, rather than his embattled appointee overseeing the work. Meanwhile, paper applications are being made available across the state.

I-95 traffic backup
News4Jax

Travel in and out of Florida is getting tougher on both sides of the Florida/Georgia border.

"Sorry We're Closed" sign
Michel Euler / Associated Press

Jobless claims are spiking in Florida as many vital tourism and entertainment-related businesses have closed or limited services as the state struggles to combat 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.

Florida's Capitol buildings
The News Service of Florida

Scattered throughout a $93.2 billion budget set to go before the House and Senate on Thursday are more than 750 line items --- collectively exceeding $400 million --- tied to proposals lawmakers filed months ago to bring money to regions they represent.

Flickr Commons

Florida lawmakers will vote Thursday on a proposed state budget that includes spending $500 million to increase teacher salaries.

The Florida House is pictured in session on Feb. 20, 2020.
Steve Cannon / Associated Press

Readying for negotiations with the Senate, the Florida House approved a tax package Friday that some Democrats decried as being too focused on giving breaks to special interests.

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