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The most significant issues Floridians faced in 2021

This week on the "Florida Roundup," Melissa Ross and Tom Hudson shared reporting from across the state as Florida Public Media partners examined the most significant issues facing Florida.

Florida lawmakers are considering a bill that would give local governments the power to regulate smoking at public parks and beaches.

Reporter: Regan McCarthy, WFSU.

Tallahassee Takeover

Local governments in Florida are banned from passing their own gun regulations, which has frustrated many cities and counties. But to understand why that ban is in place, you have to go back a few decades.

Also reported by the Tallahassee Takeover team, Florida’s minimum wage rose to $10 an hour this year thanks to a ballot amendment approved by voters statewide last November.


Free speech

The University of Florida faces public criticism amid allegations that it blocked several professors from testifying in lawsuits against the state. Problems for the school first arose when UF said three of its political science professors couldn’t serve as expert witnesses in a voting rights case.

Reporter: Lynn Hatter, WFSU.

Climate change

Florida Republicans recently allocated funds to tackle climate change, but environmentalists say Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is not taking a broad enough approach.

Reporter: Valerie Crowder, WFSU.

Mapping archeological sites 

Archaeologists nationwide have been focused on sea-level rise and other threats to cultural heritage sites. The Florida Public Archaeology Network is leading the effort to collect critical data on some of the more than 16,000 at-risk sites in the Sunshine State.

Experts say monitoring will help preserve what they can and document those sites that eventually will be lost.

Reporter: Sandra Avehart, WUWF.


Manatees in Florida are dying at an unprecedented rate. So far this year, 937 manatees have been killed. That loss represents 10% of the animal's population in the state.

Reporter: Amy Green, WMFE.

Heirs property

African Americans in the past century have lost millions of acres of land due to legal loopholes tied to heirs’ property. It commonly occurs when a deceased relative dies without leaving a will or leaves land to multiple heirs.


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Katherine Hobbs was Associate Producer of talk shows at WJCT until 2022.
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