First Read: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jan 22, 2014

Mayor Alvin Brown, marriage equality, and JEA are in the headlines today.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Brown proposes new pension reform measures: Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown wants the city-owned utility JEA funds to pay $40 million a year to help pay off the city’s pension obligation. (WJCT)

Same-sex couples file suit against Florida marriage amendment: Six South Florida couples and advocates are suing the state seeking marriage equality by reversing the state's 2008 constitutional amendment barring gay marriage. (WJCT)

Judge rules Michael Dunn trial will not be delayed: Florida Circuit Judge Russell Healey denied a defense motion to delay Michael Dunn's trial for the murder of Jordan Davis, but did not rule on a second motion requesting that Dunn's jailhouse phone calls be kept from the media. (News4Jax)

JEA approves study for natural gas plant: The JEA board of directors voted Tuesday to study the feasibility of a partnership agreement to build and operate a liquid natural gas plant. (Jacksonville Business Journal)

Nelson speaks on CONNECT fix announcement: U.S. Sen. Bill Neslon had some encouraging words following an announcement that Florida's embattled new CONNECT system for unemployment benefits was up and running this week. (First Coast News)

Florida ranks among worst states for highway safety: Washington-based group Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, says Florida's traffic safety laws are among the most lax in the nation. (Florida Center for Investigative Reporting)

State construction trade lacking skilled workers: A study from trade group the Associated General Contractors of America says Florida's construction industry is having a difficult time finding skilled workers. (Tampa Bay Business Journal)

Jax begins hen permitting: The city has begun issuing permits for residents to keep backyard hens under a pilot program approved in November. (Florida Times-Union)

Safety equipment to be installed at I-75 through Gainesville: FDOT will install an array of equipment designed to detect worsening conditions where Interstate 75 crosses through Paynes Prairie Preserve in Gainesville. (Gainesville Sun)

Today on First Coast Connect, Steve Harper, attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, will discuss the case of Shimeek Gridine, a local teen who was prosecuted as an adult and sentenced to 70 years in prison after a failed attempt at robbery left one man injured.

And don't forget, we're accepting submissions for our First Coast Connect theme song contest! Click to find out how you can become a part of each and every show.

You can get all the latest headlines online at, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter @WJCTJax. You can follow Patrick Donges on Twitter at @patrickhdonges.