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Capital Report: March 15, 2024

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ self-declared “War on Woke” appears to be sputtering. In recent months, courts have put on pause laws that attempt to stop certain discussions on race, history, gender and sex in public education, and private businesses. The latest decision: a settlement agreement stipulating that Florida teachers and public school students CAN discuss their gender identity and sexual orientation AT school…but not teach about it… . As Lynn Hatter reports some DeSantis and GOP critics see all of this as a sign that the “War on Woke” may be coming to an end.

Students at the University of Florida say they’ve lost valuable mentorship and resources now that the school has eliminated its diversity, equity and inclusion staff. The lay-offs happened earlier this month in compliance with state regulations that prevent federal dollars from being spent on DEI. WUFT’s Aine Pennello has more.

After an Alabama Supreme Court ruling in a wrongful death case raised questions around access to in-vitro fertilization, Florida lawmakers pressed pause on a bill this that would have added fetuses to the state’s wrongful death law. But as Regan McCarthy reports, experts say that’s likely just the beginning. They say efforts to add fetal rights to state laws is part of a decades-long effort to recognize fetal personhood nationwide.

Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill banning undocumented immigrants from obtaining any form of ID. Tristan Wood reports the move is part of the latest migrant crackdown from the Governor as Florida faces a potential wave of refugees from Haiti.

The 2024 Florida Legislature passed a number of bills that would take away authority from local governments. Known as preemption bills, they were cleared for issues ranging from local wages to vacation rentals to affordable housing. And as Margie Menzel reports, some of those that failed this year will likely be back next year.

Managers of Florida’s retirement system pension fund are making plans to drop investments in China-owned companies. Gina Jordan reports they have some time to complete the move under legislation unanimously passed by the House and Senate.

Florida lawmakers are planning to buy more than 220 acres of land in Wakulla. As Adrian Andrews tells us, the Governor still needs to sign off on the purchase, but it’s being called a huge win for Florida’s environment.