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Special legislative session; environmental spending; Groveland Four

File photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at the Florida Capitol on April 30, 2021.
Wilfredo Lee

This week, Florida Republicans passed a series of bills in a special legislative session that they say will fight federal vaccine mandates. The fate of the bills is still to be decided as federal courts will rule on how opposing federal and state laws will play out in the workplaces.

Should Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashely Moody succeed in challenging President Biden’s law, the bills would take full effect statewide, meaning Florida companies could not mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their employees without first offering several exemptions.

If the federal laws are upheld in court, they would override state bills. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that starting January 4, thousands of workers at larger companies would have to receive the vaccine or get tested regularly. In response, DeSantis says he wants to establish the state's own workplace safety agency.


Environmental spending

Gov. DeSantis says he plans to request $660 million for Everglades restoration and $550 million for coast resiliency programs in an effort to protect Florida from the effects of climate change.

The proposal, which will be presented next fiscal year, includes $40 million for alternative water supplies, $50 million for natural springs, $50 million to protect coral reefs and $35 million to combat harmful algae blooms.


Groveland Four

In 1949, at the height of the Jim Crow era, a group of black men in Lake County, Florida, was wrongly accused of raping a white woman. The group, known as the “Groveland Four,” were pardoned only last year, after all four had died.

The case received renewed attention in 2013 when author Gilbert King published his Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the case, “Devil in the Grove.”

Guest: Gilbert King, “Devil in the Grove” author.

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Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.