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Police civilian oversight boards; sports betting clears hurdles; and updates on trans health care policy in Florida

Close-up image of a police officer's uniform, showing only the chest, with a badge and body camera.
Julio Cortez

Police civilian oversight 

More than two dozen cities and counties in Florida are set to lose their independent, civilian-run police oversight under a new state law that takes effect July 1. The law stops local governments from letting civilian boards oversee or investigate complaints of police misconduct. And it lets police chiefs and county sheriffs form their own boards to review general policies, training and systemic problems. But advocates for independent review boards say removing civilian oversight will not help foster trust in the police.


  • Danny Rivero, investigative reporter for WLRN. 
  • Rodney Jacobs, department head of the city of Miami’s Civilian Investigative Panel. 

Online sports betting 

The Seminole Tribe will keep control of online sports betting throughout the state. That’s after the U.S. Supreme Court refused earlier this week to take up a challenge to the agreement that gave the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to handle online sports betting in Florida.

The nation’s highest court denied a petition from companies that oppose the compact, which promises to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars for the tribe and the state. The compact signed in 2021 gives the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to sports betting in Florida for 30 years. In return the tribe will pay the state about $20 billion.

It's the latest setback for the owners of Magic City Casinos, which operates poker rooms and gaming operations in Florida. Attorneys for two Florida pari-mutuel companies — Bonita Fort Myers Corp. and West Flagler Associates — had argued the deal violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In March, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled against the companies' challenge.

However, the decision clears the way for Gov. Ron DeSantis to use proceeds from the deal to pay for impacts from sea rise and other resilience work.

The new decision could also encourage other tribes across the U.S. to follow the same path to operate online gambling.


  • Daniel Wallach, founder of Wallach Legal. 

Gender-affirming care 

Last week a federal judge blocked Florida from enforcing a law that bans gender-affirming care for minors and restricts it for adults.

Judge Robert Hinkle found the law — Senate Bill 254 — and the related medical board rules violated the equal protection rights of transgender individuals and parents of minors in Florida. The state of Florida is appealing the ruling.

Florida’s restrictions on gender-affirming care have had a chilling effect. In a survey last year by the Human Rights Campaign, the majority of trans and nonbinary Floridians surveyed said they had thought about leaving or had made plans to leave the state.


  • Daylina Miller, multimedia journalists for WUSF. 
  • Kathryn Varn, Tampa Bay reporter for Axios. 

Weekly briefing 

Events were held across the state this week to commemorate Juneteenth. While the national holiday was observed on Wednesday, June 19, many celebrations kicked off over the weekend. Including at Roberto Clemente Park in Fort Myers.

About 40 people took a bus tour of important Black history sites around Central Florida this weekend ahead of Juneteenth.

June also marks Pride Month, a time to celebrate members of the LGBTQ community. For the occasion, an art exhibit in St. Petersburg is putting a spotlight on queer joy.

And despite our year-round warm climate and lack of any natural ice … passion for ice hockey is growing.

Chances are South Floridians will remember who wins game six of the Stanley Cup with the Florida Panthers in the running. The team is still just one game away from winning the trophy as they lost 5-3 to the Edmonton Oilers in Game Five earlier this week. Game six is Friday night.

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