Florida

DeSantis with a mask in his hand walking away from a podium
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Florida saw over 8,900 confirmed coronavirus cases Friday morning, a new daily record, per the state Department of Health’s latest update. 

A Phlebotomist draws blood from a patient for COVID-19 antibody testing.
David J. Phillip / Associated Press

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday said the state has received 200,000 coronavirus antibody tests that will be deployed in the coming days.

Centers for Disease Control

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida continued on an upward trend overnight, hitting 18,494 on Saturday morning, an increase of 526, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The number of confirmed deaths reached 438 -- an overnight increase of 19. No new deaths were reported in Northeast Florida counties tracked by News4Jax. A 54-year-old Clay County man became the eighth person to die in the county after contracting COVID-19, the health department reported Friday evening.

Florida House

A contentious Florida House bill that would blanket short-term vacation rentals under statewide regulations rather than leave it up to local government passed a subcommittee earlier this week.

NPR.org

More than a year after the Florida Legislature passed gun restrictions, a Leon County circuit judge has dismissed a lawsuit that alleged a ban on “bump stocks” was an unconstitutional taking of property.

SCOTUS: Florida's 'Water War' Allowed To Continue Against Georgia

Jun 27, 2018

In a victory for Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the nation’s third-largest state should be given another chance to prove its case that overconsumption of water in Georgia is damaging the Apalachicola River system.

Melissa Ross

This month, First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross traveled to Rhode Island for a fellowship for journalists to learn about the science of climate change. 

Univ. of North Florida

UNF President and former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney is not ruling out another run for office as he steps down this May from his tenure leading the university.

House of Representatives

A former Daytona Beach state representative is facing up to 180 years in prison for using campaign funds personally.

Democrat Dwayne Taylor was convicted Thursday on nine counts of wire fraud.

Alese Bodiford
Daylina Miller

Imagine being stranded without a ride to the doctor or arriving hours late to medical appointments that your life literally depends on. Those are Florida patients’ most common grievances with a company the state pays to arrange medical transportation for people with disabilities.  


Florida Grapples With Increase In Credit Card Skimmers

Jul 26, 2017
gas pump
Mike Mozart via Flickr

Credit-card skimming devices at Florida gas stations and stores are on a dramatic rise this year.

Torrey Wiley

Florida has launched an initiative to find more foster parents for children with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

 

Blake Allen/WJCT News

OneBlood is urgently seeking donations after Hurricane Matthew caused several sites across Florida to temporarily shut down.


Presley Pratt / WJCT News

Departing Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown is soliciting online donations to support her legal defense fees in her federal corruption case.

“On this website, you can make a donation to my legal defenses fund. Any contribution would be greatly appreciated,” Brown wrote on the Corrine Brown Legal Expense Trust website. The site also said she was “falsely accused” by the federal government of conspiracy and fraud, and how the charges were filed “immediately prior” to her Aug. 30 primary election.

http://www.reginaldluster.com/

Reginald Luster, 52, a former assistant U.S. attorney, has filed to run for the Senate and will be on the Florida  Democratic primary ballot in August.

Luster appeared on Wednesday’s First Coast Connect to talk about his campaign and his reasons for running against incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio.

http://www.tmcinnovation.org

A new survey from the Texas Medical Center’s Health Policy Institute shows where Florida voters stand on the issue of expanding Medicaid to the state's low-income residents.

Director for the Texas Medical Center Policy Institute, Dr. Tim Garson, spoke Thursday on First Coast Connect about the survey and what it could mean for Florida.

State Attorney and Public Defender Races

A new UNF poll of likely voters in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit shows the potential for turnover in the State Attorney and Public Defender offices.

Both Angela Corey and Matt Shirk are trailing their respective challengers in those races, Melissa Nelson and Charles Cofer.

Mike Binder, director of UNF's Public Opinion Research Laboratory, joins us to discuss the results of the survey.

Ryan Benk

The state of Florida hasn't been hit with a hurricane in more than a decade, and that has state emergency managers concerned residents might not be prepared for the worst.


crowd at Miami Beach
pml2008 via Flickr

Florida has surpassed the 20 million population mark while growing faster than California.

The Sunshine State, adding more than 1,000 people a day, is nearly up a half-million people on New York, which it surpassed a year ago to become the third most-populous state, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Tuesday.

Florida, with an estimated 20,271,272 residents as of July 1, is also growing faster than a year earlier, when 803 people a day were being added to the state's head count.

An influx of retiring Baby Boomers and a thriving tourism industry are putting Florida on the map for job growth. A new ranking by Forbes Magazine lists six Florida cities among the country’s 10 best for growing employment. Naples takes the top spot, the business magazine says, because of a wave of retirees who require new homes, new stuff to fill those homes and more healthcare. Orlando comes in at number four for a different reason: an improving economy is bringing tourists back to the land of Mickey Mouse in droves. Rounding out the list are Cape Coral at number three, Ocala in the number five slot, and Port Saint Lucie and North Port bringing up the rear at nine and 10.

Ray Hollister / WJCT News

Confetti filled the sky, a 15-foot-tall dragon blew smoke into the air and thousands of LEGO Minifigures parachuted to the ground on Friday morning to mark the official opening of the LEGOLAND Hotel in Winter Haven, Florida.

www.wayman.org

A coalition of clergy groups in Jacksonville is sounding the alarm about violent crime on the city’s streets.

This as the city of Baltimore is cleaning up after riots that erupted after an African-American man died in police custody, his spine nearly severed.

Faith leaders worry the same type of unrest is just under the surface here in our area.

However Pastor Mark Griffin of the city’s A.M.E. Ministers Alliance says he disagrees with calls to institute a 9 p.m. curfew in Jacksonville’s high-crime neighborhoods.

The All-Nite Images / Flickr

Nationwide, Democrats have made raising the minimum wage a rallying cry.

Recently, the minimum wage debate has become an issue in the city's mayor's race.

Last week Mayor Alvin Brown joined a local restaurant owner to say he supports an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Brown said he'll work with state lawmakers to get an increase to the state's minimum wage which is $8.05 an hour.

Bills to raise the wage have gone nowhere in Tallahassee so far.

www.weswhite.com

The man hoping to unseat Jacksonville-based State Attorney Angela Corey says he's doing it to restore public confidence in the leadership of Florida's Fourth Circuit.

"Prosecutors have to work in the court of public opinion as well as the courtroom," says challenger Wes White.

The Children's Campaign

Some Jacksonville advocates want to help teens avoid a lifetime label. That’s why they’re supporting Florida legislation that would keep juvenile arrest records confidential.

Even if a teen is exonerated after an arrest, just being arrested can often label a kid as “trouble" for the rest of their lives.

Since many employment and college applications require disclosing an arrest, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for a juvenile with an arrest record to find and keep a job, enroll in college, obtain scholarships, enlist in the military, get housing and more.

Judge Orders State Response On Same-Sex Marriage License Fight

Dec 29, 2014
Rhema Thompson / WJCT

A federal judge Wednesday ordered the state to respond by Monday in an increasingly heated legal debate about whether county clerks should begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Jan. 6.

Wikimedia Commons

Hundreds of inmate deaths with questionable circumstances have sparked a potential federal investigation into the state's corrections system.

The U.S. Department of Justice has notified state authorities it will look into potential abuses of inmates after 320 people died behind bars in Florida this year - the highest number of inmate deaths on record.

At the same time, there's been a doubling of incidents involving the use of force by corrections officers.

A new University of North Florida statewide poll shows Charlie Crist has a five percentage point lead over Gov. Rick Scott in the gubernatorial race.

Republican Party of Duval

Leaders of the local GOP have weighed in on the legal battle over Florida’s school voucher program.

Annie Black / WJCT

Two races from Tuesday night’s election are still too close to call.

Election officials expect to conduct recounts in those tight races,  the Florida House District 15 contest between Republicans Jay Fant and Paul Renner and Duval County School Board District 2, which would determine whether Sam Hall or Theresa Graham will head into a runoff election with Scott Shine.

“Recounts are rare,” said Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland. “ We’ve only done one in the last nine years. This is the first time we’ve had two at the same time.”

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