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Category: Florida News

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DeSantis signs bills to add new judges, revise housing law

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed 11 bills, including a measure that will increase the number of circuit-court and county judges and a bill that will revise a major housing law, known as the “Live Local Act,” that passed in 2023. The bill adding judges (HB 5401) will create a circuit-judge position in the 1st Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. It also will create a circuit-judge position in the 20th Judicial Circuit, which is made up of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. The bill also will add three county judges in...

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Felon voting lawsuit dismissed ahead of state workshop that may make claims ‘moot’

Plaintiffs have dropped a federal lawsuit challenging how the state carried out a 2018 constitutional amendment aimed at restoring voting rights of felons who have completed their sentences. The lawsuit, filed in July by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and individual plaintiffs, described a “bureaucratic morass” encountered by felons trying to find out if they were eligible to vote. State and local election officials asked Chief U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga to dismiss the case, which was filed in Miami. The parties engaged in mediation on May 6. Florida Department of State officials...

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Florida deputies who fatally shot US airman burst into wrong apartment, attorney says

By DAVID FISCHER (Associated Press) MIAMI (AP) — Deputies responding to a disturbance call at a Florida apartment complex burst into the wrong unit and fatally shot a Black U.S. Air Force airman who was home alone when they saw he was armed with a gun, an attorney for the man’s family said Wednesday. Senior Airman Roger Fortson, 23, who was based at the Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, was in his off-base apartment in Fort Walton Beach when the shooting happened on May 3. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said in a statement that Fortson was on a Facetime call with a woman at the time...

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DeSantis opposes plan to move Florida guard unit to Space Force

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday objected to a proposal by the U.S. Air Force that would transfer a Florida Air National Guard squadron to the U.S. Space Force. DeSantis sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and said such proposals need the approval of governors. “If adopted, the proposal would flout more than a century of precedent and undermine federal law protections for state control of their National Guard,” DeSantis wrote. The Air Force’s legislative proposal has raised questions since...

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‘Women are scared and angry:’ The reality of the Florida’s new six-week abortion law sets in

On Tuesday, the reality of Florida’s new six-week abortion ban hit the radar of pregnant women seeking care. At a Planned Parenthood clinic in West Palm Beach, doctors scrambled to provide abortions for anyone pregnant beyond six weeks. Women crowded into a waiting room, returning for a pill or surgical procedure. The men who brought them paced the parking lot or sat in cars watching for the women to emerge. Yet, even with the scramble, the clinic turned some women away, a glimpse into the future of reproductive care in Florida. A recent Florida Supreme Court ruling paved the way for the Sunshine...

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Bob Graham, ex-US senator and Florida governor, dies at 87

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. and two-term Florida Gov. Bob Graham, who gained national prominence as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks and as an early critic of the Iraq war, has died. He was 87. Graham’s family announced the death Tuesday in a statement posted on X by his daughter Gwen Graham. “We are deeply saddened to report the passing of a visionary leader, dedicated public servant, and even more importantly, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather,” the family said. Graham, who served three terms...

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Shocking twist in carjacking of South Florida woman leads to arrest of deputy

The horrific saga of a South Florida woman carjacked at gunpoint in Winter Springs last week and later found dead took a bizarre turn Monday when Seminole authorities linked the case to the recent arrest of an Orange County deputy and the brutal death of a tow truck driver, who was shot at least 100 times. Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said Monday that investigators are still searching for the people involved in the April 11 carjacking of Katherine Guerrero De Aguasvivas, 31, of Homestead. Her body was found late Thursday in Osceola County, inside the scorched remains of the white Dodge...

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NASA confirms mystery object that crashed through roof of Florida home came from space station

NAPLES — NASA confirmed Monday that a mystery object that crashed through the roof of a Florida home last month was a chunk of space junk from equipment discarded at the International Space Station. The cylindrical object that tore through the home in Naples on March 8 was subsequently taken to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral for analysis. The space agency said it was a metal support used to mount old batteries on a cargo pallet for disposal. The pallet was jettisoned from the space station in 2021, and the load was expected to eventually fully burn up on entry into Earth’s atmosphere,...

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Florida’s stricter ban on abortions could put more pressure on clinics elsewhere

The drive to Bristol, Virginia, from Jacksonville, Florida, takes more than eight hours. It’s over 10 from Orlando and closer to 14 from Miami. Despite that distance, Bristol Women’s Health Center is preparing for an influx of women from Florida seeking abortions when a stricter ban kicks in next month. For many people who otherwise would have obtained abortions in Florida, the clinic in southwest Virginia will become the closest practical option — as it already is for a swath of the South after a Florida policy change expected to resonate far beyond the state’s borders. “The majority of the...

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Federal judges uphold DeSantis’ redistricting plan

TALLAHASSEE — A three-judge federal panel Wednesday rejected a constitutional challenge to a congressional redistricting plan that Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed through the Legislature in 2022, saying opponents did not prove lawmakers acted with “racially discriminatory purpose.” The decision was the second time in less than four months that courts have upheld the map in cases focused on the overhaul of a North Florida district that in the past elected a Black Democrat. The state’s 1st District Court of Appeal on Dec. 1 backed the plan — a decision that has been appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. The...

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