Florida Regulators Reject Request for Oral Arguments in Rate Increase Cases

Florida Power Plant

Florida regulators denied a request for oral arguments on Tuesday in two petitions by utilities seeking electricity rate hikes.

On April 2, Tampa Electric Company and Duke Energy Florida filed petitions to the Public Service Commission requesting rate increases beginning in January 2025 if the commission approves.

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Report Indicates Florida Tort Reform Reduced ‘Nuclear Verdicts’

Courtroom Money

A new report shows that the number of “nuclear” verdicts in the Sunshine State has steadily declined since tort reforms were signed into law in 2023.

Marathon Strategies released its 2024 report on corporate verdicts throughout the U.S., and data shows a 30% rise in juries awarding enormous sums of money in legal cases brought against big corporations. However, Florida is bucking this trend.

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Florida to Bolster Its Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts with New Law

Ron DeSantis

Florida will beef up its efforts to stem human trafficking after legislation was signed into law on Monday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 7063, a bill that will make important updates on how Florida combats human trafficking and extends the lifetime of the statewide Council on Human Trafficking within the Department of Legal Affairs.

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Florida Bar Judge Recommends 60-Day Suspension for Conservative Attorney Exercising His Free Speech During Political Campaign

Chris Crowley

A referee judge for the Florida State Bar recommended suspending decorated Gulf War veteran Chris Crowley’s law license for 60 days over his criticism of an opponent he ran against for the Office of the State Attorney in Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit.

During the 2018 race, Crowley referred to Amira D. Fox, who eventually won, as “corrupt” and “swampy” and observed that she had “close family ties to the PLO terrorist organization.” The Florida Bar had requested a 91-day suspension for allegedly violating the bar’s ethics rule prohibiting criticism of judges, election officials, and candidates running for office.

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Report: Florida Received 58 Cents for Every Dollar Spent on Tourism Marketing

Florida Tourism

State officials say Florida’s tourism marketing organization, Visit Florida, returned only 58 cents for every dollar spent on it in 2023.

The report by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research found that Visit Florida’s public marketing during fiscal years 2019-22 generated a positive 0.58 return on investment.

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Florida Legislature Passes Bill Removing ‘Climate Change’ from State Laws, Awaits DeSantis Signing

Climate Change

Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature has passed a measure to replace mentions of “climate change” in many state laws and has sent it to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis for him to sign into law 

The bill, which focuses on energy security, removes all explicit mentions of climate change, according to Scripps News, and directs the state only to “promote the cost-effective development and use of a diverse supply of domestic energy resources.”

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Florida, New York, and the District of Columbia Join Lawsuit Against the NCAA’s NIL Recruitment Ban Led by Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti

The attorneys general of Florida, New York, and the District of Columbia have joined Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares’ lawsuit challenging the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) name, image, and likeness (NIL) recruitment ban.

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DeSantis Touts More Spending for the Developmentally Disabled in Florida

Ron DeSantis

Floridians with developmental disabilities will benefit from a record level of funding for direct services after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a multi-billion dollar investment from the state.

DeSantis spoke at the Els Center in Jupiter on Monday and announced that as part of the Live Healthy legislation spearheaded by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and his Focus on Florida’s Bright Future Budget that $2.2 billion will be going to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities for services through the iBudget waiver.

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DeSantis Signs Two Bills Designed to Bolster Florida Homes Against Hurricanes

Ron DeSantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two new bills Wednesday intended to strengthen Florida homes against hurricanes and other severe weather events.

DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7028, which will add another $200 million in funding for the My Safe Florida Home Program which allows homes to be assessed after major storm events and assists in improving resilience in structures.

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Florida to Teach Public School Students About Communism

Ron DeSantis

Florida school students will receive instruction on the history of communism after a bill was signed into law on Wednesday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed  that will require public schools to implement age-appropriate teaching lessons on the history of communism, beginning in the 2026-2027 school year.

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Florida’s DeSantis Signs Education Reform Bill into Law

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an education reform bill into law on Tuesday that will have long-reaching implications for the state’s education system.

House Bill 1285 does several things, including addressing school districts with “Turn-Around” status, repeals the Florida College System’s employment equity and accountability program and requires the State Board of Education to establish specialized teaching certificates for classical school educators.

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Florida Governor Signs Five Bills Designed to Protect Children from Predators

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed five bills on Wednesday designed to protect children from sexual predators.

The new legislation ranges from House Bill 1545, which protects children from grooming activities and other sexual offenses to Senate Bill 1224 which strengthens the role of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office while implementing training requirements for law enforcement to assess a domestic violence situation properly.

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Florida to Penalize Those Who Expose Law Enforcement Officers to Fentanyl

Desantis Fentanyl

Penalties for those who expose law enforcement officers to fentanyl are set to increase in the Sunshine State after new legislation was signed Monday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate bills 718 and 66. The first creates a second-degree felony for any adult individual who recklessly exposes first responders to fentanyl that results in an overdose or serious bodily harm.

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Abortion Activists Moan After Florida Supreme Court Ruling Doesn’t Bring in ‘Rage’ Donors

Florida Supreme Court

Abortion activists in Florida are frustrated after the state’s Supreme Court ruling allowing a fetal heartbeat law to take effect failed to produce “rage” donations.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of a law signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in April 2023 that would prohibit a doctor from performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. McKenna Kelley, a board member of the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, said that, unlike the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, the Florida ruling had produced little “rage giving” despite a growing demand for funding for abortions, according to Axios.

“It’s really important that if you care about people having access to abortion, you help support us,” Kelley told Axios.

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Judge Hands DeSantis Legal Win in Lawsuit over Martha’s Vineyard Migrant Flights

Ron DeSantis Courtroom

A federal judge dismissed claims against Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis brought by attorneys representing migrants he flew to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 2022.

District Judge Allison Burroughs ruled Friday that migrants could sue the charter flight company, Vertol Systems, that contracted with Florida to transport migrants in September 2022. But Burroughs dismissed other claims brought against DeSantis and state defendants, finding the court lacked jurisdiction over them in the case while leaving the possibility of future legal action open.

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DeSantis Signs Bill to Help Property Owners More Easily Eject Squatters

Florida Squatters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Wednesday that he says will end the problem of squatters taking over homes in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis stated that squatters have taken over homes in states like New York and in some cases, have been murdering the homeowners when they attempt to evict them from their properties.

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DeSantis Signs Ban on Social Media for Children Under Age 14

Ron DeSantis Social Media

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial new bill into law on Monday that will prohibit the use of social media platforms by children.

House Bill 3 requires that social media platforms be regulated to prohibit minors under age 14 from having a social media account if the platform allows users to upload content and view content from other users, uses algorithms and has certain addictive features to keep young children scrolling.

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Florida Bans Homeless Encampments

Homeless Camps

On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) signed a bill into law that bans homeless encampments in the state of Florida.

As reported by Just The News, House Bill 1365, formally titled the Unauthorized Public Camping and Public Sleeping Act, demands that homeless individuals be placed in temporary shelters that will be monitored by state law enforcement agencies, while also banning the use of drugs in such shelters and providing drug and alcohol treatment to occupants who need it.

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Florida Lottery Transferred $2.45 Billion to K-12 Education in 2023

Teacher in Class

The Florida Lottery has become a crucial part of funding for education in the Sunshine State, and according to a recent report from the Florida Auditor General, it continues to grow each year.

In late January, the AG released the financial audit of the Florida Lottery, whose mission is to maximize financial revenue for the benefit of education “in a manner consistent with the dignity of the State of Florida and the welfare of its citizens.”

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DeSantis Sends Coast Guard, Police to Guard Southern Waters Against Haitian Emigration to Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is mobilizing an air-and-sea fleet along with a company of 250 law enforcement officials to safeguard southern waters against a potential mass Haitian emigration to Florida.

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Florida’s DeSantis Signs Three Bills Designed to Combat Illegal Immigration

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three bills into law on Friday to bolster Florida’s efforts to prevent illegal immigration.

“We’re here today, one, to build off a record of success with respect to combating illegal immigration…if you go back six or seven years in the state of Florida, we were not leading against illegal immigration at all, in fact, we were one of the weaker states,” DeSantis said.

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Florida Prepares for Surge in Illegal Aliens from Haiti

Haitians in Boat

As the government of Haiti appears poised to collapse in the face of a violent revolution by criminal gangs, the nearby U.S. state of Florida is preparing for a tidal wave of illegal aliens from the devastated island nation.

According to Politico, lawmakers in Florida have already issued warnings about the potential national security risk of so many third-world illegals coming to the U.S. as a result of the humanitarian crisis, especially as Congress has not yet determined a definitive policy towards Haiti.

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Florida Parental Rights Law Upheld in Court

Ron DeSantis

On Monday, the state of Florida finally settled a lawsuit that had lasted for several years regarding the fate of a parental rights law that had come to be derogatorily known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

According to The Hill, the settlement agreement determined that the law, the 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act, will be kept in place but will tone down certain portions that were determined to be too close to violations of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

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Florida Sheriff Blasts Border Policies After 21 Charged in Sex Trafficking Ring

Grady Judd

An undercover human trafficking operation in Florida found that 21 illegal foreign nationals were using papers given to them by the Department of Homeland Security to fly to major cities in the United States for free to engage in sex trafficking, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

“Federal policy drives illegal immigrant crime and victimization,” Judd said when announcing the results of a multi-agency undercover operation that led to the arrest of 228 people. Among them, 21 people arrested were in the country illegally, citizens of Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Orders State Troopers to Spring Break Hotspots to Maintain Order

Ron DeSantis

Florida is serving criminals notice: Don’t come to spring break to cause trouble.

On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in Miami Beach that law enforcement will be taking a hard line with people who plan on coming to Florida during spring break to commit crimes.

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Julie Kelly Commentary: In the Room at Friday’s Florida Hearing in Trump’s Classified Documents Case

FL Judge Aileen Cannon Infront of florida courthouse

I am digging into a few other matters related to this case, the contempt order issued Thursday against veteran investigative reporter Catherine Herridge, and a new appellate court ruling overturning the use of a sentencing enhancement for J6ers convicted of the controversial 1512(c)(2) charge so unfortunately I can’t write a full article on yesterday’s hearing that I attended in person in Fort Pierce. So I want to share my X posts about what happened.

A few additional observations: Judge Cannon’s approach and style is inimical from that of judges in D.C. For part of the proceedings, I kept thinking how DOJ’s J6 prosecution in Washington would be so different if only half the judges were as careful and prepared and nontheatrical as Cannon. I shared this with a J6 defense attorney last night and he agreed.

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Epstein Grand Jury Documents Could Be Released Under New Florida Law

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Thursday that will publicly release grand jury documents, including those related to the late Jeffery Epstein.

Before his death in a Florida prison cell, Epstein stood accused of running a massive child sex trafficking ring.

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Florida Senate Committee Advances Bill to Limit Terms of County Commissioners

Blaise Ingoglia

A bill that would put term limits on Florida county commissioners passed a key hurdle in the Senate Committee Rules on Monday.

Senate Bill 438 is sponsored by state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill. It would introduce term limits for county commissioners and would require certain counties to hold a referendum election to ask voters if they approve or disapprove of term limits in their county.

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Florida House, Senate Approve Social Media Restrictions for Minors

Kid on Phone

The Florida state House and Senate on Thursday approved legislation to impose tight restrictions on social media access for minors.

Under the plan, young Floridians under 16 years old would be barred from access several social media platforms, which in turn would be required to delete the accounts of underaged persons, Politico reported. It would also require that websites producing sensitive content, such as pornography, work to verify the age of users.

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Foreign-Owned Social Media Platforms Could Face New Florida Restrictions

People on Phones

Foreign-owned social media platforms such as TikTok could face a big change in the Sunshine State if a bill currently being advanced by the Florida Senate gets signed into law.

Senate Bill 1448 is sponsored by state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, and would add transparency for social media platforms operating in Florida that are owned by foreign adversaries.

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More than 4,000 New Law Enforcement Recruits in Florida

Florida Police Officer

More than 4,000 police officers have moved to Florida or become new recruits through Florida’s law enforcement recruitment bonus program.

The program was first launched in April 2022 after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law allocating $125 million for bonuses to benefit local police officers, sheriff’s deputies, paramedics, EMTs and firefighters statewide.

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Florida House Reworks Bill That Would’ve Restricted State Guard Deployments

Florida National Guard

A bill that would have possibly prevented Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from sending the Florida State Guard to the nation’s southern border has been rewritten to remove that provision.

Instead, House Bill 1551, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Giallombardo, R- Cape Coral, was replaced by a committee substitute authored by the Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

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Florida Abortion Activists Allegedly Caught Submitting Fraudulent Petition Signatures

Keep Abortion Legal

Florida authorities have caught multiple individuals involved in petition fraud related to a radical effort to enshrine late-term abortion into Florida’s state constitution.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced this week that inspectors arrested a “paid petition circulator” and issued an arrest warrant for a second petition circulator after they submitted 133 invalid constitutional amendment petitions in numerous counties.

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Florida Nonprofit Begins Quest for 1 Million Signatures, Getting Medicaid on 2026 Ballot

Medicaid Expansion

A nonprofit group is gathering signatures to put Medicaid expansion in Florida on the ballot in 2026.

“Our mission is to let voters decide whether Florida should expand Medicaid, bring billions of our tax dollars home, increase jobs, grow our economy, and provide access to care to over one million people,” said the group, Florida Decides Healthcare. “Together, we can make health care a reality for all Floridians.”

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Florida to Send 1,000 National Guard Troops to Texas Border

Ron DeSantis Texas Border

On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) announced that the state of Florida will be sending up to 1,000 of its National Guard troops to Texas to assist state authorities in securing the border.

According to the New York Post, a press release from the governor’s office explained that the troops will be deployed “based on Texas’ needs,” and will include such duties as helping to repel illegal aliens trying to come across the southern border. It is the first time ever that the Florida National Guard has been deployed to somewhere outside of the state.

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Jacksonville Sheriff Released Racist Manifesto Just Six Months After Shooting, Suicide

TK Waters

Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters released in January the manifesto written by Ryan Palmeter, who fatally shot three people in a racially motivated attack that happened last August at a Dollar General in Florida last year before turning the gun on himself.

The manifesto was released following the completion of an investigation into the circumstances that led to the shooting by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department.

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DeSantis Calls for Constitutional Reforms to Address Spending, Border

DeSantis Speaking

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that he is calling for constitutional reforms to hold leadership in Washington D.C. accountable for the crisis Americans face due to weak border policies and unchecked spending.

The second-term GOP governor and former presidential candidate is calling for a balanced federal budget, congressional term limits, laws being made equally applicable for citizens and members of Congress and line-item veto authority for the president.

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Florida University System Removes ‘Left-Wing’ Sociology Course from Core Requirements

The 17-member board of governors of the Florida university system decided Wednesday to eliminate a sociology course from the core requirements to graduate and to replace it with an American history class, according to a press release.

The new class, Introductory Survey to 1877, will introduce students to America’s founding, slavery, the Civil War and the Reconstruction era and will replace Principles of Sociology as a course requirement, according to a State University System of Florida press release. Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz has previously derided sociology, saying the discipline has been taken over by “left-wing activists,” and Florida University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues said the move would have a “positive impact.”

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Florida Bill Would Give Ex-Convicts Better Shot at Employment

Fork Lift

Ex-offenders in Florida could have an easier time gaining work licenses, permits and other certifications after a new bill passed through committee on Monday.

Senate Bill 1012 is sponsored by state Sen. Alexis Calatayud, R-Miami and would assist ex-offenders in getting a license, permit, or certification for employment. Calatayud stated during the bill’s introduction to the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries that the bill protects individuals who happen to have a criminal history from being “blanket denied” by agencies.

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Florida AG Calls on Congress Again to Impeach Mayorkas as House Proceedings Continue

Secretary Mayorkas

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is once again calling on Congress to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for failing to secure U.S. borders as the U.S. House continues its proceedings this week in an effort to do so.

The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to hold its second hearing on Thursday targeting Mayorkas.

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Florida Should Be Able to Lower Rent, Lease Sales Tax for Businesses Soon

Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund balance, drained during the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to exceed its prepandemic level by March, two months earlier than expected, according to the nonprofit group Florida TaxWatch.

That will allow a decrease in state sales tax businesses must pay on payments made to rent or lease of commercial property. The 4.5% business rent tax will be lowered to 2% in June instead of August, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.

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Florida GOP Removes Embattled Leader

Christian Ziegler

The Florida Republican Party, the nation’s only state political party with two presidential candidates, has ousted its chairman a week before the GOP caucus in Iowa.

The Florida GOP voted Monday to remove embattled Chairman Christian Ziegler, under investigation for rape, and elevated Vice Chairman Evan Power. Seeking the White House in 2024 are Floridians Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, the respective former president and current governor.

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People in Florida Will Soon Be Able to Buy Drugs from Canada

Pharmacist

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Florida’s request to import cheap prescription drugs from Canada on Friday.

Policymakers across the political spectrum have long sought to import drugs from Canada, where drug prices are lower, and Florida’s authorization makes it the first state to import drugs in bulk from America’s northern neighbor. Florida estimates that it may save as much as $150 million on drugs treating things like diabetes, hepatitis C and certain psychiatric conditions.

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Report Finds Some Issues with Florida’s Economic Incentive Programs

Film

The Florida Legislature’s research arm released a report documenting issues with some of the Sunshine State’s economic development incentives and programs.

A review of Florida’s entertainment industry incentives by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability showed that 1,409 production companies had reported spending an estimated $1.3 billion on average. Companies also saved around $22 million in sales tax, and 57% of production companies said the incentives affected their decision to work in Florida.

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Florida Bill Would Expand Prison Incentive Program Designed to Reduce Recidivism

Danny Burgess

Nonviolent offenders in the Sunshine State could be part of a new incentive program if a new bill becomes law.

Senate Bill 1048 is sponsored by state Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills. It would expand the Florida Department of Corrections’ incentivized prison program, which provides education, life skills, and discharge planning to reduce recidivism.

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Florida Pro-Palestinian University Groups Say Order to Deactivate Violates First Amendment

Two Florida university chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine sued their schools and state officials, alleging a state order to deactivate the groups violated their First Amendment rights.

The University of Florida and the University of South Florida SJP chapters both denied their groups had violated a Florida law prohibiting support for terrorism

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Florida Bill Would Add Penalties for Felonies by Previously Deported Migrants

A new bill has been filed in the Florida Legislature that would increase penalties for criminal migrants who reenter the United States illegally.

Senate Bill 1036 was introduced by state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, ahead of Florida’s legislative session which begins on Jan. 9.

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Florida’s Largest Teachers Union Faces Decertification Under State Law

United Teachers of Dade

The United Teachers of Dade faces decertification after failing to clear a state-imposed threshold requiring that at least 60% of union members pay dues, CBS News reported.

The group is the state’s largest teachers union and represents 27,000 employees in Miami-Dade public schools. UTD on Tuesday sought to renew its certification with the state, but did not succeed due to its failure to meet the threshold, despite its own rapid growth in recent months.

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Florida Man Pleads Guilty for Threatening to Kill Chief Justice

Chief Justice John Roberts

A Florida man pleaded guilty Monday to threatening to kill a Supreme Court justice, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Neal Brij Sidhwaney, 43, placed a call in July to the Supreme Court, leaving an “expletive-laden, threatening voicemail message” where he “repeatedly threatened to kill a specific Supreme Court Justice,” according to the DOJ. Sidhwaney revealed the justice he had threatened was Chief Justice John Roberts during a court-ordered psychological evaluation, Politico reported.

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