The Scoop: WMNF’s daily digest of news headlines for Friday, April 28th, 2023

WMNF Daily news digest, called "The Scoop"

School Superintendent is being threatened to revoke teaching license

Florida officials are threatening to revoke the teaching license of a school superintendent after he criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis. Education officials have accused Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna of violating several education statutes and DeSantis directives and allowing his “personal political views” to guide his leadership. Hanna ordered students to wear COVID-19 masks during the pandemic in 2021, violating a DeSantis directive. He has also criticized a 2022 law that the Republican governor signed that bars the discussion of gender and sexuality in lower grades. Hanna said the threat against his license is a violation of his free speech rights.

Gainesville Regional Utilities is closer to being under one new board

Gainesville Regional Utilities is one step closer to being under the control of a new board appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Gainesville Sun reported yesterday. The Florida House of Representatives passed House Bill 1645 yesterday with an 81-33 vote to establish a five-member board to oversee all GRU-related decisions and remove the City Commission’s century-long control of its municipal utility. Some have compared the bill to Disney’s Reedy Creek struggle. It must still make it through the Senate and be approved by the governor before taking effect. If signed into law, board members will be appointed by October when the new fiscal year starts. The Gainesville utility has been the state leader for renewable energy and plans to push toward its goal of being 100% renewable by 2045. The bill itself calls for a five-member board that will be appointed by DeSantis. If signed into law, Gainesville—a city made up mostly Democratic voters— would have the first municipal board in the state to which DeSantis could appoint and control members.

Controversial bill for unions

The Florida House passed a controversial bill that adds restrictions to unions. WMNF’s Chris Young reports the bill is set to be signed by the governor.

Uber and Lyft drivers go on strike

Uber and Lyft drivers will rally at airports across Florida today kicking off a historic effort to unionize Floridians who work for ride-hailing services. Danielle Prieur reports.

Free residential compost bin program for St Pete

The city of St. Petersburg has reignited its free residential compost bin program. WMNF’s Taylor Lovejoy has more.

Jury deliberation for former Mayor Andrew Gillum

Jury deliberation is expected to begin this afternoon in the trial against former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. That’s after attorneys finished calling witnesses yesterday. Closing arguments are set to begin this morning. Soon after the prosecution rested its case yesterday, Gillum’s attorneys rested without calling witnesses. Valerie Crowder reports Gillum and co-defendant Sharon Lettman-Hicks are accused of pocketing ill-gotten grant funds and donations to Gillum’s campaign for governor.

Unresolved budget issues

Unresolved budget issues started to shift yesterday from conference committees to Republican Senate Appropriations Chairman Dough Broxson, and Republican House Appropriations Chairman Tom Leek as the Legislature seeks to finish a spending plan by the start of next week. Among the issues that needed to be resolved, the Senate wants to spend $80 million on the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida. The house hasn’t proposed money for the public-private agency. Also, the House continued to seek $400 million for sea-level measures, while the Senate proposal stood at $179 million. The Senate was seeking $400 million or conservation easements to limit development on agricultural lands and $100 million for land acquisition, while the House proposed $100 million for easements and $200 million for land acquisition. Conference committees began meeting Monday.

Information from the Florida Public Radio network, News Service of Florida and Associated Press was used in this report.

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