DeSantis administration redirects millions in COVID money
The DeSantis administration steered $92 million last year in leftover federal COVID stimulus money to a controversial highway interchange project that directly benefits a top political donor. The Washington Post reports, the decision by the FDOT to use money from the 2021 American Rescue Plan for the I-95 interchange at Pioneer Trail Road near Daytona Beach fulfilled a years-long effort by Mori Hosseini, a politically connected housing developer who owns two large tracts of land abutting the project. According to state documents, the funding expedited that project by more than a decade.
DeSantis campaign accepts thousands in monetary donations
An election watchdog has filed a second complaint against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political campaign. It alleges that a Canadian hedge fund made more than $167,000 in illegal contributions to DeSantis’ operation. The Miami Herald reports that the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center is asking the Federal Election Commission to investigate Toronto-based ECN Capital Corporation for allegedly violating federal campaign finance laws.
Florida’s new concealed weapons law takes effect July 1st
Floridians will be able to carry concealed guns without a permit beginning Saturday. It’s one of more than 200 laws passed during the recent legislative session, that take effect July 1. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill in April which eliminates mandatory training, licensing fees and background checks needed to carry a gun. UCF political professor Aubrey Jewett tells WMFE there are some concerns that this new permitless carry law may result in an increase in violent crime. He cites a 2019 study by the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.
Report calls for elimination of top plastics that pollute beaches
A new report shows that common plastics are polluting shorelines. With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, an environmental group is calling for the US to declare its independence from single-use plastics.
$3 million for Ybor affordable housing
Three Tampa Bay Tech alumni are planning to build a new affordable housing development in partnership with the City of Tampa. Their company was selected for a $3 million state grant to help fund a 10-unit project just north of Ybor City.
Information from Florida Public Media, News Service of Florida, and Associated Press was used in this report.