The Scoop: WMNF’s daily digest of news headlines for Thursday, May 18th, 2023

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USF protestors plead ‘not guilty’ to felony charges

Three of the demonstrators arrested after a March protest at the University of South Florida pleaded not guilty yesterday. Before their court date, they rallied with supporters outside the courthouse.

DeSantis signs anti-LGBTQ laws

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of bills yesterday that opponents have called a “slate of hate.” Among them is a bill that bans gender-affirming care for most kids.

Planned Parenthood immediately started canceling appointments for gender-affirming health care. DeSantis has promoted anti-LGBTQ legislation as he prepares to seek the GOP presidential nomination. His bill-signing ceremony at an evangelical Christian school in Tampa had a campaign-like feel, with DeSantis throwing Sharpies to a cheering crowd. State Senator Shevrin Jones, who is gay, said the governor chose a setting where he was likely to get praise for bigotry.

Even before these newest laws, Equality Florida had issued a travel warning for Florida because of how LGBTQ people are treated here.

Civil rights organization issues Florida travel advisory

Another group has issued an advisory against travel to Florida. The League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC made that announcement yesterday because of the state’s new immigration law.

DeSantis sends troops to Texas-Mexico border

Governor Ron DeSantis says he’s sending more than 1,100 National Guard soldiers and law enforcement officers to the Texas-Mexico border to assist with security. Speaking earlier this week, he expressed his continued concerns over a possible surge in border crossings after pandemic-era asylum restrictions ended last week.

DeSantis said, “with the drugs that are pouring across, the fentanyl, tens of thousands of people dying, you have criminal aliens coming into our country, you have people on the terrorist watch list coming into our country, it’s a total, total disaster.”

But Orlando Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani says the governor’s move is nothing more than an effort to bolster his presidential aspirations.

“We should be focused on solving real issues in Florida, not further politicizing immigration and of course, spending precious state resources and tax dollars on political stunts,” said Eskamani.

DeSantis’ sending of the National Guard comes through an agreement between states to help each other in times of crisis. He previously sent Florida resources to the U.S. southern border in 2021.

State considers Wildlife Corridor expansion

Next week, Florida officials could direct nearly $100 million dollars to secure more than 35,500 acres of primarily ranchland for the growing statewide Wildlife Corridor, while keeping agricultural operations on the properties in place. Twelve land deals are on Tuesday’s agenda before Governor DeSantis and the Cabinet. They involve conservation easements, which allow the current landowners to continue active hunting, farming and cattle operations. In exchange, the land would be kept from residential and commercial development.

 

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

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