The Scoop: WMNF’s daily digest of news headlines for Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

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Immigrant neglect

An investigation at the Baker County Detention Center in Northeast Florida found a dangerous pattern of medical neglect against immigrants. A letter from ACLU Florida is calling for change. 

Bills on the governor’s desk

Dozens of bills from the 2023 legislative session landed on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk Tuesday, including controversial measures about immigration and state oversight of Walt Disney World’s monorail system. DeSantis formally received 41 bills from the Legislature, according to his office. They included an immigration bill that, in part, would increase requirements for employers to check the immigration status of workers and for hospitals to collect data about the immigration status of patients. The measure also would toughen criminal penalties for transporting undocumented immigrants into Florida and provide $12 million to the Division of Emergency Management to transport undocumented immigrants to other states. DeSantis also received a bill that would require the state to inspect Disney’s monorail system. DeSantis also will consider bills that would lead to later start times for many high schools. DeSantis has until May 24 to act on the bills.

Immigrant relocation

Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration has chosen three companies to carry out its multi-million dollar program to relocate migrants anywhere in the country. The Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau reported it comes less than a year after the governor sent 49 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. The program could last until 2025. According to “notice of intent to award” records published on Monday, the three companies awarded include ARS Global Emergency Management, GardaWorld Federal Services, and Vertol Systems Company. That company was handpicked by DeSantis’ public safety czar to do the migrant flights last year. The state indicated that it does not expect to relocate migrant children. The state has yet to say how much it is paying each company.

Gender-affirming care

A federal judge heard opening arguments in Tallahassee yesterday in a lawsuit challenging a Florida rule that bans Medicaid coverage of gender-affirming care. Advocates warn that the rule hurts low-income transgender Floridians who are struggling to pay for their care out of pocket.

Free speech in Florida

Free speech advocates aren’t taking a rest — even after a bill aimed at weakening press freedoms failed in the Florida Legislature.

Manatee protections

Several environmental groups announced last week that they are suing the federal government for failing to protect Florida’s manatees. The lawsuit comes after nearly one out of every five manatees died in the state over the past two years. Most of the deaths were caused when algae blooms smothered seagrasses the animals feed on. In November, the groups petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to re-classify manatees as endangered after they had been downlisted to threatened. A response to their petition to re-classify manatees is now two months late.

 

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

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