WMNF’s daily digest of news headlines for Monday, March 20th, 2023

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Reporter fired

Reporter Ben Montgomery was fired by Axios last week. Montgomery is also the co-host of WMNF’s, the Skinny. On Friday, he talked on the show about being fired by Axios after he replied to a Department of Education email, calling it propaganda, not a press release. You can hear the full interview on our website, WMNF.org. The Skinny airs every Friday at 11am on 88.5 FM.

School vouchers

On Friday the Republican-controlled State House passed a measure that would make every Florida student eligible for taxpayer-backed school vouchers. Democrats and other critics slammed the expansion as a “coupon for millionaires.” House members voted 83-to-27 along almost-straight party lines to pass the bill. The Senate could consider a similar bill as early as this week. It’s called SB 202. The proposals have sailed through the Legislature, and Governor Ron DeSantis has pledged that he would sign a vouchers expansion.

Local ordinance bill

The Florida legislature is considering a bill that would help people legally challenge city and county ordinances. The bill was met with opposition from citizens and a coalition of labor unions.

School board term limits

On Friday the Florida House passed a bill that would lead to eight-year term limits for county school board members. The Republican-controlled House voted 79-to-29 along almost-straight party lines to approve the bill, with one defection on either side. Tomorrow the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee is scheduled to take up the Senate version of the bill. That version is called SB 1110 and also includes eight-year term limits for county commissioners.

Farm workers rights march

Advocates calling for the end of modern-day slavery in the agricultural fields marched 50 miles over 5 days. They started on the shores of Lake Okeechobee and ended in Palm Beach.

Tort reform

On Friday the Florida House passed a package of changes that would make it more difficult for consumers to sue and would help shield businesses and insurance companies from costly lawsuits. House Speaker Paul Renner described the bill as “transformative.” The Republican-controlled House voted 80-to-31 along almost-straight party lines to pass the bill. HB 837 is a top priority of business groups. It touched off a lobbying battle including opponents such as plaintiffs’ attorneys. The Senate is poised to take up the issue after House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement on the details. Supporters said the bill was designed to bring balance to a system that has been plagued by excessive litigation. But opponents said the bill would punish injured people who have legitimate claims and that it would only benefit insurance companies.

Trump indictment protests

Former President Trump’s calls for protests ahead of his anticipated indictment in New York have generated mostly muted reactions from supporters. Even some of his most ardent loyalists are dismissing the idea as a waste of time or a law enforcement trap. The ambivalence raises questions about whether Trump still has the power to mobilize far-right supporters the way he did more than two years ago before the January 6th, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It also suggests that the hundreds of convictions and long prison sentences that followed the Capitol riot may have dampened the desire for repeat mass unrest.

 

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

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