Local and State

DeSantis signs budget, vetoes $131 million

June 21, 2019

by Jim Turner, Ana Ceballos


TALLAHASSEE --- Gov. Ron DeSantis used his line-item veto power to slash more than $131 million in proposed spending Friday as he signed a record $90.98 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Calling the package “fiscally responsible,” the freshman governor praised lawmakers for exceeding his request for spending on environmental projects and for a boost in per-student funding in public schools.

Lawmakers sign off on budget as session ends

May 4, 2019

by Jim Turner


TALLAHASSEE --- Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature quickly put the finishing touches on a record $91.1 billion spending plan Saturday, meeting numerous requests from freshman Gov. Ron DeSantis.

While declaring “great wins for conservatives,” along with environmental protections that should appeal to Democrats, the governor said he intends to use his line-item veto power but didn’t specify what spending he might target.

Ten big issues from the 2019 Legislative Session

May 4, 2019

by Jim Saunders


TALLAHASSEE --- Florida lawmakers finished the 2019 legislative session Saturday by passing a budget for the upcoming year.

During the two-month session, lawmakers considered hundreds of bills and made more than $90 billion in spending decisions. It also was the first session for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and began the two-year terms of Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes.

Here are 10 big issues from the 2019 session:

High school senior organizes seminar on vape awareness


In a packed auditorium at Hernando High School, Senior Malia Williams gave a very personal account of her sixteen year old sister’s frightening experience while experimenting with others using an eCigarette, or ‘vape.’  

Shortly after puffing on the device, her sister’s heart rate soared to a dangerously high rate.  Doctors would later report that the fluid within contained arsenic.  “That’s rat poison!” Williams told the audience.

Officer Valor: End of Watch


Hernando Sun Reporter

On Tuesday April 30, 2019, I was honored with the opportunity to attend a memorial service for a fallen Hernando County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer: Officer Valor.

I entered the Hernando County Emergency Management building approximately twenty minutes before the ceremony. The family and officers close to Valor were already seated and reminiscing, a delicate air of mixed emotions (joy, sadness, trepidation) enveloped the mourners as they prepared for the ceremony.  

Data show underage substance abuse on the rise

Hernando Sun Reporter

During the April 9, 2019 School Board workshop,  the Supervisor of Exceptional Student Support Services requested a presentation of the three-year comparison data on Substance Abuse from Janice Smith and Ricardo Jaquez, the Substance Abuse Prevention Educators for the Hernando County School district.  The given presentation covered a breadth of substance abuse related findings which included: 

Desantis signs vaping ban, police dog protection bills

April 29, 2019



 TALLAHASSEE --- Floridians will have to keep their e-cigarettes on the shelf while in most enclosed workplaces starting this summer, under one of 10 new laws signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The workplace ban on vapor-generating electronic devices (SB 7012), better known as “vaping,” implements part of a constitutional amendment that also asked voters to ban oil and gas drilling off Florida’s shorelines.

The amendment drew support from more than 68.9 percent of voters in November.

Sinking of the 'Ghost Ship'

Roughly two years ago, Hernando County Port Authority Vice Chairman Steve Barton was working on a boat at the Hernando Beach Marina when he noticed another boat nearby in obvious disrepair.  Barton approached the Marina owner who told him, “Man we’ve been trying to get rid of that for years.”

Barton thought this large vessel constructed of ferroconcrete would make a great addition to the Bendickson reef.