Local and State

Measures would boost riot-related penalties, hinder law enforcement defunding

by Pat Raia
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With violence occurring at protesting events during the summer of 2020 as well as in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6, a pair of Florida state lawmakers filed bills that would increase some penalties for rioters, and make it easier for residents to appeal their local government attempts to defund police.

Bill would allow permitted guns on campus

by Pat Raia
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Those who have concealed carry gun permits will be allowed to carry firearms on college and university campuses under a measure recently introduced into the Florida House of Representatives.

Filed by Rep. Anthony Sabatini, HR 6001 would amend current Florida concealed carry permit law by deleting the provision forbidding permit holders from carrying a firearm or weapon on the grounds of a public college or university campus.

Bill would exempt certain independent living items from sales, use taxes

by Pat Raia
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Some home improvement items that would help seniors stay in their homes rather than relocate to assisted living facilities would be exempt from sales and use taxes under a pair of bills introduced into the Florida Legislature last month.

Introduced in the State Senate by Sen. Lori Berman on Dec. 7, 2020, SB 244 would exempt bed transfer handles selling for $60 or less; bed rails selling for $110 or less; and grab bars selling for $100 or less from sales tax when purchased for a noncommercial home or for personal use.

DeSantis orders that seniors, healthcare workers get vaccination priority

by Pat Raia

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Those 65 years of age and older and anyone who resides or works in a long term care facility will top the priority list for receiving COVID-19 vaccinations under an Executive Order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis last week. Health care personnel who have direct contact with patients also get priority under the order.

Land gift fulfills Subway founder's conservation vision

by PAT RAIA
Hernando Sun

Thanks to one of the largest land gifts ever given a US university, 27,000 acres of rural land in Osceola County will be used as a living classroom and laboratory for University of Florida (UF) students, faculty and researchers. Elisabeth DeLuca, the widow of Subway founder Fred Deluca, donated the land to UF in November. 

“Few things in this world are as precious — and threatened — as our untamed lands and the wild animals that live there,” said Elisabeth DeLuca.. “We need to preserve what we can for the benefit of all of us.” 

Florida labor contractor debarred from worker visa program

The U.S. Department of Labor debarred Florida H-2A Labor Contractor, Flo-Ag LLC and its principals Jose and Juan Flores for violating guest worker visa requirements.  This means the company is unable to request temporary foreign workers under the H-2A agricultural worker visa program for two years.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) determined that the employer owed $45,212 in back wages to 113 employees.  The employer has since paid the back wages.