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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A court ruled that Florida cannot bar felons who served their time from voting, even if they haven’t paid their fines or court fees. Amendment 4, approved by voters in 2018, allowed nonviolent felons who served their time to regain the right to vote. Lawmakers passed a bill in 2019 that required some of those felons to pay off court fees, fines and restitution before they were able to vote. That law is now being argued in court. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the original ruling by a Tallahassee federal judge that requiring paying all fines and fees first is an unfair poll tax. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will immediately ask the entire 11th Circuit to reconsider the ruling. It was not immediately clear whether felons with unpaid fees would be able to vote by the upcoming primaries.
  • A Denver-based grassroots group called Good Business Colorado launched a statewide campaign to lure businesses away from Florida to Colorado. The group’s web site brags of more sunny days, legalized recreational marijuana and stronger protections for LGBTQ citizens as reasons people should consider relocating. They’re currently placing ads in newspapers and other publications in Florida including the Orlando Sentinel. The ad shows a rainbow stretched across the Rocky Mountain with the message: “Move to Colorado. In Colorado, more than just our grass is protected.  Your job is, too. We pride ourselves on our innovative businesses and ability to be ourselves at work.” Good Business Colorado’s website claims that Colorado has double the breweries of Florida, thousands of more miles of trails, and friendlier LGBTQ policies with statewide non-discrimination protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.   Florida currently does not have any statewide laws protecting LGBTQ residents from discrimination, including the workplace.  Orlando and Orange County have their own policies in place, but the legislature continues rejecting the Florida Competitive Workforce Act which would give statewide protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, housing and public places.  It was first introduced in 2009.
  • Orlando’s housing market marked a second consecutive month of double-digit year-over-year sales increases in January.  According to the latest report from the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, sales in Orlando increased by 16.4-percent over last January’s sales. Each individual county’s sales comparisons are as follows:   *Lake: 9.2% above January 2019;  *Orange: 9.9% above January 2019;  *Osceola: 25.3% above January 2019; and  *Seminole: 6.9% above January 2019. The median home price in Orlando also rose by 7.9-percent last month to $245,000.  That number marks a 1.6-percent decline from the median home price in December. Orlando’s inventory of available homes is still tight, with only about 7,000 homes available for sale last month.  That number represents a 14.7-percent decrease from the inventory in January of 2019. You can find a link to the complete report by clicking HERE.
  • Authorities in Missouri have arrested three relatives after an 11-year-old girl gave birth last week in a bathtub at a home in the St. Louis suburbs, according to multiple reports. An adult man and an adult woman have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the case. A 17-year-old boy was also arrested on charges of incest, statutory rape and statutory sodomy of a child younger than 12 years old, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Associated Press. The birth was discovered after a man brought the newborn to a hospital, claiming the child had been left on his front porch, KSDK reported. Charging documents obtained by the news station showed the infant had a body temperature of 90 degrees and still had an umbilical cord and placenta attached after being brought to the hospital. The man later admitted that he was related to the baby and told authorities he was unaware the 11-year-old girl was pregnant until she gave birth to the child, according to the AP. The man was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, KSDK reported. A judge ordered him held in lieu of a $10,000 cash-only bond. Charging documents said he came to the country illegally and had previously been deported, according to the AP. In a probable cause statement obtained by the Post-Dispatch, authorities said a 17-year-old boy related to the 11-year-old girl admitted to having sexually assaulted the girl about 100 times. After his arrest last week, a judge ordered him held in lieu of a $25,000 bond, according to the newspaper. Authorities made a third arrest in the case Tuesday, charging an adult woman with failing to provide the 11-year-old with medical care as she was giving birth. She was ordered held in lieu of a $10,000 bond, according to the AP.
  • NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, who was involved in a horrific crash during the final lap of the Daytona 500, was hospitalized after Monday’s race. Update 2:03 p.m. EST Feb. 19: According to Roush Fenway Racing, NASCAR driver Ryan Newman was released from a Daytona Beach hospital Wednesday afternoon, two days after he was involved in a scary crash on the final lap of the Daytona 500. Roush tweeted a photograph of Newman leaving Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, holding the hands of his two daughters. “Ryan Newman has been treated and released from Halifax Medical Center,” the racing team tweeted. Update 12:25 p.m. EST Feb. 19: Ryan Newman continued to show “great improvement” as he recovered from injuries he suffered Monday night in a final-lap crash at the Daytona 500 race, his racing team said. Roush Fenway Racing tweeted a statement that said Newman was “fully alert” and walking around Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. The racing team also tweeted a photo of a smiling Newman with his children. Update 4:47 p.m. EST Feb. 18: In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Roush Fenway Racing tweeted that Ryan Newman was “awake and speaking” with family members and doctors. Newman, who was seriously injured in a final-lap wreck during Monday’s Daytona 500 race, remains at the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. Update 10:13 p.m. EST Feb. 17: In a statement Monday night, NASCAR officials said Newman, 42, was in serious condition, “but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life-threatening.” Original report: Newman, 42, has 18 Cup wins, including the 2008 Daytona 500 and 2013 Brickyard 400. He was battling for the lead with Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin on the final lap of the 2.5-mile track at Daytona International Speedway when he crashed. Newman was in the lead coming into the final turn with Blaney and eventual winner Hamlin in close pursuit, NASCAR.com reported. Closing in on the finish line, Newman attempted to block Blaney, who was in second place. The impact of the cars touching sent Newman’s car airborne and into the wall. Newman’s car flipped several times and was hit head-on by Corey LaJoie, who sent Newman skidding across the track upside down Newman’s No. 6 Ford crossed the finish line engulfed in flames, ESPN reported. An ambulance departed Daytona International Speedway’s front stretch at 8:10 p.m. Newman was taken to an area hospital. His condition was unknown. 'I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are, and No. 1, we are praying for Ryan,'' Hamlin said. “I hope he’s all right,” Blaney told reporters. “I was trying to push him to the win. I don’t like saying that things just happen because I feel really bad about it. It was a close one. I just hope Ryan is all right.” “I was hoping he would kind of bounce off the fence to the left, but he didn’t and I hit him,” Lajoie said. “I don’t know exactly where I hit him. I haven’t seen a replay. It was some scary stuff.” Newman, who led 15 laps, was credited with a ninth-place finish. “We ask that out of respect for privacy that you please do not speculate on Ryan Newman’s condition until an official statement has been issued,” Roush Yates Engines tweeted. Kelley Earnhardt, the daughter of Dale Earnhardt Sr., tweeted, “Please let @RyanJNewman be ok!” Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a final-lap crash at the Daytona 500 in 2001. Newman, born Dec. 8, 1977, in South Bend, Indiana, was named Winston Cup rookie of the year in 2002, beating Jimmie Johnson, according to his NASCAR biography. Nicknamed “Rocket Man,” Newman graduated with honors from South Bend La-Salle High School in 1996. He studied engineering at Purdue University but at the same time, continued to race. Newman was a champion midget racer when he was 17, ran USAC sprint cars and won that division’s Silver Crown championship in 1999.

Washington Insider

  • As President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his move to free ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), the President also renewed his attacks on fired FBI Director James Comey over the Blagojevich matter, even though Comey was not at the Justice Department or FBI when the Illinois Democrat was convicted of trying to get money for the U.S. Senate seat of Barack Obama in 2008. 'Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat,' the President said, countering the evidence presented at trial by the feds in 2010 and 2011 'Another Comey and gang deal!' the President added in his tweet, mentioning Comey for a second straight day in relation to Blagojevich. Comey served as Deputy Attorney General in the George W. Bush Administration. He left in 2005, and did not return to the federal government until he was chosen for FBI Director eight years later in 2013. After Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison, the Justice Department noted his 'effort in 2008 to illegally trade the appointment of a United States Senator in exchange for $1.5 million in campaign contributions or other personal benefits.' It was not immediately clear why the President mentioned Comey for a second straight day, even though he was not involved in the investigation or prosecution of Blagojevich. 'It was a prosecution by the same people - Comey, Fitzpatrick - the same group,' the President told reporters on Tuesday, also naming former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who did lead the prosecution of Blagojevich. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denounced Comey since firing him in May of 2017, calling him a 'slimeball,' denouncing his handling of the Russia investigation, and Republicans have said Comey should be jailed. 'Mr. President,' Comey tweeted a week ago. 'I have never committed a crime, which is an important pre-req for jail in most countries, still including ours.