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  • Weeks after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a plan to increase starting teacher pay, questions remain about how it will be funded and if the raises for new teachers will also be extended to current teachers. Florida ranks 27th in the nation for starting teacher pay and 46th in the nation for average teacher pay. DeSantis' plan, announced in early October, calls for more than $600 million to boost starting teacher pay by about $10,000. Read: Orange County teachers call district's latest offer 'encouraging' in wage negotiations While senators have praised the plan, House leadership has taken a more measured approach with Speaker of the House Jose Oliva issuing a statement saying in part that, 'I am in receipt of the governor's statement regarding teacher compensation as I am of the over $2 billion of new spending requests from his agencies.' Those requests include $1.6 billion for emergency management as well as more than half a billion in requests from the Florida Department of Corrections, the Florida Department of Children and Families and state universities. DeSantis is expected to lay out his budget proposal later this year. It is expected he will provide more details about funding for new teachers as well as possible funding for current teachers within that budget. DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD
  • A Missouri man has been convicted of participating in the slaying of a Florida doctor. Prosecutors say the killing was arranged by the doctor's husband. The Naples Daily News reports 29-year-old Jimmy Ray Rodgers was convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison. Sentencing is Nov. 18. Prosecutors had sought a first-degree murder conviction and the death penalty. Dr. Teresa Sievers was found dead at her Bonita Springs home from an apparent hammer attack in June 2015. Investigators say Sievers' husband, 51-year-old Mark Sievers, recruited 51-year-old Curtis Wayne Wright Jr. and Rodgers to kill his wife. Wright previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a 25-year sentence. He testified at Rodgers' trial that the Sievers were having marriage problems, and Mark Sievers feared losing his two daughters. Mark Sievers awaits trial. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. ___ Information from: Naples (Fla.) Daily News, http://www.naplesnews.com
  • An effort by the U.S. Census Bureau to collect state driver's license records as part of President Donald Trump's order to gather citizenship information has been a bust so far. As of Wednesday, the vast majority of state motor vehicle agencies had no plans to share their records with the bureau, according to an Associated Press survey of the 50 states. In the survey, state motor vehicle agencies were asked if they had plans to share their records with the bureau. Officials in many states were reviewing the request and hadn't decided how to respond, and many states hadn't yet received a request. Below are the survey's results. ___ Alabama, No Alaska, No Arizona, Not received Arkansas, Undecided California, Not received Colorado, Undecided Connecticut, No Delaware, Undecided Florida, Undecided Georgia, Undecided Hawaii, Not received Idaho, No Illinois, No Indiana, No Iowa, Undecided Kansas, Undecided Kentucky, Undecided Louisiana, No Maine, No Maryland, Undecided Massachusetts, Not received Michigan, Not received Minnesota, Not received Mississippi, Didn't answer AP query Missouri, Undecided Montana, Not received Nebraska, Undecided Nevada, No New Hampshire, Didn't answer AP query New Jersey, No New Mexico, No New York, Not received North Carolina, Undecided North Dakota, Not received Ohio, Not received Oklahoma, Not received Oregon, No Pennsylvania, Undecided Rhode Island, Not received South Carolina, Not received South Dakota, Undecided Tennessee, Undecided Texas, Undecided Utah, No Vermont, Not received Virginia, Not received Washington, Not received West Virginia, Didn't answer AP query Wisconsin, Not received Wyoming, Undecided
  • Jimmy Butler's debut for the Miami Heat will be delayed by a few days. Butler was ruled out of Miami's season-opener against Memphis on Wednesday for what the team is calling 'personal reasons.' Butler was with the team Wednesday morning for its game-day shootaround practice, and told the team that he wasn't going to be able to play around mid-afternoon. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says 'everything's fine' and that there is no reason for concern over the Butler situation. Butler was the big offseason acquisition for the Heat this past summer, agreeing to a four-year deal in a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia. Miami is also without guard Dion Waiters for the opener, while he serves a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • The Latest on the Florida Senate's decision on the suspension of a county sheriff (all times local): 5:45 p.m. The Florida Senate is backing Gov. Ron DeSantis in suspending a county sheriff who the Republican governor said bungled the handling of last year's mass shooting in Parkland. The Senate voted 25-15 Wednesday for the removal of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. The outcome in the Republican-dominated Senate was not surprising, coming two days after the Senate Rules Committee sided with the governor's decision to oust Israel. An investigator appointed by the chamber to look into Israel's suspension had recommended the sheriff be reinstated. DeSantis used his authority to remove the lawman after deeming him incompetent in his department's response to the Feb. 14, 2018, shootings that killed 15 students and two staffers. Israel has vowed to run for his old job in next year's election, and DeSantis has said he would not seek to remove him should he win. ___ 3:15 p.m. The Florida Senate began a floor debate Wednesday to consider if it will oust a county sheriff who Gov. Ron DeSantis accused of bungling the handling of last year's Parkland shooting that killed 17 people. The chamber was meeting in a politically charged special session convened specifically to weigh the fate of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who DeSantis suspended just days after the Republican governor took office in January. The special session was called after a Senate-appointed investigator recommended that Israel be reinstated. But two days ago, the Senate Rules Committee voted along mostly partisan lines to set aside the findings of Senate special master Dudley Goodlette , who asserted that the evidence presented in his investigation did not warrant Israel's suspension. During his bid for governor, DeSantis partly campaigned on removing Israel from his post in Broward County, a Democratic stronghold. Days after taking office, DeSantis removed the lawman after deeming him incompetent in his department's response to the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting that left 15 students and two staffers dead. With the tragedy framing the debate and emotions sometimes fraying, alliances transcended party allegiances, with some Democrats signaling their support for removing Israel. Israel's supporters, including a key Republican, said his removal would have emboldened DeSantis and future governors in removing other elected officials for political reasons. Sen. Tom Lee, a Republican and former president of the Florida Senate, made an impassioned plea to reinstate Israel. 'When we go home and jump into a selfie with our sheriff — because I know how good that looks on our campaign pieces — make sure he knows what we did today,' said Lee, who called the proceedings 'anti-law enforcement.' In his report, Goodlette said there was no evidence presented to suggest Israel's policies or his training of deputies were inconsistent with Florida standards, and attributed deaths in the shooting to 'individual failures,' especially on the part of the school resource officer on duty who had failed to enter a school building and confront the shooter. But others said they agreed with the governor's suspension of Israel to hold him accountable for any systemic failures that contributed to the carnage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. DeSantis was also critical of Israel's handling of the 2017 shooting that killed five people at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
  • The Florida Senate is backing the governor's ouster of a county sheriff over his handling of the Parkland mass shooting.
  • Four flight attendants have been arrested on money laundering charges at Miami International Airport after authorities say they found them carrying tens of thousands of dollars in cash. Customs and Border Patrols officials said they arrested four American Airlines attendants during an inspection early Monday. Police say they were carrying more than $22,000 in cash after arriving on a flight from Chile. They didn't specify the exact amount. Officials say they discovering an alleged structuring scheme attempting to violate federal currency reporting requirements. They didn't elaborate. The agents were charged with money laundering and turned over to Miami-Dade Police. American Airlines said in statement that it's cooperating with law enforcement and taking the 'matter seriously.' International travelers arriving or departing with more than $10,000 are required to report all currency.