Associated Press

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Scott Keeler/Tampa Bay Times via AP

The Florida Supreme Court is ordering new sentencing hearings for four inmates currently on the state's death row.

The high court on Thursday threw out the sentences because a jury did not unanimously recommend the death penalty. Last year the court ruled death sentences have to be unanimous, which the court put in place in response to U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

 

The state court said anyone sentenced after a 2002 ruling could be eligible for a new sentence.

AP

Disney has confirmed that an animatronic version of President Donald Trump will have a speaking role at its Hall of Presidents attraction at Walt Disney World in Florida.

 

The company is pushing back against reports that Trump’s figure wouldn’t have a speaking part in the show, which features figures of all U.S. presidents. 

Disney Parks editorial content director Thomas Smith writes in a blog post that Disney is working closely with the White House on Trump’s words and a recording session with the president has been scheduled.

 

BOB SELF / AP VIA MIAMI HERALD

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday immersed himself again into the political fray over health care as he went to Washington, D.C., to ask top Republicans to make key changes to a proposed Senate bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

Scott's move, which included a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence as well as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, came at the same time that Senate leaders postponed a vote amid defections from GOP senators.

Caleb Jones / AP

A mass bleaching of coral reefs worldwide is finally easing after three years, U.S. scientists announced Monday.

About three-quarters of the world's delicate coral reefs were damaged or killed by hot water in what scientists say was the largest coral catastrophe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a global bleaching event in May 2014. It was worse than previous global bleaching events in 1998 and 2010.

Ladyrene Perez / Cubadebate via AP

HAVANA — Cuba is starting an electoral process that is expected to end with President Raul Castro stepping down in February.

The Council of State says in Wednesday's state media that voting for municipal assemblies will take place on Oct. 22. It doesn't set the date of voting for the country's parliament, which selects the Council of State and the president. Elections are held every five years.

Castro has said he'll step down as president in February, although he is expected to remain head of the ruling Communist Party.

AP

ORLANDO, Fla. — Ever since the massacre at a gay nightclub a year ago, Demetrice Naulings positions himself in bed when he goes to sleep so he has a view of his apartment's front door in case anybody tries to get in.

Darkness often takes him back to that moment when gunshots shattered a night of drinking and dancing during "Latin night" at the Pulse club in Orlando.

"That is a flashback that gets me every time," Naulings said recently.

AP

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is no longer interested in buying the Miami Marlins and has ended his pursuit of the team, a person close to the negotiations said Tuesday.

The person confirmed Bush's decision to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Marlins have not commented on the status of sales talks. Bush led a group that included former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who may still explore a bid with other investors.

The person confirming Bush's decision didn't give a reason for it.

WQCS

Four counties along Florida's Treasure Coast make up a cluster with high rates of both deaths from liver disease and algae blooms.

TCPalm reported Sunday that the cluster in Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties is the only one of its kind in the state.

Nationwide, there are 65 such clusters, according to researchers at Ohio State University.

Florida Department of Corrections

The Supreme Court has left in place a lower court ruling that said imposing a death sentence in Florida requires a unanimous jury.

The justices on Monday turned away an appeal from Florida officials seeking to overturn the ruling last year from the state’s highest court.

The Florida Supreme Court had struck down a newly enacted law allowing a defendant to be sentenced to death as long as 10 out of 12 jurors recommend it. That ruling concluded that Timothy Lee Hurst — convicted of a 1998 murder at a Pensacola Popeye’s restaurant— deserves a new sentencing hearing.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN News

Local officials are raising concerns about drug use at hurricane shelters, saying they aren't equipped to care for addicts, unaccompanied minors and others with other medical needs.

 

Nearly 16,000 people in nine counties from Indian River to Miami-Dade evacuated to shelters during Hurricane Matthew. Six evacuees seeking refuge at a Delray Beach high school during Hurricane Matthew overdosed on drugs as the dangerous storm approached South Florida. Bags brought to shelters by evacuees are typically not searched.

WMFE

A Florida medical marijuana dispensary says it is not violating state law by selling cannabis that could potentially be broken down and made into pot that can be smoked.

AP

Less than a day after skirmishes broke out in Spirit Airlines' Fort Lauderdale terminal because of canceled flights, a federal judge has sided with the carrier and ordered its unionized pilots to stop boycotting flights as part of a labor action.

District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas issued the order Tuesday, saying Spirit likely would win its lawsuit charging that the Airline Pilots Association was engaged in work slowdowns that violated federal law. The union has denied the accusation.

AP

Florida legislators have approved $83 billion in spending for the coming fiscal year and have officially ended their annual session.

The Senate on Monday voted 34-4 while the House's vote was 98-14. The budget heads to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.

The session was supposed to end last week, but legislative leaders didn't reach an agreement on a new budget in time. State law requires the budget to be finished 72 hours before a final vote.

Associated Press

Florida legislators plan to take more than $1 million and 21 jobs away from a state prosecutor who announced she won't seek the death penalty any more.

Top Republicans announced the plan on Wednesday, the same day an association of Florida prosecutors said that Gov. Rick Scott can legally take away almost two dozen cases from State Attorney Aramis Ayala in Orlando for refusing to seek the death penalty.

Ayala has said previously that the planned $1.3 million cut and loss of jobs could severely impact her office's ability to prosecute crimes.

WMFE

Dozens of prosecutors and judges from around the nation have filed a legal brief in support of a Florida prosecutor who refuses to seek the death penalty.

The brief filed Friday with the Florida Supreme Court backs State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s right to decide not to seek capital punishment in cases in her district covering the Orlando area.

After Ayala recently announced her decision, Florida Gov. Rick Scott removed her from about two dozen death-penalty cases.

Ayala is challenging Scott’s authority to do that before the Florida Supreme Court.

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