Gov. Ron DeSantis signs controversial 'Billionaire Boulevard' toll roads legislation: Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that requires the state to build two new toll roads and extend a third toll road through parts of Florida: an extension of the Suncoast Parkway from the Tampa Bay area north of the Georgia border; an extension of the Florida Turnpike west to connect with the Suncoast Parkway; and the construction of a toll road that will stretch from Polk County to Collier County. Progress Florida has dubbed the project the "Billionaire Boulevard," describing it as "one of the biggest land grabs in decades, threatening large swaths of natural Florida in the process."
It's now officially against Florida law to text while driving: Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that makes using your phone while driving in Florida a primary offense. The law also requires school zones and active work zones to be hands-free areas. However, it prohibits law enforcement from accessing or confiscating wireless devices without first obtaining a warrant. Under current Florida law, motorists can only be issued a citation for texting or otherwise using their phones while driving if they're pulled over for other reasons. The new law goes into effect July 1.
Florida lawmakers and the FBI are still keeping their lips sealed on which counties the Russians hacked: Members of Florida's congressional delegation last week backed Gov. Ron DeSantis' statement that election records in two unidentified counties were hacked by Russians during the 2016 campaign. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who was governor from 2011 to early this year, said in a statement that he is unable to reveal the counties. The inability to identify the counties has upset lawmakers from both parties. The FBI has maintained there is no evidence that votes or voter information were altered.
Orlando police officer involved in Colonial Plaza shooting arrested on manslaughter charge: Officer Anthony Wongshue of the Orlando Police Department was arrested last week on manslaughter charges stemming from a fatal shooting at the Colonial Plaza on May 7, 2018. According to investigators, Wongshue and another officer approached a minivan after two women were accused of shoplifting. Cell phone footage obtained by WKMG shows one officer firing into the vehicle's driver's side, as the other officer fires at its rear window. Hours later the driver, Juan Silva, was found with multiple gunshot wounds and pronounced dead.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings commits to better public transit in first mayoral address: Mayor Jerry Demings committed to raising the minimum wage for county employees to $15 by 2021 and announced a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund better public transportation. Demings' speech highlighted ramping up funding for public transportation and raising county employees' minimum hourly pay to $15 by 2021 and focused heavily on affordable housing, the region's surge in public-private partnerships and the pressing need to bolster public transportation.
Great-grandmother arrested for carrying CBD oil at Disney World plans to sue: Attorneys for a great-grandmother with arthritis who was arrested for carrying CBD oil at Disney World last month say she intends to file a lawsuit. Hester Jordan Burkhalter was arrested in April when an Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy found the cannabis-based product in her purse. The arrest landed her a felony charge and a stay in jail, despite the note from her doctor in her purse during the arrest. The charges were later dropped.