ICYMI: FBI releases Pulse ballistics report, Florida lawmakers want to legalize weed, plus other news 

Brightline-Virgin requests another $950 million in bonds for Orlando-West Palm Beach expansion: Brightline has asked to issue another $950 million in tax-exempt bonds. But a lobbyist for Indian River County, which continues to file legal challenges against the rail, also briefly outlined objections of the Treasure Coast community where the trains will run without a stop on existing freight lines. The county's lawsuit challenges having to pay for maintenance upgrades to crossings on the Florida East Coast Railway corridor that will be used by Brightline. The county argues that Brightline is not a party to its maintenance agreement with the railway.

FBI releases ballistics report on Pulse nightclub shooting: The report shows the FBI was unable to determine the source of some bullets found in victims. These fragments lacked identifiable marks, neither matching the gunman's firearms nor law enforcement's. Due to "a lack of sufficient corresponding microscopic marks of value," no conclusion could be reached as to whether several of the more than 900 items included in the evidence were "fired from the same barrel(s) or the barrel of the Item 1 pistol," the report says. It lists Item 1 as a "Glock pistol," one of the mass shooter's weapons. Included in the evidence were roughly 80 bullets and metal fragments found in 32 victims.

UCF postpones discussion on $600K settlement for former President Dale Whittaker: Amid a Florida House investigation into UCF's misuse of public funds, the university's Board of Trustees has postponed a meeting on a proposed $600,000 settlement with former President Dale Whittaker. The committee previously released deposition transcripts from current and former university officials, including Whittaker, that pertain to the ongoing investigation into the university's misuse of $38 million in operational funds for the construction of Trevor Colbourn Hall. Testimony shows that Whittaker was aware of the use of funds. He denies any violations.

Florida lawmakers file bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over: Filed by state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Michael Grieco, the proposal allows people 21 years old and above to "use, possess and transport" up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and have marijuana accessories. It would also allow people to possess, grow and cultivate up to six plants, including seedlings. The representatives say the measure will create a path toward legalization and a structure for its sale and taxation.

Orlando lawmakers push for rent controls to combat affordable housing crisis: Filed by state Rep. Anna Eskamani and state Sen. Victor Torres, the measure would repeal Florida's pre-emption on rent control, which caps the amount a property owner can charge for rent or limits increases at a rate higher than a predetermined percentage. Florida law allows municipalities to consider rent control if there's a housing emergency that's a "serious menace to the general public." However, state law allows the rent control to exist for just a year – it can't be extended or renewed. The bill would remove the section that requires rent controls to expire after a year.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation