Nelson calls for a federal probe into SunPass contractor Conduent:
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Conduent State & Local Solutions, the troubled vendor responsible for the upgrade to the SunPass system that has caused a backlog of 170 million unprocessed transactions. In a letter sent to FTC chairman Joseph Simons, Nelson and Michigan Sen. Gary Peters accused Conduent of violating federal laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive trade practices. "Conduent's pattern of mismanaging cashless toll systems is deeply troubling and warrants further scrutiny," the letter said. "If drivers are being hurt financially, the FTC should hold the company accountable and prevent it from doing further harm." Florida transportation officials have said they will halt payments to Conduent for the $287 million upgrade.
Paulson resigns from Republican post following charity scandal:
Orange County Republican State Committeeman Paul Paulson resigned from his post after a federal lawsuit accused the former Orlando mayoral candidate of running his nonprofit as a "sham charity." Help the Vets Inc. received $11 million between 2014 and 2016 from donors to aid wounded and disabled military veterans, but six states alleged the contributions almost entirely benefited Paulson and the for-profit fundraisers he hired. Paulson agreed to pay $1.75 million to legitimate veterans charities as part of a settlement agreement before the lawsuit was filed. Paulson resigned after GOP state chair Blaise Ingoglia and other Orange County Republicans called on him to step down.
Disney will ban plastic straws across all locations worldwide:
Disney plans to get rid of single-use plastic straws and stirrers on all company properties by the middle of 2019. The initiative will eliminate more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually. Disney also says it's planning to reduce its use of plastic shopping bags and eliminate polystyrene cups. "These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals," said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products, in a statement.
Judge strikes down Florida's early voting ban on college campuses:
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker struck down as unconstitutional a ban imposed by Gov. Rick Scott's administration on early voting on college and university campuses. In his ruling, Walker called the prohibition "discriminatory" and said the state's ban has "the effect of creating a secondary class of voters who defendant [the state] prohibits from even seeking early voting sites in dense, centralized locations where they work, study, and, in many cases, live. This effect alone is constitutionally untenable." The lawsuit was filed by six students from the University of Florida and Florida State University; the League of Women Voters of Florida; and the Adam Goodman Foundation.
SunRail opens stations in south Orlando, Kissimmee, Poinciana:
Four new SunRail stations opened Monday, adding 17.2 more miles to the existing track that currently goes all the way up to DeBary. The new stations include: Meadow Woods at South Orange Avenue and Fairway Woods; Tupperware Station at Osceola Parkway and Michigan Avenue; Kissimmee/Amtrak at Broadway Street and Monument Avenue; and Poinciana at Orange Blossom Trail and Poinciana Boulevard. A standard one-way fare is $2, plus an additional $1 for each county line crossed.