Disney proposes $15 per hour contract that cuts protections: After months of negotiating, Walt Disney World finally offered Orlando theme park workers a contract that would get them to a $15 hourly wage, but it comes at the cost of key union protections and benefits. Disney's proposal would raise the current minimum wage ($10 per hour) about a dollar every year until reaching $15 per hour by the fall of 2021. In exchange, though, workers would have to concede benefits regarding overtime, holiday pay, grievance procedures and scheduling, and the rights of shop stewards – people elected by union workers to represent them in front of management – would be reduced. Union leaders say they're looking at the contract with caution and will continue negotiating with Disney.
FEMA extends housing program for Puerto Rican evacuees: The federal agency has granted an extension to a temporary housing program for Puerto Rican evacuees until June 30. FEMA granted Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's request for an "unconditional extension" of the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, which provides short-term lodging assistance in the form of hotel vouchers. Thousands of families displaced from the island after Hurricane Maria have evacuated to Florida. Rosselló made the request to FEMA two days before an April deadline for the program, which would have cut off aid to about 600 families in Florida. FEMA also says it will offer transportation back to Puerto Rico for families who want to return.
DeSantis, Putnam tout conservative positions in Orlando: Republican gubernatorial candidates Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis sang the same misogynistic, transphobic tune at an Orlando forum organized by the conservative advocacy group Florida Family Policy Council. Both candidates opposed abortion, with Putnam going so far as to tell the crowd he would support a "heartbeat bill." The Agriculture Commissioner and U.S. Representative also agreed on supporting efforts to mandate that people use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate. "As a father, I am not going to sign a bill that lets men into my daughters' restrooms," Putnam said. DeSantis added that he opposes efforts to have "unmarked" bathrooms because "that's a totally inappropriate use of government to do that."
Orange County Library System receives national medal: OCLS is one of 10 recipients around the county to get the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The award is given to organizations that make notable contributions to their communities. At OCLS, that includes the Melrose Center, STEM education for children, ESOL training, the Career Online High School program, and innovative cultural programming and workshops. "This award is an acknowledgment of the fact that our libraries provide people with an opportunity to engage in truly meaningful learning experiences that they won't find anywhere else," said OCLS director and CEO Mary Anne Hodel.
Orange County health department offers free HIV prevention drug: The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has started offering the HIV prevention drug Truvada for free as part of a plan by health officials to reduce new infections across the state. When the prevention pill is taken daily as part of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), it can reduce the risk of HIV infection in people by up to 92 percent. Patients requesting PrEP in Orange County must first be evaluated clinically – a process that includes an HIV test, HCV test and a liver function test. Although the prescription for the drug is free, the evaluation does require a fee. Patients will be charged on a sliding scale based on income eligibility. For more information, call the health department's STD Clinic at 407-723-4170 or visit the location at 832 W. Central Blvd.