House lawmakers approve crackdown on 'sanctuary cities' in Florida: The Republican-dominated House approved a measure banning "sanctuary cities" for undocumented immigrants in Florida, despite no such cities existing in the state. Sponsored by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Lake County, the bill requires local and state agencies to comply with federal immigration authorities and prohibits sanctuary policies. ("Sanctuary policies" mean that local police will not question people about their immigration status nor detain them beyond their release date if they've broken local law.) Jurisdictions that don't comply will get hit with a $5,000 per day fine and no state grant funding for five years – including universities and colleges – and elected officials who violate the law can be suspended and removed from office. The ACLU of Florida says the bill poses a "grave threat" to public safety and civil rights.
The investigation into OPD's use of force on Markeith Loyd has a new prosecutor: Gov. Rick Scott has assigned State Attorney Phil Archer to oversee the use of force investigation involving officers with the Orlando Police Department and suspected cop killer Markeith Loyd. The decision to do so is a result of state attorneys Aramis Ayala and Brad King's uncertainty about who had jurisdiction of the investigation. Loyd was arrested last January for allegedly killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and OPD Lt. Debra Clayton.
A new bill would ban all orca breeding and shows in Florida: Introduced by Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, the Florida Orca Protection Act would not only ban orca breeding programs, it would also make it illegal to keep killer whales in captivity for entertainment purposes. If passed, the bill would go into effect July 1. Anyone who violates the law could be subject to a $100,000 fine per violation, per day.
Florida officials are now seriously considering getting rid of monkeys: Wildlife officials are now considering removing the growing populations of rhesus macaques at Silver Springs State Park, near Ocala, after a study from the Centers for Disease Control says the herpes-excreting monkeys are a threat to humans. The study finds that while most of the monkeys at the park carry herpes B, which is common for the species, some also have the virus in their saliva and other bodily fluids. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says they support the removal of the invasive monkeys, but has not said how exactly this would be accomplished.
Eco-warrior Rick Scott saves Florida from Trump's offshore drilling plot: U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced last week that Florida is "off the table" for President Donald Trump's new offshore oil drilling plan in protected parts of the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico after a deal was struck with Gov. Rick Scott, following virtually every politician in Florida's condemnation of the move. The deal was apparently not offered to other coastal states.