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Texting while driving is illegal in Florida, Virgin Trains plays coy about possibility of a Disney stop, and other news you may have missed last week



Rep. Anna Eskamani calls on state attorney to drop case of woman arrested for turning in husband's guns to police: State Rep. Anna Eskamani is calling on State Attorney Brian Haas to drop the case against Polk County resident Courtney Irby, who's facing felony burglary charges after she turned in her allegedly abusive husband's firearms to police. The two were in the process of a divorce, records show, and Irby had applied for a temporary injunction against her estranged husband after he was arrested for trying to run her over with a car. Despite the fact that a judge ordered Joseph Irby to surrender his guns and he had not complied with the order, Lakeland Police officers told Courtney Irby she had "committed an armed burglary."

Texting while driving is officially illegal in Florida as of July 1, but it's a pretty toothless law: The law makes texting and driving a primary offense, but surprisingly, there are a lot of loopholes to get drivers out of tickets. For instance, drivers may use their phones at stoplights or stop signs, and it's legal to use mapping apps. So the officer must have proof that the driver was illegally texting and driving, which means checking outgoing and incoming texts. But if the driver refuses to hand over their phone to the officer, the driver then has the right to go.

More than 18,000 acres of the Florida Everglades burned in not quite 48 hours: For nearly two days last week, roughly 18,500 acres of the Everglades blazed after lightning ignited a fire around 6 p.m. Sunday, officials say. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, large wildfires in the U.S. on average burn more than twice the area than they did in 1970 due to the ongoing effects of our climate crisis. Since 2000, 11 forest fires occurred across the U.S. that caused at least $1 billion in damages apiece.

Virgin Trains USA stays silent on possible Disney and SunRail connections in Orlando: Virgin Trains USA broke ground last week on 170 miles of new track connecting West Palm Beach to the new South Terminal C at Orlando International Airport. Missing from the ceremonious event, however, was any mention of Disney, or of a possible connection to SunRail and other forms of transportation. Virgin previously suggested the possibility of stops at Disney, but since then, Virgin representatives have stayed mum.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer highlights tech innovation, sustainability efforts during 2019 State of the City address: In his speech, Mayor Buddy Dyer stressed the city's progress in becoming "America's premier future-ready city," referring to the use of 5G technology to enable initiatives such as self-driving buses in Lake Nona, plans to add 100 electric vehicle charging stations, and the goal to convert the city's fleet of cars and buses to electric by 2020. Dyer also noted the city's pledge to use 100 percent renewable energy for city buildings by 2030 and 100 percent renewable energy citywide by 2050.


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