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6 Things to Know: Changes Possible to Florida's Unemployment System, Legislative Session Starts Tuesday

It’s Tuesday, March 2nd - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day

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It’s Tuesday, March 2nd – and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.

No. 1 - Authorities are searching for a man who escaped from police custody Monday, a day after Miami officers were caught on video appearing to punch him while arresting him.

The cellphone video, taken by a witness Sunday in Liberty City, appears to show officers punching 25-year-old Leskeil Richards, who was on his knees with his arms behind his back. The video does not show what happened prior to the arrest. On Monday evening, Richards was being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital for injuries he sustained during the arrest when he ran away from the officers on guard, the Miami Police Department said in a news release. He's described as a Black man, 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, police said. His hair is longer on top and he has a tattoo of a crown on the front of his neck. Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

No. 2 - People under the age of 65 with "at-risk" medical conditions are now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Florida, according to an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The executive order states that doctors, registered nurses and pharmacists may vaccinate people "determined by a physician to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19." This means that anyone who has a high-risk medical condition can receive a coveted shot, but not at a state or county-run site. Doctor offices and participating pharmacies like those at Publix, Walmart and Winn Dixie are authorized to inoculate "at risk" patients. On Friday, Broward Health announced it had opened up COVID-19 vaccine appointments for at-risk individuals ages 18 and over. As of Friday afternoon, all appointments had been filled up, according to a Broward Health spokesperson.

No. 3 - Tuesday morning, Florida state lawmakers will gavel-in their annual 60-day legislative session with a plate-full of issues. Democrats, in the minority,  are already expecting an uphill climb.

Items getting attention will include COVID recovery and shoring up the state‘s post-COVID economy. A controversial bill related to public protests and demonstrations would enhance penalties for violent protestors and for people who vandalize or destroy property. Republican lawmakers want to change election laws, addressing mail-in ballot requests and how those ballots are collected. Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking to take on big tech, with the GOP insisting social media is stifling the conservative message.

No. 4 - Surveillance video caught a South Florida man having a heart attack and collapsing inside a hospital and staff quickly coming to his aide. 

Igor Molina did not know what was happening when all of a sudden he collapsed and passed out in the lobby of Broward Health Coral Springs. He said things started to go wrong the morning of Jan. 29. He drove himself to the hospital, which is about four minutes from his home. He didn’t know at the time that he was having a heart attack. Moments after he fell to the ground inside the lobby, nurses surrounded him. To hear how medical personnel reacted quickly to save his life, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Derrick Lewis.

No. 5 - Over the past year, people have told NBC 6 Responds about the challenges they faced applying for benefits using the state’s online unemployment portal - CONNECT. 

A new report released by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity offers options on how to improve the state’s unemployment system. It was uploaded to the DEO’s website last week.  Monday the Executive Director of the DEO Dane Eagle spoke to lawmakers about the findings of the independent report. The report is proposing four different options to improve the user’s experience with the CONNECT portal. To hear those options and how much the potential changes could cost, click here for the story from NBC 6 consumer investigator Sasha Jones.

No. 6 - Weatherwise, Temperatures will be soaring for the next few days in South Florida, but a front arriving later in the week will bring some needed relief. Keep your NBC 6 app handy for push alerts on any severe weather as well as First Alert Doppler 6000.

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