It’s Wednesday, January 12th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Health care CEO Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick was elected to fill the seat of late Democratic Florida U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings on Tuesday, boosting the Democrats’ slim majority in the House.
Cherfilus-McCormick defeated Republican Jason Mariner in the 20th Congressional District, which is firmly Democratic. Hastings was the longest-serving member of the Florida delegation before he died in April of pancreatic cancer. Democrats outnumber Republicans by a nearly 5-1 ratio in the district, which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties. Less than 9% of voters cast mail-in and in-person early voting ballots, with Democrats casting six times as many votes as Republicans.
No. 2 - Most abortions would be banned in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy under bills filed Tuesday by Republicans on the first day of the state's annual legislative session.
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The measures by Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Erin Grall are similar to a Mississippi law currently under challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court. It does not go as far, however, as a Texas law banning abortion after six weeks of pregnancy with enforcement provisions allowing citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who assists in an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Florida legislation drew a quick endorsement from House Speaker Chris Sprowls, who said in a statement that House Republicans are “steadfast in our commitment to Florida’s children, both born and unborn.”
No. 3 - Gov. Ron DeSantis devoted a sizable portion of his State of the State speech Tuesday to education policy and education-related rhetoric.
He spoke about raising teacher salaries, investing more in vocational programs, and giving parents more power over their children's education. His speech was watched with interest by educators around the state, including Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “There is quite a bit of rhetoric, incendiary rhetoric in addition to a lot of gaslighting over issues,” he said. To find out what he meant and what he agrees with the Governor about, click here for a report from NBC 6’s Ari Odzer.
No. 4 - Florida reported more than 47,000 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, as hospitalizations in the state continued to climb past 11,000.
The 47,709 new cases pushed the state's total to 4,806,782 since the pandemic began, according to the new figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the rise in cases, Monday's total is actually below the previous Monday's total of 59,346. Hospitalizations in the state continued to rise Monday, with 11,078 inpatient beds in use for COVID-19, accounting for about 19.96% of the state's total.
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No. 5 - Miami Beach’s Historic Preservation Board asked the city on Tuesday to hire an independent structural engineer to take a look at the Deauville Beach Resort in the hopes that something can be done to prevent a complete demolition.
The board’s request was in response to the city manager saying a demolition order would be issued once the city verified a structural report submitted by the owners that found the place was beyond repair. The finding came as no surprise to city leaders and preservationists, who claim the owners cared more about selling the hotel than preserving it. Click here for more in a report from NBC 6 anchor Carlos Suarez.
No. 6 - A rare Florida mink was caught on camera Monday darting across a dirt road with a giant snake clamped between its jaws.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted video of the extraordinary sight on Facebook, noting that minks are rarely seen in the Sunshine State due to their elusive nature. The video was captured by Hannah Cardenas as she and her daughter were taking a nature hike in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, according to the FWC. The agency is hoping that pictures and videos of the mammals will help them study their habits, as well as their distribution and abundance in the state.