Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:
Synagogue Challenges Florida Abortion Law Over Religion
A new Florida law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks with some exceptions violates religious freedom rights of Jews in addition to the state constitution's privacy protections, a synagogue claims in a lawsuit.
The lawsuit filed by the Congregation L'Dor Va-Dor of Boynton Beach contends the law that takes effect July 1 violates Jewish teachings, which state abortion “is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman” and for other reasons.
“As such, the act prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion and this violates their privacy rights and religious freedom,” says the lawsuit, filed Friday in Leon County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit adds that people who “do not share the religious views reflected in the act will suffer" and that it “threatens the Jewish people by imposing the laws of other religions upon Jews.”
The lawsuit is the second challenge to the 15-week abortion ban enacted earlier this year by the Legislature and signed into law by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers also sued earlier this month to block the law from taking effect.
In a previous statement, DeSantis' office said it “is confident that this law will ultimately withstand all legal challenges.”
The two lawsuits are likely to be consolidated into a single case. A hearing on a proposed injunction to block the Florida abortion law is likely in the next two weeks.
Town of Surfside Not Planning to Fly Rainbow Flag During Pride Month
Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger says the LGBTQ pride flag is not scheduled to fly on the town's property in the month of June, which is Pride Month.
In Tuesday’s commission meeting, Danzinger cited a recent Supreme Court opinion in which the court determined the city of Boston couldn’t choose to fly some flags from outside groups while choosing not to fly others, as the flags were not deemed government speech.
The flag flew on Surfside property for the first time in June 2021 after a request made by former commissioner Tina Paul.
“It was an amazing sense of pride, of fulfillment, of joy,” said Paul.
Surfside spokesperson Frank Trigueros says the town has no written flag policy.
“... In the past, it has only allowed for Town or government flags to be flown except for once instance in 2021 based on a Commissioner's request,” said Trigueros. “Since this issue has been raised, the Town will bring this matter before the Commission to reaffirm past practices and policy.”
Former Surfside commissioner Eliana Salzhauer is speaking out against the flag not being raised.
Woman Calls NBC 6 Responds for Airfare Refund Help
After months of fighting for a flight refund, a woman called NBC 6 Responds for help.
Andrea Barton says traveling has become a part of her regular routine. She travels back and forth to New York to help take care of her daughter who is undergoing cancer treatment.
“I spent as much time on a plane as someone can possibly imagine,” Barton says. “Trying to take care of her, go through treatments, surgery,” Barton said.
In December, she says she booked three tickets on the JetBlue website for a holiday trip with her daughter. She says she canceled it within the company’s 24-hour cancellation window.
But the next day, while trying to book another flight with JetBlue, she says an agent told her the trip was still on her account. She says the agency issued a refund at that time, but days after the phone call, she noticed her credit card was charged again for the canceled flights.
“It took me calling my credit union, I don’t know how many times…writing and calling everyone I could to let them know this is not a fair charge,” Barton said
Barton says her calls to the airline didn’t resolve the issue either.
South Florida Has an Abandoned Dog Problem: Animal Shelter Officials
Broward County Animal Care, commonly known as the animal shelter, is full of dogs, and they’re almost all abandoned pets.
“We are over capacity,” said Emily Wood, director of the agency. “Animals left in backyards, animals whose caretakers are overwhelmed and they’ve gotten out of a fence, those sorts of things, we have almost 120 animals in our building, almost all of them are from situations like that.”
Wood says Miami-Dade County is experiencing the same situation at their shelter.
“A lot of people took the dogs during covid and when their lives got back to normal, they got busy, they didn’t have time for them anymore,” said Lori Jacoby, an animal rescue volunteer.
Jacoby says it’s a sign of the times. The dogs at the shelter shouldn’t be there, but when rent goes sky high, sometimes pets get left behind when people move out. That appears to be what happened to one of Jacoby’s rescue dogs in Miami.
“He was left tied to the stairwell, a young couple saw it there, left overnight, so they asked the manager of the apartments, what’s the story with this dog and he said they left, they didn’t want the dog,” Jacoby explained.
Rising Inflation Worrying Some Looking to Retire
Prices are on the rise for everything from food to housing. It is forcing many to tighten their budgets, and some prospective retirees may be reconsidering their plans.
The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show inflation accelerated in May, rising 8.6% from a year ago.
A recent study from Nationwide Retirement Institute shows more than one in 10 people near retirement age have already postponed or are considering postponing plans to retire.
“It could be that people who were looking to retire based on these factors reconsider,” said Mihaela Pintea an associate professor of economics at Florida International University.
More people retired during the COVID-19 pandemic than expected, she said, but rising inflation, a changing stock market, and a hot housing market are creating pause for those looking to retire in the near future.
“Their concern is, if I want to downsize, I have to sell, which is a good thing, but I also have to buy, am I going to be able to buy a house for retirement,” Pintea said.
Innocent Miami Man Who Spent Decades in Prison Unable to Get Compensation
Imagine spending decades behind bars for a crime you didn’t commit. That’s the story of Thomas James, who was recently exonerated after being locked up for 32 years for murder.
Now, as he tries to build his life back, he faces another challenge — getting compensated for the years he lost. And he is not the only one.
James is just one of many who feel the system failed them once again after finally proving their innocence.
It was a celebration on the day he was released back in April. The same office that put him away decades ago admitted they made a mistake. But after the cameras went away, James was left to start over with nothing.
“I’m not angry, I’m hurt," James said. "I’m hurt by it."
James moved in with his mom. Everything he has is donated.
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