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Fact-checking DeSantis’ State of the State; Canadian drug imports; condo reform; Florida GOP’s new leadership

Gov. Ron DeSantis gives his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives in Tallahassee on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.
Gary McCullough
/
AP
Gov. Ron DeSantis gives his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives in Tallahassee on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.

Fact-checking DeSantis’ State of the State 

State of the State speeches are places for governors to lay out their priorities and proclaim their accomplishments. During his address Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis made several claims about his policy record. We check in with our news partner PolitiFact to test some of his claims.

Guest:

  • Katie Sanders, editor-in-chief of PolitiFact at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. 

Canadian drug imports 

Florida will be the first state to buy prescription drugs in a foreign country and import the medicine here. The Food and Drug Administration OK'd the plan for the state to buy certain medications in Canada, potentially saving millions of dollars. But few Floridians will be able to get the cheaper drugs, at least at first.

We spoke with the former secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, who oversaw the department during the program’s inception.

Guest:

  • Mary Mayhew, president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. 

Condo reform 

Rising insurance premiums, higher maintenance fees and sticker-shock special assessments. That may be what it's like living in a Florida condo after the horrific partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South that killed dozens of people. The tragedy brought new pressure on condo buildings, boards and owners.

We talk about condo reform efforts in the Florida Legislature with the lawmaker whose district includes Surfside.

Guest:

  • Sen. Jason Pizzo, Democrat from Hollywood. 

GOP’s new leadership  

The Florida Republican Party has a new leader after Christian Ziegler was removed as party chairman. Ziegler is under criminal investigation for sexual assault. What’s ahead as the party tries to put a sex scandal behind it? We hear from the new state GOP chairman.

Guest:

  • Evan Power, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. 

Weekly news brief

It was a stormy welcome to the new year. Winter storms brought high winds, rain and tornadoes to the Panhandle and South Florida. We check in with a Florida Public Radio Emergency Network meteorologist for a better understanding of the turbulent winter weather.

In education news, the state's second-largest school district decided against having its own police force. Meanwhile, the third-largest district in the state — Hillsborough — has bought hundreds of new college entrance exams. The Classic Learning Tests are known as the CLT, and they come with some controversy, as WUSF’s Nancy Guan reports.

There was a hearing this week in federal court in Pensacola from a lawsuit over restricting access to certain books in public schools. The free expression advocacy group PEN America and others sued Escambia County Public Schools and the School Board. They argue that restricting access to the books violates the First Amendment and equal protection rights. The school district asked for the suit to be thrown out, but on Wednesday, a federal judge threw out the district’s efforts to stop the lawsuit. WLRN’s education reporter spoke with the director of PEN America’s Florida office about the hearing.

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