While you were sleeping, we compiled the biggest stories of the day in one place. Each story has a quick and easy summary, so you're prepared for whatever the day brings. Just click on the links if you want to know more!
1. Controversial Lake Okeechobee legislation passes Florida Senate
After making a few changes, Senators approved Senate Bill 2508 with a vote of 37 to 2, but some some clean water advocates are worried.
Originally the bill had seemingly upended the new water management plan for Lake Okeechobee by the Army Corps of Engineers and drew concerns about increased water discharges down the St. Lucie River.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Ben Albritton, R-Bartow, said before Thursday's vote that the bill was being "misunderstood" and he assured there would be funding for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir project, designed to control water levels in the lake.
Eve Samples, the executive director of Friends of the Everglades, said her organization is concerned about a provision that would give public utilities the authority to expedite wetland dredge and fill projects and write 2007 rules on low water management into state law.
2. Florida Senate passes budget that wouldn't punish schools
The Florida Senate unanimously passed a nearly $109 billion spending plan Thursday with virtually no debate the day after the House passed a $105 billion plan after two hours of contentious debate.
The two sides now have until March 8 to agree on a budget to send to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis if they want to finish the annual 60-day session on time.
One big difference between the spending proposals is that the House wants to divert $200 million from 12 school districts that imposed mask mandates despite an order by the governor not to.
The Senate budget wouldn’t punish the districts.
3. Judge rules Trump, children must testify in New York investigation
State Judge Arthur Engoron ruled former President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. must answer questions under oath in a New York investigation into their business practices.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating the Trump Organization since 2019. In January, James wrote in a court filing that her office has evidence that the Trump Organization routinely misrepresented the value of its properties and golf clubs in financial statements.
Earlier this month, an accounting firm that prepared Trump's financial statements broke ties with the former president, saying that the documents "should no longer be relied upon."
4. Millions of cell phones, home alarms to be cut off when 3G service ends
3G cell phone service is going away sooner than many realize. It's all part of an FCC plan to free up spectrum for 5G.
AT&T will begin shutting down 3G service on Feb. 22. Verizon and T-Mobile will also end their 3G service later this year.
The Associated Press warns that 1.5 million families still have 3G home alarms, which will need to be upgraded.
5. Senate sends Biden bill averting federal shutdown
The Senate has sent President Joe Biden a bill averting a weekend government shutdown.
The measure will keep agencies afloat through March 11. Leaders hope that will give bipartisan bargainers enough time to finally reach a deal financing federal agencies until fall.
Without the current legislation, federal spending authority would have expired Saturday.
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On This Day In History
On February 18, 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous—and famously controversial—novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
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