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. Publix shares tips as another made dash for vaccine appointments ensues
Publix representatives say about 38,000 appointments were up for grabs across the state this morning, but all of our local appointments were booked within the hour.
As many seniors have expressed their frustration about Publix's COVID-19 vaccine registration process, WPTV asked a Publix representative on the best practices to get an appointment.
Some of their tips include updating your browser, not refreshing your page and knowing you can book appointments for four people. You can find the full list of tips here.
2. What's happening with GameStop? Hedge fund managers got beat at their own game:
For once, Main Street is beating Wall Street. GameStop has been a red-hot target for WallStreetBets on Reddit, where an army of at-home retail investors banded together in pushing shares higher and squeezing out short-selling hedge funds.
A short-squeeze happens when an investor who thinks a stock will fall borrows the shares and sells them, with the hopes of buying them back at a lower price and pocketing the difference before paying back the loan. If the price doesn't go down, they lose money and hedge funds have lost billions because of the Reddit users.
Eventually, the app they used for trading — Robinhood — opted to freeze transactions on certain stocks. The backlash was swift, and hours after implementing the restrictions, Robinhood said it would resume limited buys on those securities starting Friday. GameStop shares surged in premarket trading Friday, gaining 100% as of 4 a.m. ET.
3. Florida's anti-riot bill moves forward, but will it help or hurt the First Amendment:
House Bill 1 is drawing strong opinions from lawmakers and Florida residents as it aims to increase penalties on the outliers in peaceful protests who escalate to rioting and committing crimes.
Among some key points of the bill, it would:
- Enhance penalties for crimes committed during violent protests
- Create a new "mob intimidation crime" if three or more people act to incite, threaten or carry out violence
- Six-month mandatory minimum sentence for battery against a law enforcement officer
- Ban blocking roadways
Lawmakers against the bill worry people protesting peacefully near people who turn violent could mistakenly be punished.Some community members came out to support the bill, but dozens passionately opposed the law, many saying they feel it will be discriminatory toward communities of color.
4. Gov. Ron DeSantis' budget has big promises; Democrats call it 'fictitious'
Florida's governor wants to spend about $4.3 billion more next fiscal year. That's despite the ongoing pandemic, which brought historic job losses, business closures and weakened tourism.
The $96.6 billion "Florida Leads" proposal is possible after smart use of CARES dollars and better-than-expected revenue, the Republican said. It calls for no new taxes, mass layoffs, major cuts or dipping into state reserves.
Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, considered the governor's budget a "fictitious document" saying DeSantis is painting too rosy a picture and that Floridians will have to pay a price to meet those expectations.
5. Palm Beach considers options as Trump remains at Mar-a-Lago
The Town of Palm Beach, Florida, is considering its legal options as former President Donald Trump is still living at his Mar-a-Lago club, a possible violation of a 1993 agreement.
Trump and the town agreed nearly 30 years ago when he turned the estate into a club that he would not live there more than seven days consecutively or more than 21 days a year.
Back in December, a lawyer for the DeMoss family, who owns property next door to the resort, sent a letter to the town in regards to the agreement, according to The New York Times and The Seattle Times.
Temps down 15-25 degrees compared to yesterday morning:
Get your complete hour-by-hour forecast here.
On This Day In History
On January 29, 1977 Roots, a groundbreaking television program, premiered. The eight-episode miniseries was broadcast over eight consecutive nights. It followed a family from its origins in West Africa through generations of slavery and the end of the Civil War. Roots one of the most-watched television events in American history and a major moment in mainstream American culture's reckoning with the legacy of slavery.
Remember, you can join Mike Trim and Ashleigh Walters every weekday on WPTV NewsChannel 5 beginning at 4:30 a.m. And you can always watch the latest news from WPTV anytime on your favorite streaming device. Just search for "WPTV."