A week in news
Here's a look at the week in news:
Homelessness in Pensacola
Under the pressure of the upcoming deadline to clear out the homeless camp under Pensacola’s I-110, the annual Point-In-Time count of homeless people in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties this week. So far, the 2022 PIT count shows about 400 unsheltered with the official tally, including the sheltered population, to be finalized in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, about 100 individuals are looking for a new home with the I-110 campsite closing Jan. 31. At his weekly press conference, Mayor Grover Robinson guaranteed shelter for those who will be displaced.
Another challenger for Matt Gaetz
Democrat Peggy Schiller of Santa Rosa Beach has entered the race to unseat Matt Gaetz. She'll face Rebekah Jones, the former state statistician, who was removed from that job after going against Gov. Ron DeSantis over-reporting COVID numbers in the primary.
In state news...
Surgeon General nominee Joseph Ladapo
After a walkout by Democratic members, a Senate committee Wednesday signed off on the confirmation of state Surgeon General nominee Joseph Ladapo. The candidate has been a controversial figure for his views on handling the pandemic, including rejecting vaccination and mask requirements.
Florida Republicans seek to limit diversity training
House Bill 7 prevents businesses and schools from requiring employees to take part in mandatory training that could lead a person to feel badly about themselves. This includes instruction on issues of race and gender. Democrats and organizations like the ACLU, NAACP and others see the bill as part of a broader Republican effort to stifle debate and conversations around race. Read more from WFSU here.
What's ahead in legislative session
This month, the WUWF newsroom has been talking to Northwest Florida representatives about the 2022 legislative session. The last of the series features a conversation with Rep. Patt Maney of Okaloosa County. Make sure to listen to the entire series.
Around the nation and world
Justice Stephen Breyer
The moderately liberal Justice Breyer announced his retirement this week. President Biden said his nominee for the court will be a Black woman — a promise he made on the campaign trail.
Just as the omicron surge starts to recede in parts of the U.S., scientists have their eye on another coronavirus variant, called omicron BA.2, spreading rapidly in parts of Asia and Europe. Scientists have detected cases of it in several U.S. states, including California, Texas and Washington.