5 Things to Know in Florida for Jan. 2

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

JUDGE SAYS FLORIDA’S COUNTY CLERKS HAVE LEGAL DUTY TO ISSUE MARRIAGE LICENSES TO SAME-SEX COUPLES — BUT HE STOPS SHORT OF ORDERING THEM TO DO SO

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a ruling Thursday in Tallahassee federal court responding to requests to clarify his previous order that Florida’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. He stayed that order, but the stay is scheduled to expire at the end of the day Monday. Hinkle said that clerks who don’t start issuing the licenses when the stay expires could face future lawsuits or other legal consequences. He said while his order doesn’t require a clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, “the Constitution requires the clerk to issue such licenses.”

FLORIDA MAN CHARGED WITH FIRST-DEGREE MURDER AFTER MOTHER FOUND DECAPITATED OUTSIDE THEIR HOME ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Mario Gomez called 911 on Wednesday evening and told dispatchers that his brother Christian had killed their mother and cut off her head. Deputies found Maria Suarez-Cassagne’s body outside the Oldsmar home, near some garbage cans. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Thursday that Gomez had planned his mother’s murder for two days because he upset with her for asking him to move boxes around the house, and he was jealous of the attention she paid to his brother.

FLORIDA KEYS MOSQUITO CONTROL DISTRICT PLANS TO USE TWO DRONES TO SEARCH FOR STANDING WATER IN REMOTE SPOTS

The Key West Citizen reports that it’s the first time the Federal Aviation Administration has authorized drones for mosquito control in the U.S. The district’s executive director, Michael Doyle, says the drones only will fly between Sugarloaf and Key Largo to avoid coming with 5 miles of the airports in Key West and Miami.

TAMPA BAY-AREA TODDLER NEEDS RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERIES AFTER BEING MAULED BY FAMILY’S DOG

Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Carrie Horstman says the one-and-a-half year old girl was inside her Lakeland home Tuesday night when she was bitten on her face by the family’s 10-year-old pit bull mix. Doctors expect Karissa Hooks to make a full recovery. The sheriff’s office has euthanized the dog.

MIAMI MOM ACCUSED OF BEATING SON, KILLING PUPPY

Police say a Miami mother beat her son with a rope and killed his puppy by repeatedly slamming it on the floor. The Miami Herald reports 26-year-old Charlotte Wonjah remains in jail after a New Year’s Day court appearance on child abuse and cruelty to animals charges.

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