Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about in Florida today.
Florida Legislature passes $78.7 billion budget in overtime
The Florida Legislature passed a $78 billion spending plan during a special session called to solve a budget crisis and avoid a looming government shutdown. The House voted 96-17 just after 6 p.m. Friday to send the plan to Gov. Rick Scott, who has to sign it before June 30 in order to avoid a shutdown of all but the most essential state services. The Senate approved the plan unanimously about a half hour earlier.
Man killed by apparent lightning strike
Authorities say an elderly man is dead after being struck by lightning in a Tampa Bay area neighborhood. Largo police say 81-year-old Jay Freres was walking along a sidewalk Friday morning when a storm came up. Fire officials say emergency responders at a nearby station heard the thunder and saw the lightning. They reported making it to the scene within three minutes. Freres was pronounced dead at the scene.
Father of dead South Florida boy arrested on DUI charge
The father of a 3-year-old boy who authorities say was killed at the hands of his stepmother has been arrested after crashing his car into a security gate. Police say 24-year-old Nelson Osceola drove through a security gate on the Seminole Tribe of Florida reservation about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. He faces numerous charges, including driving under the influence, leaving the scene of a crash and fleeing and eluding an officer. Osceola was out on bond for a child neglect charge in the death of his son when he was arrested. Ahizya Osceola was found dead in his home hour after being reported missing on March 19. Osceola’s wife, Analiz, is behind bars on charges of manslaughter.
Ohio fugitive, wife arrested in Kansas, wanted for questioning in South Florida death
Authorities say an Ohio couple possibly linked to a suspicious Florida death has been arrested at a motel in Kansas. Craig Beam, chief deputy of the U.S. Marshal’s Kansas district, says Michael Douglas Evans and his wife, Kristy, were arrested Thursday evening at a Motel 6 in Hays. The woman’s 7-year-old daughter was with them and has been placed in protective custody. Michael Evans was wanted in Ohio for failure to appear in court on felony charges. The couple also is wanted for questioning in the death of 46-year-old Joseph Moniz at a Miami hotel in early June.
Florida jobless rate ticked up slightly in May
Florida’s jobless rate is rising slightly. The state’s unemployment rate ticked up to 5.7 percent in May. That’s a slight rise from the previous month. Despite the higher rate Florida added 17,100 jobs last month according to figures released Friday by the Department of Economic Opportunity. The state’s jobless rate remains higher than the national rate of 5.5 percent. There are approximately 545,000 unemployed Floridians. Gov. Rick Scott announced the new unemployment rate at a central Florida imaging technology company. Scott has made job creation the main focus during his time in office.