March 12, 2012 at 8:02 a.m.
Updated March 13, 2012 at 10:14 p.m.
Among the stories for Thursday AMs from The Florida AP:
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Legislature begins a special session on Wednesday, just five days after ending its regular session, to revise its plan for redistricting the Senate because the state Supreme Court ruled it failed to comply with a new anti-gerrymandering amendment to the state constitution.
TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Rick Scott and law enforcement officials highlight results of a year-long investigation into prescription drug abuse in Florida.
WEST PALM BEACH - A critic of the unsuccessful Florida bill to ban Shariah law and other foreign legal codes says its failure to pass is evidence of turning public tides on such measures, though a sponsor is promising to try bringing it back. Though the bill easily passed the House, it was never called for a vote by the full Senate before the Legislature closed its session, effectively killing the legislation for the year. "I think we may be seeing the tide turn on this wave of anti-Shariah bills around the country," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which opposes such legislation. A wave of anti-Shariah bills have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Several have stalled or failed, but dozens more await a verdict.
TAMPA - Wednesday's citizenship ceremony at the Tampa Convention Center will be a special one for two people - an immigrant from Peru and a Department of Homeland Security officer. The immigrant, a neurosurgeon from Peru, operated on the officer and saved her life last year. The officer will present the doctor his citizenship certificate during the ceremony.
MIAMI - Eons ago a small camel with a long snout roamed the lands stretching from Florida and Texas down through Mexico and Central America. Twenty million years later, the first of their fossils, an entirely new species, has been found. University of Florida researcher Aldo Rincon and Smithsonian scientist Carlos Jaramillo discovered the camel while searching for fossils during the Panama Canal's historic expansion. The researchers have found the fossils of marlins, turtles, and even what appears to have been a mammoth. But the camel is new. It's raising questions about how long ago the isthmus was created, and helping scientists better understand the impact of what happened when the Northern and Southern American continents were finally connected.
ORLANDO - The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport releases its annual study comparing the graduation rates of the men's and women's teams competing in the NCAA basketball tournament this year. The women graduated at a rate of 89 percent compared to 67 percent for the men. The women's teams also only an 8 percentage point disparity between the rates of white and African-American players, compared to a 28 percent difference on the men's side. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and NAACP president Ben Jealous are holding a noon press conference with TIDES chair Richard Lapchick to discuss the report.
PEOPLE-BRANDON MARSHALL - New York City police say a woman has accused NFL star receiver Brandon Marshall of punching her in the face at a nightclub.
FIREFIGHTERS-BOAT FIRE - Fire rescue officials say a Tampa Bay area firefighter lost his footing on an unstable dock while fighting a boat fire and fell into the water.
LINGERE THIEVES - Police are looking for suspects who stole hundreds of pairs of panties from a lingerie store in Boca Raton's Town Center mall.
PARKS DIRECTOR RESIGNS - Baltimore's recreation and parks director is resigning after less than two years in the position to take a job in Tampa.
SHERIFF CANDIDATE KILLED - Authorities say a candidate in a north Florida sheriff's race was killed in a three vehicle crash.
AIRPORT CONSTRUCTION - Getting into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will be a little more difficult as construction of a new runway begins.
TEEN SET ON FIRE - The alleged ringleader in an attack that severely burned a Florida teenager is seeking a change of venue for trial because of heavy local media coverage.
RNC-COUNTY EMPLOYEES - Tens of thousands of delegates, journalists and protestors will crowd downtown Tampa during the Republican National Convention this August - and county officials don't want their employees getting caught up in the mix.
SANFORT AIRPORT-OPTING OUT - The Orlando Sanford International Airport is going to try to opt out of only using TSA agents for security screening.
- Tallahassee, Brendan Farrington, 850-224-1211 (office), 850-224-2099 (fax)
- Pensacola, Melissa Nelson, 850-438-4951 (office), 850-438-0720 (fax).
- Tampa, Mitch Stacy, 727-823-4721 (office), 727-821-2931(fax).
- Orlando, Mike Schneider, 407-425-4547 (office), 407ok-648-8011 (fax).
- West Palm Beach, Matt Sedensky, 561-832-3466 (office).
The AP, Miami