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5 Things to Know in Florida for March 31

March 30, 2015

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

8 DIE WHEN CHURCH VAN CRASHES

Eight people are dead after a church van crashed into a canal in rural southwest Florida early Monday. The Florida Highway Patrol says the 10 others were injured were taken to four hospital in the area with injuries ranging from stable to critical. Troopers say the driver ran through a stop sign and across all lanes of U.S. 27 before crashing into the canal.

NEW RESTRICTIONS ON ABORTION COULD PASS IN STATE LEGISLATURE

The Florida Legislature is considering several new measures to restrict abortions, including one with a strong chance of passage that calls for a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can undergo the procedure. That measure, House Bill 0633, would require that a woman make one trip to the clinic for legally required counseling before coming back 24 hours later for the procedure. Another measure, House Bill 147, with less chance of passage, would require that abortion clinic doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Waiting periods and admitting privileges have been part of unsuccessful Florida legislation in past years, but not as separate bills.

JOGGER DIES AFTER BEING HIT BY AMTRAK TRAIN IN FLORIDA

A Miami-to-New York Amtrak train has struck and killed a man who was jogging on the railroad tracks. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports that the man was killed around noon Monday. Sheriff’s office officials say the Amtrak 98 Silver Meteor train was traveling northbound between Sebring and Winter Haven when the conductor saw the man jogging along the tracks.

HEARING STARTS FOR JUDGE ACCUSED OF HITTING ATTORNEY

A panel that disciplines Florida judges is hearing the case of a Brevard County judge accused of punching an assistant public defender during an altercation. A six-member panel from the Judicial Qualification Commission on Monday started hearing the case involving Judge John Murphy. Panelists were shown a video of courtroom arguing between Murphy and assistant public defendant Andrew Weinstock last summer.

AP SOURCE: US MOVING TOWARD CHARGING DOCTOR IN MENENDEZ CASE

A person familiar with a Justice Department investigation says prosecutors are moving toward charging a Florida eye doctor over his dealings with New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez. The person said prosecutors are expected to bring criminal charges soon against both Dr. Salomon Melgen and Menendez. The person insisted on anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation on the record. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr declined to comment Monday. The federal investigation has centered on whether the Democratic senator abused his office by taking actions to benefit the doctor, who provided Menendez with flights to and from the Dominican Republic on his luxury jet.

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