Top 5 at noon: Mayors in Florida face fines of $5,000 if they enact stricter rules on gun control; Bucs release running back Doug Martin; and more

A sign at a rally in favor of new gun legislation outside the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, three days after the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland. [Saul Martinez/The New York Times]
A sign at a rally in favor of new gun legislation outside the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, three days after the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland. [Saul Martinez/The New York Times]
Published February 20 2018
Updated February 20 2018

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.

MAYORS IN FLORIDA FACE FINES OF $5,000 IF THEY ENACT STRICTER RULES ON GUN CONTROL

South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard may be one of the most liberal mayors in Florida, so he would be a natural candidate to push through a package of local gun-control rules in the wake of the Parkland massacre 50 miles away. But that would be against the law. Florida bans cities and counties from imposing their own gun-control rules. Seven years ago, the Republican-controlled Legislature even created a $5,000 fine it can impose on mayors like Stoddard if they ever try to enforce stricter regulations on firearms. Critics say it also makes Florida the toughest state in the nation when it comes to policing city and county rules on firearms.

FLORIDA SHERIFF’S SOLUTION TO CAMPUS SHOOTINGS: ARM THE TEACHERS

Grady Judd believes he’s found a solution that would help stop future school shootings: prepare teachers to shoot back. The Polk County Sheriff touted his department’s "Sentinel" program — which it developed in 2016 — during a Saturday appearance on Fox & Friends. The Sentinel program gives certain teachers the title of "Special Deputy" and a concealed campus carry permit. To achieve that title, teachers have to pass a mental health screening, a criminal background check — and complete hundreds of hours of firearm training.

PORT TAMPA BAY WELCOMES FIRST SHIPMENT OF BANANAS IN 21 YEARS

More than two decades after the last bunch arrived on shore, bananas are back at Tampa’s port. More than 3,900 pallets of Chiquita bananas from Ecuador arrived last week at the new Port Logistics Refrigerated Services warehouse. It was the first shipment of perishable products to the 135,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse, which was built on Hookers Point specifically to attract shippers of fruit and other cargo requiring cold storage. The shipment was a test run, but "we’re hoping that there will be more," Port Tampa Bay chief commercial officer Raul Alfonso said.

BUCS RELEASE TWO-TIME PRO BOWL RUNNING BACK DOUG MARTIN

After six up and mostly down seasons, Doug Martin’s run with the Bucs is over. The two-time Pro Bowl running back was released by Tampa Bay today, a move that was expected after he failed to rush for less than 500 yards in four of the past five seasons. General manager Jason Licht informed Martin of the move Tuesday morning. The decision will save the Bucs $6.75-million that Martin was scheduled to earn in 2018. Because of the structure of his contract, the team will absorb no dead money on their salary cap.

SNOOP DOGG, T.I. TO HEADLINE NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL IN TAMPA

Are you ready for an all-new hip-hop festival in Tampa? Snoop Dogg and T.I. are scheduled to headline the inaugural Halftime Music Festival on May 5 in the North Lot of Raymond James Stadium. Also on the bill: Karol G, Baby Rasta y Gringo and Brytiago. Launching an all-new festival is a daunting proposition in this town, and the rate of smashing successes is not high. But promoter Charles Potter said he’s up to the challenge.

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