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The Daystarter: Treacherous commute across Tampa Bay; Adam Putnam has some challenges; 5 previous 'stand your ground' controversies

Rodney Cox, 35, shown fishing in this undated photo, was fatally shot on Nov. 3, 2004. The general contractor from North Carolina was in hurricane-damaged Pensacola to work for FEMA when he was killed. He left behind a wife and two children, Samantha and Corey, who were 3 and 11 at the time of his death. Proponents of Florida's "stand your ground" law pointed to his shooting as the reason citizens needed legal protection when they used deadly force on intruders. [Courtesy of Terri Cox Lavery]
Rodney Cox, 35, shown fishing in this undated photo, was fatally shot on Nov. 3, 2004. The general contractor from North Carolina was in hurricane-damaged Pensacola to work for FEMA when he was killed. He left behind a wife and two children, Samantha and Corey, who were 3 and 11 at the time of his death. Proponents of Florida's "stand your ground" law pointed to his shooting as the reason citizens needed legal protection when they used deadly force on intruders. [Courtesy of Terri Cox Lavery]
Published Jul. 23, 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.

• It was a treacherous commute for early-morning commuters across Tampa Bay on Monday as a strong line of thunderstorms produced locally heavy downpours, strong gusts, and frequent, dangerous lightning that illuminated the nighttime sky. They will become more scattered in the afternoon but could be heavy at times, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures should peak at just below 90s.

• As you head out for your morning commute, check out our live blog for the latest traffic updates and road conditions across Tampa Bay.

• Plan your week! Here are the top things to do this week in Tampa Bay.

• In a now infamous tweet — July 25, 2017 — Adam Putnam, Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture, embraced a new title. "The liberal media recently called me a sellout to the NRA. I'm a proud #NRASellout!" The declaration was perhaps intended to put Putnam on firm ground in a Republican primary where support for the Second Amendment is mandatory. But a year later, Putnam finds himself in a dogfight with U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis for the GOP nomination. And the tweet? It's not helping.

• Florida's 'stand your ground' law is once again under scrutiny with the death of a Clearwater man following a dispute over a parking spot. Revisit some of the prior cases that have raised questions about a law that allows people to take aim and fire with impunity when they fear for their safety.

• The future of group homes is in doubt because of a new federal law that some child welfare professionals say will blow up the existing foster care system. The Family First Prevention Services Act prioritizes keeping children out of foster care. It makes more money available for in-home counseling and parenting classes for families at risk of having children removed. And beginning late next year, the government will only pay for children to stay in group homes for up to two weeks. Read about this drastic change in foster care.

• Few housing options have captured the public imagination like tiny houses, seen as an affordable and, yes, adorable antidote to the excesses of modern life. But there are challengings -- from zoning to financing -- that are keeping the fad from taking off throughout Florida. We take a closer look at the obstacles and the potential.

• The toxic green algae bloom spreading across Lake Okeechobee has seeped into the state's political races, including Putnam's quest for Florida governor. The Democratic Governors Association slammed Putnam, a Republican, in a July 10 press release, saying he cheered on weakened water quality regulations and lax oversight that they say contributed to the mess in Lake Okeechobee. The Democrats further pushed the point on "Algae Adam" in a Medium post-July 13: "As Agriculture Commissioner, Putnam backed a water bill that gutted water quality regulations." PolitiFact Florida has the analysis on Putnam's role in the green slime mess.