University Trustees Meddling Raises Questions About Possible Conflicts

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University campus

Florida’s public universities have numerous outgoing board of trustee members and there has not yet been any indication of who will be replacing them. In fact, some board members are serving past their term and have been accused of hiring friends.

Ben Wilcox from Common Cause Florida, a government accountability group, said Florida law does not expressly dictate what happens when trustees continue in their post past their allotted term.

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Florida House Panel to Hear Abortion Bill

This week, the Florida House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee will take up a piece of legislation that could ban abortions in Florida after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The bill, HB 5, is sponsored by Florida State. Rep. Erin Grall (R-FL-54).

The bill is similar to a Mississippi abortion law that is currently being heard by the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS). Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has said that he would likely support the legislation.

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DeSantis Said He Disagreed with Trump’s Lockdown Decisions

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last week said he disagreed with former President Donald Trump’s (R) decisions to shut down the economy in the early stages of the COVID pandemic. The latest comments from the governor indicate a growing split between DeSantis and Trump as the rumors of the 2024 presidential election swirl.

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Businesses Could Sue Over Local Ordinances Under New Florida Proposal

Florida lawmakers are considering a legislative proposal that would permit businesses to sue local governments over ordinances or mandates that lead to a revenue loss of 15 percent or more. SB 280 would require local governments to do business impact analyses when considering imposing ordinances.

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Nikki Fried Compares DeSantis to Adolf Hitler

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) compared Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to Adolf Hitler, the infamous Chancellor of National Socialist controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945.

Fried claims that she has studied Hitler and how he came to power.

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Florida Will Not Enforce CMS Vaccine Mandate Upheld by SCOTUS

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued two decisions impacting vaccine mandates in the United States. SCOTUS issued a stay on the Biden Administration’s OSHA-based vaccine mandate for businesses with over 100 employees, striking a blow to Biden. However, the high court upheld the vaccine mandate put into place by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for healthcare providers.

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DeSantis Awards $20 Million to Panama City for Hurricane Michael Damage

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced by press conference yesterday that the City of Panama City has been awarded $20 million through the Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Repair Program.

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Trump Calls Politicians ‘Gutless’ over Vaccine Status, Hints at DeSantis

Former President Donald J. Trump (R) criticized politicians who have not announced if they have received their booster shot referring to them as “gutless” Many pundits theorized that Trump was hinting at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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Florida Lawmakers File Immigration Enforcement Bill

Florida Republican lawmakers Sen. Aaron Bean (R-FL-4) and Rep. John Snyder (R-FL-82) filed companion bills to enhance Florida’s illegal immigration enforcement. The bill would expand an already existent ban on sanctuary cities, municipalities that protect illegal immigrants from immigration enforcement.

The bill would also prohibit state and local government from contracting with transportation companies that have been transported illegal aliens across state lines into Florida.

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University of Florida Report: Omicron Will Peak Around Mid-January in Florida

Young girl getting vaccine

New findings from the University of Florida (UF) show the omicron variant’s sweep through Florida will likely peak around mid-January 2022. The findings also showed the newest variant will likely result in fewer deaths due to being the least severe of the COVID variants.

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Ron DeSantis, Rick Scott Blast National Jobs Report

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) each took turns blasting the national jobs report amid rising prices and runaway inflation. According to the report, only 199,000 jobs were created in December.

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Expired COVID Test Controversy Turns Political

Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced approximately 800,000 to one million unadministered COVID tests stockpiled in a warehouse expired. The tests were produced by the manufacturer, Abbott, and were at-home test kits.

Democrats and progressives across Florida took unsubstantiated political shots across DeSantis’ bow.

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Florida Health Department Updates COVID Testing Guidelines

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) has updated their COVID testing guidelines prioritizing certain demographics for testing. FDOH made the announcement with a news release.

In the announcement, the FDOH said the older demographics as well as certain Floridians in younger age brackets with immunocompromised circumstances.

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Nikki Fried’s Campaign to Accept Crypto, Money Laundering Questions Raised

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) announced on Twitter that her political committee for governor is now accepting cryptocurrency as a contribution to the campaign. Fried made the announcement by video posted to social media.

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Miami Herald Reporter at Center of Multiple Controversies

Miami Herald reporter Mary Ellen Klas finds herself at the center of multiple Florida-based controversies which includes Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-FL-10), utility company Florida Power and Light (FPL), and Florida Sen. Randolph Bracy (D-FL-11).

FPL took the first shot at Klas when they launched a page on their own site called “Truth Matters.” In it, they accuse Klas of bias against their company and called her reporting on FPL’s effort to oppose new legislation regarding rooftop solar rules as “misleading.”

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University of Florida President Kent Fuchs Announces Final Year at Helm

University of Florida President Kent Fuchs announced in a video that he is planning on stepping down from his current position in 2023. Fuchs desires to return to the classroom and be a professor.

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Florida Signals Shift Away from Federal COVID Testing Standards

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo signaled they would be adopting procedures that would shift Florida’s COVID testing protocol away from the federal government’s standard of testing.

Both officials stressed the importance of “high-value testing” rather than blanketed testing like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.

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Florida Juvenile Arrests Reach 46-Year Low

Five people standing ini front of a chain link fence

Last week, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) announced Florida’s juvenile arrest rate reached a 46-year low. Specifically, the arrest rate is down 51 percent in the last five years. The DJJ praised the findings and the work of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and First Lady Casey DeSantis for their efforts and expanding access to opportunities to Florida’s youth.

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DeSantis Pushes for More Monoclonal Treatments from Federal Government

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

At a press conference yesterday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called for more monoclonal treatments to be sent to Florida from the federal government. DeSantis said the vaccine is not preventing COVID transmission like they were marketed to do.

The most recent variant spike, omicron, is the least severe variant of COVID and shows characteristics no more deadly than the common cold.

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CDC Recommends Avoiding Cruises, Florida’s Cruise Industry at Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now advising people to avoid going on cruises or cruise ships regardless of if they have received their COVID shots, or not. The federal agency made the new recommendations after a recent spike in COVID cases aboard cruise ships.

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Senator Rick Scott Predicts 2022 Elections Will Change School Boards

Florida Sen. Rick Scott (R) commented on the recent shift in attitudes from parents towards school boards with the 2022 elections less than one year away. Scott predicts overwhelming support for changes at the local level across Florida, and the country, as a result of months of pushback from parents to school districts imposing mask mandates and pushing Critical Race Theory (CRT).

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State Benefits to be Reduced Due to Low Florida Unemployment Rate

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced earlier this week that an algorithm to determine the number of weeks of benefits will revert back to its pre-pandemic rate.

According to state law, when the state unemployment rate is below five percent, the number of weeks for an eligible Floridians to receive benefits is 12 weeks.

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Florida Legislative Proposal Could Lead to Cameras in Public School Classrooms

Florida State Rep. Bob Rommel (R-FL-106) is sponsoring legislation that would require public school teachers to wear microphones and be video recorded in classrooms. The live stream of the classroom would also become available for public viewing.

The text of the bill also provides stipulations for if there is an interruption in the video feed.

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Florida Surgeon General Says Biden Is ‘Actively Preventing’ Monoclonal Shipments

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra saying the Biden Administration is “actively preventing” the shipments on Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatments to states, including Florida.

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DeSantis Spokesperson Dismisses Criticism of Omicron Response

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (D) criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week saying the governor has been absent from helping local communities against the fight from the omicron variant of COVID.

“Our residents, all Florida residents, should be outraged and they should ask the question, ‘Where is our state? Where is our governor? Where is Ron DeSantis now?’ When is the last time you saw the governor do a press briefing on COVID-19?” said Jerry Demings.

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Nikki Fried Embraces LGBTQ Issues, Equality Florida Responds with ‘Highest Honor’

Since taking office as Commissioner for the Florida Department of Agriculture, Nikki Fried (D) has made numerous moves backing LGBT advocacy issues. One LGBT advocacy group, Equality Florida, has been a large player in Florida’s progressive politics and receiving an official endorsement can lead to major financial contributions.

Equality Florida previously endorsed then-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (D) against Ron DeSantis (R) in 2018. As election day drew nearer, the Human Rights Campaign, another pro-LGBT group, bought more than half a million dollar ad buys encouraging voters to support Florida’s Democrats, including Gillum.

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Federal Court to Hear Challenge to Florida Gun Law

Rick Scott

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled a time when it will hear a challenge to a Florida law that bans 18 to 20-year-olds from purchasing rifles and shotguns. The court will hear the arguments during the week of March 21, 2022.

The law in question is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, named after the school where the Parkland school shooting took place. The assailant was underage and used a modern sporting rifle during the shooting.

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Circuit Court Not Taking Up ‘Medically Fragile’ Children Ruling

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Wednesday to not hear a case relating to “medically fragile” children being placed in nursing homes. A three-panel judge in 2019 ruled in favor of a U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) authority to pursue a lawsuit against the State of Florida.

The issue originally began after the DOJ found Florida was institutionalizing children with severe medical conditions in nursing homes in 2012 and that Florida’s Medicaid program put more children at risk of being put into a home.

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Florida Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to ‘Marsy’s Law’ Over Tallahassee Shootings

Florida Supreme Court Building

The Florida Supreme Court is set to take up a legal battle regarding “Marsy’s Law,” which is a 2018 constitutional amendment passed by voters that shields the identities of victims of crimes. An official date has not yet been set.

The City of Tallahassee and several news organizations are appealing a decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal backing the law and protecting the identities of Tallahassee police officers when they utilized use-of-force in more than one shooting incident. The law enforcement officers maintain they were the victims and felt compelled to use deadly force.

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Judge Sets Date for Challenge to Florida Election Integrity Law

Person voting in poll booth

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker announced he would be hearing arguments next month over Florida’s most recent election integrity law, known in the Florida Legislature as SB 90. Walker rejected the state’s motion for a summary judgment and insisted on hearing the case.

The bill was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). The new law adds requirements for ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting. For example, the drop boxes will have to be manned by a staff member at the supervisor of elections office, and voters will have to request mail-in ballots each election cycle every two years.

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Nikki Fried Includes Left-Wing LGBT Resources on Florida Agriculture Website

After the Florida Capital Star broke the story regarding the Florida Department of Education’s (FDOE) removal of LGBT bullying resources from left-wing groups, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) repurposed resources and posted them to the Florida Department of Agriculture (FDACS) site.

Many of the resources consist of anti-bullying resources, though not all are expressly described as “LGBT” anti-bullying resources. However, the main heading of the site designates the links as being categorized as “LGBTQ+” as well as providing a brief timeline of Fried’s efforts to advocate for the LGBT community as agriculture commissioner.

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Florida Juvenile Justice Official Backed Critical Race Theory, Walks Back Previous View

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) recently appointed Eric Hall to be the new head of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and his doctoral-level dissertation from 2014 has some scratching their heads.

According to POLITICO, Hall was a previous endorser of Critical Race Theory (CRT) when he wrote his final work while at the University of South Florida. Hall described CRT as a good “framework” for the public education system to engage is racial disparity discussions.

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State of Florida Settles with Leon County over Vaccine Mandate

The State of Florida has agreed to withdraw its $3.5 million penalty directed to the Leon County government over the county’s vaccine mandate. The county rescinded its vaccine mandates earlier this month after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation requiring alternatives to forced COVID vaccinations.

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DeSantis Criticizes Court Decision on Vaccine Mandate

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) discussed in an interview on Sunday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s decision to defer the OHSA vaccine mandate to a three-judge panel. The deference by the 6th Circuit reinstates the OSHA mandate.

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Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy Will Not Run for Re-Election

Stephanie Murphy

Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-7) announced she will not be running for re-election to her current post in 2022 but has not ruled out running for different office down the line.

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Legislative Proposal Would Allow Critical Comments at Florida School Board Meetings

Florida State Sen. Joe Gruters (R-FL-23) has filed legislation requiring Florida school board meetings to be publicly broadcast and recorded on video, along with the ability of parents to make their voices heard and criticize school board members.

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Florida Jobs Report Shows Growth, Unemployment Rate Continuing to Drop

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) released the November jobs report along with labor force statistics, and the unemployment rate in Florida dropped to 4.5 percent. Compared to one year ago, the rate was a 5.4 percent.

State officials say the continued drop is more indication the “open for business” policies in Florida have kept Florida’s economy recovering from the pandemic-induced economic slow-down.

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Affordable Housing Crisis Lights Up Florida’s Political Landscape

Florida progressives are calling on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to declare a state of emergency regarding housing affordability, and DeSantis is redirecting the angst toward President Joe Biden (D) and Democrats whose policies, he says, are raising rent costs.

More than approximately two dozen Florida Democrat lawmakers penned a letter saying Floridians can no longer afford to pay rent and called on Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) to “enact price gouging consumer protections for renters.”

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Announces New Preventative Monoclonal Treatment for Immunocompromised

Yesterday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced a new preventative monoclonal treatment will be available for immunocompromised Floridians like cancer patients and transplant recipients. DeSantis said the new product from AstraZeneca, a pre-exposure prophylactic called Evusheld, is the newest development in Florida’s fight against COVID.

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Florida TaxWatch Report Indicates State Not Receiving Fair Share of Federal Funding

Florida TaxWatch, an independent think tank, released a report indicating Florida is set to receive shy of $20 billion from the President Joe Biden-signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). However, TaxWatch suggests Florida is not receiving near its fair share of funding, based on population and contribution to the national economy.

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Gov. DeSantis Announces Millions for Rural North Florida Projects

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made two stops in rural north Florida counties yesterday to announce the millions of dollars being granted to the respective communities.

DeSantis’ first stop was in Nassau County, north of Jacksonville where he emphasized the money being granted out of the Job Growth Grant Fund will go to workforce development.

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DeSantis Announces Anti-Woke Legislation

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced at a press conference yesterday the unveiling of new anti-woke legislation referred to as the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (WOKE) Act. After DeSantis banned Critical Race Theory (CRT) from Florida’s schools he said this is the next step in legislation to fight back against “woke indoctrination.”

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Nikki Fried Accuses DeSantis of Pay-to-Play with University Appointments

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried accused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of requiring prospective university board of trustee members to donate $100,000 to his campaign. In turn, he would grant appointments to university boards.

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Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan Urges Biden to Use Florida’s Ports for Supply Chain Crisis

Florida Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL-16) has written a letter to President Joe Biden (D) urging him to utilize Florida’s ports as a way to alleviate the nation’s supply chain shortage. In the letter, Buchanan made his case for why Florida is the bets place to send cargo and shipments.

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Florida State Rep. Sabatini Removed from House Committee for Unexcused Absences

State Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-FL-7) has been removed from a the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee in the Florida House. He received two unexcused absences from the committee, when committee members are only allowed one.

Sabatini requested an excused absence from committee chair Thad Altman the day before his absence on October 21. He did not respond to Altman’s follow-up asking for an explanation.

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More 2024 Rumors Swirl After Trump ‘History Tour’ Event in Orlando

Donald Trump and Bill O'Reilly

Former President Donald. J. Trump and conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly made a stop in Orlando for their “History Tour” where they discussed the last few years and the challenges that came with being president. While on stage, Trump said that he would have to consider running again in 2024.

“I said loud and clear,” the former president said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “We won the first time, and the second time we won by even more. And it looks like we might have to think about that very strongly a third time.”

O’Reilly reminded the audience that it was not a Trump rally, but a conversation with the former president and that they were “going to talk about very serious things.”

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The University of Florida Launches Investigation into Possible COVID Data Destruction

The University of Florida is launching an internal investigation after a report came out showing a culture of fear, political influence, and pressure to destroy COVID-related research data. Vice President of UF Research David Norton made the announcement last week by email.

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