DeSantis Leads Trump in Poll of Republican Voters

A straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit, an annual gathering of conservatives in Denver, showed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ahead of former President Trump.

Members of the group were asked to select all candidates of potential GOP contenders that they would vote for. DeSantis beat out former President Donald Trump, getting 74% approval compared to Trump’s 71%.

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Governor DeSantis Announces $51 Million Towards Alzheimer’s and Dementia Research

Old person in a wheelchair

Governor Ron DeSantis announced $51 million in funding for Alzheimer’s and dementia research, according to a press release from the Governor’s Office Monday.

The release highlights a $12 million increase for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year and how Florida is the only state in the nation that Alzheimer’s and related dementias are a specific priority in its State Health Improvement Plan.

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Florida’s Unemployment Rate Increases in May

In the most recent data released by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) on Friday, the May unemployment rate in Florida was 4.9%, up .1% from the unemployment rate in April. 

 Although the the number of individuals who qualified for unemployment rose from 488,000 in April to 503,000 in May, the labor force increased by 72,000 people during the same time. 

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Parental Rights Bill Awaiting Governor DeSantis Signature

Woman holding her child.

One of the 24 bills officially submitted to Governor Ron DeSantis Friday was the parental rights bill (HB 241). If it is approved by DeSantis, the bill would establish and expand parents rights related to the health care and education of their minor child or children.

One of the major changes the bill brings to the current law is the expansion in parents rights over their child’s school records that currently sits primarily in the hands of schools and their districts. Two of these rights – in Section 5, Section 1014.04 (a) and (d) Florida Statutes – include the right to direct the education and care of his or her minor child and the right to access and review all school records relating to his or her minor child.

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Florida Political Committees, ACLU Request Injunction Against Contribution Limit Law

A law (SB 1890) signed in May by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that places a $3,000 limit on contributions to political committees collecting petition signatures for ballot initiatives recently faced legal opposition from state officials.

A preliminary injunction was requested by the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU) and three political committees who argue SB 1890 violates First Amendment rights and makes it harder to acquire petition signatures and funds needed to amend the Florida Constitution.

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DeSantis Sending Florida Law Enforcement to Texas and Arizona to Help with Border Crisis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is sending members of various law enforcement agencies throughout the state to Texas and Arizona to help combat the crisis at the Southern border.

“Governors Abbott and Ducey recently sent out a call for help to every state in the nation, needing additional law enforcement manpower and other resources to aid with border security. I’m proud to announce today that the state of Florida is answering the call. Florida has your back,” DeSantis said of his decision.

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DeSantis Executive Orders Granting Pardons for COVID-19 Convictions Adopted

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposed two executive orders to the Florida Executive Board of Clemency Wednesday that continues his pursuit to stop local governments from establishing overreaching COVID-19 restrictions. 

 The two orders, EO 21-132 and EO 21-133, would grant full pardon for individuals or businesses who are charged with non-violent civil and criminal offenses related to breaking local COVID-19 restrictions; and waive fees or fines associated with breaking COVID-19 restrictions, respectively.

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Governor DeSantis Suggest Appointing DEP Secretary Without Florida Cabinet Approval

Florida State Capitol

During a Florida Cabinet meeting Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis insinuated the possibility of appointing a new secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) without the Cabinet’s approval.

Controversy regarding the appointment comes after Former DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein, who had held the position for four years and was approved by the Cabinet in 2017 and 2019, officially resigned on June 4th.

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DeSantis, Fried Spar over Defunding Police Issue

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried had a war of words related to governance issues related to the defunding police issue.

Fried, who is running as a Democratic candidate to unseat DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial election, said DeSantis was bullying local municipalities under the rule of Republican control in Tallahassee.

“Now, the so-called party of small government is yet again telling government closest to the people what they can and cannot do with their money,” she said. “So, as you vote today, ask yourself, who is really the big government bureaucrat in the faraway Capitol?”

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DeSantis Signs Bills Requiring Moment of Silence for Schools, Prioritizes ‘Religious Freedom’

Gov. DeSantis signing bill

Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill requiring Florida’s public schools to allow for one to two minutes of silence at the beginning of each day, before instruction begins.

DeSantis signed the legislation while at the The Shul of Bal Harbour, a Jewish community center in Surfside, FL. Principals in all public schools will be directed to set aside the moment of silence and teachers will be prohibited from making suggestions regarding the nature of the suggested prayer or reflection during the allotted time.

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DeSantis Calls Out Biden, Big Tech on Fox News

Screen cap of live comments from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called out President Joe Biden and Silicon Valley Big Tech companies for caring more about China’s interests than “middle America” on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News program.

Biden’s big event last week was meeting with world leaders at the G-7 summit. DeSantis said Biden’s “performance may have played well with European elites, but not sure there was much in it for Middle America.”

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DeSantis Reports $7.5 Million in May Contributions, Continues to Significantly Outpace Rivals

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried raised only approximately $215,000 in May, according to newly filed campaign finance reports. Fried’s political action committee, Florida Consumers First, saw exactly $214,832 come in from primarily small-donor contributions. However, the May numbers do not reflect the campaign fundraising effort after she formally announced her candidacy on June 1.

Fried’s foremost competitors, Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), raised $1.2 million and $7.5 million, respectively. DeSantis has been on a fundraising crusade in recent months, raking in nearly $14 million back in April and capitalizing on his administration’s move to ban Critical Race Theory, banning transgender females from competing in female sports, and to push back against “cultural Marxism” in May.

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Florida Job Growth Grant Fund Accepting Applications

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) tweeted on Monday they are accepting proposals for new projects to be a part of the Job Growth Grant Fund. DEO is accepting applications coming off Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signing Florida’s $101.5 billion budget last week.
The grant program is getting an extra $50 million from this year’s budget and over $24 million left unspent from 2019. In all, the program will have over $74 million to spend on communities seeking “workforce training and public infrastructure projects to support growth and employment in Florida.”

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DeSantis Doubles Down on Banning Critical Race Theory

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continued his push to ban Critical Race Theory (CRT) from Florida’s classrooms while speaking at the State Board of Education Meeting. He maintained the ideology, which is designed to distinguish people based on skin color and considers the United States’ systems of justice and governance as inherently racist, will not be featured as part of instruction, and will instead focus on “the best possible civics instruction standards.”

During the meeting, the State Board officially banned CRT from classrooms in an effort to prevent “state-sanctioned racism,” DeSantis said on Twitter.

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DeSantis Talks Combating Anti-Semitism at Town Hall

Gov. DeSantis discussing COVID-19 bill.

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at a town hall organized by the Jewish Federations of Florida and touted an education bill he signed after this year’s legislative session requiring schools to teach about the Holocaust.

DeSantis also took time to address the increase of anti-Semitic attacks and overall anti-Semitism.

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GOP Official Files Ethics Complaint Against Nikki Fried

Nikki Fried of Florida

Chairman of the Leon County GOP, Evan Power, filed an ethics complaint at the end of last week against Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. He claimed the violation stems from her failing to disclose more than $400,000 in income on official financial disclosure forms, which she quickly amended after her official gubernatorial campaign launch on June 1.

One of the sources of her income increase is from Ignite Florida, a consulting firm where she is sole proprietor and lobbies the marijuana industry. Specifically, she amended a 2018 financial statement on May 28 indicating she received $351,480 from the firm. Previously, she had to amend the same 2018 statements on January 30, 2020 saying she received $72,000 in 2018 income.

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Facebook to End Rule Moderating Speech for Politicians

Facebook announced it will likely scrap its highly debated policy regarding moderating the speech and content posted on its site form politicians. Previously, politicians were subject to suspension or permanent ban under a different set of rules compared to regular Facebook users.

This decision comes on the heels of former President Donald J. Trump being permanently banned from Facebook, but no decision has come regarding whether to resurrect Trump’s Facebook account. Facebook’s Oversight Board is giving Facebook time to determine if Trump will be allowed back on the platform.

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Part Two: Exclusive One-on-One Interview with U.S. Congressman Davidson, Considering Run for Ohio Governor

COLUMBUS, Ohio – U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson (R-OH-08) said in early March that he was leaning more toward a run for governor than a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2022– that’s if he chooses to surrender his seat in the U.S. Congress.

“I’ve been asked about it by a lot of people I and others respect,” the two-term congressman told The Star about a prospective gubernatorial bid.

He added, “If I had the absolute perfect hand, I would not play those cards until September.”

The remainder of the interview follows.

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