DeSantis Dishes Out More Than $9 Million from Job Growth Grant Fund

Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday awarded more than $9 million to multiple local governments from the state’s “Job Growth Grant Fund.”

The fund is an “economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state.”

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Republicans Dominate Potential Democratic Opponents in 2022 Elections, New Florida Poll Finds

According to a new poll, Republicans running for Governor and U.S. Senate in Florida are dramatically leading their potential Democratic opponents in the upcoming midterm elections.

Specifically, Governor Ron DeSantis leads both notable Democrats that are running to challenge him for his position.

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Governor DeSantis Calls for Greater Assistance for Florida Tornado Recovery

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday called on President Joe Biden and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to change their decision to deny the state’s Individual Assistance request.

The governor’s comments followed meetings with Florida Division of Emergency Management Director (FDEM) Kevin Guthrie and victims of tornadoes that impacted the state.

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Governor Ron DeSantis Vetoes $2 Million Related to Reversible Contraception Program

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed $2 million dollars Wednesday that would have been included within the budget established during the last Legislative session for the upcoming fiscal year.

The money was intended to help low-income girls and young women have more access to long-acting reversible contraception or LARCs, and was backed by Senate President Wilton Simpson (R).

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Governor DeSantis Signs Three Bills to Assist Veterans and Military Families

Governor DeSantis Signs Three Bills to Assist Veterans and Military Families

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed three bills (HB 429, HB 435,SB 922) in Ponte Vedra Beach Friday, focusing on military and veteran related issues regarding education and employment.

The new laws will establish a “Purple Star Campus Program,” help transitioning servicemembers gain workforce training, and enhance veterans’ preference in hiring, as stated in the Governor’s office press release.

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Gainesville Officials Challenge Prohibition of Vaccine Passports

U.S. Passport with vaccine behind

Gainesville city officials are challenging a future state law, SB 2006, that prohibits local governments, schools, and businesses from requiring individuals to show proof of the COVID-19 vaccination to receive services or allowed entry.

For Gainesville city employees, the city has issued voluntary proof of vaccination, or vaccine passports, so that individuals who show proof can abide by looser CDC guidelines which involve not wearing a mask nor socially distancing for people who are fully vaccinated.

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Governor DeSantis Approves Sales-Tax Holidays for Summer 2021

Gov. Ron DeSantis

Surrounded by lawmakers at a Home Depot in Pensacola, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill (HB 7061) into law Friday that establishes three “sales-tax holidays” throughout the summer that aims to give tax relief to Floridians.

The sales-tax holidays include: the “Disaster Preparedness” holiday from May 28th, 2021, through June 3rd, 2021, the “Freedom Week” holiday from July 1st, 2021, through July 7th, 2021, and the “Back-to-School” holiday from August 6th, 2021, through August 12th, 2021.

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Florida Lawmakers Ratify Seminole Gaming Compact

Poker chips casino

After negotiations between Governor DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Florida House and Florida Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that ratifies the  Seminole Gaming Compact.

Under the compact, the Seminole Tribe of Florida will act as the state’s centralized location for sports betting. The deal requires the tribe to work with a minimum of three pari-mutuels within three months after sports betting goes live on Oct. 15.

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Florida’s Tourism Industry Crippled During Pandemic, Shows Improvement

People on the beach during daytime

The state of Florida’s tourism industry took a huge hit caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that limited travel and encouraged people around the world to stay at home.

Before 2020 was struck by the pandemic, Florida had increased its number of visitors every year since 2010 with 2019 recording the most at 131.4 million. According to Visit Florida, 2020 saw a 39.3% decrease from 2019 totaling only 79.75 million visitors.

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DeSantis Signs Bill Restricting Gun Regulations by Local Governments

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed bill SB 1884 Friday which bans local governments from imposing local gun regulations that are stricter than the state firearm laws. The measure stems from a 1987 preemption law in Florida that originally established a ban on local gun regulations which was then strengthened in 2011 to establish harsher punishments for violating the law.

The 2011 law includes a punishment that involves local governments paying up to $100,000 in damages if they are prosecuted for establishing gun regulations, while local officials could pay up $5,000 in fines or even forced out of office.

The recent signing of SB 1884 broadens the 2011 law by extending the punishment to include “unwritten” policies by local governments that violate the 1987 preemption. It also broadens the law by requiring local governments to pay for court fees and damages for lawsuits filed against a local gun regulation before the local government changes their policy to align with the preemption.

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Charlie Crist Criticizes Florida Gov. DeSantis in Recent Interview

Charlie Crist on CBS interview

In an interview by Jim DeFede for CBS News Miami, former Florida Governor and current U.S. Representative Charlie Crist criticized Ron DeSantis while discussing his run for Governor in 2022. Crist criticized DeSantis’ actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transgender sports bill and Medicaid expansion. He also indicated DeSantis was an “uncaring person.”

Crist was asked if DeSantis deserves credit for shutting down nursing homes and assisted living facilities (ATFs) that resulted in a low death toll for senior citizens. Crist deflected the question by bashing DeSantis for not advocating social distancing and wearing a mask while also putting an emphasis on the 36,000 Floridians who died from COVID-19.

After being asked again if DeSantis deserves credit for his decision, Crist stated, “Maybe so, it’s good to get a couple of things right, but it’s better to do more right.”

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Governor DeSantis Signs Bill Raising Smoking, Vaping Age

Jackie Toledo

On Friday, Governor DeSantis signed a bill that will establish a regulatory framework for the sale of electronic cigarettes. The bill (SB 1080), which will take effect Oct. 1, will also raise the state’s legal age to vape and smoke tobacco to 21. In 2019, Congress passed legislation raising the federal age limit to 21.

House sponsor Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, said during the debate over the bill that it is aimed at preventing minors from using electronic cigarettes.

“This bill is necessary to stop youth vaping,” Toledo said. “This legislation is a step in the right direction, demonstrating Florida’s commitment to work with regulators and stakeholders to combat underage use.”

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Florida Gov. DeSantis Extends Deadline for Unemployment Benefits

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

On April 25th, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), extended the deadline for work search and work registration waivers that made unemployment benefits more easily attainable to unemployed Floridians in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the pandemic causing unemployment to increase, these unemployment benefit waivers were originally issued in March 2020 as part of the state of emergency that was established in Florida by Governor DeSantis that was originally set to expire on April 24th, 2021.

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Florida Bill Allows Students Athletes to Profit Beginning in July

In the waning moments of the 2021 Florida legislative session, elected officials amended a bill (SB 1028) that will allow college and university athletes to profit from their names and images beginning July 1, 2021.

On Wednesday lawmakers added a provision that would have pushed back the effective date of the name, image and likeness law until 2022 due to concerns with the NCAA.

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Governor DeSantis Announces Advancement of Everglades Reservoir Project

Earlier today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis met with Chairmen of the Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Chauncey Goss, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Noah Valenstein, and CEO of The Everglades Foundation, Eric Eikenburg to announce a unanimously approved agreement between the SFWMD Governing Board and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will advance the construction of phase two of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project.

The EAA Reservoir Project includes two major phases or ‘features’ according to Governor DeSantis: one being a treatment wetland that cleans water, and 10,500 acre above-ground reservoir that will store excess water from lake Okeechobee. Governor DeSantis noted that they “initiated the final phase of construction for the C43 reservoir” and were “near completion of the C44 reservoir and storm-water treatment area” that began initial construction in April of 2020 which was 12 months earlier than scheduled.

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