Audits Find Financial Issues with Some Florida Charter Schools

Classroom

The Florida Auditor General’s office has released two reports that detail significant issues and financial trends in the Sunshine State’s charter schools, charter technical career centers and district school boards.

There are 720 charter schools and charter technical career centers operating in Florida, with the majority in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. State law requires these schools to be annually audited by an independent certified public accountant.

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Cost Estimates for Florida Abortion Amendment Could Be Affected by Lawsuit

Abortion Rally

Florida state officials said on Monday that litigation could affect cost estimates for a proposed constitutional amendment that could enact a right to abortion statewide.

The Office of Economic and Demographic Research held a Financial Estimating Conference Monday to review the financial impact of the ballot initiative, which will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.

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More Police Officers Relocating to Florida from Other States

Sarasota Police

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody welcomed new police officers to the state after they relocated from Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico and New York.

“Florida is the most pro-law enforcement state in the nation because we back our blue,” Moody said. “We’ve been spreading the word about all the great incentives to join our ranks, and individuals like the new Sarasota recruits have answered the call – leaving behind places where their service was not as appreciated as it is here.”

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Jacksonville, Florida Will Pay $775 Million in Public Funds Toward $1.4 Billion Jaguars Renovation

J.C. Bradbury

The Jacksonville Jaguars became the second NFL team this week to get a large sum of public money for a stadium renovation when the City Council voted 14-1 to approve $775 million toward a $1.4 billion renovation of EverBank Stadium.

The Jaguars and NFL are expected to pay $625 million toward the project, using NFL G-4 loans along with funds from items such as naming rights through the new 30-year lease and non-relocation agreement.

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Tampa Electric Wants Rate Hike Despite Opposition from Customers

Big Bend Power Station

Customers of one of Florida’s largest utilities had the opportunity to voice their opinions during a public hearing held by Florida regulators last week.

The Tampa Electric Company filed a petition with the Florida Public Service Commission in April to increase base rates for 810,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Hillsborough County and portions of Polk, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

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Soros and Democratic Dark Money Bankrolling ‘Grassroots’ Campaign Pushing Abortion in Florida

Stop Abortion Rally

The organization behind a ballot initiative that could reverse Florida’s six-week abortion ban goes to lengths to promote its “grassroots” credentials, all while taking in millions from liberal dark money groups and other deep-pocketed sources, campaign finance records show.

Floridians Protecting Freedom (FPF), one of the main groups pushing for a 2024 ballot measure that would enshrine the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution, touts its “grassroots” campaign and fundraising in several press releases it has sent out in recent months. However, the group has taken in massive sums of cash from a sprawling liberal dark money network and organizations backed by wealthy liberal donors.

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida Gender-Affirming Care Ban as ‘Unconstitutional’

Transgender Protest

A federal judge in Florida on Tuesday struck down the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors, which also imposed restrictions for some adults, touting the law as “unconstitutional” because it discriminated against transgender people.

The controversial law was passed in the state and signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2023. It barred medical professionals from administering gender-affirming care to minors, including treatments like puberty blockers and hormones. Florida medical boards embraced rules barring doctors from performing gender surgeries on minors or prescribing hormone treatments for them in 2022.

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Florida University Civic Center Aims to Become ‘Premier Think Tank’ on Economic Freedom

Carlos Diaz-Rosillo

Florida International University’s civics center has made an international impact in its first four years of existence by bringing together politicians and private sector leaders to promote individual and economic freedom.

The Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom at the Miami university came about through efforts by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state legislature to bolster Western democratic thought in higher education. In 2023, DeSantis signed additional legislation to boost civic education centers in the state’s public universities.

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Florida Supreme Court Sides with DeSantis over Removal of Soros-Backed Prosecutor

Monique Worrell

On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) over his decision to remove a far-left prosecutor from her post.

As Fox News reports, DeSantis first suspended State Attorney Monique Worrel in August of 2023, accusing her of “dereliction of duty” due to her soft-on-crime policies. Worrel subsequently sued the DeSantis Administration and demanded that she be reinstated, claiming that her firing was an “arbitrary, unsubstantiated exercise of the suspension power.”

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Florida Officials Seeking Public Input on Proposed Energy Rebate Programs

Brooks Rumenik

Florida officials are seeking feedback from the public about the Florida Energy Rebate programs currently under development.

The program still awaits approval from the U.S. Department of Energy. Florida has been allocated $346 million to assist residents in reducing energy costs by improving their home’s energy efficiency through qualified upgrades, retrofits and high-efficiency appliances.

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Florida AG Moody Calls on Treasury to Stop Supporting ‘Cuba’s Communist Interests’

Ashely Moody Cuba

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody on Thursday called on U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to stop the agency’s “continued support of Cuba’s communist interests.”

She did so after Cuban-American lawmakers raised the alarm about Chinese spies operating in Cuba, reportedly targeting Cuban-Americans as well as about the Biden administration recently allowing Cuban regime officials to tour TSA facilities at the Miami International Airport.

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Florida’s Public Schools Close as School Choice Takes Off

School with students learning

As Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed school choice initiatives, leading to a spike in charter and private school enrollments, public schools are shutting down.

Across the state, public school enrollment is declining. Duval County Public School District, the sixth-largest school district in Florida and 20th largest in the country, is now considering campus closures due to dramatic dips in their enrollment.

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Report Indicates Florida Tort Reform Reduced ‘Nuclear Verdicts’

Courtroom Money

A new report shows that the number of “nuclear” verdicts in the Sunshine State has steadily declined since tort reforms were signed into law in 2023.

Marathon Strategies released its 2024 report on corporate verdicts throughout the U.S., and data shows a 30% rise in juries awarding enormous sums of money in legal cases brought against big corporations. However, Florida is bucking this trend.

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Florida Bar Judge Recommends 60-Day Suspension for Conservative Attorney Exercising His Free Speech During Political Campaign

Chris Crowley

A referee judge for the Florida State Bar recommended suspending decorated Gulf War veteran Chris Crowley’s law license for 60 days over his criticism of an opponent he ran against for the Office of the State Attorney in Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit.

During the 2018 race, Crowley referred to Amira D. Fox, who eventually won, as “corrupt” and “swampy” and observed that she had “close family ties to the PLO terrorist organization.” The Florida Bar had requested a 91-day suspension for allegedly violating the bar’s ethics rule prohibiting criticism of judges, election officials, and candidates running for office.

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Florida Legislature Passes Bill Removing ‘Climate Change’ from State Laws, Awaits DeSantis Signing

Climate Change

Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature has passed a measure to replace mentions of “climate change” in many state laws and has sent it to GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis for him to sign into law 

The bill, which focuses on energy security, removes all explicit mentions of climate change, according to Scripps News, and directs the state only to “promote the cost-effective development and use of a diverse supply of domestic energy resources.”

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Florida, New York, and the District of Columbia Join Lawsuit Against the NCAA’s NIL Recruitment Ban Led by Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti

The attorneys general of Florida, New York, and the District of Columbia have joined Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares’ lawsuit challenging the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) name, image, and likeness (NIL) recruitment ban.

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DeSantis Touts More Spending for the Developmentally Disabled in Florida

Ron DeSantis

Floridians with developmental disabilities will benefit from a record level of funding for direct services after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a multi-billion dollar investment from the state.

DeSantis spoke at the Els Center in Jupiter on Monday and announced that as part of the Live Healthy legislation spearheaded by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and his Focus on Florida’s Bright Future Budget that $2.2 billion will be going to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities for services through the iBudget waiver.

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DeSantis Signs Two Bills Designed to Bolster Florida Homes Against Hurricanes

Ron DeSantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two new bills Wednesday intended to strengthen Florida homes against hurricanes and other severe weather events.

DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7028, which will add another $200 million in funding for the My Safe Florida Home Program which allows homes to be assessed after major storm events and assists in improving resilience in structures.

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Florida’s DeSantis Signs Education Reform Bill into Law

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an education reform bill into law on Tuesday that will have long-reaching implications for the state’s education system.

House Bill 1285 does several things, including addressing school districts with “Turn-Around” status, repeals the Florida College System’s employment equity and accountability program and requires the State Board of Education to establish specialized teaching certificates for classical school educators.

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Florida Governor Signs Five Bills Designed to Protect Children from Predators

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed five bills on Wednesday designed to protect children from sexual predators.

The new legislation ranges from House Bill 1545, which protects children from grooming activities and other sexual offenses to Senate Bill 1224 which strengthens the role of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office while implementing training requirements for law enforcement to assess a domestic violence situation properly.

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Florida to Penalize Those Who Expose Law Enforcement Officers to Fentanyl

Desantis Fentanyl

Penalties for those who expose law enforcement officers to fentanyl are set to increase in the Sunshine State after new legislation was signed Monday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate bills 718 and 66. The first creates a second-degree felony for any adult individual who recklessly exposes first responders to fentanyl that results in an overdose or serious bodily harm.

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Abortion Activists Moan After Florida Supreme Court Ruling Doesn’t Bring in ‘Rage’ Donors

Florida Supreme Court

Abortion activists in Florida are frustrated after the state’s Supreme Court ruling allowing a fetal heartbeat law to take effect failed to produce “rage” donations.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of a law signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in April 2023 that would prohibit a doctor from performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy. McKenna Kelley, a board member of the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund, said that, unlike the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022, the Florida ruling had produced little “rage giving” despite a growing demand for funding for abortions, according to Axios.

“It’s really important that if you care about people having access to abortion, you help support us,” Kelley told Axios.

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Judge Hands DeSantis Legal Win in Lawsuit over Martha’s Vineyard Migrant Flights

Ron DeSantis Courtroom

A federal judge dismissed claims against Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis brought by attorneys representing migrants he flew to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 2022.

District Judge Allison Burroughs ruled Friday that migrants could sue the charter flight company, Vertol Systems, that contracted with Florida to transport migrants in September 2022. But Burroughs dismissed other claims brought against DeSantis and state defendants, finding the court lacked jurisdiction over them in the case while leaving the possibility of future legal action open.

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DeSantis Signs Ban on Social Media for Children Under Age 14

Ron DeSantis Social Media

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a controversial new bill into law on Monday that will prohibit the use of social media platforms by children.

House Bill 3 requires that social media platforms be regulated to prohibit minors under age 14 from having a social media account if the platform allows users to upload content and view content from other users, uses algorithms and has certain addictive features to keep young children scrolling.

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Florida Bans Homeless Encampments

Homeless Camps

On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) signed a bill into law that bans homeless encampments in the state of Florida.

As reported by Just The News, House Bill 1365, formally titled the Unauthorized Public Camping and Public Sleeping Act, demands that homeless individuals be placed in temporary shelters that will be monitored by state law enforcement agencies, while also banning the use of drugs in such shelters and providing drug and alcohol treatment to occupants who need it.

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Florida Lottery Transferred $2.45 Billion to K-12 Education in 2023

Teacher in Class

The Florida Lottery has become a crucial part of funding for education in the Sunshine State, and according to a recent report from the Florida Auditor General, it continues to grow each year.

In late January, the AG released the financial audit of the Florida Lottery, whose mission is to maximize financial revenue for the benefit of education “in a manner consistent with the dignity of the State of Florida and the welfare of its citizens.”

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DeSantis Sends Coast Guard, Police to Guard Southern Waters Against Haitian Emigration to Florida

Haitians on Boat

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is mobilizing an air-and-sea fleet along with a company of 250 law enforcement officials to safeguard southern waters against a potential mass Haitian emigration to Florida.

The governor’s decision comes amid a wave of crime and chaos that has swept across the Caribbean country just days after President Ariel Henry relinquished power from Puerto Rico.

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Florida’s DeSantis Signs Three Bills Designed to Combat Illegal Immigration

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three bills into law on Friday to bolster Florida’s efforts to prevent illegal immigration.

“We’re here today, one, to build off a record of success with respect to combating illegal immigration…if you go back six or seven years in the state of Florida, we were not leading against illegal immigration at all, in fact, we were one of the weaker states,” DeSantis said.

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Florida Prepares for Surge in Illegal Aliens from Haiti

Haitians in Boat

As the government of Haiti appears poised to collapse in the face of a violent revolution by criminal gangs, the nearby U.S. state of Florida is preparing for a tidal wave of illegal aliens from the devastated island nation.

According to Politico, lawmakers in Florida have already issued warnings about the potential national security risk of so many third-world illegals coming to the U.S. as a result of the humanitarian crisis, especially as Congress has not yet determined a definitive policy towards Haiti.

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Florida Parental Rights Law Upheld in Court

Ron DeSantis

On Monday, the state of Florida finally settled a lawsuit that had lasted for several years regarding the fate of a parental rights law that had come to be derogatorily known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law.

According to The Hill, the settlement agreement determined that the law, the 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act, will be kept in place but will tone down certain portions that were determined to be too close to violations of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

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Florida Sheriff Blasts Border Policies After 21 Charged in Sex Trafficking Ring

Grady Judd

An undercover human trafficking operation in Florida found that 21 illegal foreign nationals were using papers given to them by the Department of Homeland Security to fly to major cities in the United States for free to engage in sex trafficking, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

“Federal policy drives illegal immigrant crime and victimization,” Judd said when announcing the results of a multi-agency undercover operation that led to the arrest of 228 people. Among them, 21 people arrested were in the country illegally, citizens of Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela.

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Julie Kelly Commentary: In the Room at Friday’s Florida Hearing in Trump’s Classified Documents Case

FL Judge Aileen Cannon Infront of florida courthouse

I am digging into a few other matters related to this case, the contempt order issued Thursday against veteran investigative reporter Catherine Herridge, and a new appellate court ruling overturning the use of a sentencing enhancement for J6ers convicted of the controversial 1512(c)(2) charge so unfortunately I can’t write a full article on yesterday’s hearing that I attended in person in Fort Pierce. So I want to share my X posts about what happened.

A few additional observations: Judge Cannon’s approach and style is inimical from that of judges in D.C. For part of the proceedings, I kept thinking how DOJ’s J6 prosecution in Washington would be so different if only half the judges were as careful and prepared and nontheatrical as Cannon. I shared this with a J6 defense attorney last night and he agreed.

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Florida Senate Committee Advances Bill to Limit Terms of County Commissioners

Blaise Ingoglia

A bill that would put term limits on Florida county commissioners passed a key hurdle in the Senate Committee Rules on Monday.

Senate Bill 438 is sponsored by state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill. It would introduce term limits for county commissioners and would require certain counties to hold a referendum election to ask voters if they approve or disapprove of term limits in their county.

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Florida House, Senate Approve Social Media Restrictions for Minors

Kid on Phone

The Florida state House and Senate on Thursday approved legislation to impose tight restrictions on social media access for minors.

Under the plan, young Floridians under 16 years old would be barred from access several social media platforms, which in turn would be required to delete the accounts of underaged persons, Politico reported. It would also require that websites producing sensitive content, such as pornography, work to verify the age of users.

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Foreign-Owned Social Media Platforms Could Face New Florida Restrictions

People on Phones

Foreign-owned social media platforms such as TikTok could face a big change in the Sunshine State if a bill currently being advanced by the Florida Senate gets signed into law.

Senate Bill 1448 is sponsored by state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, and would add transparency for social media platforms operating in Florida that are owned by foreign adversaries.

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Florida House Reworks Bill That Would’ve Restricted State Guard Deployments

Florida National Guard

A bill that would have possibly prevented Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis from sending the Florida State Guard to the nation’s southern border has been rewritten to remove that provision.

Instead, House Bill 1551, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Giallombardo, R- Cape Coral, was replaced by a committee substitute authored by the Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

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Florida Abortion Activists Allegedly Caught Submitting Fraudulent Petition Signatures

Keep Abortion Legal

Florida authorities have caught multiple individuals involved in petition fraud related to a radical effort to enshrine late-term abortion into Florida’s state constitution.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced this week that inspectors arrested a “paid petition circulator” and issued an arrest warrant for a second petition circulator after they submitted 133 invalid constitutional amendment petitions in numerous counties.

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