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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Small Businesses Worry About Inflation, Survey Shows

Workers

Small businesses cite inflation as their number one concern, according to new survey data.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses released the survey results Tuesday, which show that 21% of small business owners cite inflation as “the single most important problem in operating their business,” more than any other issue.

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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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Corn Growers Join Petition to SCOTUS Over California Emissions Mandate

Corn Harvester

A coalition of energy, biofuel and agriculture groups – including the Illinois Corn Growers Association – are taking their challenge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions mandate to the nation’s highest court. 

The group filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the EPA’s decision to grant a waiver to California for its 2021-2025 electric vehicle mandate. Illinois lawmakers have considered adopting California’s strict EV policies.  

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Administrations Lay Plans to One-Up America’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

Offshore Wind Farm

Installation of the country’s largest offshore wind farm began in earnest just two months ago off the coast of Virginia, and the Biden administration announced Friday it will be auctioninganother even bigger wind energy lease sale off the coast of the commonwealth. 

Dominion Energy leased the approximately 113,000 acres that would become the site of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project in 2013. After installing two pilot turbines in 2020, the utility began the installation of the rest of its 176 turbines in May.

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California Joins 26 States in Requiring Students Take Personal Finance Class

Students in Class

Over half of U.S. states now require high school students to receive a financial literacy course before they graduate after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill passed by the California Legislature.

With the passage of California’s law requiring schools to offer a course in personal finance by the 2027-28 school year and requiring the class of 2031 to receive at least one class, a total of 26 states now require students to take a course on how to manage money, according to a nonprofit spearheading efforts to pass such laws.

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Unemployment Insurance Claims Continue to Rise

Unemployment Insurance Claims Office

The number of insured unemployed individuals increased by 26,000 to 1,858,000, in the week ending June 29, the highest level since November 2021.

Seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims reached 238,000, marking an increase of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 234,000. 

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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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Federal Judge Pauses Biden’s Partial Liquefied Natural Gas Export Ban

Judge James Cain Jr.

A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked the Biden administration’s ban on new exports of liquified natural gas exports to non-free trade agreement countries.

Judge James Cain Jr. of the Western District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Department of Energy’s partial LNG export ban after more than a dozen states sued, arguing the ban was illegal.

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Amtrak’s Staffing Jumps 22 Percent Since Pandemic, Salaries by More than $500 Million

Amtrak Train

Amtrak has seen a 22% increase in its employee count while salaries and benefits have increased by more than $500 million in the past four years – to $2.69 billion in 2023.

Amtrak, known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, serves more than 500 destinations in 46 separate states covering more than 21,400 miles nationwide.

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IRS Data Shows Florida Had the Country’s Biggest Population Gains

People Packing

New migration data from the Internal Revenue Service shows Florida added 245,334 residents in 2022, the most among states.

The total inflow, not adjusted against those leaving the state, was 466,210 in 2022 as 277,527 tax filers with a combined adjusted gross income of $26.6 billion decamped to Florida. 

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Biden: Supreme Court Ruling on Presidential Immunity ‘Dangerous Precedent’

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden Monday night said the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that the president has “absolute immunity” when acting in his core constitutional duties is “a dangerous precedent” that “undermines the rule of law of this nation.”

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision ruled that the “president’s exercise of his core constitutional powers, this immunity must be absolute. As for his remaining official actions, he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity.”

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Study: ‘Vast DEI Bureaucracy’ Negatively Impacting U.S. Armed Forces

F35 A - Nellis Air Force Base

A new Arizona State University study suggests that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts in the United States military are ineffective.

The study done by the university’s Center for American Institutions argued that there is a emphasis on training new soldiers about social issues like “unconscious bias” and “intersectionality” in a way the center says runs contrary to typical American ideals. The study examined DEI plan’s in different sector of the military, including DEI office staffing and education at academies like West Point.

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Overpayments Account for Nearly 75 Percent of Federal Improper Payments

Finances

The federal government reported $236 billion in improper payments in fiscal year 2023, with the vast majority coming from overpayments, according to a new watchdog report.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office report found 74% of improper payments – payments that shouldn’t have been made or were made in the wrong amount – were overpayments. Overpayments accounted for $175.1 billion of the total amount of improper payments in 2023. Overpayments are payments “in excess of what is due, and for which the excess amount, in theory, should or could be recovered,” according to the report.

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Report Shows 61 Percent of Renters Can’t Afford Median Apartment Rate in U.S.

Los Angeles Apartment Building

Due to inflation eating away at earnings and less supply of affordable housing, the majority of Americans today cannot afford median rent prices, according to a new report by the real estate company Redfin.

The analysis comes as other reports indicate that both homeowners and renters are struggling with high housing costs due to inflationary pressures, an inflated housing market, low supply and demand for affordable housing.

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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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Signatures Submitted for Nevada Voter ID Ballot Initiative

Repair The Vote Petition

A Nevada political action committee (PAC) has submitted signatures in support of a Voter ID ballot initiative.

Repair The Vote PAC gave state and county election officials more than 179,000 signatures. The required number is 102,362, with an equal number of signatures coming from every congressional district.

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Corn Growers Join Lawsuit Against EPA for Emissions Mandates

Corn Farmer

Several U.S. oil and corn industry lobby groups are suing the Biden Administration over its plans to slash planet-warming tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks. The coalition argues the regulations will cause economic harm.

The EPA finalized new rules for models of semi-trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles released from 2027 to 2032 in a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

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Another Report Says CBP, ICE Not Detaining, Removing Inadmissibles Flying into Country

CBP officer

The Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued another report identifying ongoing problems with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) processes.

A regional CBP and ICE detention and removal processes were ineffective at one major international airport, the OIG audit found. The report redacts the name and location of the airport and CBP and ICE regional offices.

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Post Office Firearms Ban Faces Constitutional Challenge

United States Postal Office

A federal ban on carrying guns in post offices is now in question as a legal filing is now challenging whether the ban violates the Constitution.

Two men, Gavin Pate and George Mandry, have filed suit against the Department of Justice over the ban on carrying and storing weapons at federal post office locations.

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In First Five Years, 79,000 of DACA Recipients Admitted to U.S. Had Arrest Records

DACA Rally

Within five years of a new program created to prevent deportation of minors brought into the country illegally by their parents, nearly 80,000 were released into the U.S. with arrest records. The majority were between the ages of 19 and 22 when they were arrested, according to the latest available data published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced he was expanding deportation protections and job opportunities for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by executive order by former president Barack Obama in 2012.

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Nearly Half of Americans Struggling Because of Higher Prices in Poll

Grocery Shopping

Nearly half of Americans report that the recent spike in inflation is making it harder to make ends meet, according to a new poll.

Monmouth University released a poll Wednesday showing 46% of Americans are “currently struggling to remain where they are financially.”

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CBP: More than 241,000 Illegal Entries in May, 2.2 Million in Fiscal Year

Illegal Immigrants

More than 241,000 people were apprehended after illegally entering the U.S. in May, according to newly released data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

May’s numbers push the total number of apprehensions and encounters of illegal border crossers to more than 2.2 million in the first eight months of fiscal 2024.

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Florida Governor Signs into Law Two Bills Intended to Help Veterans

Florida Veterans

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed two bills on Thursday intended to support Florida veterans and their spouses.

House Bill 725 expands the eligibility for admissions to a long-term care facility for veterans to include spouses and surviving spouses of qualifying veterans.

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Industry Groups Sue over Biden Regulation Requiring Electric School Buses, Trucks

Rich Moskowitz, AFPM General Counsel

A coalition of industry groups have filed a lawsuit challenging a Biden administration rule.

A dozen groups joined together to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for the Biden administration’s new rule, finalized earlier this year, which requires model 2027 trucks to meet strict emissions standards that critics say are meant to push out diesel and gas vehicles and to replace them with electric vehicles.

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Biden Announces Widespread Amnesty Plan for Illegal Immigrants

President Joe Biden announced a new plan on Tuesday that will fast track a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals who’ve been living in the country illegally for more than 10 years and married a U.S. citizen. He also expanded protections for DACA recipients, according to several reports.

In a statement issued by the White House, the president blamed Republicans in Congress for not securing the border and fixing the “broken immigration system.”

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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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Supreme Court Ruling Upholds Immigration Law and Deportation Process

Justice Samuel Alito

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday upheld a law established by Congress requiring the deportation of foreign nationals who illegally enter the country. 

The court ruled on three consolidated cases in Campos-Chaves v Garland that were on appeal in the Fifth and Ninth circuits, where the appellate courts issued conflicting rulings.

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Airline Industry Continues to Grapple with Safety Concerns

Boeing 737

Various aviation and airline executives and experts spoke Wednesday on safety in the industry at an event hosted by POLITICO.

Speakers included Bob Jordan, CEO of Southwest Airlines, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kans. and Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Michael Whitaker and other executives from the airline industry. 

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Voters Lack Confidence Kamala Harris can Become President

Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris has a fight on her hands if she wants to inherit the Democratic presidential mantle after President Joe Biden’s time is over, according to a new poll.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that voters have serious doubts about Harris’ electability.

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Inspector General: Vetting of Asylum Seekers Is Inadequate

DHS employee

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security must improve the screening and vetting process of noncitizens claiming asylum who are being released into the country, the department’s inspector general says in a new report.

The Office of the Inspector General evaluated the screening process being implemented by two DHS agencies: U.S. Customs and Border Protection screening foreign nationals arriving at land ports of entry and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) screening asylum seekers. The OIG audited the effectiveness of the technology, procedures, and other processes used to screen and vet asylum seekers. It concluded they “were not fully effective to screen and vet noncitizens applying for admission into the United States or asylum seekers whose asylum applications were pending for an extended period.”

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CBO: U.S. Budget Deficit at $1.7 Trillion over Past Year

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office this week revealed the magnitude of the federal deficit, growing to $1.7 trillion in one year, as the national public debt reached $34.7 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

On Monday alone, the national public debt grew by $37 billion. By Tuesday, it surpassed $34.7 trillion overall.

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Inflation Slows Slightly, but Cost of Some Goods, Services Climbs

Newly released federal inflation data showed that inflation slowed in recent weeks.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its Consumer Price Index, which showed that overall consumer prices paused in the month of May after rising 0.3 percent in April.

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Texas, Montana Sue Biden over Rule Requiring States to Pay for ‘Gender Transition’

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (composite image)

Texas and Montana have sued the Biden administration over another federal rule change it implemented, this time over one that requires states to pay for “gender transition” procedures through their Medicaid programs.

It also requires health-care providers to perform such procedures in states where the practice has been banned, including in Montana and Texas. Their state legislatures passed bills their governors signed into law prohibiting “gender transition” procedures from being performed on minors in their states, among other restrictions.

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Florida’s DeSantis Announces $1.25 Billion Teacher Pay Hike

Florida Teacher Pay

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference in Hialeah on Monday to announce $1.25 billion for teacher salary increases.

DeSantis said the funds for teacher salary hikes are earmarked in the budget over the next five years and pointed out that Florida has ranked tops overall in education by U.S. News and World Report for the past two years.

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More Fentanyl Crossing Border as Fake Prescription Pills, Study Finds

More fentanyl is coming across the southern border disguised as prescription pills, according to a new study that notes the “number and size of fentanyl seizures is increasing in the U.S.” 

A study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy suggests the shift in distribution trends puts “a wider population at risk for unintentional exposure to fentanyl.”

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Border Experts: Biden Plan will Bring Another 2 Million into Country a Year

Illegal Immigrants

Former Border security leaders serving under multiple presidents and whose careers span decades in law enforcement say President Joe Biden’s “border security” announcement Tuesday won’t secure the border but instead will facilitate more illegal immigration, bringing in another two million people into the country illegally a year.

“The border will never be ‘shut down’ under this executive action but rather serve to legalize an unjustified level of open borders that will further perpetuate the chaos and lawlessness we’ve experienced during the entirety of the Biden Administration,” former U.S. Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan told The Center Square. “The proposed action will, at a minimum, allow more than one million illegal aliens to be released into the county annually, along with another one million inadmissible aliens being allowed to fly into interior airports within the U.S.,” referring to the CBP One app that allows migrants to apply for entry remotely.

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Six States, Three Tribes to Receive $130 Million to Rehab for Abandoned Mine Land

Abandoned Land mine

Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will each receive $28.7 million in funding through the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization plan in fiscal year 2024.

The funding comes through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which put $11.3 billion in funding for the program over 15 years. In total, six states and three tribes will receive a combined $130 million.

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Excess Deaths Remained Elevated Even After COVID-19 Vaccines, Study Finds

Vaccine

More people died in Western countries than expected for three consecutive years amid the COVID-19 pandemic, despite containment measures and vaccines, according to a new study.

The study, published in BMJ Public Health, found more research is needed to determine why more people died than expected, a metric called excess mortality.

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Experts Raise Concerns About Rapid Growth of Artificial Intelligence

Computer programmer

Experts on artificial intelligence raised concerns about the implications of AI’s rapid growth at a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.

The American Enterprise Institute hosted a series of panel discussions surrounding the deployment of AI. Panelists discussed safety protocols, workforce development and regulatory initiatives.

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Feds Send Millions of Taxpayer Dollars to the Taliban

Taliban riding on Humvee in Kabul

After two decades at war with the Taliban, the U.S. government is now sending millions of taxpayer dollars to the terrorist group.

The Taliban resumed power in Afghanistan immediately after the chaotic and deadly withdrawal of U.S. troops earlier in the Biden administration.

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Biden Threatens Veto of Veteran Funding over Abortion, LGBT Provisions

riginal Montford Point Marines stand for the National Anthem

U.S. House Republicans passed legislation Wednesday to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs and military construction, but a battle over abortion, sexuality and other issues may sink the bill.

The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2025 features $378.644 billion in spending. 

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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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Reports: California Exodus Continues, Southeastern States as Primary Destinations

Austin, Texas

As the California exodus continues, a new migration trend is occurring, with southeastern and Appalachian states taking the top spots as inbound migration destinations, according to new reports.

According to a new Consumer Affairs 2024 Migration Trends report, “California’s mass exodus continues to ensue,” with the South and Southeast region of the country being the “hottest regions for people moving.”

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