DeSantis Suspends Florida School Choice Scholarships to Schools with ‘Ties to the Chinese Communist Party’

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office announced that four schools will no longer receive school choice scholarships after an investigation from the state education department found the schools allegedly had “direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”

DeSantis’ announcement Friday targets the Lower and Upper Sagemont Preparatory Schools in Weston, located west of Fort Lauderdale, and the Parke House Academy and Park Maitland School, both of which are located in Winter Park, a northern suburb of Orlando.

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Report Ranks Florida Third for Solar Power Implementation

The Sunshine State is quickly outpacing the rest of the country as a top solar energy installer, which looks to continue in coming years.

According to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida was ranked third in the country in 2022 behind Texas and California, installing around 12,000 megawatts of generation capacity since 2013, enough to power 1.51 million homes.

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Florida House Examines Implementation of ‘Responsible Fatherhood’ Law

A Florida House subcommittee met this week to discuss implementing some of the elements of a bill that passed during the 2022 session designed to promote responsible fatherhood.

House Bill 7065 was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in April of 2022 and was designed to “aid in creating and sustaining safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children and families that allow children to grow up to their full potential,” and also focuses on responsible fatherhood.

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DeSantis’ Energy Plan: Midland over Moscow

On Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his energy plan. It includes reversing all Biden administration policies to get gasoline prices at the pump back to $2 a gallon in 2025. 

Gas prices and all other household goods reliant on petroleum have soared to over 40-year highs since President Biden implemented new energy policies in 2021. They include canceling the Keystone Pipeline on his first day in office, halting offshore and onshore lease sales, advancing EPA and other regulatory restrictions solely on U.S. oil and natural gas companies, halting investments in the industry by imposing environmental, social governance policies to restrict lending to U.S. oil and natural gas companies, among other policies. 

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Newly Approved Florida Rules Could Cut Price of Prescription Drugs

New rules approved by officials in Florida this week are designed to increase accountability from pharmaceutical companies when it comes to drug pricing.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that he and the Florida cabinet approved rules that will allow the implementation of provisions within Senate Bill 1550, the Prescription Drug Act.

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Abortion-Related Bill Filed as Florida Supreme Court Ponders Six-Week Ban Law

A bill seeking to prevent Florida women from being prosecuted for seeking abortions out of state was filed last week as the state Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the state’s six-week abortion ban. 

In a news release, Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, D-Davie, said she had filed legislation to prevent pregnant women and girls from being criminally charged and imprisoned for obtaining an abortion, stating that the new bill — Senate Bill 34 — was in response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ claim that only abortion providers would be prosecuted.

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Florida’s Nunez Says DeSantis Administration Delivers on Conservation Promises

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez extolled the conservation efforts of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration at an award ceremony Friday for the Florida Python Challenge.

Nunez said that she is proud to be part of keeping Florida’s natural environment pristine.

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Florida City Councilman Faces Recall Petition

Ballotpedia tracked one new recall effort against a local official in Florida from Sept. 4 through Sept. 10, bringing the yearly statewide total to six efforts against five officials. The most recent effort is: Henry Rosenthal recall, Islamorada, Florida (2023): Seat 4 Village Councilman. 

Recall organizers accused Rosenthal of malfeasance, alleging that he asked the village’s planning director to ask the rest of the council how they planned to vote on an amendment he needed for a project to open a theater and entertainment venue in the village, which violated multiple Florida laws.

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Florida First State to Officially Recommend Against COVID-19 Boosters

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said Wednesday that the Sunshine State will be the first state to officially recommend against COVID-19 boosters for those under age 65.

The state, in its guidance, discourages use of the booster for those under age 65 because the new U.S. Food and Drug Administration boosters lack a human clinical trial and evidence of their efficiency or benefits.

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New Committee Assignments for Florida Lawmakers Issued Ahead of Session

There will be some changes to committee assignments when the Florida Legislature reconvenes in January.

Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, has announced new committee assignments ahead of the start of interim committee meetings on Sept. 18. Lawmakers can start filing bills on Monday.

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Former TN Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn Fails Upward, Lands $367k per Year Job with University of Florida

Tennessee’s former commissioner of education, Dr. Penny Schwinn, has landed a new position with the University of Florida. Dr. Schwinn will join the school in a newly created position as vice president for PK-12 and Pre-Bachelors Programs.

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Florida Enrollment in Medicaid Continues Recent Decline

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Florida’s Medicaid enrollment continue to decline, according to recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on health policy, research and polling.

According to data from the Medicaid Enrollment and Unwinding Tracker, the number of people on Medicaid in the Sunshine State declined 7% from April to July, shrinking from 5.78 million to 5.36 million.

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Florida Launches New Crime-Fighting Initiative, Partnership

 Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is launching a new statewide crime fighting initiative involving former America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh.

Moody made the announcement in West Palm Beach on Wednesday with Florida Association of Crime Stoppers President Frank Brunner, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, other law enforcement officials, and Walsh.

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Florida School Board Rejects ‘LGBTQ History Month’ Proposal Again

Miami Dade County school board members rejected a proposal Thursday that would have recognized October as “LGBTQ history month,” according to Politico.

Miami-Dade County school board members acknowledged LGBTQ History Month in 2021 but did not do so in 2022 after the school board was realigned ideologically with members  endorsed by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to Politico. School board members voted against the measure 5-3 following hours of public comment and debate on the issue.

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DeSantis Floats Pardons After Blasting Lengthy Sentences for Proud Boys

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida on Wednesday blasted the lengthy sentences given to Proud Boys members and said that he is considering pardons to “ensure that everyone’s treated equally.”

Multiple members of the group were sentenced to prison terms of up to 22 years over their involvement in Jan. 6. DeSantis noted that similar sentences were not imposed over the riots that followed the death of George Floyd in May 2020, which resulted in at least 24 people being killed and caused nearly $1 billion in property damage.

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Florida Initiative to Prohibit Abortion Restrictions Qualifies for State Court Review

Floridians Protecting Freedom, sponsors of an initiative that would prohibit restrictions on abortions before fetal viability, have submitted 297,586 valid signatures as of Sept. 1, qualifying the proposal for a review by the state Supreme Court.

The initiative would provide that “no law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s health care provider.” The amendment would not change the state legislature’s ability to require parental notification for abortions sought by minors.

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Several Florida Areas Lose Eligibility for Federal Rural Home Loan Program

Nine counties in Florida have areas that will no longer be eligible to participate in a federal loan program for rural housing due to population increases.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development completed its recent review of rural areas nationwide, using data from the 2020 U.S. Census. The ruling goes into effect for those areas on Oct. 1.

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Despite Hurricane Landfall, Florida Gas Prices Decrease Going into Labor Day

Despite being hit by Category 3 Hurricane Idalia, gas prices in Florida have decreased by five cents going into the Labor Day weekend.

The average gas price in Florida was $3.69 per gallon of regular according to the American Automobile Association, down from $3.75 last week but four cents more than last month. The national average is $3.83.

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Florida Continues Hurricane Idalia Recovery Efforts

Florida state officials say more than 476,000 electric customers have had their power restored 48 hours after Hurricane Idalia made landfall.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news briefing on Thursday that there were 91,000 customers in Taylor, Madison, Lafayette, Hamilton, Suwannee, Dixie and Jefferson counties that awaited  restoration after Idalia made landfall on Wednesday in the Big Bend as a Category 3 storm.

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Hurricane Idalia Leaves at Least Three Dead, Causes Up to $20 Billion in Estimated Damage

Hurricane Idalia’s path of destruction through four different states has left at least three people dead and caused up to $20 billion in estimated damage.

The storm, which first hit Florida’s northern Gulf coast Wednesday as a Category 3 hurricane, traveled through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina before entering over the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday.

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DeSantis Turns Down Millions in Incentives from Biden’s Signature Climate Bill

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has effectively rejected nearly $350 million dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) designated for use in Florida, according to Politico.

The IRA, President Joe Biden’s signature climate spending bill, sets aside money for rebates for consumers to buy more efficient appliances that the Biden administration is pushing and to help low-income individuals buy solar panels for their homes, according to Politico. DeSantis and the Florida legislature have effectively refused $3 million set aside for cleaning up pollution, $5 million in federal funds to set up the appliance rebates program and $341 million to actually fund that program.

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Texas A&M Task Force Deploys to Florida Ahead of Hurricane Idalia

Members of the Texas A&M Task Force 1 deployed to Florida on Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Idalia to help Floridians.

Gov. Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to deploy the task force, saying, “The State of Texas is sending personnel and resources to Florida as Hurricane Idalia prepares to make landfall in Florida tomorrow.

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DeSantis Declares State of Emergency as Idalia Takes Aim at Florida’s Big Bend

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 46 counties in Florida on Monday as Tropical Storm Idalia is predicted to make landfall as soon as Wednesday as a major hurricane.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Idalia to stroke the Big Bend of Florida as a Category 3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

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Florida Regulators Hold First Hearing on Storm Preparation Charges for Utilities

The Florida Public Service Commission held the first of a series of hearings Thursday into how much utilities can potentially charge their customers to repair storm-damaged electrical infrastructure.

Thursday’s hearing was an organizational one to set the stage for the main hearings Sept. 14-17. Each utility and the commission’s staff can call witnesses and offer testimony during the hearings. 

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Florida’s Two School Choice Scholarship Programs Break Participation Record

The state of Florida says a record number of students are either participating or have applied to the state’s two school choice scholarship programs.

In a news release, Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that almost 430,000 scholarship applications had been received for the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship and the Family Empowerment Scholarship programs.

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Florida Officials Forecast State’s Economy, Tax Revenues Will Continue Growth

Despite incorrectly predicting a mild recession for the first two quarters this year, Florida officials estimate that the state’s economy and tax revenues will continue to grow. 

The Office of Economic and Demographic Research held a Revenue Estimating Conference last week, with officials saying that the “current economic environment presented significant forecasting challenges.”

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Florida Officials Forecast State’s Economy, Tax Revenues Will Continue Growth

Despite incorrectly predicting a mild recession for the first two quarters this year, Florida officials estimate that the state’s economy and tax revenues will continue to grow. 

The Office of Economic and Demographic Research held a Revenue Estimating Conference last week, with officials saying that the “current economic environment presented significant forecasting challenges.”

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Florida’s New College Enrolls More Students, Looks to Cut Gender Studies

A small public Florida college has rapidly transformed under Governor Ron DeSantis-appointed trustee board, as liberal faculty have resigned in large numbers, a gender studies major is slated for demolition and admissions numbers rise.

Conservative activist and journalist Christopher Rufo, who serves as a trustee of the New College of Florida, motioned at the latest board meeting to begin to dissolve the gender studies program.

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Florida Becomes First State to Sanction Medicaid Providers for Covering Minor Transitions

Florida has become the first state to sanction Medicaid providers for covering the attempted gender transitions of minors.

The state is fining five Medicaid health care insurers for violating Florida’s new rule banning taxpayer funds from going to transgender treatments, such as performing a double mastectomy or administering puberty blockers, Jason Weida, secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

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Judge Rules Against ACLU Requesting to Block Florida Chinese Land Ownership Law

A federal judge ruled not to block the new Florida law that restricts Chinese nationals and some nationals from other countries from purchasing land in the state

U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor on Thursday denied an injunction requested by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which was representing four Chinese citizens and a real estate firm that wanted the law overturned. 

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DeSantis’ Travel, Security Cost Florida Taxpayers $8 Million over Past Year amid Presidential Bid

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ travel and security costs have cost state taxpayers over $8 million to Florida taxpayers over the past year as he tours the United States for his campaign to win the 2024 Republican nomination for president.

Over the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which in Florida is from July 1 to June 30 of the following, DeSantis’ travel and security expenses cost $8,073,607, according to data from the state Department of Law Enforcement cited by The Miami Herald in an article Wednesday.

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Abortion Clinic Fined $193,000 for Violating Florida Law

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) ordered a clinic Monday to pay nearly $200,000 in fees for violating a rule preventing women from receiving an abortion within 24 hours of requesting the procedure, according to a final order.

The rule, which lawmakers passed in 2015 and instated in April 2022, mandates that women must receive an ultrasound as well as a full explanation of the risks posed by abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure takes place, the Orlando Weekly reported. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the rule in June 2015, and the legal move prevented the bill from taking effect until Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey dismissed the suit in 2022, according to The Associated Press.

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Florida Officials Predict Increased Student Aid Costs for Taxpayers

Florida officials project that taxpayer-funded student aid will increase in coming years as more students graduate from high school in the Sunshine State.

The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research’s Education Estimating Conference was held on Friday to discuss projections for various scholarship programs for Florida college students in fiscal 2023-24 to fiscal 2028-29.

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Georgia Court Posts, Then Removes from Website List of Criminal Charges Against Trump

A website for Georgia’s Fulton County on Monday briefly listed what appeared to be criminal charges against Donald Trump, with the county’s district attorney expected to indict the former president as soon as Tuesday. 

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DeSantis Calls Out Biden For Ignoring His Own Granddaughter While Opposing Parental Rights

Presidential candidate and Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called out President Joe Biden for opposing efforts to protect parental rights while ignoring his own granddaughter on Saturday at the Iowa State Fair.

DeSantis slammed Democrats for seeing parents as a roadblock to “indoctrination” in the school system during his Fair-Side Chat in Iowa, making a jab at Biden for taking “four and a half years to acknowledge” his granddaughter, Navy Joan Roberts. Biden opposed Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which bars discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade or “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,” when DeSantis signed it into law in March 2022.

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Miami Border Patrol Agents Apprehend Foreign Nationals with Criminal Records

Border Patrol agents in the Miami Sector continue to apprehend foreign nationals with criminal records who are already inland, living in Florida towns.

Miami Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Walter Slosar said that agents working with law enforcement officers in Fort Pierce apprehended a Honduran national illegally in the U.S. The Honduran was in possession of firearms, miscellaneous drugs and U.S. currency. He was apprehended during a traffic stop.

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New College of Florida Trustees Move to Abolish Gender Studies Program

The New College of Florida (NCF) board of trustees voted Thursday to direct the administration of the institution to abolish its gender studies program, according to Chris Rufo, a member of the board.

In January, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed six new conservative members to the NCF board of trustees in an effort to overhaul the ideological education system. Since being appointed, the board has voted to eliminate the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion office (DEI) and ban the use of diversity statements.

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Florida Tells Schools They Can Teach AP Psychology Course Despite Claims It Was ‘Banned’

The Florida Department of Education (DOE) told schools Wednesday that an Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology course at the center of a controversy meets state law and can be taught, according to a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

On Aug. 3, the College Board, an academic organization that administers and designs high school courses for college credit, claimed its AP Psychology course had been “effectively banned” because they refused to modify the course to comply with the state’s guidance prohibiting age-inappropriate lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation in Pre-K-12 classrooms. In a Wednesday letter to Florida school superintendents, the state DOE noted that the course can be taught under its Parental Rights in Education law and that the AP course will be offered during the 2023-2024 school year.

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DeSantis Suspends Florida State Attorney for Abuse of Prosecutorial Discretion

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended a prosecutor on Wednesday for not doing enough to prosecute crimes in her district.

In an executive order issued Wednesday, DeSantis suspended State Attorney Monique Worrell of the 9th Judicial Circuit, which covers Orange and Osceola counties, and replaced her with Andrew Bain, who served as a judge in Orange County.

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Florida Board of Governors to Vote on Use of Classical Learning Test for College Admissions

The Florida Board of Governors is expected to vote at the end of August on whether to offer the Classical Learning Test (CLT) along with the SAT and ACT for public college admissions, a move that would make the Sunshine State the first in the nation to offer a test based specifically on the foundations of Western civilization and a “back to basics” education model.

A committee of the board of governors already met in June and approved the CLT as an option for the 12 schools in the State University System, the Tampa Bay Times reported at the time. After a two-week public comment period, the full board of governors will take its final vote August 30.

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U.S. Authorities on Alert After Discovering New Chinese Migrant Smuggling Route in Florida

by Jennie Taer   Federal authorities are growing increasingly concerned about a route Chinese migrants are utilizing to make their way to Florida illegally, according to an internal federal intelligence report obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation. The report states that law enforcement lacks information regarding who is coordinating…

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Education Revenue from the Florida Lottery Down by $270M in 2023, Officials Predict

Florida officials predict that contributions to the state’s education system from the state lottery will decrease this fiscal year by $270 million.

Officials at the Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research forecast that Florida Lottery and other sources such as slot machines will transfer $3.12 billion to the various education trust funds, which includes $560 million left over from the previous fiscal year.

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Governors Newsom and DeSantis Agree to Debate on Fox News’ Sean Hannity

California Governor Gavin Newsom and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have agreed to participate in a debate hosted by Sean Hannity on Fox News, pitting two younger, Generation X governors seen as standard bearers of their respective parties against each other for 90 minutes. 

First discussed between Newsom and Hannity when Newsom was interviewed by Hannity in June, the proposal was made into an official request by Newsom’s office last week, according to Politico, with suggested dates for November 8 or 10.

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Florida Rejects College Board Claim That AP Course Is Banned

The Florida Department of Education (DOE) is rejecting the College Board’s claim that its Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology course was banned from the state’s public school classes, according to a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The College Board, an academic organization that administers and writes high school courses for college credit, claimed on Thursday that the Florida DOE had “effectively banned” its AP Psychology course because they cannot modify the course to comply with the state’s guidance prohibiting age-inappropriate lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation in Pre-K-12 classrooms. The Florida DOE clarified that it has not banned the course from its state’s schools and that the class still remains listed in the 2023-2024 course directory, according to a statement to the DCNF.

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Florida AG Moody, Law Enforcement Sound Alarm over Panhandle Opioid Deaths

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and law enforcement officials are sounding the alarm over opioid deaths occurring in the Florida panhandle.

According to newly published data, the panhandle has the highest per capita opioid death rate in the state.

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