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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More than 4,000 New Law Enforcement Recruits in Florida

Florida Police Officer

More than 4,000 police officers have moved to Florida or become new recruits through Florida’s law enforcement recruitment bonus program.

The program was first launched in April 2022 after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law allocating $125 million for bonuses to benefit local police officers, sheriff’s deputies, paramedics, EMTs and firefighters statewide.

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Florida Man Facing Charges After Doing a Truck ‘Burnout’ over Rainbow Pride Crosswalk

Dylan Brewer

A Florida teenager is facing felony criminal mischief and reckless driving charges in Palm Beach County after he allegedly damaged a crosswalk painted in bright rainbow “Pride” colors by performing a “burnout” over it in his pickup truck.

Dylan Brewer, 19, of Clearwater, is accused of damaging the LGBTQ mural in Delray Beach on the evening of Feb. 4, Local 10.com reported.

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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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Florida Nonprofit Begins Quest for 1 Million Signatures, Getting Medicaid on 2026 Ballot

Medicaid Expansion

A nonprofit group is gathering signatures to put Medicaid expansion in Florida on the ballot in 2026.

“Our mission is to let voters decide whether Florida should expand Medicaid, bring billions of our tax dollars home, increase jobs, grow our economy, and provide access to care to over one million people,” said the group, Florida Decides Healthcare. “Together, we can make health care a reality for all Floridians.”

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Florida to Send 1,000 National Guard Troops to Texas Border

Ron DeSantis Texas Border

On Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) announced that the state of Florida will be sending up to 1,000 of its National Guard troops to Texas to assist state authorities in securing the border.

According to the New York Post, a press release from the governor’s office explained that the troops will be deployed “based on Texas’ needs,” and will include such duties as helping to repel illegal aliens trying to come across the southern border. It is the first time ever that the Florida National Guard has been deployed to somewhere outside of the state.

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Jacksonville Sheriff Released Racist Manifesto Just Six Months After Shooting, Suicide

TK Waters

Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters released in January the manifesto written by Ryan Palmeter, who fatally shot three people in a racially motivated attack that happened last August at a Dollar General in Florida last year before turning the gun on himself.

The manifesto was released following the completion of an investigation into the circumstances that led to the shooting by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department.

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DeSantis Calls for Constitutional Reforms to Address Spending, Border

DeSantis Speaking

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday that he is calling for constitutional reforms to hold leadership in Washington D.C. accountable for the crisis Americans face due to weak border policies and unchecked spending.

The second-term GOP governor and former presidential candidate is calling for a balanced federal budget, congressional term limits, laws being made equally applicable for citizens and members of Congress and line-item veto authority for the president.

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Florida University System Removes ‘Left-Wing’ Sociology Course from Core Requirements

The 17-member board of governors of the Florida university system decided Wednesday to eliminate a sociology course from the core requirements to graduate and to replace it with an American history class, according to a press release.

The new class, Introductory Survey to 1877, will introduce students to America’s founding, slavery, the Civil War and the Reconstruction era and will replace Principles of Sociology as a course requirement, according to a State University System of Florida press release. Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz has previously derided sociology, saying the discipline has been taken over by “left-wing activists,” and Florida University System Chancellor Ray Rodrigues said the move would have a “positive impact.”

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Florida Bill Would Give Ex-Convicts Better Shot at Employment

Fork Lift

Ex-offenders in Florida could have an easier time gaining work licenses, permits and other certifications after a new bill passed through committee on Monday.

Senate Bill 1012 is sponsored by state Sen. Alexis Calatayud, R-Miami and would assist ex-offenders in getting a license, permit, or certification for employment. Calatayud stated during the bill’s introduction to the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries that the bill protects individuals who happen to have a criminal history from being “blanket denied” by agencies.

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Florida Bans DEI in Public Colleges

Students Learning

In Florida, the state Board of Education passed new regulations prohibiting public colleges from using public funds for programs and initiatives based on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

As ABC News reports, the Florida Board of Education categorizes such DEI efforts as “any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation and promotes differential or preferential treatment of individuals on the basis of such classification.”

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Florida AG Calls on Congress Again to Impeach Mayorkas as House Proceedings Continue

Secretary Mayorkas

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is once again calling on Congress to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for failing to secure U.S. borders as the U.S. House continues its proceedings this week in an effort to do so.

The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to hold its second hearing on Thursday targeting Mayorkas.

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Florida Should Be Able to Lower Rent, Lease Sales Tax for Businesses Soon

Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund balance, drained during the COVID-19 pandemic, is expected to exceed its prepandemic level by March, two months earlier than expected, according to the nonprofit group Florida TaxWatch.

That will allow a decrease in state sales tax businesses must pay on payments made to rent or lease of commercial property. The 4.5% business rent tax will be lowered to 2% in June instead of August, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.

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Florida GOP Removes Embattled Leader

Christian Ziegler

The Florida Republican Party, the nation’s only state political party with two presidential candidates, has ousted its chairman a week before the GOP caucus in Iowa.

The Florida GOP voted Monday to remove embattled Chairman Christian Ziegler, under investigation for rape, and elevated Vice Chairman Evan Power. Seeking the White House in 2024 are Floridians Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, the respective former president and current governor.

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People in Florida Will Soon Be Able to Buy Drugs from Canada

Pharmacist

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Florida’s request to import cheap prescription drugs from Canada on Friday.

Policymakers across the political spectrum have long sought to import drugs from Canada, where drug prices are lower, and Florida’s authorization makes it the first state to import drugs in bulk from America’s northern neighbor. Florida estimates that it may save as much as $150 million on drugs treating things like diabetes, hepatitis C and certain psychiatric conditions.

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Report Finds Some Issues with Florida’s Economic Incentive Programs

Film

The Florida Legislature’s research arm released a report documenting issues with some of the Sunshine State’s economic development incentives and programs.

A review of Florida’s entertainment industry incentives by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability showed that 1,409 production companies had reported spending an estimated $1.3 billion on average. Companies also saved around $22 million in sales tax, and 57% of production companies said the incentives affected their decision to work in Florida.

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Florida Bill Would Expand Prison Incentive Program Designed to Reduce Recidivism

Danny Burgess

Nonviolent offenders in the Sunshine State could be part of a new incentive program if a new bill becomes law.

Senate Bill 1048 is sponsored by state Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills. It would expand the Florida Department of Corrections’ incentivized prison program, which provides education, life skills, and discharge planning to reduce recidivism.

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Florida Pro-Palestinian University Groups Say Order to Deactivate Violates First Amendment

Two Florida university chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine sued their schools and state officials, alleging a state order to deactivate the groups violated their First Amendment rights.

The University of Florida and the University of South Florida SJP chapters both denied their groups had violated a Florida law prohibiting support for terrorism

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Florida Bill Would Add Penalties for Felonies by Previously Deported Migrants

A new bill has been filed in the Florida Legislature that would increase penalties for criminal migrants who reenter the United States illegally.

Senate Bill 1036 was introduced by state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, ahead of Florida’s legislative session which begins on Jan. 9.

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Florida’s Largest Teachers Union Faces Decertification Under State Law

United Teachers of Dade

The United Teachers of Dade faces decertification after failing to clear a state-imposed threshold requiring that at least 60% of union members pay dues, CBS News reported.

The group is the state’s largest teachers union and represents 27,000 employees in Miami-Dade public schools. UTD on Tuesday sought to renew its certification with the state, but did not succeed due to its failure to meet the threshold, despite its own rapid growth in recent months.

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Florida Man Pleads Guilty for Threatening to Kill Chief Justice

Chief Justice John Roberts

A Florida man pleaded guilty Monday to threatening to kill a Supreme Court justice, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Neal Brij Sidhwaney, 43, placed a call in July to the Supreme Court, leaving an “expletive-laden, threatening voicemail message” where he “repeatedly threatened to kill a specific Supreme Court Justice,” according to the DOJ. Sidhwaney revealed the justice he had threatened was Chief Justice John Roberts during a court-ordered psychological evaluation, Politico reported.

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DeSantis Super PAC Loses Top Strategist Jeff Roe: ‘I Cannot in Good Conscience Stay Affiliated’

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign strategist Jeff Roe departed the governor’s super PAC following multiple other departures from the organization.

“I cannot in good conscience stay affiliated with Never Back Down (NBD) given the statements in the Washington Post today. They are not true and an unwanted distraction at a critical time for Governor DeSantis. I am resigning my position effective immediately,” Roe posted late Saturday evening on X, formerly Twitter.

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Florida Senate Committee Advances Deregulation Bills for School Districts

School Learning

Florida lawmakers advanced three new pieces of legislation this week designed to lessen regulatory burdens for school districts.

Senate Bill 7000, which is titled the Deregulation of Public Schools/Instructional, Administrative, and Support Personnel, is a bill sponsored by the Education PreK-12 Committee and was presented by Sen. Alexis Calatayud, R-Miami, to the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee on Tuesday.

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Florida School Punished for Allowing Boy in Girls’ Sports

A Florida high school has been fined and placed on administrative probation for violating the state’s bylaws by allowing a biologically male student to participate on a female sports team, The Daily Signal has learned.

The move appears to be the first time that a public school has been punished for violating state laws protecting fairness in women’s sports.

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Florida Community College Enrollment Is Up 4.4 Percent Compared to Last Year

According to Florida officials, the number of students enrolled in state community colleges is up 4.4% from last year, accounting for 59% of the state’s increase in college enrollment this year.

The Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research held its Education Estimating Conference on Monday to discuss the Sunshine State’s college system enrollment.

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Florida Bill Would Override Prohibition on Local Bans for Plastic Bags

Linda Stewart

A Florida lawmaker is hoping a new bill recently filed will bring about an end to plastic bags and other single-use plastics if passed.

Senate Bill 498 is sponsored by state Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando. It would amend two Florida statutes and remove the preemption of local laws regarding the regulation of containers, wrappings, or plastic bags.

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Florida Expanding Semiconductor Manufacturing Capabilities with $28 Million in Grants

In another push to reduce reliance on China and other foreign entities, Florida is expanding its semiconductor manufacturing capability.

More than $28 million was recently awarded through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to expand semiconductor manufacturing and chip manufacturing through five workforce development projects. The awards are part of a $50 million initiative Gov. Ron DeSantis launched in September dedicated to supporting Florida’s semiconductor industry. It expands on grants awarded last year to entities in Osceola County.

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Florida Bar Seeks to Suspend License of Attorney for Exercising His Free Speech Describing His Opponent in Florida State’s Attorney Race

State bars are coming under criticism for aggressively going after conservative attorneys and disciplining them, while looking the other way when it comes to legal abuses by left-wing attorneys. The Florida State Bar is pursuing disciplinary charges against decorated veteran Chris Crowley over remarks he made about his opponent Amira D. Fox in 2018 when he was campaigning against her for Office of the State Attorney in Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit. Most state bars have an ethics rule, adopted from the American Bar Association’s model rules, that restricts attorneys from criticizing public officials, candidates for office, and judges.

A Florida attorney familiar with the case, who preferred not to be identified due to fear of retaliation, told The Arizona Sun Times, “The Florida Bar is now a political organization dominated by the progressive left. The Florida Bar picks and chooses which political speech to go after, depending on who is politically connected. This is a disgrace to the legal profession.” The source said Fox is part of the establishment.

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Florida Lawmakers Aim to Cut Red Tape for Public Schools with New Legislation

Florida lawmakers have filed a new bill to cut red tape for certain aspects of public and charter school assessments, accountability, instruction and education choice.

Senate Bill 7004 was introduced by the Florida Senate Committee on Education Pre-K-12 and builds on the deregulation of public schools provision in House Bill 1, providing additional authority to school districts related to pre kindergarten programs, school improvements, assessments, reporting and instructional materials.

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Florida Lawmakers Examine Streamlining of State’s Workforce Development Programs

Florida lawmakers took a closer look last week at a 2021 law that is supposed to streamline and make the state’s workforce development system more accountable.

The Florida House Postsecondary Education and Workforce Subcommittee met on Nov. 15 to discuss the implementation of the Reimagining Education and Career Help Act.

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Sponsors in These 29 Florida Counties Received over 10,000 Unaccompanied Minors

Border Surge

In the past fiscal year, Florida received 10,542 unaccompanied children (UACs) from the border, many of whom were brought into the country illegally, according to data published by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, tasked with oversight of and caring for the children.

Florida received the third greatest number behind Texas and California as it has almost every year. UAC data has been reported since fiscal 2015.

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Florida’s DeSantis Signs Bills from Recently-Concluded Special Session

Ron DeSantis Signing Bill

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed all of the bills passed this week during the Florida Legislature’s special session.

The special session was called in response to several pressing issues, including communities in need of relief from recent Hurricane Idalia, increasing access to education funding for disabled children and violence that has erupted in the Middle East.

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DeSantis Signs Trade Agreement with Great Britain

Ron DeSantis UK

Roughly six months after visiting with British leaders in London, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week Florida is expanding its business partnerships with the United Kingdom.

The governor announced on Tuesday that he and the UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch, MP, signed a memorandum of understanding to increase trade and bilateral investment, strengthen business ties and grow academic partnerships.

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Florida Senator Criticizes Senate Democrats for Blocking Effort to Deport Hamas Sympathizers

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., blasted Democrats Thursday for blocking his motion to deport terrorist sympathizers in the U.S. on visas.

Rubio has led this effort to “revoke visas and initiate deportation proceedings for any foreign national who has endorsed or espoused terrorist activities of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, or any another foreign terrorist organization.”

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Florida School District Audits Reveal Numerous Oversight Issues: Report

The Florida Auditor General examined significant findings and financial trends in district school board audit reports and found issues needing correction, such as weaknesses in financial oversight and information technology security.

The report covered audits for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, and found several weaknesses in internal controls, for example, audits found instances of noncompliance with laws, rules or regulations. These were found in 43 of the 67 audit reports.

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Senators Marco Rubio and JD Vance Send Letter to U.S. Census Bureau About Its Plan of Adding Gender, Sexuality Questions for Those Ages 15 and Up

The U.S. Census Bureau is under fire for embracing progressive ideology around gender and sexuality and pushing for taxpayer dollars to fund it.

U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and JD Vance, R-Ohio, sent a letter to the U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Santos calling on him to rescind its plan to incorporate a gender identity and sexuality questions to the American Community Survey, which goes to more than 3.5 million Americans each year.

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Florida Lawmakers Pass Iran Sanctions, Hurricane Relief Bills in Special Session

The Florida Legislature wrapped up its special session after several new measures were passed, including sanctions on Iran, protections for the state’s Jewish community and relief funds for those affected by Hurricane Idalia.

Senate Resolution 8C, House Resolution 9C and HR 11C all would express support for the State of Israel and its right to exist as a sovereign nation with the right to defend itself against attacks from terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The resolutions passed unanimously.

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Florida University System Bans Funding Political ‘Activism,’ Programs That Segregate by Race or Sex

The State University System of Florida’s Board of Governors approved regulations Thursday that will prohibit using state funds for race- or sex-based programs, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 266 into law in June, which prohibits the funding of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for higher education, in the state. The new regulations defines DEI as “any program, campus activity, or policy that classifies individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation” and promotes different treatments of people based on those factors, according to Inside Higher Ed.

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Electric Vehicle Registration Fee Recharging for Next Florida Session

As more electric vehicles hit the highways, states are worried about fuel tax collections headed in the opposite direction.

States, including Florida, are considering or have been already enacted, annual registration fees to ensure owners of electrics pay a fair share of the cost of maintaining the roads, highways and bridges, said Doug Shinkle, who oversees the transportation program for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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Florida Lawmakers Review New Teacher and Workforce Incentive Programs

The Florida House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education discussed workforce incentives, teacher incentives and apprenticeship programs Tuesday night.

Kevin O’Farrell, Chancellor of the Division Career and Adult Education at the Florida Department of Education provided the subcommittee with an update and a presentation on funding programs across Florida.

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Florida Lawmakers Have Full Slate of Bills for Special Session

The Florida Legislature’s special session began Monday, with lawmakers aiming to work through several issues facing the state.

Florida lawmakers will be tackling a series of bills ranging from disaster relief to the expansion of school vouchers for children with disabilities. Other bills could impose sanctions on businesses involved with Iran.

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DeSantis Responds to Florida Republican Senator Endorsing Trump

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded Friday to Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida’s endorsement of former President Donald Trump during an interview with Fox News.

The GOP senator and previous Florida governor decided not to endorse his successor, and instead threw his support behind Trump on Thursday. DeSantis was asked directly about the endorsement, and reports that Republican state lawmakers in Florida would also soon flock to Trump, and told Fox News’ Sandra Smith that there’s still time to shore up support for his campaign before voting starts.

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‘It’s Coming’: Florida GOP Elected Officials to Turn on DeSantis, Endorse Trump: Report

Republican elected officials in Florida are expected to flip their endorsements from Gov. Ron DeSantis to former President Donald Trump next week, NBC News reported Wednesday.

After DeSantis received the backing of 99 state legislators, allies of the former president have orchestrated an effort in the state to switch them to Trump, two sources familiar told NBC News. As many as six of the state’s GOP elected officials will likely announce their support for Trump as early as next week after the Florida Freedom Summit Saturday and amid the third GOP presidential debate Wednesday in Miami, which the former president is skipping to hold a rally in the state.

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Disney: DeSantis Administration Engaged in an Ongoing ‘Constitutional Mutiny’

The Walt Disney Company responded Monday to the state of Florida’s motion to get its lawsuit dismissed over what the company says is a violation of its free speech rights. 

The court filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida says that Gov. Ron DeSantis “and his allies are engaged in an ongoing constitutional mutiny,” adding that the state openly rejects the First Amendment rule that a state cannot use official powers to punish opposing political views.

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Florida Warns Morningstar-Sustainalytics, Alleges Anti-Israel Policies

The state of Florida has placed another company, Morningstar-Sustainalytics, on its list of “Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel.” The company, which rejects the accusation, has 90 days to respond or be subjected to Florida’s divestment and contract prohibitions.

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