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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Investigator at Fani Willis’s Office Accidentally Shot Herself in Fulton County Courthouse

An investigator working for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office shot herself on Friday while at the Fulton County Courthouse. The investigator, who works in the office of District Attorney Fani Willis, was not critically injured in the accidental discharge.

News first broke on Friday morning that a shooting incident occurred at the Fulton County Courthouse, with the sheriff’s office reporting there was “no active threat” at the time. Within an hour, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed “an accidental discharge” by an “investigator who wounded herself” but was not critically injured.

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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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A Closer Look at Vivek Ramaswamy’s Bold Plan to Take Down the Administrative State

GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy proposed a plan on Wednesday to halve the size of the federal administrative state in his first year in office — should he be elected.

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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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Georgia Election Integrity Expert Confounds Bar Attorney in Disbarment Trial of Trump’s Former Attorney John Eastman

The fifth week of the disbarment trial of former President Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar, John Eastman, ended on Friday, featuring more testimony by Garland Favorito, co-founder of Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia (VoterGA).

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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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Testimony from Georgia Election Integrity Expert Continues in Disbarment Trial of Trump’s Attorney John Eastman

The fifth week of the disbarment trial of former President Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar, John Eastman, is winding down with direct and cross-examination of Garland Favorito, co-founder of Voters Organized for Trusted Election Results in Georgia (VoterGA), who has extensive experience with electronic voting machines and investigating election fraud in Georgia.

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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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Georgia Election Fraud Expert Testifies at Disbarment Trial of Trump’s Attorney John Eastman, Casts Doubt on Biden’s Win

The disbarment trial of former President Donald Trump’s former attorney and constitutional legal scholar, John Eastman, continued on Tuesday into its fifth week.

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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 Memphis Officers Federally Indicted in Tyre Nichols’ Death; Still Silence on ‘Vendetta’ Allegations

If Tyre Nichols was targeted by members of a Memphis Police Department violent crime unit because of his alleged involvement with one of the officers’ ex-wives, there’s nothing on the subject included in a new federal indictment against the five former law enforcement officials.

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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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Liberty Safe Changes Access Code Policy After January 6 Controversy, Will Now Require Law Enforcement Subpoena

Liberty Safe, the company currently facing backlash for giving the access code to a safe owned by a January 6 defendant to the FBI, announced a change to its company policy yesterday regarding how it complies with law enforcement in the wake of the controversy.

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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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Music Spotlight: Johnathon Heilbroun

When I went to see Music Spotlight artist 12-year-old Brooklyn Summer play at Opry Mills last year, her then 14-year-old friend, Johnathon Heilbroun, played too. I already knew how good Brooklyn was but was quite surprised at how talented Heilbroun was. I knew I would eventually get around to learning his story as well.

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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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DeSantis Admin Says Private Schools, Colleges Must Use Bathrooms on Basis of Biological Sex

The Florida Board of Education (BOE) voted Wednesday to require restrooms in private K-12 schools and state colleges to be used on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

The new rule requires all institutions within the Florida College System to alert the Florida BOE if their bathrooms and locker rooms within instructional spaces and dormitories are separated on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. If violations of the policy are reported, institutions must have an investigation process that determines disciplinary actions, such as termination, under the rule.

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President Trump Tells Press Pool Fulton County Arrest a ‘Travesty of Justice’ and ‘Election Interference’

Following his processing at the Fulton County Jail, President Donald Trump briefly addressed the press pool and called the events of the day a “travesty of justice” and “election interference.”

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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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Court Rules Alabama Can Enforce Ban on Transgender Medical Treatments for Minors

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit unanimously reversed a district court’s temporary halt to enforcement of an Alabama law that prohibits minors from obtaining puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and transgender surgeries for treating gender dysphoria.

In Eknes-Tucker v. Marshall, the appeals court on Monday rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments, described in the opinion as “a group of transgender minors, their parents, and other concerned individuals” who challenged the constitutionality of Alabama’s Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act.

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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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Trump Co-Defendant John Eastman Turns Himself in to Fulton County Officials in 2020 Election Case

Attorney John Eastman turned himself in Tuesday to the Fulton County jail, records show, after he was indicted last week alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 other co-conspirators for their alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

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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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Commentary: Trump’s Claims of Election Misconduct Were Never Adjudicated in Georgia

In a post to his locals.com page Georgia attorney Robert Barnes took subscribers on a little trip down memory lane about the 2020 Georgia election challenges.

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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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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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