DeSantis Sets Fundraising Record

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) set a new 2022 gubernatorial campaign fundraising record. During April, DeSantis raised approximately $10.5 million. Around $2.3 million was raised by his reelection campaign and $8.2 million was raised by DeSantis’ political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis.

In total, DeSantis has raised over $113 million for the election cycle, which is over 10 times the amount of his next closest competitor, Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL-13).

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Former President Trump Endorses Moody, Patronis

Former President Donald Trump officially endorsed two incumbent Florida officials: Attorney General Ashley Moody and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis. So far, both incumbent Republicans are facing challenges from notable Democrats.

Moody has two Democrat challengers: attorney Jim Lewis and former Florida State Attorney Ayala Aramis. Aramis was once a rumored challenger to Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) for a Florida Senate seat.

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Florida Hate Crime Incidents Down 23 Percent, Up 14.4 Percent in the U.S.

The 2020 FBI tracking of hate crimes show that Florida hate crime incidents have decreased 23% from 2018 to 2020 while hate crimes in the United States have increased 15.5%. In addition, the state comparison data (2019) shows that Florida ranks 47 in hate crime incidents with 0.53 incidents per 100,000 population.The national rate of hate crimes per 100,000 population is 2.4.

The five states reporting the most incidents per 100,000 population were Washington (7.1), New Mexico (6.1), Massachusetts (5.7), New Jersey (5.4) and Vermont (5.2). The five states reporting the fewest number of incidents per 100,000 population were Maryland (0.3), Iowa (0.3), Arkansas (0.3), Pennsylvania (0.3), and Florida (0.5).

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program serves as the national repository for crime data and is used to generate reliable information for use in law enforcement administration, operation, and management.

The data, which was updated and released in October 2021, shows that nationwide hate crime incidents have increased from 7,036 in 2018 to 7,103 in 2019 to 8,052 in 2020. Over the period from 2018-2020 hate crime incidents increased 14.5%.

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Florida Petition Signature Fraud Reported Amid DeSantis Election Security Proposal

As political partisans weigh-in against Governor DeSantis’ election security proposal which calls for an election oversight police force, recent reports indicate the presence of petition signature fraud in at least six Florida counties related to a gambling petition drive.

The election security proposal by DeSantis would put in place a special police force to help regulate state elections. The Office of Election Crimes and Security would be created in the Department of State. The proposal seeks approximately $6 million to hire 52 people to enforce election laws.

Critics note that the law could be used to intimidate voters.

“My number one concern is that this is going to be used as a tool to harass or intimidate civic-engagement organizations and voters,” said Jonathan Diaz, a voting rights lawyer with the Campaign Legal Center.

One state legislator pointed out the new office is not needed since Florida has had no issues during recent elections.

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Addresses Organized Retail Thefts

A week before the 2022 legislative session in Florida begins, Attorney General, Ashley Moody – at a news conference with other state officials on Tuesday – doubled down on her stance regarding the crackdown on organized retail thefts that have been on the rise across the nation and now here in Florida.

During the news conference, Moody once again emphasized her proposal for a statewide task force and inter-jurisdictional database known as the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange, or FORCE, that she had previously announced on December 2nd.

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Palm Beach Smash and Grab Robbery Nets $1 Million in Merchandise

Only Authentics sign

On Christmas Eve, almost $1 million in handbags were stolen in a smash and grab robbery of luxury bag store Only Authentics in Palm Beach, Florida – a little more than two weeks after thieves initially stole close to $500,000 worth of bags, totaling almost $1.5 million.

The two robberies come even after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the state’s plan on December 2nd to help prevent such crimes through the creation of a statewide task force and database known as the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange, or FORCE.

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Florida Joins Multi-State Lawsuit Challenging Vaccine Mandate for Head Start

Challenging a rule from the Biden Administration that would require COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees at a preschool program known as Head Start, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody joined 23 other states to express an objection to the mandates.

Head Start is a free preschool program for students three to four-year-old in low-income families, that is funded by the federal Head Start program. The vaccine mandate would require all employees of schools that operate under Head Start to be vaccinated, as well as require mask mandates for children ages two and up.

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Federal Judge in Florida Blocks Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contractors

A Tampa federal judge on Wednesday backed Florida’s request to block a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for federal contractors.

U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday issued a 38-page decision in response to a request by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody for a preliminary injunction against the requirement.

Merryday ruled that Florida had demonstrated a “likely irreparable harm to sovereign interests absent a stay” due to the federal guidance requiring a vaccination requirement that is prohibited in Sections 112.0441 and 308.00317, Florida Statutes.

After the ruling, Moody stated, “Proud to secure an injunction in our case to stop @JoeBiden’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors. Floridians should not have to choose b/w the vaccine & their careers. There is still a lot of fight left in us & we will continue to push back against unlawful fed overreach.”

Governor Ron DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw cited a quote from the ruling on her Twitter account: “The absence of evidence…suggests a ruse, a mere contrivance, superficially attempting to justify a sweeping, invasive, and unprecedented public health requirement imposed unilaterally by President Biden.”

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Takes Action Against China and ‘Woke Corporations’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, along with the state’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, and Attorney General Ashley Moody, held a meeting Monday of the State Board of Administration (SBA) to “take action against communist China and woke corporations.”

As stated in a press release by the Governor’s Office, the meeting was an attempt t0, “revoke all proxy voting authority that has been given to outside fund managers, to clarify the state’s expectation that all fund managers should act solely in the financial interest of the state’s funds, and to conduct a survey of all of the investments of the Florida Retirement System to determine how many assets the state has in Chinese companies.”

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Federal Judge Denies Florida’s Motion on Vaccine Mandates

In an 11-page order released on Saturday, U.S District Judge M. Casey Rodgers rejected Florida’s motion to block a Biden administration rule that requires workers at hospitals and other health-care related facilities be vaccinated against COVID.

The decision was is response to a motion filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody seeking a preliminary injunction against the federal rule which takes effect Dec. 6.

Moody’s argument contended that the requirement would increase health-care staffing shortages. However, Judge Rodgers concluded that Florida had shown “irreparable harm” to justify an injunction.

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Florida Attorney Jim Lewis Has Emerged as Candidate to Challenge Attorney General Ashley Moody

After months of wondering whether Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody would face any challengers in the 2022 general election, criminal defense lawyer and Democrat, Jim Lewis of Ft. Lauderdale, has emerged to try and take down Moody.

Lewis released a statement slamming Moody for her opposition towards public health mandates amid the pandemic, as well as her position on challenging the results of the 2020 Presidential election.

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U.S. District Judge Approves Challenges to Florida Election Law

Person putting mail-in ballot in ballot return box

Challenges against the election law formerly known as SB 90 established in the 2021 legislative session in Florida, will be allowed to move forward following a 62-page order by Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Florida, Mark Walker, on Friday.

Some Organizations behind challenges that were approved by Walker on Friday include; The Florida Conference of the NAACP, Disability Rights Florida, the League of Women Voters of Florida, and UnidosUS.

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Florida Governor DeSantis Announces Actions to Address the ‘Biden Border Crisis’

Governor DeSantis, along with Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody, joined together on Tuesday to announce three actions Florida is taking to address what they call the “Biden Border Crisis.”

The three actions include the Biden Border Crisis Executive Order 21-223 (EO 21-223), the appointment of Larry Keefe, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, as Public Safety Czar to carry out the order, and lastly, a lawsuit that was filed against the Biden Administration challenging its “catch and release” policy.

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Announces Campaign Kickoff Event

Ashley Moody

Although her political committee, Friends of Ashley Moody,  has already began fundraising, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody recently announced an event that will officially kickoff her reelection campaign for 2022.

The 90 minute event – which can be found on Eventbrite.com – will be Tuesday, September 28th, and held in the Grand Ballroom of TPepin Hospitality Centre in Tampa.

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Florida Attorney General Moody Supporting Challenge to Vaccine Mandate

Ashley Moody

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has offered her support for the plaintiffs suing the City of Gainesville over its vaccine mandate policy.

Moody filed an amicus brief in the 8th Circuit Court saying the vaccine mandate does not hold constitutional muster as well as acting as a deterrent for recruiting new members to Florida’s law enforcement agencies.

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Republican Candidates Lead Democratic Candidates in 2022 Campaign Funding

Governor DeSantis and other Republican leaders currently lead their Democratic counterparts in campaign funding by what gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) said was an “ungodly” amount.

August finance reports for the state candidates and political committees who are fundraising for the 2022 elections were filed on Friday to the Florida Division of Elections (FDE) part of the Florida Department of State (FDS).

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Governor DeSantis Proposes New Initiatives to Recruit and Retain Florida Law Enforcement Officers

Surrounded by law enforcement officials and other members of the Legislature on Tuesday, Governor DeSantis announced the proposal of three new initiatives designed to recruit and retain law enforcement officers in Florida.

The three proposed initiatives include, new officer signing bonuses of $5,000, the Academy Scholarship Program for the Florida Law Enforcement Academy, and out-of-state relocation support.

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Joins Suit Related to ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy

Ashley Moody

Florida joined a coalition with 17 other states to back an amicus brief asking the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to deny the Biden administration’s motion for a stay on the Texas Supreme Court ruling to reinstate Migrant Protection Protocols (MPPs), or the “Remain in Mexico” policy, established under former President Trump.

In the brief, it states, “The border is in crisis. This Administration is increasingly and alarmingly lawless. And the States continue to suffer escalating irreparable harm as the border slips further and further away from the Administration’s control.”

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Governor DeSantis Trails Florida Cabinet Members in Net Worth

Recently filed financial disclosure forms filed by state-wide elected leaders show that the net worth of Florida Governor Ron Desantis is significantly less than Florida’s three cabinet members.

The financial disclosure forms, known as Form 6, are required to be filed annually by state elected officials and some state employees. The forms were due to the Florida Commission on Ethics by July 1, 2021.

Desantis reported a 2020 net worth of $348,832 on his Form 6 filed on June 20, 2021. This is up 16.5% from the $291,449 reported for 2019.

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Mediation Talks Between Florida, CDC Unsuccessful in Cruise Ship Battle

People boarding a cruise ship

Mediation talks between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state of Florida have been unsuccessful, as the federal agency and the state duke it out in court over who controls the cruise ship industry’s return to business as usual. 

“Settlement talks have ended in the legal battle between Florida and the federal government about restrictions on the cruise-ship industry,” according to WKMG. “U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli, who has served as a mediator, said in a court filing Friday that a settlement conference was unsuccessful.”

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Joins Keystone XL Pipeline Lawsuit

A multi-state lawsuit against President Joe Biden that was filed in March 2021 had an amended complaint filed on Tuesday that was joined in support by Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody.

The multi-state lawsuit is in regard to President Biden’s decision to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that was initially permitted by former President Donald Trump in 2019.

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Florida Takes Feds to Court Over Cruise Ship Restrictions

Cruise ship next to dock

The state of Florida will argue before a federal judge Wednesday that the federal government should not be allowed to interfere with the cruise ship industry, which seeks to get back on its feet after the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns. 

“Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, filed the lawsuit last month challenging restrictions imposed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and pointing to the economic impact on the state,” according to a CBS Miami report. “Moody’s office is seeking a preliminary injunction based, in part, on arguments that the CDC overstepped its legal authority in imposing the restrictions.”

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