Governor DeSantis Proposes $100 Million for Military Budget and the Florida State Guard

Gov. Ron DeSantis giving a speech

Florida’s military budget could receive more than $100 million in funding as Governor Ron DeSantis announced multiple proposals on Thursday that aim to support Florida’s National Guard, and establish a “civilian volunteer force,” known as the “Florida State Guard.”

According to the Governor’s Office, his proposals would further support the National Guard in giving them extras hands in helping with state-specific emergencies such as natural disasters.

Read More

Florida Bill Could Expand Hope Scholarship Access

Florida Sen. Manny Diaz (R-FL-36) is sponsoring legislation that would expand opportunities for students to be able to attend a school of their choice through a voucher program. SB 506 would amend the Hope Scholarship program to permit students who attend school districts who are not complying with state law to apply for the program and receive a voucher.

Read More

Supervisor of Elections Claims Third Party Groups Responsible Florida Voter Registration Forgeries

Last week, the Florida Capital Star reported on two Duval County, Florida men being charged and arrested for fraudulently registering dead people to vote. It was revealed that the two men were working as employees for a petition and canvassing company, Grassfire.

Since the story broke, Grassfire has said they hired the two men in June 2021 to work as petitioners, not to register voters.

Read More

Report Shows Lowest Florida Jobless Claims Since Before the Pandemic

The four-week average number of Florida jobless claims reached its lowest mark since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDL) released the information on Wednesday.

The data reflected 5,343 first-time unemployment claims filed in Florida during the week that ended Nov. 20, which dropped the four-week average to 6,045 claims.

Read More

University of Florida President Supports Testimony by Political Science Professors

After months of back and forth between University of Florida (UF) and three of its political-science professors who were blocked from participating in a high profile lawsuit against Florida’s new election law, UF President Kent Fuchs approved a report Tuesday that called for that decision to be reversed.

In a separate report sent to an accrediting organization, UF denied that its Board of Trustees or any outside forces influenced their previous decision to prevent professors, Sharon Austin, Michael McDonald and Daniel Smith, from testifying against the law that was approved by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during the 2021 legislative session that ended in April.

Read More

Governor DeSantis Appoints Democrat, Republican to Broward County Commission

During a press conference in Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced his appointment of Democrat Jared Moskowitz and Republican Torey Alston for two Broward County commission seats.

Moskowitz, the former Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), and Alston, the current Chief of Staff for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), look to replace the seats that were opened due to Dale Holness and Barbara Sharief resigning in order to run for Congress.

Read More

Republicans Overtake Democrats in Florida Voter Registration

For the first time in the state of Florida’s history, Republicans now outnumber Democrats in official voter registration totals. According to the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections, there are 5,118,657 registered Republicans and 5,114,039 registered Democrats.

The Florida Capital Star reported as early as September that Democrats weree poised to lose their lead. As recent as 10 years ago, Democrats held a 700,000-voter registration advantage.

Read More

Federal Judge Rules Against Sports Betting Agreement with Seminole Tribe

Sports Book Betting

Late Monday, U.S District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled the deal allows online sports betting through the Seminole Tribe violates the federal law that regulates gambling on tribal lands.

Governor DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida celebrated the approval of the historic Seminole Gaming Compact in August after a 45-day review of the agreement was completed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The agreement included online sports betting that took place off of tribal lands but was processed on tribal property.

“The final approval of this historic gaming compact is a big deal for the State of Florida,” said Governor DeSantis in the release. “This mutually-beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation and provide billions in new revenue to benefit Floridians. I again want to thank Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr., Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls for their part in getting this done for our great state.”

However, Friedrich ruled that the deal violates the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA. The IGRA requires gambling activity take place on tribal lands. Friedrich wrote that, “over a dozen provisions in IGRA regulate gaming on ‘Indian lands,’ and none regulate gaming in another location.”

Read More

Florida Judge Exonerates Groveland Four

Four men who were falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1949 have been posthumously exonerated. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the three-member cabinet also posthumously pardoned the men in 2019.

Prosecutors motioned to vacate the convictions of Charles Greenlee and Walter Irvin and the charges against Ernest Thomas and Samuel Shepherd.

Read More

Latest Polls Show DeSantis, Rubio Outperforming Democratic Challengers

In a newest poll from St. Pete Polls, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is outperforming his likely Democratic challengers in a hypothetical head-to-head general election. According to the poll, DeSantis would defeat Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) 50.6-44.8 percent. DeSantis would also defeat Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) 51.2-42.3 percent.

Surprisingly, in the matchup between DeSantis and Crist, DeSantis outperformed Crist among young voters by carrying 57.5 percent of likely voters aged 18-29. The youngest age bracket saw the most swing in favor for DeSantis.

Read More

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Proposal for $1 Billion in Gas Tax Relief

Ron DeSantis proposing that the Florida legislature provide more than $1 billion in gas tax relief to help Florida families save at the pump.

Amid the rising cost people across the country are paying at the pump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Monday his proposal for $1 billion in gas tax relief, which will be discussed by state lawmakers during the legislative session of 2022.

According to DeSantis Office, if approved, the proposal – or as stated, “gas tax holiday” – would save up to $200 on average per family.

Read More

Florida Gov. DeSantis Signs Bills Requiring Vaccine Alternatives for Employees

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed four bills yesterday requiring Florida businesses to accommodate their employees’ alternative to getting the COVID shot. DeSantis used language along the lines of “protecting Florida jobs rather than many supporters of DeSantis using language like “medical freedom.”

Read More

Florida House Passes Bill Ensuring Penalties Related to Vaccine Mandate

The Florida House passed HB 1B in its special session yesterday, ensuring businesses would be penalized if they require an employee gets a vaccine mandate. The bill was largely passed along party lines, however, one Democrat, Rep. James Bush (D-FL-109) joined Republicans by voting in the affirmative.

Read More

Florida Governor DeSantis Announces Request for $25 Million to Repair Freedom Tower Amid Cuban Protests

Ron DeSantis announcing repairs for Freedom Tower

Four months after the island-wide Cuban protests in July, new protests brought together by the Assembly of Cuban Resistance on Monday encouraged Nicaraguan and Venezuelan exiles in South Florida to join in on pro-democracy demonstrations.

The same day, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a request for $25 million to repair the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami that was the main location for processing and documenting Cuban refugees escaping to Miami during the Cold War. The Freedom Tower now serves as a museum and offices for Miami Dade College.

Read More

Florida’s Business Community Not Supportive of Vaccine Mandate Bans

Young girl getting vaccine

As Florida’s special session regarding vaccine mandates began yesterday, Florida’s business community shares concerns and opposition to the prospect of vaccine mandate bans.  

Leading Age Florida represents continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Leading Age CEO, Steve Bahmer, said it is not possible for the facilities his organization represents to be in compliance with state and federal law unless there is a carve out.

Read More

Florida Special Session Over Vaccine Mandates Begins This Week

After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called for a special session over vaccine mandates and mask mandates last month, the Florida Legislature convened for the first time yesterday and will continue to meet until Friday.

The goal of the special session for Florida’s in-power Republicans is to curb the scale of the vaccine mandates coming from the President Joe Biden administration. DeSantis has remained vocally opposed to Floridians losing their jobs over Biden’s OSHA rule.

Read More

Florida News Headline on the Number of Child Vaccine Doses Ordered Misses the Mark

A headline in the Tampa Bay Times last week said that “Florida ordered 90,000 child vaccine doses. Texas ordered 1 million.” However, a reading of the story reveals the headline does not match the facts included in the article.

The headline appeared to be written to imply Florida did not order enough vaccine doses for children relative to other states, like Texas and California. The first paragraph of the story continues this narrative. The writers note, the 90,000 doses are “enough to fully vaccinate 3 percent of Florida’s approximately 1.7 million children ages 5 to 11.”

Read More

Feds Urge Circuit Court to Reject Florida Request for Hold on Vaccine Rule

Federal attorneys for the Biden administration filed a document Friday evening requesting the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeal to reject a potential hold on the rule issued by Biden that would mandate employees of businesses of 100 or more people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be regularly tested and forced to wear a mask.

The hold on Biden’s employee vaccine rule was requested by Florida, Alabama, and Georgia who argue that the rule, established under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), oversteps its authority and would result in thousands of people losing their jobs.

Read More

Florida Police Union Endorses DeSantis

The Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the largest police union in the state, announced they are endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his 2022 gubernatorial reelection bid. The PBA represents more than 30,000 law enforcement and corrections officers.

PBA President John Kazanjian offered the organization’s support through a formal statement.

Read More

Feds Defends Seminole Gaming Compact, Says It Is Not a Violation of Federal Law

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) have issued a 33-page court document earlier this week saying they did not feel the new Seminole Gaming Compact, signed by the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The new compact allows the Seminole Tribe to be the primary facilitator of sports betting in the state. The betting takes place on a downloadable app for smartphones, leading to questions about its legality since the betting does not have to take place on tribal land.

Read More

White House Criticizes Florida’s Special Session on Vaccine Mandates

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre criticized the efforts of Florida’s Republican leadership to ban vaccine mandates in the upcoming special legislative session. The special session begins next Monday and runs through Friday.

Read More

Gov. DeSantis Proposes Sweeping Changes to Florida’s Education Budget

Ron DeSantis of Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed sweeping education changes that would impact Florida’s budget. He proposes $1,000 bonuses for teachers, $600 million to raise minimum teacher salaries to $47,500, increased per-student funding to $8,000, and ending the annual standardized testing requirement called the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA).

DeSantis had already provided $1,000 bonuses for teachers over the summer for their work during the COVID school year and said he wants to do it again to “keep that momentum going.”

Read More

Gov. DeSantis Says Florida Got Shortchanged in Infrastructure Package

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida did not get a full share of cash from the recently passed trillion-dollar infrastructure package. He criticized the bill as a whole, but also noted that Florida might not be getting the same amount as other states.

Read More

Florida Legislation Might Not Completely Ban Vaccine Mandates

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has called for a special session in order to ban vaccine mandates and mask mandates, but the legislation being proposed are not going as far as DeSantis initially called for.

One of the bills would require employers to provide alternatives to vaccination, and another bill would allow parents to sue school boards or districts over mask mandates. DeSantis has touted the slate of bills in next week’s special session as some of the “strongest protections for both private and public sector employees anywhere in the country.”

Read More

Florida Democrats Working to Repeal Transgender Athlete Ban

Kristen Arrington and Gary Farmer

Florida State Rep. Kristen Aston Arrington (D-FL-43) filed a companion bill to Florida Sen. Gary Farmer’s (D-FL-34) SB 212 to repeal a transgender athlete ban from last legislative session.

Last legislative session, Florida Republicans passed a transgender athlete ban which banned transgender women from competing in women’s sports in high school and college, and athletic participation is determined by sex assigned on a birth certificate. The ban, which many in the Florida Capitol thought was dead, was resurrected by Florida Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R-FL-55).

Read More

Gov. Ron DeSantis Officially Files for Reelection, Roger Stone Threatens to Run for Governor

Ron DeSantis and Roger Stone

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announces yesterday he is officially running for reelection, and Roger Stone is threatening to run for governor if DeSantis does not complete his second term. Stone said to CBS4 Miami that he would likely run as a Libertarian or a third party candidate.

Read More

Everglades Oil Drilling Proposal Denied by Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Aerial view of an oil drilling site

A proposal to dig exploratory oil wells in the Florida Everglades was denied Friday by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The DEP’s decision to reject the proposal by Trend Exploration of north Fort Myers, is due to the concerns that oil drilling will negatively affect surrounding water supplies and natural habitats for endangered species such as the Florida panther.

Read More

Florida Judge Sides with State on Mask Mandates, Against Local School Districts

A judge within the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings ruled that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) has the authority to make the rules for public school students regarding quarantines and mask mandates.

Read More

Democratic Governors Association Not Eager to Challenge DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) will likely not be writing large checks to Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial challengers to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) are the most likely candidates to face off against DeSantis in a general election.

Read More

September General Revenue in Florida Exceeds Economic Forecasts

Florida’s general revenue collections in the month of September were $442.2 million, or 15.7%, more than what economist for the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) expected in their predictions made at the General Revenue Estimating Conference in August.

The estimated total for general revenue in September was $2.809 billion, while the actual total was $3.251 billion. Additionally, September was the 14th consecutive month that the state of Florida recorded more than what the EDR predicted.

Read More

Florida Seeking Injunction Against Biden Vaccine Mandate

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) is seeking an injunction against the federal government and President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate. The mandate would require federal contract workers to be vaccinated against COVID. Moody’s lawyers filed a motion for an injunction in federal court in Tampa.

Read More

Florida Democrats Oppose, Criticize Special Session

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called a special session over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate and Florida Democrats are criticizing the effort. DeSantis has, numerous times, worked to ban mask mandates in Florida’s schools and vaccine mandates, and is seeking the Florida Legislature to codify those bans even further.

“I think that we need to be making sure that people are healthy and safe, and that they can go to work and that our economy is booming, and that businesses are able to do what they need to do,” said Florida State Sen. Lauren Book (D-FL-32).

Read More

Seminole Tribe Kicks off Sports Betting in Florida

The Seminole Tribe of Florida kicked off their recently approved online sports betting platform in Florida even during legal challenges. The Tribe rolled out the new entertainment option with little press.

The launch of the new platform, which operates through an app downloadable for smart devices, allows users to place bets and wagers on professional sports teams.

Read More

Florida Will Lose Millions over 2020 Census Undercount

As a result of an undercount in the 2020 census, Florida is projected to lose millions of dollars, and as much as $88 million in Medicaid payments alone. Florida is set to gain a seat in Congress as the population count indicates a substantial enough growth, but the undercounting will not affect congressional seats, just funding.

Read More

University of Florida Now Says Professors Can Testify in Election Law Case if Unpaid

The University of Florida (UF) has modified their previous position prohibiting faculty and staff participating in activities in a professional capacity deemed against the interests of, or in conflict with, the state of Florida.

The Ocala Star Banner reported late Sunday that UF would allow three professors to serve as expert witnesses in a case that challenges a new state law restricting voting access if they are not paid and don’t use university time or resources.

Previously, the university stated that three professors connected to the lawsuit challenging Florida’s new election integrity law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier in 2021 would not be allowed to appear as expert witnesses.

Read More

Florida Gov. DeSantis Defends Florida Surgeon General After Ladapo’s Spat with Polsky

Gov. Ron DeSantis stands behind newest appointed Surgeon General: Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) defended Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo after he and State Sen. Tina Polsky had a back-and-forth over mask wearing that garnered much attention across statewide media.

Ladapo initially came under fire for not wearing a mask in a scheduled meeting with Polsky (D-FL-29) who cited her recent breast cancer diagnosis as the basis for her request. Ladapo preferred to not wear a mask and asked if they could meet outside, but Polsky insisted on meeting in her own office.

Read More

Florida Republicans Unite Against Biden Vaccine Mandates Ahead of Special Session

After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) called for a special session last week to legislatively oppose President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates, the date has now been set and Florida’s top Republicans have said they are unified in their message and intent alongside DeSantis.

Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-FL-65) and Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-FL-10) issued a joint message ahead of the special session set to run from November 15 through November 19.

Read More

Florida Gov. DeSantis Sues Biden over Vaccine Mandate for Federal Contract Workers

Blue Collar worker with hard hat on

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week he is suing the President Joe Biden administration over a vaccine mandate for federal contractors. The lawsuit says the president does not have the authority to impose such a mandate.

The mandate from Biden says that federal contract workers will have to be fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021, in order to keep their jobs. DeSantis said his administration’s decision to sue the federal government is a kept promise to rein in “federal overreach.”

Read More

Broward County Schools Remove Mask Mandate for High School

Two women at table together, wearing masks

The Broward County School District voted to remove their mask mandate for high schools and will go into effect on Monday, November 1. The mandate will be maintained in elementary and middle schools, but high school students will still be encouraged to wear masks.

“I’m proud of the School Board of Broward County for standing firm on keeping mask mandates in place for Broward County Public Schools’ elementary and middle school students, and strongly encouraging high school students to wear masks,” said Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco.

Read More

Gov. Ron DeSantis Spends Weekend on Fox News, Pitching Florida to National Audience

Tucker Carlson interviewing Ron DeSantis on Fox News

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spent the weekend making the rounds on Fox News programming where he lauded his work as governor and the varying efforts he is pushing. Notably, DeSantis spent time on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Friday where he said President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate is unconstitutional.

Read More

New Hampshire Poll Shows Governor DeSantis More Favorable Than Donald Trump in 2024 Presidential Primary

A recent poll by the University of New Hampshire shows the state having Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ahead of former President Donald Trump in approval rating among 2024 GOP primary voters.

While DeSantis shies away from questions regarding his potential presidential campaign, his approval rating being higher than Trump’s in New Hampshire is pivotal given that it is the first state on the Republican primary calendar in 2024.

Read More

Governor DeSantis Comments on Florida’s Job Growth in September

Governor Ron DeSantis announced Friday in a press release that Florida’s job growth in September grew three times faster over the month than the rest of the nation.

According to the press release, overall for the month, Florida gained 84,500 total jobs, including nearly 73,000 private-sector jobs, which marks 17 months of private-sector job growth, increasing by 5.6% over the year.

Read More

Florida’s Supervisors of Elections Ask Officials to Tone Down Presidential Election Rhetoric

A group of Florida’s Supervisors of Elections have signed on to a letter entitled “Our Democracy, Our Priority” where they are asking officials across Florida to ease off of the rhetoric regarding questions of the validity of the 2020 presidential election.

They are asking Floridians to accept the results of the election: that then-President Donald Trump won Florida and President Joe Biden was elected president.

Read More

DeSantis Calls for Special Session over Vaccine Mandates

Ron DeSantis giving speech on saving Florida jobs

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has called for a special legislative session to resolve the issue of vaccine mandates in Florida. On Twitter, DeSantis said no one should lose their job over a vaccine.

“I am calling the Florida Legislature back for a Special Session to pursue stronger protections for Floridians against federal government mandates,” DeSantis said. “No one should lose their job over a COVID shot.”

Read More

Governor DeSantis Backs Orange County Fire Chief Who Was Terminated Due to Vaccine Mandates

After COVID-19 vaccination requirements caused the termination of an Orange County Fire Rescue (OCFR) battalion chief on Tuesday, Governor DeSantis released a statement slamming the county and backing Chief Stephen Davis.

DeSantis talked of Davis and first responders in general, then questioned why Orange County would turn their backs on people that have given so much in the past year during the pandemic.

Read More

Governor DeSantis Says Florida’s Ports Could Fix Supply Chain Crisis

Governor DeSantis has suggested to the Biden Administration that Florida ports are open for business amid the global supply chain crisis that has bottlenecked cargo ships in California ports.

At a press conference at Jacksonvilles’ JAXPORT on Tuesday discussing his proposal with Florida seaport executives, Governor DeSantis made it clear that Florida is prepared for increased operation and that he is determined to meet holiday demand.

Read More