Commentary: Most U.S. Population Growth Last Year Occurred Outside of Largest Cities

There are 124 cities with a population over 200,000 in the U.S. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates for last year, over 90 percent of the U.S. population growth last year took place outside of its 124 largest cities. About a third of those cities lost population last year.  The total growth in the population of cities with over 200,000 residents grew by .23 percent, less than half of what the U.S. grew last year.

Roughly a third of those that lost population were located in New York and California. The three largest cities in the U.S., New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, all lost population again in 2023. Between the three cities, over 700,000 people have left since the 2020 census. New York is by far the biggest loser at 546,000. That is about 6.2 percent of its 2020 population.

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Trump Fundraising Surges, Outraising Biden by $25 Million, Even as Trial Limits His Campaigning

Donald Trump

Amid an ongoing criminal trial that has largely limited his ability to campaign in-person, former President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee managed to out-fundraise President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee by a hefty margin in April.

Collectively, Trump and the RNC raised $76 million last month, including $50.5 million raised at a single event in Florida. By contrast, President Joe Biden and the DNC managed to raise a combined $51 million over the same period.

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Florida Bar Judge Recommends 60-Day Suspension for Conservative Attorney Exercising His Free Speech During Political Campaign

Chris Crowley

A referee judge for the Florida State Bar recommended suspending decorated Gulf War veteran Chris Crowley’s law license for 60 days over his criticism of an opponent he ran against for the Office of the State Attorney in Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit.

During the 2018 race, Crowley referred to Amira D. Fox, who eventually won, as “corrupt” and “swampy” and observed that she had “close family ties to the PLO terrorist organization.” The Florida Bar had requested a 91-day suspension for allegedly violating the bar’s ethics rule prohibiting criticism of judges, election officials, and candidates running for office.

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Florida, New York, and the District of Columbia Join Lawsuit Against the NCAA’s NIL Recruitment Ban Led by Tennessee AG Jonathan Skrmetti

The attorneys general of Florida, New York, and the District of Columbia have joined Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares’ lawsuit challenging the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) name, image, and likeness (NIL) recruitment ban.

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Unsealed Docs Expose Early Collaboration Between Archives, Biden White House in Trump Prosecution

President Joe Biden in front of the National Archives Museum (composite image)

Just weeks after learning Joe Biden had improperly retained government documents, his administration began working with federal bureaucrats in spring and fall 2021 to increase pressure on Donald Trump for similar issues and eventually prompt a criminal prosecution of the 45th president, according to government memos newly unsealed by a federal judge.

The correspondence, released this week by U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon in Florida, provide the the most extensive accounting so far of how the Biden White House worked with federal bureaucrats to escalate pressure on Trump to return documents to the National Archives even as it slow-walked similar issues involving its own boss.

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States File Suit to Block Biden’s Student Debt Forgiveness Plan

President Joe Biden

A coalition of states has filed a legal challenge to President Joe Biden’s latest executive effort to forgive a portion of Americans’ student loan debt.

The lawsuit comes after Biden on Monday announced the plan, which the states in question say is an overreach of executive authority. The White House claims that Biden has so far canceled at least some of the debt for 4 million Americans, totalling $146 billion so far.

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Commentary: Is ‘The Great Illusion’ in Ruins?

President Joe Biden

In 2021, Joe Biden was elected after a bitterly fought campaign that deposed the incumbent Donald Trump. Democrats eventually captured, for a time, both the House and Senate, ensuring the most left-wing government in modern American history.

Americans were then set to witness a great experiment. For the first time in their lives, a truly radical socialist program would supposedly fundamentally transform the way America dealt with the border, immigration, the economy, race relations, foreign policy, energy, law enforcement, crime, education, and social questions such as religion, gender, abortion, and schooling.

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Commentary: Aileen Cannon Is a Portrait of a Judge in the Fractured Double Reality of American Justice

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon

The residents of Fort Pierce, Florida, are not accustomed to seeing dark SUVs and flashing motorcycles speed down the town’s main thoroughfare bordering the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Part beach getaway, part working class community, the city is located about 60 miles north of the luxurious Palm Beach estate of the most famous – and frequent –criminal defendant in recent history: Donald J. Trump.

The former president has become a regular visitor to the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, more specifically, the courtroom of U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon who is presiding over the so-called classified documents trial.

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‘Operation Rainmaker’ Arrests Result in Dozens Charged in Alleged Cartel-Affiliated Drug-Trafficking Ring

Seized Drugs

Agents arrested 23 people in relation to a cartel-linked drug operation in Texas that dealt in cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and meth. 

The arrests came after a five-year investigation that started in 2019. Prosecutors said the drug ring operated in the Houston and Galveston areas and was under the control of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).

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Feds Seize Massive Amounts of Cocaine in Marine Operations

U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (CBP-AMO) agents and U.S. Coast Guard crews are seizing large quantities of cocaine attempting to be smuggled to the U.S. by boat.

In five recent operations, they seized nearly $290 million worth of cocaine totaling over 15,700 pounds. or nearly 8 tons – enough lethal doses to potentially kill more than 82 million people.

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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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Nearly Half of U.S. States Now Have Measures Limiting Transgender Surgery for Minors, but Lawsuits Abound

At least 20 states have either restricted or banned transgender procedures for minors, with many of them facing lawsuits and temporary blocks by courts as a result, while future litigation is possible in states considering adopting such laws. 

The states that have enacted legislation against such procedures are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia – essentially all conservative-leaning.

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In Iowa Presidential Campaign Launch, DeSantis Says Republicans Need to Look Forward, Not Backwards

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came to Iowa Tuesday evening, officially kicking off his run for the White House in the kick-off caucus state.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Wows Iowans at Packed ‘Book Tour’ Event

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may still be mulling over a run for president, but the Republican looked and sounded every bit a contender for the GOP presidential nomination Friday evening in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

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Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Warns NewsGuard Against ‘Disinformation’ Attack on Conservative Groups

Jimmy Patronis, the state of Florida’s chief financial officer, is warning the top executives of a so-called “disinformation” tracking group it’s playing with fire in targeting conservative organizations in what has been described as a defunding campaign. In a letter to NewsGuard CEOs and Editors-in-Chiefs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz,…

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Interim Meetings This Week in Preparation for Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session

Florida Senate and House committees are having interim meetings this week to kick off the new legislative session for 2023, and several new committees will be meeting for the first time – and chaired by freshman Republicans.

Originally, the interim meetings were set to take place from Dec. 12-16, but were postponed and instead replaced with a special session. Lawmakers took the opportunity during that special session to address the growing issue of property insurance costs in Florida, as well as recovery after Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Nicole ripped through the Sunshine State in September 2022.

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2022 Saw More California Businesses Relocate to Florida

Despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s invitation to Floridians to move to California ahead of the November election, California businesses continue to leave, and increasingly to Florida.

While their top relocation destination is overwhelmingly Texas, several major companies have relocated to Florida since Newsom’s been in office.

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Florida Considers Lowering Abortion Ban from 15 Weeks to 12 Weeks

Changes could be coming to Florida’s abortion laws after the incoming senate president, Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, said she would like to see Florida’s abortion ban go from 15 weeks’ gestation to 12 weeks’ gestation.

The state of Florida banned abortion in 1900, but that ban was overturned in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade case. That ruling itself was overturned by the Supreme Court in June. Anticipating that decision, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moved to ban abortions from 15 weeks’ gestation, with the law making no exceptions for cases pertaining to rape and incest.

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Florida Investigates Christmas-Themed Drag Show for ‘All Ages’

On Tuesday, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) announced that it would launch an investigation into a performing arts center that hosted a drag show targeted towards little children.

As reported by the Daily Caller, the investigation is focusing on the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, which hosted the “Drag Queen Christmas” event the day after Christmas; advertisements for the event have since been removed from the center’s website, but archived versions remain available on the Internet.

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Florida Finishing 2022 with Record $22 Billion Surplus

The state of Florida is reporting a $21.8 billion surplus in 2022, the highest in state history. The state also decreased its debt by $1.3 billion this year, according to a newly published State Debt Report from the State of Florida Division of Bond Finance.

According to the report, Florida decreased its debt by $1.3 billion, increased its revenues by 17% ($8.5 billion), and maintained its AAA bond rating primarily because of its strong growing economy.

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Florida Unemployment Rate Lowest in 10 Largest States

Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.6% in November, the lowest of the 10 largest states in the U.S. and 1.1 percentage points lower than the national rate. It was also the 24th consecutive month that Florida’s unemployment rate remained below the national rate.

In November, Florida continued to exceed the national job growth rate for the 20th consecutive month; its employers have added jobs for 31 consecutive months.

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Commentary: Republicans Can Thank the Federal Government’s Bungled 2020 Census for Their Razor-Thin House Majority

Republicans will soon take control of the House of Representatives, but with a margin so narrow it may prove difficult to achieve their legislative and oversight objectives. That margin might have been larger, were it not for egregious errors made by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2020 census.

Come January, House membership will consist of 213 Democrats and 222 Republicans. A party must hold 218 of those seats to control the House. Thus, Republicans will have only a four-seat majority. That extremely narrow majority means that GOP leadership can lose any vote on any issue if only four Republicans defect and the Democrats stay united in opposition.

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Florida State Rep. Eskamani Files Bill to Get Rid of Diaper Sales Tax

A bill has been refiled that could permanently nix Florida’s sales tax from diapers and adult incontinence products.

Florida state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani filed House Bill 29, a continuation of an already existing sales tax exemption for children’s diapers, that are tax-free until June 30, 2023. If passed, the exemption would be expanded to also help reduce the cost for the elderly, their families, and those who use adult diapers and other incontinence products.

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Florida Leads Nation in Parent-Led Education

Florida ranked first in the United States for parental involvement in education, according to the Center for Education Reform’s Parent Power Index.

The index is released annually and measures the policies that exist in each state. Those policies are ranked by whether they allowed parental choice in what their child’s education would be, and if the needs of the student and their families were considered first.

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Florida Mulls Undoing Law That Revoked Disney’s Self Governing After ‘Woke’ Feud with DeSantis

Florida lawmakers are reportedly working to reverse a law that stripped Disney of its special tax status in the state after its then-CEO criticized a state law on gender classes in public schools.

The possible change, first reported by the Financial Times, follows Disney replacing CEO Bob Chapek who was in a feud with GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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Speaker Renner: Florida Could Consider Increasing Unemployment Benefits, but Shouldn’t Be by Too Much

When Florida lawmakers return to Tallahassee in March to begin their 2023 legislative session, one topic that could be up for consideration is the state’s unemployment benefits.

Florida’s current maximum unemployment benefit is $275 per week, the second-lowest in the U.S. Florida has kept it at this mark for 23 years.

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Florida Takes $2 Billion Away from BlackRock Due to Firm’s Activist Investing Standards

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced Thursday that the state will begin pulling over $2 billion in assets from large investment manager BlackRock because of the firm’s environmentally and socially motivated investing standards.

Patronis said that BlackRock is choosing to use its money to pursue its ideology rather than secure profits for its clients, according to a press release. Florida’s State Treasury will begin to remove roughly $1.43 billion worth of long-term securities from BlackRock’s control as well as approximately $600 million worth of short-term investments managed by the firm.

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Florida Continues 30-Month Job Creation Streak, Record Low Unemployment

Job gains have continued in Florida for 30 consecutive months, new labor data shows.

Florida’s seasonally adjusted total nonagricultural employment was 9,542,500 in October 2022, an increase of 36,400 jobs over the month. The Sunshine State gained 457,400 jobs over the year, an increase of 5%, higher than the national rate of 3.6% over the year.

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Florida Set to Receive Part of a Nearly $400 Million Settlement from Google over Location-Tracking Probe

Google agreed to a $391.5 million settlement with 40 states after an investigation found that the tech giant participated in questionable location-tracking practices, state attorneys general announced Monday.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong called it a “historic win for consumers.”

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Florida Ranks First in U.S. for Attracting and Developing Skilled Workforce

Florida ranks first in the U.S. for attracting and developing a skilled workforce, according to Lightcast’s seventh-annual Talent Attraction Scorecard.

Florida ranked first overall in education attainment, jobs, skilled jobs, migration in 2020, competitive effect, and skilled job openings.

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DeSantis-Endorsed School Board Candidates Win in Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, won reelection by almost 20 points, and all six of the school board candidates he endorsed have prevailed Tuesday. DeSantis had previously endorsed 24 candidates in school board races, all of whom won.

While school board races are historically nonpartisan, parents’ outrage over critical race theory, transgender activism, and COVID-19 lockdowns in schools have galvanized a parental rights movement that Republicans largely support and Democrats largely oppose. The parents rights group Moms for Liberty also endorsed many of the candidates DeSantis backed.

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Florida Hispanic Students Rank First Nationwide in Reading

Florida’s highest-ever 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress rankings indicate that the state’s students are “well ahead of their peers, especially with younger and educationally at-risk students who were harmed the most from distance learning in other states,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said when announcing the ranking. 

“We insisted on keeping schools open and guaranteed in-person learning in 2020 because we knew there would be widespread harm to our students if students were locked out,” he said, adding that the results “once again prove that we made the right decision.” 

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Democrat Blows Whistle on Alleged Ballot-Harvesting Scheme, Florida Opens Criminal Probe

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new election crimes unit has recommended state police open a full criminal investigation into a Democrat whistleblower’s detailed complaint of a long-running, widespread ballot harvesting operation in the African-American communities in politically important central Florida.

Former Orange County Commissioner candidate Cynthia Harris filed a sworn affidavit in late August with the Secretary of State’s office alleging that illegal operations to collect third-party ballots have been going on for years in the Orlando area where voting activists are paid $10 for each ballot they collect.

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Florida AG Moody Launches 2022 Human Trafficking Summit, Registration Still Open

A Florida-led virtual 2022 Human Trafficking Summit launched Tuesday nationwide, engaging experts from across the country to collaborate on ways to more effectively combat human trafficking. More than 2,300 attendees registered and registration remains open at HumanTraffickingSummit.com.

The summit provides over 16 hours of educational content, which will remain accessible online through March 2023.

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Out-of-State Police Officers Keep Moving to Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Law Enforcement Recruitment Bonus Payment Program is continuing to pay off as more law enforcement officers relocate to Florida from other states.

On Friday, Gov. DeSantis delivered $5,000 bonuses to six new recruits in the Cape Coral Police Department in Lee County. Two relocated from New York; one relocated from Maryland, one relocated from Georgia, and two are new to the profession.

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Marco Rubio Commentary: The Things Florida Needs to Recover from Hurricane Ian

A few years ago, while visiting the National Hurricane Center, I asked the staff to describe a worst-case weather scenario for Florida. They described a high-category hurricane stalling off the coast and pummeling the western side of the state with storm surge. In other words, they described Hurricane Ian.

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Florida to Continue Flying Noncitizens in U.S. Illegally North

Florida will continue transporting foreign nationals in the U.S. illegally north for at least another eight months, according to a state contract and purchase orders reviewed and first reported by the Sun Sentinel.

They are being transported by Vertol Systems Co., a comprehensive transportation service provider, which was granted a contract by the Florida Department of Transportation. Transportation services are to continue through June 30, 2023, according to the contract.

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Florida Faces Multiple Hurdles to Be Ready for Midterms as Result of Hurricane Ian Destruction

Florida officials are facing multiple hurdles with midterm election voting – now less than six weeks away – as a result of the damage inflicted last week by Hurricane Ian. 

Challenges include a lack of functional polling sites, a potential shortage of poll workers, and the deadline for the state to send vote-by-mail ballots being Thursday – while the Postal Service hasn’t resumed service in some of the hardest-hit areas, according to Politico.

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Star News Reporter Goes Inside the Destruction of Hurricane Ian

ROTONDA WEST, Florida – More than 36 hours after the devastating Category 4 Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida, a Star News Network reporter trekked to the rural town of Rotonda West to do a wellness check on his parents, who live in the sprawling community. 

The deed restricted community of Rotonda West, located in Charlotte County, spent approximately eight hours inside the eyewall of Hurricane Ian on Wednesday, as the storm moved slowly northeast towards Orlando and later Jacksonville. 

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DeSantis Responds to Critics of Martha’s Vineyard Migrant Flights

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida took on critics attacking him over flying illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, during a Monday night Fox News appearance.

“Sean, it’s really frustrating. You have been covering this,” DeSantis told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “Millions of people since Biden has been president illegally coming across the southern border. Did they freak out about that? No. You had migrants die in the Rio Grande, you had 50 die in Texas in a trailer because they were neglected. Was there a freak out? No, there wasn’t.”

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Report: NYC Wants to Relocate Migrants Bused in from Texas to Florida

New York City officials are thinking about flying illegal immigrants out of the Big Apple to Florida after officials in Texas bussed 11,000 border crossers to the sanctuary city, the Daily Mail reported on Friday.

Manuel Castro, NYC’s Commissioner of Immigration Affairs, said that most of the migrants are from Venezuela, and they want to go to the Sunshine State because it has a large community of Venezuelans.

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Florida Begins Flying Illegal Immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard

The state of Florida has begun flying foreign nationals who entered the U.S. illegally at the southern border – and were transported by the Biden administration to Florida – north to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Delaware, New York and California are likely next, according to statements made by Gov. Ron DeSantis and his staff.

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Poll: Most Americans Would Rather Live in Florida than California

American voters prefer Florida to California by a three to two margin, a new poll from WPA Intelligence found.

When asked where they would prefer to live, 61% of registered voters said they would rather live in Florida and 39% chose California, the poll, conducted Aug. 22-25, found. Independents and Republicans showed an even stronger preference for Florida, while Democrats preferred California.

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Lawsuit Challenges Florida Medicaid’s Exclusion of Transgenderism

On Wednesday, a federal lawsuit was filed against the state of Florida over a recently-enacted policy that orders the state’s Medicaid program to prohibit the funding of gender-altering procedures.

According to NPR, the suit was filed in the Northern District of Florida by a coalition of far-left groups allegedly representing four Florida Medicaid recipients, who claim to be either “transgender” or to be the parents of “transgender” children.

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New Florida Legislative Proposal Saves Toll Drivers 50 Percent in Savings

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a new proposal for the legislature to consider next year to give toll road commuters a 50% discount.

Under the new plan, drivers who use toll transponders like SunPass and E-PASS and have 40 or more transactions a month would receive a 50% credit on their monthly bills. The proposal would benefit about 750,000 Floridians and save the average commuter $550 a year, according to estimates.

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Florida and Arizona Top-Ranked States in Heritage Foundation’s Education Freedom Report Card

The Heritage Foundation ranked Florida, followed by Arizona, as the states that most empower parents in their children’s education and support education freedom.

On Friday Heritage published its first Education Freedom Report Card which provides measures of the concept in four categories: school choice, academic transparency, regulation freedom, and spending.

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