DeSantis Signs Toll Relief, Disaster Relief and Property Insurance Bills into Law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three bills into law passed by the state legislature during a recently convened special legislative session. The new laws provide “the most significant property insurance reform in recent history,” disaster assistance to those impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole and extend toll relief to commuters.

On Friday, he signed SB 2-A, to help stabilize the state’s property insurance market, increase competition, and strengthen consumer protections.

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Orange Juice Prices Set to Rise After Florida Citrus Crops Damaged by Hurricanes and Disease

After Hurricanes Ian and Nicole ravaged Florida causing billions of dollars in damage, the state’s citrus growers are expecting smaller yields. As a result, the price of America’s favorite breakfast beverage, orange juice, is expected to rise in price as supply drops.

Frozen orange juice concentrate was already down in production for the 2020-2021 season and on-tree crop values were down nearly half from the 2016-2017 season, hitting a 10-year low. This season’s yield is predicted to be the lowest in 80 years.

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Lee County Milestone: Over 4 Million Cubic Yards of Hurricane Debris Collected

Hurricane season may be over, but recovery efforts continue in Florida and in Lee County, which was hard hit by Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm that made landfall on Sept. 28.

On Monday, Lee County announced recovery personnel had “reached another milestone with 4 million cubic yards of debris collected, roughly enough material to fill Hertz Arena to the ceiling 10½ times.” The 30-acre 171,000 square-foot entertainment venue, which seats 7,181 people, is southwest Florida’s premier arena that also hosts NHL, NBA, USBL and other sporting events.

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DeSantis Suspends Deadlines for Property Tax Payments

Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking several actions to help Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, including planning on calling a special session in December to address property taxes and property insurance reform.

He first issued an executive order to suspend property tax deadlines for residents in 26 counties impacted by Hurricane Ian. The order covers personal homes and commercial property that were either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable.

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$200 Million Awarded to Florida Schools for Student Growth, Teaching Excellence

As of Tuesday, Oct. 18, all schools impacted by Hurricane Ian are open.

More than $200 million has been granted to schools that have demonstrated student growth and teaching excellence, including $13 million to schools in southwest Florida greatly impacted by Hurricane Ian.

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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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Lone Florida Governor Debate Between DeSantis, Crist Cancelled in Hurricane Ian Aftermath

Charlie Crist

The lone debate next week between Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and Democrat challenger Charlie Crist has been postponed due to the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.

The announcement was made Thursday by the debate host, local news station WPEC News 12, according to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper.

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Biden Praises DeSantis for His Leadership Overseeing Recovery Efforts

President Joe Biden praised Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for his leadership in overseeing recovery efforts after the devastation created by Hurricane Ian.

After surveying areas damaged by the hurricane, Biden met with the governor and state and local officials. At a news conference, he praised DeSantis’ management of recovery efforts, saying, “What the governor has done is pretty remarkable.”

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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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Florida AG Moody Issues Another Warning About Price Gouging, Disaster Scams in Aftermath of Hurricane Ian

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing another warning to Floridians to be aware of fraudsters attempting to take advantage of those impacted by Hurricane Ian.

“Hurricane Ian devastated Floridians, destroying homes and leaving thousands without food, water or electricity,” Moody said. “Rebuilding will take months or longer – creating an inexhaustible demand for qualified contractors and debris removal services.

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Kamala Harris Says Disaster Relief Should Be ‘Based on Equity’

Vice President Kamala Harris said Friday that aid distributed in the wake of natural disasters like Hurricane Ian should be “based on equity.”

“It is our lowest-income communities and communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme conditions and impacted by issues not of their own making—” Harris said before being interrupted by Priyanka Chopra Jonas at a Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum.

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Florida Attorney General Warns Potential Looters of Consequences During State of Emergency

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning people not to loot during the state of emergency resulting from widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Ian.

She issued a warning to criminals on Friday, saying, “you will spend maximum time allowed by law behind bars.”

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Companies Donate More than $10 Million in One Day to Help Floridians

Companies nationwide donated more than $10 million in one day to help Floridians in the aftermath of destruction caused by Hurricane Ian.

Ian, which is believed to be the costliest storm in U.S. history, has devastated communities throughout much of southwest and central Florida.

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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 to Reporter: ‘Stop Politicizing’ Hurricane Response

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back against a reporter who he said was trying to politicize the state’s hurricane preparedness efforts.

The governor has been giving multiple briefings daily. At one briefing Tuesday, a reporter asked about remarks made by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell earlier in the day.

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Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Sends Teams to Florida in Response to Hurricane Ian

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) plans to send support to Florida as expected Category 3 Hurricane Ian bears down on the Sunshine State. 

“As Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Ian, Tennessee emergency service professionals are traveling to the area to help the state prepare and to provide support after the storm,” said Gov. Bill Lee (R) in a press release. “We are proud of men and women who have stepped up to represent the Volunteer State and provide critical, life-saving services to Floridians in need.”

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DeSantis Issues Additional Warnings as Strengthening Hurricane Expected to Make Landfall Tuesday

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued new warnings Monday ahead of Hurricane Ian, expected to make landfall this week. It was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane Monday morning and is projected to strengthen to a major hurricane.

As of 11 am Monday, the storm was located roughly 375 miles south of Key West. It’s moving about 15 miles an hour north with maximum winds of 80 miles an hour. As it moves into the Gulf, it’s expected to strengthen into a major hurricane as early as Tuesday, DeSantis said.

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