Florida Is Second Behind Texas in Population Growth from 2020 to 2021

Florida Is Second Behind Texas in Population Growth from 2020 to 2021

While the nation recorded a historically low population growth rate from 2020 to 2021, the state of Florida had the second highest population increase in the U.S. behind Texas, according to a report on Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB).

Following Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ efforts during the pandemic to keep Florida relatively open compared to most other states, from July 1st, 2020, to July 1st, 2021, the census report showed that the state’s population grew by 211,196, making the total population 21,781,128.

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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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DeSantis Responds to Recent Spike of Omicron Cases in Florida

DeSantis Responds to Recent Spike of Omicron Cases in Florida

After more than three months of COVID-19 cases declining weekly since the summer spike in Florida, the holiday season welcomed in a new spike in cases due to the new Omicron variant that began Thanksgiving Day weekend and has boomed into the month of December.

According to the weekly COVID-19 case report provided by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), the 13-week continuous decline of weekly cases ended on the weekend of November 26th through December 2nd, and recorded 10,875 new cases – a 1,234 increase from the previous week that recorded 9,641.

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Florida Department of Health to Accept Applications from African American Farmers for Medical Marijuana Licenses

Florida Department of Health to Accept Applications from African American Farmers for Medical Marijuana Licenses

Almost six months after the Florida Supreme Court upheld a law that designated a single medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) license for an African American farmer with business ties in the state, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) issued rules for the licensing process on Thursday.

Eligible applicants for $50 million MMTC license are African American farmers who were litigants in the Pigford vs. Glickman lawsuit from 1999 that successfully ruled the U.S. Department of Agriculture of discriminating against African American farmers when allocating farm loans and other financial assistance from 1981-1996.

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Florida Governor DeSantis Campaign Finance Report Shows over $4.5 Million Raised in November

Florida Governor DeSantis Campaign Finance Report Shows over $4.5 Million Raised in November

As campaign finance reports for November were filed by 2022 gubernatorial candidates and officially released by the Florida Division of Elections on Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign finance report showed that his political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, raised $4,593,936.

DeSantis, who had been fundraising for his campaign well before his official campaign announcement, now has $67 million in cash on hand from a variety of contributors who donated from as low as $1, to as high as $500,000 in November.

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Charlie Crist Campaign Releases Finance Report for November

Charlie Crist Campaign Releases Finance Report for November

Campaign fundraising for U.S. Representative and Democratic candidate in Florida’s 2022 gubernatorial race, Charlie Crist, has amassed $5 million raised since his campaign announcement in early May.

Crist’s campaign, and political committee, Friends of Charlie Crist, announced Wednesday that there was more than $607,000 raised in the month of November, which ultimately led to the $5 million fundraising landmark.

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AAA Says Florida Gas Prices Could Drop Below $3 in the Coming Weeks

AAA Says Florida Gas Prices Could Drop Below $3 in the Coming Weeks

Motorists in Florida could see gas prices return to under $3 a gallon in the coming weeks, as officials from the American Automobile Association (AAA) say concerns over the surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant will likely halt demand for fuel.

According to AAA, the price at the pump has continued to drop after reaching its 2021 peak four weeks ago in November, where the average price per gallon was almost $4. In the weeks since, the average price per gallon dropped 21%.

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After 23 Years, a New Proposal Calls for Partisan School Board Elections

After 23 Years, a New Proposal Calls for Partisan School Board Elections

 After 23 years since legislation from 1998 shifted Florida school boards to be nonpartisan, Florida Senator Joe Gruters on Tuesday proposed a bill to reverse course and make school board elections partisan again.

Gruters, a Republican from Sarasota, filed the bill SJR 244, which was approved by the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and is awaiting further review.

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

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

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.

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Florida Court Rules Against FDLE in Firearm Case

Florida Court Rules Against FDLE in Firearm Case

A three-judge panel in the 1st District Court of Appeal ruled against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Wednesday, in a case regarding an individual who was denied the purchase of a firearm by the Department based off an unapproved background check.

The background check in question was issued through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which FDLE states denied Leonardo Lynch the purchase of a gun because he had a record of mental incompetency or a court-ordered substance abuse treatment – both of which Lynch denied.

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Florida Democratic Lawmakers File Bills Supporting Abortion Rights

Florida Democratic Lawmakers File Bills Supporting Abortion Rights

Months after a Florida House Representative Webster Barnaby (R-Deltona) filed an anti-abortion bill (HB 167) in September, which would ban the procedure after fetal heartbeat, Democrats in the Florida legislature filed identical bills in both the House and Senate that would establish a woman’s right to an abortion.

Representative Ben Diamond of St. Petersburg, and Senator Lori Berman of Lantana, filed HB 709 and SB 1036, respectively, known as “Reproductive Health Care Rights.”

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Florida Democrats Oppose Biden’s Decision to Remove FARC from Terrorist List

Florida Democrats Oppose Biden’s Decision to Remove FARC from Terrorist List

After the Biden Administration announced its plan to remove a Colombian rebel group known as FARC from the list of foreign terrorist organizations, an outcry of opposition in South Florida and state Democrats soon followed.

Amongst the outcry were some of the state’s top Democratic elected officials, researchers, and activists who also expressed how Biden’s decision failed to take into account the estimated 150,000 Columbian American voters, as well as the other Hispanic or Latino American voters in Florida who experienced the violence in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

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Report Shows Lowest Florida Jobless Claims Since Before the Pandemic

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.

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University of Florida President Supports Testimony by Political Science Professors

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.

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Florida 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.

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

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.

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Investigation Reveals Florida Democrats Used Dark-Money Organization to Support Candidates

A statewide investigation that made its way into an alleged scheme by Republican state Senator Frank Artile to influence a Miami-Dade County election in 2020, revealed that a dark-money organization was used by Florida Democrats to pay for “sham candidate mailers.”

In an attempt to make gains against a Republican-controlled Florida Senate, Josh Weierbach, the executive director of a progressive group called Florida Watch Inc., had $115,000 on hand leading up to the 2020 election that he wanted to use in support for Senate Democratic candidates, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

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State and Federal Policies Seek to Expand Broadband Access in Florida

Expanded infrastructure for enhanced broadband internet could be coming to Florida as state lawmakers and the Florida Internet and Television (FIT) addressed new state and federal policies Thursday that aim to provide internet access to more Floridians. 

Following Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act being signed on Monday, which allocated $42.5 billion for broadband with at least $100 million of that going to Florida.

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Florida Senator Joe Gruters Proposes Bill to Establish Incentives for Film Industry

Senator and Chair of the Republican Party of Florida, Joe Gruters, proposed a bill (SB 956) Tuesday that would offer financial incentives for the film industry to shoot, and produce, movies, television, and digital media projects within the state.

As the bill states, it looks to create the “Targeted High Wage Production Program” within the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), which will be under the supervision of the state’s Commissioner of Film and Entertainment.

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Visit Florida Reports Tourism Numbers Up in Third Quarter

Recent data released by Visit Florida regarding the third quarter of 2021 saw the number of U.S. travelers to Florida exceed the numbers from the same three-month period in 2020, and in 2019, while international travelers slowly make their way back to the state.

The number of domestic travelers in quarter three of 2021 was 31.204 million, 55.3% more than quarter three of 2020. With other countries loosening their COVID-19 border policies, the number of overseas and Canadian travelers was 1.226 million and 85,000, respectively, which toppled 2020 quarter three data by 604.1% and 512.3%, respectively.

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Florida Democrats Propose Bill Regulating Ammunition Purchases

A new gun control proposal by Democratic lawmakers in Florida looks to require a background check each time an individual purchases or transfers ammunition.

The legislation, SB 334 and HB 181, is an attempt to tackle a “loophole” in Florida Statutes that only requires a background check before the purchase of a firearm and does not require any further review.

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

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.

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Campaign Finance Reports Shows DeSantis with $62.6 Million, Huge Advantage

After formally announcing his re-election campaign last Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign finance report was released Wednesday that showed that his committee – Friends of Ron DeSantis – raised $4.66 million in October and had $62.6 million in cash on hand.

Filed with the Florida Department of State’s Division of Elections, campaign finance data for all gubernatorial candidates in 2022 shows the already massive gap between them and Governor DeSantis is continuing to grow as DeSantis’ newly announced campaign account provides another source for fundraising.

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Moms for Liberty Files Lawsuit Against Brevard County School Board

A chapter in Brevard County of a conservative group titled, Moms for Liberty, has filed a lawsuit against the county’s school board for implementing a public participation policy that they feel is being used to limit free speech and discriminate against speakers with opposing views.

The public participation policy is said to prohibit speakers from making comments that are “personally directed,” “abusive,” or “obscene;” while the Board Chair, Misty Belford, enforces the policy so that speakers can only address her or the Board as a whole, rather than letting speakers talk directly to or about a specific board member.

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Former Cuban Child TV Star and Political Refugee Launches ‘ADN América,’ a Nationwide News Organization for Hispanics and Latinos

Former Cuban child TV star and political refugee, Gelet Fragela, launched a brand-new, bilingual news organization for Hispanic-Americans on Monday, titled ADN América.

The organization will focus on providing the Hispanic-American market with real-time breaking news, in-depth analysis, and political reporting amid the “growing electoral influence among Hispanics across the country.”

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Jacksonville Murder Case Involving Immigrant Creates Further Criticism of Biden’s Border Policy

The murder of a Jacksonville man has further stirred Governor DeSantis’ criticism of the Biden Administration’s border policies as news arose that the suspect of the crime was an immigrant who had faked his identity in order to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to a report by News4Jax, 24-year-old Yery Medina Ulloa from Honduras – who pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder on Thursday – posed as a teenager at the border so that he could pass as an unaccompanied minor. However, federal officials have yet to comment on how Ulloa got to Florida.

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Everglades Oil Drilling Proposal Denied by Florida Department of Environmental Protection

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.

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Tenure Proposal Raises Concerns with Florida’s Public Universities

A proposal that threatens employment protections for tenured professors is becoming a concern as it circulates throughout Florida’s public universities. 

If the proposal is approved, it would make the process of dismissing veteran faculty members easier by establishing a “comprehensive review process” for professors every five years that ultimately puts their employment in the hands of a university provost.

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