Florida Department of Education Website Highlights Parental Rights, COVID Guidance

Florida Department of Education Website Highlights Parental Rights, COVID Guidance

Recent website updates by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), under the recently appointed Commissioner of Education – Senator Manny Diaz, puts a focus on parental rights and COVID guidance.

Diaz’s appointment was announced by the State Board of Education on April 29, 2022.

The website update provides a link at the top of the FDOE home page called “Featured Topics.” The top featured topics listed under the link are “Parental Rights” and COVID-19.

Under the “Parental Rights” tab is a message that states, “Florida is taking bold steps to protect parental rights and ensure the lawfulness of instructional materials. If you believe you have found unlawful materials in your school or you are just unsure how to voice your concerns, please see the helpful information below.”

The “Parental Rights” page lists contact information to share concerns directly with FDOE or with a school’s principal. A link on the page lists contacts for all public school principals in the 67 school districts.

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Florida Gay Rights Group Seeks to Avoid Supreme Court Review of ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ordinance

Florida Gay Rights Group Seeks to Avoid Supreme Court Review of ‘Conversion Therapy’ Ordinance

After losing court battles over the legality of local ordinances that ban “conversion therapy”, a gay-rights group – the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council – is asking Palm Beach County and Boca Raton to repeal their bans on so-called “conversion therapy” for youths struggling with their sexuality.

The group is seeking the repeal not because they have had a change in policy preference, but rather the group do not want the Palm County ordinances to be the vehicle by which the U.S. Supreme can rule on the issue.

The issue comes as the Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo recently recommended that social, medical and surgical transitioning treatment for gender dysphoria not be provided to children and adolescents.

Rand Hoch, the founder the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, said in a statement last week that he was asking for the county and the city to drop their litigation, because the plaintiffs’ attorneys “clearly want to have this issue heard by the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as possible.”

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Florida Medical Association to Consider Resolutions Related to Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care

Florida Medical Association to Consider Resolutions Related to Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care

In the coming weeks, members of the Florida Medical Association (FMA) House of Delegates will be asked to vote on controversial resolutions related to issues that include abortion and gender-affirming care.

The FMA House of Delegates is the legislative and business body of the FMA. Its members are the officers of the FMA, the elected members of the Board of Governors, and the delegates officially elected by the component societies, specialty societies, Specialty Society Section, Young Physicians Section, Medical Student Section, Resident & Fellow Section and the FMA Alliance.

The FMA sets policy by acting on recommendations from the Board of Governors and resolutions presented by component county medical societies, recognized specialty medical societies, special sections and delegates.
According to documents reviewed by the Florida Capital Star, the FMA’s House of Delegates will address two resolutions addressing gender-affirming care for transgender people and two different abortion resolutions for the House of Delegates to consider.

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Florida Education Rule on Gender Identity Ignores Federal Guidance, Requires Parental Notification

Florida Education Rule on Gender Identity Ignores Federal Guidance, Requires Parental Notification

The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) announced on July 25 that they intend to proceed with a proposed rule requiring school districts to adopt a policy that provides parental notification related to the logistic of overnight field trips.

The regulation is being implemented to align FDOE’s policies with Florida’s Parental Bill of Rights law passed in 2021.

Under the law, FDOE is required to review and update “school counseling frameworks and standards; educator practices and professional conduct principles and any other student services personnel guidelines” to align with the new law by June 30, 2023.

Two LGBTQ rights groups, Equality Florida and Family Equality, filed suit in federal court in March, arguing the Parental Bill of Rights law is unconstitutional. Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a motion asking U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor to throw out the case last month.

The new FDOE rule requires notification to parents, including details such as “the nature of the field trip, the dates and times, specific locations and types of establishments to be visited, modes of transportation and method of student supervision provided, such as anticipated number of chaperones.”

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Gwen Graham Resumes Twitter Attacks Aimed at Governor Ron DeSantis

Gwen Graham Resumes Twitter Attacks Aimed at Governor Ron DeSantis

After a hiatus from criticizing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis via her Twitter account, former gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham has resumed her personal attacks.

Graham, who currently serves as an Assistant Secretary of Education in the Biden Administration, called DeSantis a “cowardly bully” in a recent tweet aimed at the popular Florida governor.

On July 16, Graham tweeted, “For those of you who think Trump is worse than DeSantis, you are wrong. And for those who think DeSantis could take on Trump, also wrong. I know Ron. He is a cowardly, bully. He will turn and run when he can’t use his office as a stage to make himself look fake big. He is tiny.”

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Andrew Gillum Raids Campaign Funds to Pay $440K for Defense Lawyers

Andrew Gillum Raids Campaign Funds to Pay $440K for Defense Lawyers

Andrew Gillum’s political action committee (PAC) from his failed bid for Florida governor recently paid his Miami lawyers $440,181, according to reports filed with the Division of Elections.

Gillum was indicted in June on multiple charges connected to campaign contribution fraud before and during his 2018 run for governor of Florida. The 21 count indictment includes conspiracy charges, wire fraud and making false statements.

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Nikki Fried Announces Support of a Reparations Bill in Florida If Elected Governor

Nikki Fried Announces Support of a Reparations Bill in Florida If Elected Governor

During a campaign interview with hip-hop legend Luther Luke Campbell and others, Florida gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried said, if she was elected governor, she would support reparations legislation like the bill recently adopted in California.

Stephen Johnson, 100 Black Men of South Florida Past Chair and member of the Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board, told Fried that he could not find her position on reoperations in any of her campaign materials. Johnson then asked if signing a reparations task force legislation be something she would do if she became governor of Florida. 

Fried responded, “Yes, of course it would be. I think this are hard conversations to have but we have to have them.”

Fried then went on to discuss the Groveland Four, who were four young African American men falsely accused of raping 17-year-old girl and assaulting her husband on July 16, 1949, in Lake County, Florida. Fried was a member of the Florida Cabinet who joined in issuing posthumous pardons of the four men on Jan. 11, 2019.

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Teachers Union Poll Shows Support for DeSantis’ Education Positions

Teachers Union Poll Shows Support for DeSantis’ Education Positions

A national teachers union poll shows that positions adopted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are supported by most voters.

During Florida’s 2022 legislative session, DeSantis championed a number of education related bills that his opponents often labeled as extreme. During the session, Equality Florida, a LGBTQ advocacy group, released a television advertisement “blasting” DeSantis over his positions.

However, a battleground-state survey commissioned by the American Teachers Federation shows a majority of voters approve of DeSantis’ education policy positions.

For example, one poll question found that voters, by a 32 percentage-point margin, said they were more likely to vote for candidates who believe public schools should focus less on teaching race and more on core subjects.

DeSantis signed a bill that banned critical race theory in schools.

Another poll question found that voters, by 27 points, said schools should be banned from teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to kids in kindergarten through third grade.

DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill (SB 1834), which expanded parental rights and limited the discussion of gender related issues in elementary school grades.

And by 28 points, another poll question found that voters agreed that transgender athletes should be banned from competing in girls’ sports.

In June 2021, DeSantis signed signed into law a policy banning transgender athletes from playing girls and women’s sports.

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Gov. DeSantis Speaks at Moms for Liberty Conference in Tampa

Gov. DeSantis Speaks at Moms for Liberty Conference in Tampa

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke for about an hour Friday during the opening day of the first-ever Moms for Liberty National Summit held in Tampa, which was scheduled to continue on Saturday and Sunday.

The summit welcomed “all moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, and friends concerned about the attack on parental rights in education and are ready to defend those rights at all levels of government.”

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Florida’s Capital City First to Approve Lobbying Ban for Convicted Felons

Florida’s Capital City First to Approve Lobbying Ban for Convicted Felons

The Tallahassee City Commission voted on Wednesday unanimously to adopt a 10-year lobbying ban for anyone convicted of a felony related to bribery and honest services fraud. The ordinance will be drafted by the city attorney and brought back to the city commission at a later date.

According to information revealed at the meeting, Tallahassee will be the first major city in Florida to adopt a ban on lobbying by convicted felons.

Former Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and two others were indicted and are currently serving prison sentences for their actions.

More recently, former Tallahassee mayor and one-time Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum was indicted by the federal government.

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Florida Ports See Increase in Cargo, Cruise Lines Still Recovering

Florida Ports See Increase in Cargo, Cruise Lines Still Recovering

According to an industry report, cargo handled by Florida ports was up over 100% in 2021 when compared to 2020.

The Florida Ports Council released the 2021-2022 Seaport Mission Plan on Wednesday which provides detailed information related to Florida’s 15 seaports.

The report notes that, from a total tonnage perspective, year-over-year two-way, inbound and outbound cargo, rose 118.3% in 2021 compared to 2020.

Florida seaports are an important contributor to the state’s economy. Currently, Florida seaports generate nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute $117.6 billion in economic value to the state through cargo and cruise activities.

The report notes that, due to West Coast labor issues and lingering global supply-chain issues, “a re-alignment of global trade routes is clearly underway, and Florida ports are strategically positioned to take maximum advantage of this opportunity.”

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Gov. Ron DeSantis Issues Executive Order Designed to Lower Costs of Prescription Drugs

Gov. Ron DeSantis Issues Executive Order Designed to Lower Costs of Prescription Drugs

On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order (22-164) focused on lowering the costs of prescription drugs for Floridians by promoting transparency. The order will ensure reforms are in place to hold Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) accountable when managing prescription drug benefits for insurance companies. PBMs are third-party administrators of prescription drug programs.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the executive order at a press conference at Cape Coral High School.

“This executive order is really probably the first time Florida as a state has taken action to ensure that we’re saving money for Floridians regarding the middlemen and what happens with the prescription drug programs,” DeSantis said. “I think it’s going to be very, very meaningful.”

“For far too long leaders have chosen the path of inaction, rather than action, and fallen victim to a pharmaceutical system driven by drug companies rather than consumers,” said Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller. “Fortunately, Governor DeSantis leads with principle, always putting Floridians first and today’s actions will further this commitment by providing insight into the FDA’s review process and all agency health care contracts through the end of the decade.”

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Florida School Districts Continue to Face Teacher Shortages

Florida School Districts Continue to Face Teacher Shortages

The 2022-23 K-12 school year begins in less than two months and Florida school districts are facing teacher shortages.

As of this week, Duval County Public Schools reported 529 vacancies for certified teachers, up 23% — nearly 100 positions — compared to the start of last school year. This year’s vacancies are almost double the number Duval saw at the beginning of 2020-21 school year.

In addition, Orange County Public Schools lists over 200 K-12 teacher openings and Brevard County Public Schools lists 235 teacher vacancies.

And while the numbers are daunting they should not be surprising.

According to surveys by the Florida Education Association(FEA), the number of teacher vacancies have increased a 104% since August 2019. In August 2019, the FEA reported there were 2,135 advertised positions. This number increased to 2,962 in August 2020 and ballooned to 4,359 by January 2022.

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Nikki Fried’s Republican Donations Complicate Attacks on Charlie Crist

Nikki Fried’s Republican Donations Complicate Attacks on Charlie Crist

Less than two months out from the Democratic primary for Florida governor, Fried’s attacks on Charlie Crist for his time as a Republican has become complicated due to Fried’s own campaign donations to GOP candidates.

Crist, who served as a Republican governor in Florida from 2007 to 20011, changed parties and won the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014 and lost to then-Gov. Rick Scott. Crist now serves as a Democratic member of Congress.

Fried’s message to Democratic voters has attempted to take advantage of Crist’s past ties to Republican causes.

“They’re tired of recycled politicians especially people that haven’t delivered for Democrats ever,” Fried stated. She also said that Crist needs to be held “accountable” for his past “destructive” record assisting Republicans.

Specifically, Fried has highlighted Crist’s past positions on guns and abortion.

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More Headlines…

Florida’s Revenue Collections 21 Percent over Projections, Consumer Confidence Rebounds

Florida’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) reported that general revenue collections for May 2022 were $741.8 million (21.0 percent) over the estimates made in January 2022. In addition, consumer confidence among Floridians rebounded in June while national consumer sentiment fell sharply.

Revenues generated from the sales of automobiles was the highest above the projections among the six sales tax categories coming in $148.75 million (31.1 percent) over the May estimate.

Also contributing to the higher than projected sales tax revenue were the Tourism and Business categories, both surpassing estimates by over 26%.

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Florida Asks Judge to Dismiss Lawsuit Filed Against Parental Rights Bill

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office filed a 60-page motion Monday arguing that U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor should dismiss a case filed by LGBTQ-advocacy groups Equality Florida and Family Equality related to the Parental Rights in Education legislation. 

The law (HB 1557) prevents instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade and requires that such instruction be “age-appropriate … in accordance with state academic standards” in older grades.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office called the provisions of the bill a “modest limitation … neutrally allowing all parents, no matter their views, to introduce those sensitive topics to their children as they see fit.” 

Monday’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit raised a series of arguments, including that the plaintiffs did not have legal standing and that the state has the right to set curriculums for public schools. It also took issue with the “Don’t Say Gay” moniker.

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Americans for Prosperity Gives 31 Florida Legislators an A-Plus

Americans for Prosperity-Florida (AFP-FL)  unveiled its 2022 Florida Legislative Scorecard Wednesday highlighting Florida’s elected officials who, according to AFP-FL, “championed solutions that will create more opportunity for all Floridians while standing up against harmful public policy change.”

AFP-FL stated that the scorecard “lets you know which lawmakers have championed policies that empower all Floridians to realize their potential, help others, and achieve their version of the American dream. It’s a tool for activists, the media, and the general public to learn how each senator and representative has voted and hold them to account for their decisions.”

According to the scorecard, 31 lawmakers scored an A+, 72 received an A, 35 received a B, 17 received a C, 3 received a D, and 2 lawmakers –Rep. Jervonte Edmonds and Sen. Perry Thurston— received an F.

The Florida lawmakers to receive an A+ in 2022 are all Republicans.

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Citing Crime, Chicago’s Richest Man to Move $22 Billion Company to Florida

Ken Griffin, Chicago’s richest man and founder of the hedge-fund Citadel, recently announced in a letter to employees that his company would be relocating to Miami.

“I am excited to share with you that Citadel is moving its global headquarters to Miami,” the letter read. “Miami is a vibrant, growing metropolis that embodies the American Dream. I am excited to have recently moved to Miami with my family and look forward to rapidly expanding Citadel in a city so rich in diversity and abounding with energy.”

Griffin’s decision comes less than a year after he told an audience at the Economic Club of Chicago that he was considering moving the business because of crime in the city.

A report indicated that over the past five years, using per capita information, that Chicago far outpaced Miami in homicides, sexual assaults, and robberies, while Miami outpaced Chicago in aggravated battery.

Griffin, 53, is originally from Daytona Beach, and went to high school in Boca Raton, but founded Citadel in Chicago 30 years ago. Griffin has been a frequent critic of rising crime in Chicago, and that appears to be a factor in the decision to move Citadel to Miami.

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Former Florida Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Gillum Indicted by Feds

Former Tallahassee Mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has been indicted on multiple charges connected to campaign contribution fraud before and during his 2018 run for governor of Florida. Gillum lost to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida unsealed the 21-count indictment on Wednesday. One of Gillum’s closest advisers, Sharon Lettman-Hicks, also was charged in the 21-count indictment. Gillum, 42, and Lettman-Hicks, 53, were arrested on Wednesday and were scheduled to have their first appearance Wednesday afternoon at the U.S. Courthouse in Tallahassee.

The 26-page indictment indicates that the Gillum investigation was part of the comprehensive corruption probe that used undercover agents to get close to some of Tallahassee’s biggest movers and shakers. Former Tallahassee Mayor and City Commissioner Scott Maddox and his associate Paige Carter-Smith, along with Tallahassee businessman J.T. Burnette were recently sentenced to prison as a result of the probe.

The indictment alleges that between 2016 and 2019, defendants Gillum and Lettman-Hicks conspired to commit wire fraud, by unlawfully soliciting and obtaining funds from various entities and individuals through false and fraudulent promises and representations that the funds would be used for a legitimate purpose.

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DeSantis Responds to Furor over COVID Shots for Children: ‘The White House Is Lying’

The DeSantis Administration is pushing back on comments by the White House press secretary and media reports that claim Florida has reversed course related to COVID shots for children. Florida made news as the only state not to pre-order the COVID vaccine for children six months to five years of age.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the vaccines for emergency use on June 17 for children as young as 6 months and the CDC recommended everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Jeremy Redfern, press secretary for the Florida Department of Health, said the department “chose not to participate” in the vaccination program because the state health department is not following federal public health recommendations.

Governor Ron DeSantis also commented on the situation.

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Senator Marco Rubio Scores Another Law Enforcement Endorsement

This past Friday, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio announced he had received the endorsement of the Florida Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in his U.S. Senate contest against probable opponent, Democratic Rep. Val Demings, a former law enforcement official.

The endorsement comes amid a statewide TV commercial campaign by Demings that seeks to highlight her law enforcement background – which includes 27 years as an Orlando police officer, including  four years as the Orlando Chief of Police – and to defuse attempts to tie her to the 2020 “defund the police” messages pushed by some liberal Democrats.

“In the Senate, I’ll protect Florida from bad ideas,” Demings says in the new 30-second TV spot. “Defunding the police: That’s just crazy.”

However, Rubio has been critical of Demings’ vote on legislation that includes provisions that would strip police of qualified immunity. Qualified immunity protects law enforcement officers against lawsuits over what they do on the job.

A Rubio campaign video shows law enforcement officers expressing outrage over Demings’ vote.

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DeSantis Keeps Promise, Launches Education Agenda for School Board Candidates

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis launched an education agenda focused on influencing local school board races in the 2022 election cycle.

Titled “The DeSantis Education Agenda: Putting Parents First, Protecting Parents’ Rights,”, the policy focuses on issues related to student success, parental rights and curriculum transparency.”

According to the website, “The DeSantis Education Agenda is a student-first, parent-centered initiative focused on setting Florida’s children up for success, ensuring parental rights in education, and combatting the woke agenda from infiltrating public schools….This statewide agenda is for school board candidates and school board members who are committed to advancing these priorities at the local school board level.”

In a statement provided to The Federalist, DeSantis championed the launch of the agenda, saying that “Florida has delivered the most student-focused, parent-centered education agenda in the nation” at a time when “curriculum in states around the country are being used as opportunities to indoctrinate innocent children.”

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Florida School Districts Scramble to Implement Provisions of the Parental Rights in Education Legislation

The recently passed Parental Rights in Education bill has Florida school districts scrambling to change policies and remove books that might violate the provisions of the legislation.

Notably, the Palm Beach Post reported that Palm Beach County school officials are ending the use of the “Genderbread Person” infographic. The infographic was used to explain the differences between anatomical sex, gender expression, gender identity, sexual attraction and romantic attraction.

Palm Beach Schools Superintendent Mike Burke said the infographic was “problematic because it gave the impression that we were targeting a younger audience” ……I’m not sure it was the most valuable piece of our curriculum.”

Part of the process in Palm Beach included sending questionnaires to teachers seeking information about materials used in classroom activities. If the questionnaire revealed potential violations, teachers were asked to send the material to school officials for review.

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DeSantis: ‘Blockade’ of Supreme Court by Pro-Choice Protesters Is an ‘Insurrection’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appeared on Fox & Friends Monday morning and labeled the potential  “blockade” of the Supreme Court by pro-choice groups as an “insurrection.”

DeSantis was referring to the publicized plans of  ShutDownDC,  a left-wing group which announced it was hosting a “shut down SCOTUS” protest on June 13, with plans to “blockade” the streets surrounding the Supreme Court in light of a potential decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

The group announced the protest plans on their website. “On June 13, one of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision days, we plan to blockade the streets around the Supreme Court to rise up for the transformative change that our communities need,” the website states. “Right now our political system is in crisis. Times of crisis can either be opportunities to break through the inertia and win transformational change or they can be opportunities for the establishment to further entrench the status quo.”

DeSantis said on Fox & Friends that group is “trying to change the outcome of decisions that they are concerned that they don’t like and that is totally antithetical to the rule of law…That would be considered an insurrection: to stop a court from functioning, and yet they seem to be able to get away with a lot more than if the shoe were on the other foot.”

“I think that we have a rule of law in this country and you don’t just get to have a mob descend on a Supreme Court Justice’s house or try to impede the operations of government because there may be a decision you don’t like,” DeSantis added.

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Environmentalists Applaud DeSantis Veto of Everglades Related Bill

Supported by environmentalists, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) vetoed a controversial measure (SB2508) tied to Everglades restoration last week. In the veto letter, DeSantis noted the possibility that the legislation could have a negative impact on Everglades restoration projects.

“While the bill that was ultimately passed by the Legislature is an improvement over what was initially filed, SB 2508 still creates unnecessary and redundant regulatory hurdles which may compromise the timely execution and implementation of Everglades restoration projects, water control plans and regulation schedules,” DeSantis wrote in the letter submitted to Secretary of State Cord Byrd.

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Governor DeSantis Responds to ‘Leftist’ Call for Special Session on Gun Laws

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made it clear that he does not support the call for a special session on gun laws as proposed by several legislators.

Last week State Rep. Joseph Geller, D-Miami-Dade, sent a letter to all state lawmakers and the Florida secretary of state in an attempt to have a special session called to address gun violence.

In order for a special session to be granted, 60% of the lawmakers in the house and senate would have to approve the request. The governor could also issue a proclamation calling for the special session.

On Wednesday, DeSantis responded to the request by noting that Florida has adopted a number laws to  address gun violence.

DeSantis said, “What we’ve done in this budget is have record funding, continued record funding for school safety and school security as well as mental health. We’ve done three-quarters of a billion dollars just for school security, just since 2019, so we took the Stoneman Douglas recommendations, we put those into effect in both policy and with resources and it’s made a really, really big difference.”

DeSantis then took a shot at the “leftist.”

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DeSantis Explains His Response to Disney’s ‘Ridiculous Course of Action’ Related to the Parental Rights in Education Bill

During a recent interview with David Rubin, Gov. DeSantis explained his actions related to Disney and their position on the Parental Rights in Education bill.

DeSantis told Rubin that early in the 2022 Florida legislative session he became aware that activists would be pushing a false narrative about the Parental Rights in Education legislation around the “Don’t Say Gay” slogan.

DeSantis said, “I started fighting back against them because they were just lying to people and it’s offensive when they’re lying and so we start fighting back and I would literally have these reporters, I’d say ‘okay where does it say that in the bill?’ okay it doesn’t say that in the bill what does it say?”

DeSantis then discussed Disney’s decision to get involved with opposing the legislation.

DeSantis said, “Then you had this situation where you had the corporations, mostly Disney, deciding to get involved and I think people look at that they’re like first of all I don’t know why they got involved in this, it was a huge mistake for them …. I think they’ve lost 60 billion in market cap since they got involved.”

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LGBTQ+ Pride Night Backfires on Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays’ LGBTQ Pride Night recently made headlines due to players choosing not to participate in the event. The promotional event featured rainbow-colored logos added to the teams’ jerseys and caps. In addition, the Rays organization included members of the LGBTQ+ community in pregame events, gave out mini pride flags and offered special ticket packages.

“Our Pride Nights continue to grow both in terms of visibility and participation,” Rays president Matt Silverman said. “By doing this, we extend an invitation not just for this game but for all of our games that the LGBTQ+ community is invited, welcomed and celebrated.”

However, players were given the option to opt out and five decided not to participate by removing the logo and wearing a standard hat. Those who did not participate included pitchers Jason Adam, Jalen Beeks, Brooks Raley, Jeffrey Springs and Ryan Thompson.

Adam appeared to be the spokesperson for the group who provided a statement to the Tampa Bay Times after the game.

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Progressive Leader, State Rep. Anna Eskamani, Endorses U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist for Florida Governor

An influential progressive politician in Florida, State Rep. Anna Eskamani, has endorsed U.S. Rep Charlie Crist in his bid  for the Democratic nomination for Florida governor. Crist is in a campaign for the nomination with Florida’s current Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida State Senator Annette Taddeo.

“At Team Anna, we’re ‘working for you, and fighting for us’ — and that’s exactly who Charlie Crist is and what he does,” said Eskamani.

Eskamani, who represents House District 47 which includes part of Orlando, also noted that Crist “has gone toe-to-toe w/some of the most powerful companies in FL & joined us in opposing the anti-rooftop solar bill this past legislative session too. He’s committed to criminal legal reform, abortion access, LGBTQ+ rights, public ed, the environment & more!”

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