Last update: 2024-04-19 11:52:00


The Dawn of the "DeSantis Dollar": A Stealth Path to Florida's CBDC Nightmare

Welcome to 'Capitol T,' where the brew is strong, the leaves are loose, and the gossip flows as freely as the waters of the Okeechobee. So grab your mug and settle in - it's time to spill the Tea on what's happening in Tallahassee.

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The Dawn of the "DeSantis Dollar": A Stealth Path to Florida's CBDC Nightmare

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News around the USA

Disaster Response

Baby reported missing and endangered out of Sebring triggers statewide alert

A 7-month-old boy, Kansi Edwards, is missing from Sebring, Florida, and is considered endangered. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), he was last seen in the area of the 2800 block of State Road 17 North in Sebring. Edwards is described as 1 foot 6 inches tall, 20 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a green onesie. He may be accompanied by a 22-year-old woman named Alexis Thomas. Thomas was described as 5 feet 2 inches tall, 200 pounds, with brown hair, hazel eyes, and various tattoos on the fingers of her left hand. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is urged to contact the FDLE or the Sebring Police Department at 863-402-7235 or 911.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/florida/2024/04/18/baby-reported-missing-and-endangered-out-of-sebring-triggers-statewide-alert/
Location: Sebring, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 11:43:38

The Israeli military says Iran has launched drones at Israel that will take hours to arrive

Iran has allegedly launched drones towards Israel, with the Israeli military on high alert and prepared for their arrival. Tensions have risen between the two countries following an airstrike in Syria that killed two Iranian generals. In a separate incident, Iranian commandos seized an Israeli-affiliated ship near the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has vowed retaliation, prompting U.S. President Joe Biden to cut short a trip to monitor the situation. The escalation has fueled existing tensions in the region, leading to concerns about a broader conflict.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669476-the-israeli-military-says-iran-has-launched-drones-at-israel-that-will-take-hours-to-arrive/
Location: None
Published: 2024-04-13 20:25:49

10-year-old located after being reported missing near Vero Beach, sheriff’s office says

Edward "Malcolm" Dillard, a 10-year-old boy, has been reported missing in Indian River County, Florida. He was last seen on Friday in the 900 block of 24th Place Southwest. Dillard is 5 feet, 1 inch tall, weighs 110 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing khaki shorts and an orange T-shirt with "Tapout" on the front. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Dillard has been safely located. Any information about his whereabouts was advised to be reported to the FDLE or the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office at 772-978-6240 or 911.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/florida/2024/04/13/alert-issued-for-missing-10-year-old-last-seen-near-vero-beach/
Location: Vero Beach, Florida
Published: 2024-04-13 11:47:23

Florida Division of Emergency Management Reminds Residents to Prepare 50 Days Ahead of the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The Florida Division of Emergency Management is reminding residents to prepare 50 days ahead of the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The Division is encouraging Floridians to start home, business, and family preparations in anticipation of potential storms. The Division's Executive Director, Kevin Guthrie, will be traveling across the state to ensure readiness. It is advised for residents to know their evacuation zones, have multiple ways to receive weather alerts, avoid flooded areas, build a disaster supply kit, keep gas tanks half full, and plan for various hurricane hazards, including tornadoes, damaging winds, flooding, rip currents, and severe thunderstorms. Residents are encouraged to follow the Division's social media accounts for weather updates and safety tips. The 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the historical peak in September.

Link: https://www.floridadisaster.org/news-media/news/20240412-florida-division-of-emergency-management-reminds-residents-to-prepare-50-days-ahead-of-the-2024-atlantic-hurricane-season/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-13 11:01:36

Surge in Haitian migrants hasn’t hit Florida shores, so far. What happened?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had warned of a potential surge of Haitian refugees arriving by boat, prompting the mobilization of state personnel and equipment to supplement federal efforts. However, a month later, there has been no noticeable increase in Haitians arriving in Florida. Despite ongoing violence and instability in Haiti, there has not been a mass exodus to Florida. The Department of Homeland Security has emphasized the dangers of irregular migration journeys, particularly through maritime routes. DeSantis claimed credit for deterring the surge, but critics dismissed his actions as meaningless. The U.S. Coast Guard has reported intercepting some boats carrying people from Haiti and repatriating them. A Quinnipiac University poll indicated that a majority of American voters would welcome Haitian refugees, but opinions on this issue are polarized along party lines. The situation in Haiti continues to be dire, with concerns about the politicization of the issue and the decrease in news coverage.

Link: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2024/04/13/surge-in-haitian-migrants-hasnt-hit-florida-shores-so-far-what-happened/
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-04-13 11:00:55

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Federal Elections in Florida

Nancy Pelosi memoir, 'The Art of Power,' will reflect on her career in public life

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has finished writing a book chronicling her years in public service, titled "The Art of Power," to be published on August 6 by Simon & Schuster. Pelosi, the first woman to serve as speaker, recounts her political journey and significant legislative achievements, including the Affordable Care Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. The book also delves into her personal experiences, such as the Jan. 6, 2021 siege of the U.S. Capitol and the assault on her husband at their San Francisco home. Pelosi, who stepped down from leadership positions after the 2022 elections, represents California's 11th district. The book is presented as a personal account of her political career and the aforementioned traumatic events, alongside her previous book, "Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters," and the 2022 HBO documentary "Pelosi in the House" made by her daughter, Alexandra Pelosi.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/04/18/nancy-pelosi-memoir-the-art-of-power-will-reflect-on-her-career-in-public-life/
Location: San Francisco, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 11:39:19

Nancy Pelosi memoir, 'The Art of Power,' will reflect on her career in public life

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has written a book titled “The Art of Power” which is set to be released on August 6. The book delves into Pelosi's years in public life, detailing her legislative accomplishments and describing traumatic experiences such as the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol and an assault on her San Francisco home that left her husband injured. Pelosi offers insights into her tenure as the first woman to become speaker, sharing her strategies and motivations. The book also covers landmark bills she helped pass, such as the Affordable Care Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Additionally, Pelosi provides a personal account of the Jan. 6, 2021 siege and the assault on her home in 2022.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/04/18/nancy-pelosi-memoir-the-art-of-power-will-reflect-on-her-career-in-public-life/
Location: San Francisco, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 11:39:19

House’s Ukraine, Israel aid package gains Joe Biden’s support, Mike Johnson fights to keep job

President Joe Biden has expressed strong support for a proposal by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to provide $95 billion in funding for aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Johnson, facing opposition from his party's right flank, has moved forward with a plan to hold separate votes on the aid packages, including $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel, and $8 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific. The proposal has faced pushback from populist conservatives, and Johnson is seeking Democratic support to advance the complex plan. Progressives are opposed to providing aid to Israel due to its campaign in Gaza. Meanwhile, the threat to remove Johnson from his position as Speaker by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has gained steam, with support from other Republican lawmakers. Johnson's office has been working to garner support for his position, while efforts to address the concerns of conservatives, including a separate vote on a border security bill, have been rejected. The aid package also includes legislation on foreign policy issues such as seizing frozen Russian central bank assets and potential sanctions on Iran and China. The urgency to pass the aid bill has been underscored by the deteriorating situation in Ukraine, with Pentagon leaders testifying that both Ukraine and Israel are in urgent need of military weapons. There is acknowledgment in Washington that Johnson's role as Speaker may be at risk as he faces opposition within his party.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/670163-houses-ukraine-israel-aid-package-gains-joe-bidens-support-mike-johnson-fights-to-keep-job/
Location: Kyiv, Ukraine
Published: 2024-04-18 11:31:34

Bob Graham and Iraq War enlightenment

Senator Bob Graham, who recently passed away, was known for his opposition to the US War in Iraq. Despite the war's initial popularity, Graham stood out as a leading voice against the invasion in 2002 and 2003. He was among a minority that voted against the Iraq War Resolution, citing reasons such as the lack of evidence linking Iraq to Al Qaeda and the absence of WMDs in Iraq. Graham continued to critique the war's consequences, pointing out the strengthening of Iran and the insurgent backlash due to the mismanagement of the US occupation. His opposition was considered heroic, especially in the face of widespread political fear and public support for the war. Graham's principled stance and thorough understanding of the situation are praised, contrasting with the lack of due diligence displayed by others who supported the war. The article also briefly touches on the author's personal opposition to the Iraq War and suggests that opposition to the war does not necessarily equate to opposition to current US/NATO efforts in Ukraine.

Link: https://thefloridasqueeze.com/2024/04/18/bob-graham-and-iraq-war-enlightenment/
Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Published: 2024-04-18 04:02:00

Congress moving swiftly on bipartisan action to punish Iran after revenge attack on Israel

Bipartisan legislative action in Congress has been prompted by Iran's recent attack on Israel, leading to a series of measures seeking to condemn Iran and impose financial sanctions on the country. Lawmakers have united in denouncing Iran's actions, which came in response to a suspected Israeli strike on an Iranian consular building in Syria. The swift bipartisan condemnation highlights enduring American support for Israel, despite growing partisan division. The House and Senate have passed several bills targeting Iran, including new sanctions and financial restrictions, as well as measures addressing Iran's human rights record and its oil revenue streams. The bills were stalled in the Senate committee before the recent attack on Israel, which has amplified support for the legislative measures. President Joe Biden has ordered U.S. forces to help Israel defend against the attacks, while Israel has vowed to retaliate against Iran, risking an escalation of hostilities. Progressive Democratic lawmakers have expressed dissent, warning that the legislative efforts could provoke further escalation in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders has called for caution in responding to Iran's attack to prevent a dangerous escalation and ensure peace in the region.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/congress-moving-swiftly-on-bipartisan-action-to-punish-iran-after-revenge-attack-on-israel/3288522/
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
Published: 2024-04-18 03:46:12

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Tourism and Economy

Exclusive: Kahwa Coffee opens Fourth Street store after four-year delay

Kahwa Coffee Roasting Co. has opened a new store on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg, featuring a drive-thru, walk-up window, and outdoor seating. The location faced multiple challenges, including permitting issues, delays with shipping containers, hurricanes, and changing flood zones. The store offers a full menu of coffee, food, and non-coffee drinks, as well as bike racks for customers. The founders aim to expand and make Kahwa the largest coffee company in Florida. The opening comes after years of anticipation and challenges, with the founders expressing excitement about the new location.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/04/18/kahwa-opens-fourth-street-store-after-delay.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: St. Petersburg, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 10:56:36

♠️ These are the most popular poker players in Florida

The World Series of Poker attracted a record 10,043 participants last year, generating a $93.4 million prize pool, with the winner receiving $12.1 million. The event, which originated in 1970 with seven players, gained significant traction in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million after qualifying through an online satellite tournament. The World Poker Tour was established the year before, contributing to the sport's growth. However, the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the 2011 Black Friday events had significant impacts on online poker. The industry has experienced a resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the emergence of new platforms and innovations. Despite fluctuations, poker's popularity continues to rise, with increasing numbers of participants. Additionally, data from The Hendon Mob was used to compile a ranking of the most popular poker players in Florida based on pageviews and live cash earnings as of March 13, 2024.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/insider/2024/04/18/these-are-the-most-popular-poker-players-in-florida/
Location: Las Vegas, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 09:00:00

Southbank exotic car show goes monthly, looking to activate area on weekends

The RiverWalk Rev Fest exotic car show is transitioning into a monthly event, organized by the Hanania Automotive Group’s regional used car director, Mark Hanania. The event, which takes place on the Southbank, involves showcasing 250 to 300 exotic, hyper, and supercars and aims to bring car enthusiasts to the area. The new monthly event, now presented by Exotic Staker Productions, is intended to activate the Southbank area, boost economic and social activity, and provide a reason for people to visit downtown. The venue for the event is a six-story parking garage with riverfront views, and the event has attracted attendees from various regions. While the event features cars for sale, the primary goal is to engage with the car market and attract visitors downtown.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/04/18/quarterly-downtown-car-show-moves-to-monthly-event.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 07:07:00

Despite increase in volume, CSX sees Q1 earnings drop

CSX Corp. reported a decrease in first-quarter net earnings to $893 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, down from $987 million, or 48 cents a share, in the previous year. The company's revenue also declined by 1% year-over-year to $3.68 billion. Despite this, the results surpassed analysts' expectations, leading to a 3% increase in the company's stock in after-market trading. The railroad's total volume increased by 3%, with intermodal volume up 7% and coal volume up 2%. Expenses for the quarter rose by $85 million, mainly due to increased workforce costs. Operating income fell by 8% to $1.35 billion. CEO Joe Hinrichs expressed confidence in the company's ability to continue delivering results and commended the team's focus on customers and employees. Employee safety saw a rise in injury rates, but train accidents decreased. The company faced challenges following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, disrupting coal cargo and leading to an expected monthly revenue drop of $25 million to $30 million until the port reopens. Despite these challenges, CSX maintained its focus on customer service and achieved its highest customer satisfaction score in the first quarter.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/04/18/csx-earnings-q1-2024.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Baltimore, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 06:59:26

Indoor pickleball concept coming to Jacksonville

PickleRage, a franchisor of indoor pickleball clubs, has announced the upcoming opening of a corporate-operated club in Jacksonville at Avenues Walk. The 30,209-square-foot facility will feature nine CushionX courts with temperature and humidity control, offering lessons, tournaments, and leagues for pickleball enthusiasts of all levels. Located near prominent retailers and a multifamily project, the club aims to become a prominent destination for the sport. The company plans to open more than 500 locations over the next five years, positioning it as one of America's fastest growing indoor pickleball franchisors.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/04/18/indoor-pickleball-concept-coming-to-jacksonville.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 06:45:00

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Bills and Laws

Sweeping gun legislation approved by Maine lawmakers after mass shooting

The Maine Legislature has passed comprehensive gun safety legislation after the deadliest shooting in state history, which claimed 18 lives and injured 13 people. The measures include background checks for private gun sales, waiting periods for gun purchases, criminalizing gun sales to prohibited individuals, and funding violence prevention initiatives, as well as opening a mental health crisis receiving center. Although a "red flag" law proposal was not passed, the legislative session was marked by efforts to address gun violence amidst some controversy. Democrats emphasized the need for action to prevent future tragedies, while Republicans accused them of exploiting the Lewiston shooting to push through longstanding gun legislation. Governor Janet Mills, Democrats, and gun safety advocates hail the legislation as a significant step in preventing gun violence and protecting lives.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/04/18/sweeping-gun-legislation-approved-by-maine-lawmakers-after-mass-shooting/
Location: Lewiston, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 10:44:13

Florida Gov. DeSantis signs bill requiring lessons on communism starting in kindergarten

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill requiring the teaching of the history of communism in public schools, starting from kindergarten. The required instruction will be age-appropriate and include topics such as the history of communism in the United States, domestic communist movements, and the atrocities committed in foreign countries under communism. Additionally, the curriculum will include a comparative discussion of political ideologies conflicting with principles of freedom and democracy. The measure aims to seek input from victims of communism in developing the curriculum standards. The governor and veterans present emphasized the importance of teaching the realities of communism in schools, especially in South Florida where anti-communism sentiment is strong.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/florida-gov-desantis-signs-bill-requiring-lessons-on-communism-starting-in-kindergarten-36659501
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 16:05:00

Florida governor signs ‘anti-communist education’ bill on Bay of Pigs anniversary

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the "History of Communism" bill at a news conference in Hialeah Gardens, emphasizing the need for comprehensive education about communism. The bill requires new instruction in public schools beginning in the 2026-27 school year, covering the history of communism in the United States and its tactics. This is part of an effort to provide age-appropriate education about communism to students, ensuring they have a solid understanding and are not misled in higher education. Additionally, the governor signed a separate education bill aimed at changing the way books are challenged in school districts.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/04/17/desantis-holds-news-conference-in-hialeah-gardens/
Location: Hialeah Gardens, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 11:27:05

DeSantis signs Florida education reform bill that limits school book challenges

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill aimed at limiting challenges to school-library books and easing charter schools' takeover of underperforming public schools. The bill came after over 1,200 objections were filed last school year, leading to the removal of 186 books in two counties. The new law restricts non-parent residents from objecting to more than one material per month and expedites the process of converting traditional public schools to charter schools. Additionally, the bill creates a "classical education teaching certificate" for teachers in classical schools with modified certification requirements compared to traditional public-school teachers. The changes are intended to streamline the book review process and expedite the turnaround of underperforming schools.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/desantis-signs-florida-education-reform-bill-that-limits-school-book-challenges-36649383
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 13:12:00

DeSantis signs sweeping education bill with book challenge changes in Jacksonville

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a comprehensive education bill, HB 1285, that introduces changes to the process of challenging books in school districts. The bill limits the number of books that non-parent or non-guardian individuals can challenge to one per month in an effort to reduce the volume of book objections in school districts. Additionally, the legislation imposes new requirements for converting public schools into charter schools and provides provisions for schools offering a "classical education" and teachers seeking a "classical education" degree. The bill also grants school districts the authority to enroll disruptive students in disciplinary programs or alternative schools, although it prohibits labeling a student as eligible for these programs solely due to a disability. Governor DeSantis is a strong advocate of the classical education movement, which is popular among conservative and Christian groups. This bill is one of several education reform measures passed in the Florida legislature this year.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/04/16/florida-gov-ron-desantis-speaks-at-jacksonville-school/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 10:43:40

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Judicial and Legal Affairs

Owners of Sundial's movie theater in downtown St. Pete sue to halt Forbici construction

Florida 2005 Theaters LLC, the owner of AMC Sundial 12 movie theater in downtown St. Petersburg, has filed a lawsuit against the owners of the adjacent Sundial property. The lawsuit alleges that the ongoing construction at Sundial, including plans for a bar and restaurant, violates an existing operating and easement agreement between the two parties. Florida 2005 Theaters demands that the Sundial ownership restore access to the theater, stop construction on the restaurant, and obtain court approval before building any bars, restaurants, or canopies on the property's first floor. Sundial's owners, Paradise President and CEO Mike Connor and Andrew Wright, have expressed willingness to engage in a public court discussion, pointing out their attempts to communicate with Florida 2005 Theaters regarding the construction plans. They argue that the objections raised by the theater owner appear to be based on ulterior motives. This legal dispute showcases a clash between the plans for revitalizing the Sundial property and the concerns of the neighboring theater owner.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/04/18/sundial-owners-sued-amc-movie-theater.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: St. Petersburg, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 10:32:46

Justice Department ramps up efforts to reduce violent crime with gun intel center, carjacking forces

The Justice Department has launched a specialized gun intelligence center in Chicago and expanded task forces to combat carjackings as part of its efforts to reduce violent crime in the U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco emphasized the need to make communities safer and stated that more work is required despite a downward trend in crime in many areas. The initiatives are part of President Joe Biden's administration's broader efforts to address violent crime. In addition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has announced a new rule requiring more firearms dealers to run background checks on buyers at gun shows. The gun crime intelligence center in Chicago aims to identify traffickers and prolific shooters and prevent them from obtaining weapons. The Justice Department has also created new task forces to combat carjackings in several U.S. attorney's offices. This proactive involvement aims to enhance the investigative process and improve outcomes in carjacking cases.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/04/18/justice-department-ramps-up-efforts-to-reduce-violent-crime-with-gun-intel-center-carjacking-forces/
Location: Chicago, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 10:30:34

Jury selection in Trump hush money trial faces pivotal stretch as former president returns to court

Jury selection in the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump is underway in New York City, with seven jurors having been chosen and 11 more to go. The trial is significant as it marks the first-ever criminal case against a former president and may feature testimony about Trump's private life. Prospective jurors have been questioned about their knowledge of Trump and their impartiality, with some acknowledging their own opinions about him. The trial centers on a payment made to porn actor Stormy Daniels to prevent her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump from becoming public before the 2016 election, and Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. The trial comes amid other legal challenges for Trump as he seeks to return to the White House.

Link: https://wsvn.com/news/politics/jury-selection-in-trump-hush-money-trial-faces-pivotal-stretch-as-former-president-returns-to-court/
Location: New York City, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 09:19:14

Gov. DeSantis appoints Jonathan Ramsey, Kelvin Wells to County Courts in Alachua, Walton

Governor Ron DeSantis has appointed Jonathan Ramsey as a judge for Alachua County Court and Kelvin Wells as a judge for Walton County Court in Florida. Ramsey is a lawyer in Gainesville, while Wells has been serving on the 1st Judicial Circuit since 2004. Ramsey's legal and educational background includes work as an Associate at Fine Farkash & Parlapiano PA and previous service as an Assistant State Attorney, along with political contributions to the Florida Justice PAC. Wells, on the other hand, has not made political donations since 2001 and will be replacing the late Judge Walter Green, who retired in January after 33 years of service. Ramsey will fill the vacancy left by Judge David Green, who retired in February.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/670123-gov-desantis-appoints-jonathan-ramsey-kelvin-wells-to-county-courts-in-alachua-walton/
Location: Gainesville, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 08:15:16

Jury selection in Trump hush money trial faces pivotal stretch as former president returns to court

The hush money trial of former President Donald Trump is in a critical phase as jury selection continues in Manhattan. Seven jurors have been selected so far, with the judge anticipating the opening statements to begin as early as next week. The selection process is particularly crucial given the high-profile nature of the case and the need for impartiality, with prospective jurors being thoroughly vetted for biases. The case revolves around a $130,000 payment made to porn actor Stormy Daniels to prevent her claims of a sexual encounter with Trump from becoming public. Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and could potentially appeal any conviction. This trial is one of four criminal prosecutions that Trump is dealing with as he contemplates a return to the White House, and it could be the only case to reach trial before the presidential election in November.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/politics/jury-selection-in-trump-hush-money-trial-faces-pivotal-stretch-as-former-president-returns-to-court/3288557/
Location: Manhattan, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 05:32:20

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State Government

Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 4.18.24

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott's re-election campaign has launched a new ad, "Socialismo," as part of a multimillion-dollar Hispanic ad buy, alleging that President Joe Biden and the Democrats are leading the United States toward socialism. Meanwhile, Florida TaxWatch declared April 18 as "Taxpayer Independence Day," with Floridians working until this date to pay their taxes. Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham passed away at 87. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services intervened to prevent the illegal marketing of nearly 200,000 hemp products targeting children. Money.com listed Ybor City in Tampa as the second-best place to live in the U.S. Additionally, the Ron DeSantis administration moved temporarily due to ongoing Capitol renovations, and Americans for Prosperity recognized state leaders for their legislative efforts. The state of Florida is challenging a 12-month continuous eligibility requirement for children enrolled in the Florida KidCare program, which was included in the 2023 federal budget.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669697-sunburn-the-morning-read-of-whats-hot-in-florida-politics-4-18-24/
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 08:00:24

DIA could extend Boyer's contract

The Downtown Investment Authority (DIA) board is considering extending CEO Lori Boyer's contract by two years, as her current five-year contract is set to expire in June. Board Chair Jim Citrano has expressed his desire to extend Boyer's contract, and the board is expected to vote on this at their next meeting on May 15. Before the vote, board members will evaluate Boyer's performance, which will inform the decision to enter into negotiations for the extension. Boyer's current salary is $227,088.75, and discussions about her salary will be part of the extension negotiations. Boyer has indicated her willingness to commit to another two years as CEO before transitioning to a new leader when the time comes. Board members are expected to complete the performance evaluations by the end of next week, with further discussions set to take place in the DIA Governance Committee meeting.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/04/18/dia-ceo-contract.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-04-18 06:45:00

Senate dismisses 2 articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary, ends trial

The Senate has dismissed all impeachment charges against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, effectively ending the House Republican effort to remove him from office over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border. The trial was ended before arguments began, with Senators voting along party lines to dismiss both articles of impeachment. Democrats argued that the articles were unconstitutional, with the Senate Majority Leader emphasizing the importance of maintaining a high standard for impeachment. Republicans had pushed for a full impeachment trial, but the Senate majority's decision made it clear that they would not be able to secure the necessary two-thirds majority to convict and remove Mayorkas from office. The Senate's decision effectively ended the impeachment effort, with Mayorkas reiterating his focus on the work of his department. This marked the first time a Cabinet Secretary had been impeached in nearly 150 years.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/670115-senate-dismisses-2-articles-of-impeachment-against-homeland-security-secretary-ends-trial/
Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Published: 2024-04-17 22:10:06

Bob Graham: A politician who knew your job because he gave it a try

Former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, known for his extensive experience in ordinary jobs and his commitment to understanding the working people, has left a lasting impact on the state's politics. His work in confronting Washington for resources during the Mariel boatlift and his focus on long-term state welfare through education reforms and environmental protection were noted. Graham, recognized for his sense of humor and unwavering stance when necessary, voted against the Iraq war in 2003, reflecting his bipartisan approach. Despite an unsuccessful 2004 presidential bid, his influence as a thoughtful and influential voice in politics continues to be acknowledged, serving as a reminder of bipartisanship.

Link: https://www.wptv.com/news/political/bob-graham-a-politician-who-knew-your-job-because-he-gave-it-a-try
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 21:36:26

Florida Democrats now running billboards to recruit candidates for state office

The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) has launched a billboard and digital campaign to recruit candidates to challenge Republicans in over two dozen congressional and legislative seats across the state. FDP Chair Nikki Fried emphasized the importance of fielding candidates in every seat and highlighted the failures of Republican rule in Florida. The party is specifically targeting 27 uncontested House seats, four state Senate district races, and three congressional contests. However, the FDP faces challenges in recruiting candidates, particularly in traditionally Republican areas. Despite this, local party officials remain optimistic about changing the political culture and are actively seeking candidates to run. On the other hand, top Florida GOP officials criticized the FDP's recruitment efforts, characterizing them as futile. The deadline for candidates to qualify for these races is approaching, with the last day for congressional races being April 26 and for state legislative races being June 14. Furthermore, Florida Republicans currently hold a substantial lead in voter registration.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/florida-democrats-now-running-billboards-to-recruit-candidates-for-state-office-36659923
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 16:19:00

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Social Issues

Most student loan borrowers say they've delayed major life events due to debt: poll

The Lumina Foundation-Gallup 2024 State of Higher Education study reveals that 71 percent of student loan borrowers have delayed major life events due to their debt. The most commonly cited events included buying a home, buying a car, and moving out of parents' homes. The study found that both men and women faced similar delay rates, with 76 percent of men and 64 percent of women reporting that loans had delayed them. Furthermore, the study showed that even those with smaller student loans were delayed in starting major life events, with 63 percent of those with less than $10,000 in student loans facing delays. Additionally, nearly all respondents with more than $60,000 in student loans reported putting off major purchases and events. This study aligns with President Biden's ongoing effort to support student loan relief, as his administration has already provided $153 billion in debt relief.

Link: https://www.wfla.com/news/national/most-student-loan-borrowers-say-theyve-delayed-major-life-events-due-to-debt-poll/
Location: None
Published: 2024-04-17 23:03:47

New Florida college survey asks students: Does a vote for Trump or Biden end a friendship?

The latest state survey of Florida college and university students includes new questions probing how their political views have affected relationships on campus, particularly concerning whether it’s difficult to be friends with people who have voted for Joe Biden or Donald Trump. The anonymous and voluntary survey, part of a mandate to assess intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity, has raised skepticism among some students and faculty members due to its content and methodology. Criticisms include concerns over the inclusion of politically pointed questions, perceived biases, and security of participants' anonymity. Despite some students feeling a sense of responsibility to participate, others are encouraged by organizations like Turning Point USA to engage in the survey as a civic duty, highlighting their perceived discomfort expressing conservative views on campus. Additionally, there are doubts about the survey's anonymity and the quality of its methodology, with questions raised about potential push polling techniques and ambiguity of some survey questions. The hesitancy and skepticism expressed by some students and faculty members reflect concerns about the survey's impact on intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity on college campuses.

Link: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2024/04/16/new-florida-college-survey-asks-students-does-a-vote-for-trump-or-biden-end-a-friendship/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 21:19:27

Texas pastor resigns as head of civil rights organization Rainbow PUSH Coalition

Dr. Frederick Haynes III, the senior pastor of a church in North Texas and the president of Rainbow Push Coalition, has resigned from his position less than a year after assuming leadership. In a public resignation statement, Haynes expressed his commitment to social justice and gratitude for the support he received during his tenure. He will continue his work at the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas while the coalition remains based in Chicago. Haynes' resignation follows his appointment by the renowned civil rights activist Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. in July 2023. The reasons behind his departure have not been disclosed.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/dallas-pastor-resigns-from-rainbow-push-coalition/3287236/
Location: Dallas, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 19:15:30

A tale of two Tax Day rallies: Orlandoans rally against U.S. military aid to Israel and demand tax refund from corporate lobbyists

On Tax Day, two separate rallies were held in downtown Orlando, Florida. The first rally, organized by Central Florida Queers for Palestine and the Orlando chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, protested the US military aid to Israel, which was alleged to have funded deadly attacks on Palestinians and aid workers in Gaza. The second rally, organized by the coalition Florida for All, focused on demanding a "tax refund" from corporate lobbyists who block legislation that would expand uses for tourism tax dollars. Representatives from labor unions and various advocacy groups supported changes to allow greater flexibility in spending the revenue from the tourist development tax (TDT) on community projects like public transit and affordable housing solutions. The coalition also called for support from state lawmakers and highlighted opposition from the Central Florida Hotel & Lobbying Association (CFHLA) and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) to allow more flexibility in TDT spending. At the same time, pro-Palestinian advocates held a rally in downtown Orlando to urge the Biden administration and Florida members of U.S. Congress to cease the country's military aid to Israel, re-fund the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, and demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire and the release of detainees. Similar protests were reported in Tampa. The group highlighted the impacts of the Israel-Hamas conflict and called for a peaceful resolution. Throughout the rallies, advocates expressed concerns and called for action on various urgent issues, including affordable housing, healthcare, and mass transit, while emphasizing the need for accountability and humanitarian support in global conflicts.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/a-tale-of-two-tax-day-rallies-orlandoans-rally-against-us-military-aid-to-israel-and-demand-tax-refund-from-corporate-lobbyists-36642371
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 11:56:00

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Environmental Policy

Clean energy company receives $136 million loan for solar project

Origis Energy has secured a $136 million construction loan from Japan's Mitsubishi UFG Finance Group for its Rice Creek Solar project in Putnam County, Florida. The project is contracted by the Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) and is expected to power the equivalent of 14,000 homes, while preventing 74,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Origis Energy, a Miami-based company, aims to deploy clean power to decarbonize the power grid and has multiple clean energy facilities under development in Florida and other states. This includes securing $317 million in project tax equity funding from JPMorgan Chase for solar energy storage projects in New Mexico and Mississippi.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/04/17/origis-energy-financing-solar-energy.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Palatka, Florida
Published: 2024-04-17 22:30:56

FSU film school joins Green Film School Alliance

Florida State University's College of Motion Picture Arts has joined the Green Film School Alliance, a coalition of prominent film schools committed to integrating sustainable production practices into film programs. This alliance, which includes institutions like the American Film Institute and New York University, aims to reduce the environmental impact of physical production by promoting best practices and sustainable initiatives. The move is expected to better position students for newly created jobs related to sustainability in the industry. The school's faculty and BFA junior class are supportive of this initiative, emphasizing the need to create systems that make environmentally responsible options convenient on film sets.

Link: https://news.fsu.edu/news/education-society/2024/04/16/fsu-film-school-joins-green-film-school-alliance/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 18:03:34

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State Elections

Dan Franzese adds $330K to mostly self-funded CD 22 bid with help from deep-pocket donors

In the Q1 2024 finance activity for Florida's 22nd Congressional District, businessman Dan Franzese, a Republican candidate, led the fundraising with $330,000, including a self-contribution of $231,000. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, a Democrat, raised $264,000 and had close to $1.4 million remaining. Franzese and two other Republican candidates did not accept corporate or political group donations. Franzese's spending covered various campaign expenses, while his competitor Andrew Gutmann, a self-described "anti-woke education activist," raised $186,000 and had $460,000 remaining. Candidate Deborah Adeimy raised about $55,000 and reported in-kind contributions as part of her spending. Other candidates and their fundraising activities were also detailed in the report. Frankel received a significant number of personal contributions and support from various organizations. Delray Beach Democratic lawyer Dean Halper also filed to run but has not yet submitted a campaign finance report.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/670117-dan-franzese-adds-330k-to-mostly-self-funded-cd-22-bid-with-help-from-deep-pocket-donors/
Location: Delray Beach, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 22:30:00

Andrew Warren talks about his decision to run for the office again

Andrew Warren, the ousted state attorney of Hillsborough County, Florida, recently announced his decision to run for re-election. Warren, a Democrat suspended by Governor Ron DeSantis, claimed that his suspension was unjust and violated his freedom of speech. He refuted accusations of neglecting his duty and stated that he criticized laws that he believed undermined public safety and violated constitutional rights. Warren emphasized his commitment to enforcing the law and exercising discretion in the interest of public safety. He cited a court opinion upholding the illegality of his suspension as a key factor in his decision to run again. Warren expressed frustration at being denied his job and the voters their choice of state attorney, despite court rulings in his favor. He also called for the courts to reinstate him. This development follows Warren's previous announcement in January that he would not seek re-election due to concerns about potential removal by the governor.

Link: https://www.wfla.com/news/hillsborough-county/andrew-warren-talks-about-his-decision-to-run-for-the-office-again/
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 21:30:59

Republicans scrutinize voting rolls and ramp up for mass challenges ahead of election

Scott Hoen, Carson City, Nevada's chief election official, has been named in a lawsuit filed by the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party, along with four other Nevada county clerks and the secretary of state, alleging violations of federal law in maintaining voter registration lists. The Republican lawsuit, which Hoen considers a distraction, contends that Nevada has "inordinately high" voter registration rates and is not in compliance with federal law regarding clean voter rolls. The state has refuted the allegations, calling the data used in the lawsuit "highly flawed" and likening the RNC’s analysis to "comparing apples to orangutans." The lawsuit in Nevada is indicative of a broader trend in which Republicans and conservative activists are seeking to purge voter rolls of allegedly ineligible voters in the lead-up to the 2022 presidential election. This has raised concerns among election experts about voter access and the potential for unfounded claims of rampant voter fraud. Mass challenges and lawsuits could lead to less accurate voter lists, potentially causing problems at polling places and creating conditions for candidates to claim that an election was stolen. Maintaining accurate voter lists is a crucial aspect of election administration, but widespread challenges and lawsuits could adversely affect voter access and burden election offices with frivolous data requests and challenges. Georgia, for example, recently passed a law allowing residents to make unlimited challenges to voter registrations, resulting in thousands of registrations being challenged, with concerns raised about disproportionate targeting of people of color and younger voters. In addition to legal challenges, right-wing groups are releasing voter list tools to aid activists in scrutinizing voter registrations, perpetuating claims of fraudulent voters and bloated rolls. These efforts have raised concerns about the burden on election offices and the potential for increased challenges to voter registrations. Conservative groups such as the Public Interest Legal Foundation and the Voter Reference Foundation have actively sued states to gain access to voter registration lists, arguing that transparency in elections is crucial for public confidence in the system. However, disagreements over the methodology and data used in these efforts persist, with concerns raised about comparisons between the number of registered voters and outdated estimates of the number of voting-age citizens. Some Republicans have expressed concerns about their party's focus on lawsuits and limiting ballot access rather than adapting to new voting realities and increasing voter turnout. This division within the party reflects broader tensions surrounding voting and election laws.

Link: https://www.bostonherald.com/2024/04/17/republicans-scrutinize-voting-rolls-and-ramp-up-for-mass-challenges-ahead-of-election/
Location: Carson City, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 18:34:28

Remembering Bob Graham’s underdog 1978 Gubernatorial campaign

Bob Graham, a revered figure in Florida politics, has passed away at the age of 87. He had a distinguished career, serving as both Governor and US Senator. His father, Ernest Graham, was also involved in politics but failed to win the Democratic nomination for Governor, which impacted Bob's political aspirations. The text details the political landscape in Florida, including various candidates and their campaigns leading up to the gubernatorial election. The focus on Bob Graham's rise to the governorship is highlighted, showcasing his transformation from a wealthy and educated individual to a successful candidate who connected with the public. His daughter's initial reluctance and later acceptance of his candidacy, as well as his family's background and early life, are also mentioned. The summary also briefly mentions other prominent figures in Florida politics, including Bruce Smathers and Claude Kirk, and the dynamics of their campaigns. Throughout the text, there is an emphasis on the political climate and strategies employed by different candidates.

Link: https://thefloridasqueeze.com/2024/04/16/remembering-bob-grahams-underdog-1978-gubernatorial-campaign/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 02:27:01

Andrew Warren reverses course, will run for State Attorney

Andrew Warren, a Democrat previously suspended as Hillsborough County State Attorney by Governor Ron DeSantis, has announced his candidacy to reclaim his position. The announcement comes after Warren initially stated he would not seek re-election due to concerns of being suspended again by DeSantis. However, a federal appeals court ruling in Warren’s favor has left the governor's actions in limbo. Warren's suspension in 2022 was primarily due to his pledge not to prosecute abortion-related crimes following a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Warren has criticized DeSantis' choice of Suzy Lopez as his replacement, alleging her appointment is based on loyalty to the governor. Democratic Orange County State Attorney Monique Worrell, also suspended by DeSantis, is running for re-election as well, with support from the Florida Democratic Party.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669747-andrew-warren-reverses-course-will-run-for-state-attorney/
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 22:55:02

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Education

FSU celebrates 2024 Leadership Awards Night

Florida State University hosted its annual Leadership Awards Night on April 9 to recognize outstanding students, employees, and registered student organizations for their leadership and service. Various awards were presented to individuals and organizations, highlighting their contributions to the university community. Recipients included students recognized for their leadership potential, service, and commitment, as well as organizations for their impact and involvement in creating inclusive and safe environments. The awards covered a wide range of categories, including service to the university, commitment to health issues, intercultural initiatives, student involvement, scholastic achievement, and emotional intelligence. Additionally, the Advisor of the Year Award was presented to an employee who volunteers time and expertise to a student organization, and the Mary B. Coburn Student Organization of the Year Award was given to Relay For Life at FSU for their major contributions to the university community in the areas of service and leadership.

Link: https://news.fsu.edu/news/students-campus-life/2024/04/17/fsu-celebrates-2024-leadership-awards-night/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 19:39:31

UCF Class Spotlight: Rhetoric in Popular Culture (Taylor’s Version)

Associate professor of writing and rhetoric, Stephanie Wheeler, and associate instructor, Emily Proulx, offer a Taylor Swift-themed class at the College of Arts and Humanities, running every fall with 40 students. The course delves into Taylor Swift's music, videos, interviews, and social media presence as a means to explore the theories of rhetoric. Wheeler emphasizes the importance of developing effective communication skills and critical thinking, which are beneficial for various careers. The class challenges students to confront uncomfortable truths and approach rhetorical analysis academically. A focus on the visual rhetoric of music videos and live performances surprised some students while providing them with valuable insights into rhetorical concepts. The main takeaway from the class is the importance of careful articulation when influencing others, drawing inspiration from Taylor Swift's rhetorical strategies.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucf-class-spotlight-rhetoric-in-popular-culture-taylors-version/
Location: None
Published: 2024-04-17 14:04:34

University of West Florida memorial scholarship created to honor UWF alumnus

Ann Fell has made a generous gift to support engineering education at the University of West Florida (UWF), with the donation aimed at relieving financial stress for students pursuing engineering careers. The scholarship is established in memory of Ann's late husband, David "Gus" Fell, who was a UWF alumnus and a U.S. Navy veteran. The Fells were active members of the community and had a strong connection to UWF. Those seeking more information about contributing to UWF can visit uwf.edu/give, and information about the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering at UWF is available at uwf.edu/hmcse.

Link: https://news.uwf.edu/university-of-west-florida-memorial-scholarship-created-to-honor-uwf-alumnus/
Location: Pensacola, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 13:30:00

UCF Doctoral Student Earns American Society for Public Administration Fellowship

Kathryn Hickey, a doctoral student in public administration at the College of Community Innovation and Education, has been selected as a Founders’ Fellow for the American Society for Public Administration. This prestigious program provides career development and mentorship opportunities for future public servants, with Hickey being one of 20 members accepted nationwide for the 2024 cohort. As part of the fellowship, she will be matched with a mentor for a year-long program, and will have her work published in the PA Times Online. Hickey's research focuses on the impact of the pandemic on low-income students and she is looking forward to the mentorship and networking opportunities the fellowship provides. Inspired by her previous career as an educator, she aims to make a positive impact on a macro level through her work in public administration, particularly focusing on marginalized groups and queer youth. Hickey aspires to work for a think tank following graduation and credits the support of UCF faculty and cohort members for her progress in the doctoral program.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucf-doctoral-student-earns-american-society-for-public-administration-fellowship/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 20:48:31

Lakeland's Florida Poly selects its next president

G. Devin Stephenson has been selected as the next president of Florida Polytechnic University by the trustees. The confirmation of this appointment is pending approval from the Florida Board of Governors, making Stephenson the second president in the university's history. Currently serving as the president of Northwest Florida State College, Stephenson is recognized for his dedication to education and visionary leadership. His focus on training students for high-wage, high-demand jobs and his academic background contribute to his qualifications. The vote on his selection is scheduled for either May 8 or June 27. Florida Poly, a STEM-only university with fewer than 2,000 students, has achieved recognition for its graduates' high median earnings and its ranking as the second-best regional college in the South by the U.S. News World Report in September 2023. It is noted that Randy Avent, the current president, will return as a faculty member after a sabbatical. Trustee chair Cliff Otto, along with four other trustees appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, participated in the selection process and chose Stephenson from a pool of five candidates.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/04/15/florida-poly-selects-its-next-president.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Lakeland, United States
Published: 2024-04-15 21:32:46

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Healthcare and Public Health

Nemours Children’s Health, UCF Partner to Elevate the Quality of Healthcare for Florida’s Children

Nemours Children’s Health and the University of Central Florida (UCF) have announced an expanded partnership to establish the UCF College of Medicine — Nemours Children’s Health Department of Pediatrics. This collaboration aims to address the projected shortage of pediatric physicians in Florida by training the next generation of pediatric physicians. The partnership seeks to enhance medical training, workforce development, innovation, community partnerships, and advocacy to ensure high-quality healthcare for children. The new department is expected to impact all 480 UCF medical students annually and will set a new standard for pediatric academic programs by leveraging Nemours Children’s preeminence. The collaboration will focus on clinical excellence, research, and recruitment and retention of pediatricians. The partnership further emphasizes Nemours Children’s commitment to directly supporting the growth and training of future clinical leaders. It also aligns with UCF's Pegasus Partner Program, designed to foster mutually beneficial relationships between the university and industry partners. The collaboration aims to create the healthiest generations of children by leveraging pediatric expertise and technology to improve the care given in the communities they serve. Both organizations aim to strengthen the community's health and well-being and invest in innovative clinical practices and talent development.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/nemours-childrens-health-ucf-partner-to-elevate-the-quality-of-healthcare-for-floridas-children/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 18:36:14

Interdisciplinary team of UWF faculty help write the rules on cancer prevention in Florida

A team led by Dr. Brandy Strahan at the University of West Florida has secured a renewed contract worth $680,000 for four years to evaluate public health programs in Florida, focusing on cancer control and prevention initiatives. The team, consisting of multidisciplinary experts, collaborates with the Florida Department of Health and has received positive feedback from the CDC for their exceptional performance. The evaluation work informs the implementation of cancer control programs in the state and reflects the team’s dedication to public health and cancer prevention. This partnership between the university, government, and healthcare providers aims to improve community health and has been recognized for its significant impact.

Link: https://news.uwf.edu/interdisciplinary-team-of-uwf-faculty-help-write-the-rules-on-cancer-prevention-in-florida/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 13:30:00

New surgical tower at TGH will bear a familiar name in Tampa health care circles

Tampa General Hospital commemorated the groundbreaking of its new 13-story surgical tower, which is set to open in 2027 and will be named after the Taneja family, in recognition of their substantial financial support. The tower will provide surgical, neuroscience, and transplant services, with a total of $120 million raised for the project. The Taneja family has a history of philanthropy in healthcare and has previously contributed to other medical institutions. The new tower is part of TGH's $550 million master facility plan, positioning it as a central component of the hospital's vision to become a leading academic medical center. This donation follows a similar landmark contribution made to BayCare Health System Inc. for the establishment of a new children's hospital in Tampa.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/04/15/taneja-family-tgh-donation-surgical-tower-tampa.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-04-15 22:14:21

Meet FloodGate Medical, a 2024 Best Places to Work honoree

FloodGate Medical, founded in 2007 and based in Tampa, is a prominent medtech recruiting firm specializing in the medical device industry. The company is currently hiring to increase its staffing levels and seeks candidates who embody its core values of integrity, innovation, and a heart to serve others. FloodGate offers an internship program and stands out for its unique employee perks, such as "Dazzle Dog" awards, weekly prize wheel rewards, and various teambuilding activities, while also emphasizing community outreach and volunteer work. The company aims to match the perfect candidate with top medical device companies through a blend of human relationships and advanced technology, and it focuses on hiring individuals based on their character traits that align with the company's mission.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/04/15/floodgate-medical-2024-best-places-to-work.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-04-15 21:51:40

'We are each other’s shelter': Why canceling medical debt matters in Florida

Florida faces significant challenges with high living costs, income inequality, and healthcare expenses, leading many residents to accumulate medical debt. A resident, originally from Ireland, shares the impact of medical debt on their life, including skipping essential medication and facing financial distress. Organizing efforts led to Orange County committing a portion of relief funds to clear medical debt for eligible residents but highlights the need for further action to help more individuals. The resident emphasizes the importance of relieving medical debt to support families and access necessary care. They urge the county to allocate the remaining funds for debt relief, emphasizing the community's well-being and financial security.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/we-are-each-others-shelter-why-canceling-medical-debt-matters-in-florida-36553540
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-04-15 15:41:00

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Central Florida Politics

CyberColosseum Solutions Takes First Place at UCF’s 2024 Joust New Venture Competition

UCF’s annual startup showcase event, The Joust, featured four teams including CyberColosseum Solutions, a software company focusing on cybersecurity. The team, which includes computer science and cybersecurity students, won the competition. The event, similar to Shark Tank, saw the teams make their pitches to a panel of six judges. CyberColosseum Solutions emerged as the winner, with Unbound Disability Claims, ZuLeris Interactive, and Emergency Insights also being recognized. The competition was made possible by various sponsors and aims to support student entrepreneurs and their ventures.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/cybercolosseum-solutions-takes-first-place-at-ucfs-2024-joust-new-venture-competition/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 15:28:46

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Governors Office

The era of Bob Graham: Progressive, forward-looing governance in the sunshine

Bob Graham, a highly influential figure in Florida politics, passed away at the age of 87. His leadership and progressive policies helped shape Florida into a more transparent and ethical state in the 1970s and 1980s. During his governorship, he focused on growth management, innovation, and cultural development, leading to a period of prosperity and progress. However, the current state of Florida is seen as a departure from the ideals and achievements of that era, with decreased emphasis on ethical governance and the erosion of the state's environment. Graham's legacy is celebrated as vital to the Florida that many knew and loved, and his absence is deeply felt.

Link: https://thefloridasqueeze.com/2024/04/17/the-era-of-bob-graham-progressive-forward-looing-governance-in-the-sunshine/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 04:01:00

Takeaways from Tallahassee — Yes, she is …. playing at the Adderley

Melissa Etheridge is set to kick off Pride Week at the Adderley Amphitheater in Cascade Park for her "I’m Not Broken" tour. The acclaimed singer is known for her raspy voice, confessional lyrics, and groundbreaking achievements, including an Oscar win and multiple Grammy nominations and wins. Additionally, a docuseries called "Etheridge: I’m Not Broken" is set to be released on Paramount+ in July. The series follows the singer-songwriter's bond with incarcerated women and how it has inspired her new music. Apart from this, the article also touches upon a variety of recent news and events in Florida, including legal disputes, new laws, political contributions, upcoming events, and tax-related information.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669252-takeaways-from-tallahassee-yes-she-is-playing-at-the-adderley/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-13 10:00:57

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Local Government

With Stowe out, JEA in no hurry to fill top spot

JEA CEO Jay Stowe's resignation has led the municipal-owned organization to delay the process of finding a replacement. The utility is in the process of hiring a consultant to evaluate its capital structure and organization, a process expected to extend until the end of 2024. Until this review is completed, the board has decided not to initiate the search for a new CEO. The consultant's review will assess the utility's business practices and aim to increase efficiency and focus on JEA's investments. Vickie Cavey has been appointed as the interim CEO to lead the utility through this transition. The consultant will be selected by a panel and there is no specified deadline for the completion of the project.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/04/16/with-stowe-out-jea-in-no-hurry-to-fill-top-spot.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 03:29:34

Sun-Ray looks for community support as historic cinema near downtown faces demise

Sun-Ray Cinema, one of the oldest surviving movie theaters in Jacksonville's Riverside neighborhood, faces potential closure as the building housing it has been sold and the new owners have not discussed a lease with the cinema's owners. The theater is seeking community support to continue operating by buying a section of the building for necessary renovations, but discussions with the new owners have broken down. Despite the theater's success and community involvement, its future is uncertain amidst the changing landscape of the neighborhood. The owners are hoping for community support to save the historic landmark.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/04/16/sun-ray-cinema-potential-closure.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-04-17 03:12:40

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Local Elections

Craig Russell wins seat on Winter Park City Commission

Craig Russell, a political newcomer, narrowly won an open seat on the Winter Park City Commission with 50.3% of the vote, defeating opponent Jason Johnson by a margin of 34 votes out of over 5,700 cast. As a result, Russell will fill out the term for City Commissioner previously held by Sheila DeCiccio, who resigned to run for Mayor and was subsequently elected. Russell ran with the support of the local Chamber of Commerce and focused on issues including workforce housing, infrastructure improvement, and responsible growth. On the other hand, Johnson, a lawyer, emphasized preserving the city's character and sits on the Winter Park Board of Adjustments, as well as being involved in local nonprofits such as Special Olympics Florida and student mentorship programs.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669804-craig-russell-wins-seat-on-winter-park-city-commission/
Location: Winter Park, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 23:31:13

Iliana Jones unseats Winter Garden’s Ron Mueller

In a closely contested runoff election in Winter Garden, Florida, Nicole Jones emerged victorious with 52.6% of the vote, defeating incumbent Ron Mueller. The election marked Jones' second attempt to win the District 2 seat, having previously lost to Mueller by a narrow margin three years earlier. Jones ran on a platform of protecting Winter Garden from dense development, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing low-density development based on residents' preferences. In contrast, Mueller highlighted his record of supporting road improvement and park beautification efforts. The endorsement of Mueller by the third candidate, DJ Culberson Jr., and the victory of a Republican candidate in another City Commission seat suggest a challenging political landscape for Democrats in Winter Garden, despite its location in a largely blue Orange County.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669874-iliana-jones-unseats-winter-gardens-ron-mueller/
Location: Winter Garden, Florida
Published: 2024-04-16 23:29:52

Michael Barnett laps challenger in Q1 fundraising for Palm Beach Commission

Palm Beach County Commissioner Michael Barnett has significantly outraised his opponent, collecting $80,000 in the first quarter of 2024, primarily from personal donations and real estate businesses. One notable contributor was Lewis Stahl, who previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion. Barnett's total contributions since filing to run for election in April 2023 amount to $220,500, with approximately $135,500 remaining after expenses. His opponent, Greenacres Mayor Joel Flores, has raised $278,000 since filing, with $142,500 remaining at the end of Q1. Flores secured endorsements from the Florida Fraternal Order of Police and Palm Beach County School Board member Alexandera Ayala. Both candidates have received support from various businesses and political committees, with the campaign finance deadline set for April 10, 2024.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669684-michael-barnett-laps-challenger-in-q1-fundraising-for-palm-beach-commission/
Location: West Palm Beach, United States
Published: 2024-04-15 22:20:59

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Miami Politics

Last Call for 4.16.24 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

The Last Call update from Florida Politics announces a break for R&R after completing the Spring 2024 edition of INFLUENCE Magazine. Americans for Prosperity-Florida is sending out thank-you flyers to lawmakers for their work on supported bills during the Legislative Session. The flyers celebrate legislative accomplishments favored by AFP, highlighting individual achievements and government waste reduction efforts. The update also includes information on a variety of news articles, a quote of the day, and recommendations for cocktails at happy hour. The update ends with a sports section featuring a recap of the Florida Gators' recent game and upcoming matches.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669878-last-call-for-4-16-24-a-prime-time-read-of-whats-going-down-in-florida-politics/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-04-16 22:00:23

Winner and Loser of the Week in Florida politics — Week of 4.7.24

Florida is facing complexity in relation to abortion laws that could impact the upcoming election. The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Roe v. Wade, which Donald Trump supported, and a restrictive state law in Florida are causing challenges. Trump has been under pressure to clarify his stance on abortion and potential federal action. His recent statements have been vague and left various groups disappointed. Meanwhile, other news in Florida includes tax reductions for commercial leases, Disney's positive interactions with the state government, new measures benefiting law enforcement, and a lawsuit regarding Florida's Senate map. Additionally, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings faced a setback in a transportation funding proposal, and there has been controversy regarding Florida's working class and legislation impacting their working conditions.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/669305-winner-and-loser-of-the-week-in-florida-politics-week-of-4-7-24/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-04-14 09:30:27

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