Last update: 2024-05-23 11:52:05


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

Local Government

Bob Dutkowsky, former Tech Data CEO and Tampa Bay business leader, dies

Former Tech Data CEO, Robert "Bob" Dutkowsky, has passed away. He is remembered for his business leadership, mentorship, and advocacy for inclusive corporate cultures. Dutkowsky's impact extended beyond the boardroom, as stated by TD Synnex CEO, Rich Hume, and US Foods CEO, Dave Flitman. He served on the US Foods board and held various leadership positions in the technology industry. The merger of Synnex Corp. and Tech Data Corp. in 2021 created the world's largest IT distributor. Dutkowsky's legacy also includes his philanthropic work and community support. His cause of death is currently unknown. He is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/05/23/bob-dutkowsky-former-tech-data-ceo-dies.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-23 10:44:58

Margate seeks developer for massive mixed-use project on 51 acres

Margate's Community Redevelopment Agency has put out a request for proposals for developers interested in redeveloping 51.38 acres of publicly owned land, which includes a mix of residential, hotel, retail, office, and industrial space. The city aims to create a mixed-use area with dining, retail, and entertainment options, as well as potential new city facilities. The deadline for developers to submit proposals is August 13, and the city seeks a well-designed city center aligned with its zoning guidelines. The initiative follows a previous failed redevelopment attempt, but stakeholders are optimistic about the current effort, citing changes in the real estate market and increased demand for mixed-use developments in South Florida.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/05/22/margate-real-estate-developer-mixed-use-project.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Margate, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 21:55:53

Broward County, the Democrats Ticking Time Bomb

In Florida, Broward County has historically been a stronghold for Democrats during elections. However, the 2022 gubernatorial race saw Democratic candidate Charlie Crist receiving less than 60% of the vote in the county, a departure from previous results. This has raised concerns among Democrats, as losing Broward County could significantly impact the state's political landscape. There is speculation about the reasons behind the declining Democratic support in the county, with some suggesting a lack of understanding of current political dynamics as a contributing factor.

Link: https://thefloridasqueeze.com/2024/05/21/broward-county-the-democrats-ticking-time-bomb/
Location: Fort Lauderdale, United States
Published: 2024-05-21 10:52:00

Broward County’s relative decline vs other southern progressive strongholds

Broward County's significance as a Democratic stronghold in Florida has diminished, affecting the party's ability to maintain competitiveness in the state. Historically a reliable source of Democratic margins, the county's reduced voter support poses a challenge for the party. Recent trends indicate a shift towards a more competitive political landscape, with other counties in different states surpassing Broward in Democratic leanings. Forecasts for the 2024 election suggest a further decrease in Democratic margins in Broward County, although it is expected that President Biden will still win the county, albeit with a smaller margin than in 2020. Additional analysis on this topic will be available on Dave Trotter's website later today.

Link: https://thefloridasqueeze.com/2024/05/21/broward-countys-relative-decline-vs-other-southern-progressive-strongholds/
Location: Fort Lauderdale, United States
Published: 2024-05-21 04:04:00

The Bank of Tampa founder Jerry Divers dies at 88

Gerald A. Divers, founder and influential figure at The Bank of Tampa, has passed away at the age of 88. He had a significant impact on the bank, serving as its president and CEO for 24 years, and continuing as chairman emeritus until his passing. Divers was remembered for his leadership and contributions to the Tampa Bay community, including his philanthropic work and involvement in various organizations. His extensive career in banking included roles at multiple banks' boards and leadership positions. Divers leaves behind two sons, one of whom serves on The Bank of Tampa's board of directors.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/05/17/the-bank-of-tampa-founder-jerry-divers-dies-at-88.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-05-17 21:39:16

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State Government

Senate border bill exposes Democratic divisions as White House attempts to ramp up pressure on GOP

The Senate is set to vote on a border security bill that has caused division within the Democratic party. The bill, which had initially failed, is being revived, but some Democrats have expressed opposition to it due to its tough border measures and the absence of foreign and humanitarian aid. Republicans view the move as a political tactic, while Democrats argue that the bill represents a strong bipartisan effort to address border security. The bill includes measures to restrict border crossings and expedite asylum processing, and its passage could signal a significant change in immigration law. The administration is also considering executive actions to address the situation. The vote is being framed as an opportunity for Democrats to demonstrate a tough stance on border security and to influence public opinion.

Link: https://wsvn.com/news/politics/senate-border-bill-exposes-democratic-divisions-as-white-house-attempts-to-ramp-up-pressure-on-gop/
Location: Washington D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-23 10:41:53

Biden, Kenyan leader urging global leaders to help lessen crushing debt on developing nations

President Joe Biden and Kenyan President William Ruto are advocating for concerted global action to alleviate crushing debt burdens faced by Kenya and other developing nations during the first state visit to the United States by an African leader in over 15 years. The call to action, known as the Nairobi-Washington Vision, aims to reduce financing barriers and provide better terms for developing nations, countering China's deepening economic influence in Africa. The visit includes discussions on debt relief, financial support, and international partnerships. Additionally, the U.S. has announced $250 million in grants for the International Development Association to assist poor countries facing crises, with further funding expected to be made available to the IMF. The state visit is also emphasizing Kenya's global influence, exemplified by its upcoming deployment of police officers to Haiti to aid in quelling gang violence, for which the U.S. has pledged financial assistance. The visit also focuses on exploring investment opportunities in Kenya's tech sector and strengthening economic ties between the two countries. President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to prioritize Africa's future and expressed intentions to visit sub-Saharan Africa in 2023. However, he jokingly mentioned that he plans to make the trip after being reelected in February.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/05/23/biden-kenyan-leader-urging-global-leaders-to-help-lessen-crushing-debt-on-developing-nations/
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Published: 2024-05-23 09:04:13

Colorado the first state to move forward with attempt to regulate AI’s hidden role in American life

Efforts to regulate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in consequential decision-making, such as hiring, housing, and medical care, are facing challenges in statehouses across the United States. Of the seven bills aimed at preventing AI discrimination, only one has been passed in Colorado, and it was signed with reservations by Governor Jared Polis. These bills would require companies to assess the risk of discrimination from their AI, disclose when AI has been used to make decisions, and implement oversight programs. However, the bills faced opposition from various quarters, including civil rights groups, the tech industry, and lawmakers concerned about the impact on AI innovation. Critics argue that the bills do not go far enough in addressing algorithmic discrimination and call for more rigorous enforcement measures. Despite these challenges, there is consensus among stakeholders that addressing algorithmic discrimination is crucial.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/05/23/colorado-the-first-state-to-move-forward-with-attempt-to-regulate-ais-hidden-role-in-american-life/
Location: Denver, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 04:33:42

Colorado the first state to move forward with attempt to regulate AI’s hidden role in American life

Attempts to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) programs, which are influential in hiring, housing, and medical decisions, are facing challenges in state legislatures. The articulation of seven bills aimed at preventing AI discrimination in consequential decisions has encountered resistance, with only one bill being passed in Colorado. Governor Polis signed the bill with reservations, expressing concerns about stifling AI innovation. The bills, which aim to require companies to assess and disclose AI's potential bias, have faced opposition from civil rights groups and the tech industry, as well as concerns about the complexity of regulating a technology still not fully understood. The bills target discrimination, a pervasive issue in AI decision-making, and aim to provide transparency to customers and allow for oversight by state authorities. However, concerns persist about the effectiveness of self-regulation by companies and the potential limitations on innovation. The debate reflects a broader challenge in addressing algorithmic discrimination and the need for effective enforcement mechanisms beyond traditional anti-discrimination laws and costly litigation.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/05/23/colorado-the-first-state-to-move-forward-with-attempt-to-regulate-ais-hidden-role-in-american-life/
Location: Denver, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 04:33:42

FSU mathematician elected to board of directors for renowned international scientific society

Richard Bertram, a distinguished research professor of mathematics at Florida State University, has been elected to the board of the Society of Mathematical Biology (SMB) for a four-year term beginning in July 2024. With a background in neuroscience and expertise in math, data science, and molecular biophysics, Bertram aims to bring his interdisciplinary knowledge to the society and encourage collaborative research. His election to the board is seen as a way to enhance FSU's visibility in academia and attract potential graduate students to the university's strong program in mathematical biology. Bertram's extensive research collaborations and academic achievements have solidified his reputation in the mathematical and biological science fields.

Link: https://news.fsu.edu/news/science-technology/2024/05/22/fsu-mathematician-elected-to-board-of-directors-for-renowned-international-scientific-society/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 15:08:00

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Federal Elections in Florida

Biden, Kenyan leader urging global leaders to help lessen crushing debt on developing nations

President Joe Biden and Kenyan President William Ruto are seeking global support to address the hefty debt burden faced by Kenya and other developing nations. During Ruto's state visit to the United States, both leaders have urged creditor nations to reduce financing barriers and provide better terms for developing countries struggling with high debt. Additionally, the White House has announced $250 million in grants for the International Development Association to aid poor countries facing crises. The U.S. has also passed a government funding bill that allows for lending to the International Monetary Fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust. The visit represents a diplomatic effort to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Kenya, with talks that also encompass Kenya's role as a global influence, including its upcoming deployment of police officers to Haiti to assist in addressing gang violence. The visit includes meetings with tech executives and discussions on potential private sector investments. President Biden has indicated his intention to visit sub-Saharan Africa in the future.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/05/23/biden-kenyan-leader-urging-global-leaders-to-help-lessen-crushing-debt-on-developing-nations/
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Published: 2024-05-23 09:04:13

White House visit highlights the promise and perils of US-Kenya relationship

Kenyan President William Ruto visited the White House to discuss investment opportunities with business and tech executives, as the U.S. aims to deepen relations with Africa, focusing on trade, climate resilience, and counterterrorism. The visit is expected to strengthen Kenya's military and financial ties with the U.S. There is optimism about Kenya's economic potential, but concerns remain about the nation's debt sustainability and governance. Both leaders are likely to address climate change, technology, health, and security issues. The U.S. has urged Kenyan police forces to lead a peacekeeping mission in Haiti, but there are concerns about the potential risks. Human rights and governance concerns are also expected to be addressed, but the visit is intended to strengthen bilateral ties and includes formal events such as a state dinner and business deals. President Biden also hinted at traveling to Africa in 2023.

Link: https://www.wptv.com/Politics/white-house-visit-highlights-the-promise-and-perils-of-us-kenya-relationship
Location: Washington D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-23 09:00:00

Leaders of Northwestern, UCLA and Rutgers to testify before Congress on campus protests

House Republicans have called on the leaders of Northwestern University, Rutgers University, and the University of California, Los Angeles to testify about the concessions made to pro-Palestinian protesters on their campuses. This comes amid a series of hearings by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce regarding campus responses to protests and allegations of antisemitism related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Previous hearings led to the resignations of university presidents, sparking further controversy. The focus has now shifted to public universities, specifically Northwestern and Rutgers, which reached agreements with protesters to limit or disband encampments. The hearing is expected to explore the institutions' handling of the protests and the implications for free speech considerations. Additionally, UCLA's oversight of its campus protests has come under scrutiny after a clash between pro-Palestinian and counter-demonstrators.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/05/23/leaders-of-northwestern-ucla-and-rutgers-to-testify-before-congress-on-campus-protests/
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 04:07:25

Haley says she will vote for Trump over Biden

Nikki Haley, former UN Ambassador, stated that she will vote for former President Trump over President Biden due to her priorities of supporting allies, holding enemies accountable, securing the border, and promoting capitalism and freedom. Haley emphasized that while Trump is not perfect, she views Biden as a "catastrophe." Despite her withdrawal from the race, she continues to be a significant presence in Republican presidential primary results, securing a notable percentage of votes in various states. Both Trump and Biden have commented on her supporters, with Trump claiming they will rally to him and Biden expressing a desire to welcome them. In response to Haley's announcement, Biden's campaign reiterated its stance of accommodating disillusioned Republican voters. Haley's recent appointment at the Hudson Institute signifies her continued prominence in Republican politics leading up to the 2028 GOP presidential primary.

Link: https://www.wfla.com/video/haley-says-she-will-vote-for-trump-over-biden/
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-22 20:56:36

Can a Taylor Swift political endorsement sway voter behavior? New poll says yes

A poll conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek suggests that Taylor Swift's endorsement may have a significant influence on her fans' support for presidential candidates. Among the 1,500 voters sampled, 18% indicated that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate if Swift endorsed them, compared to 15% who said they would be less likely. Notably, the poll revealed that Swift's endorsement could have a stronger impact on swaying voters toward a Republican candidate. Additionally, it was observed that Swift's impact on voters' preferences has increased since a previous poll conducted in January. Despite her predominantly apolitical stance, Swift has become more vocal about encouraging voter registration and expressing her political views in recent years. This survey suggests that her endorsement could potentially influence the outcome of the election for one of the top candidates.

Link: https://www.wptv.com/entertainment/celebrity/can-a-taylor-swift-political-endorsement-sway-voter-behavior-new-poll-says-yes
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-21 22:49:52

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Disaster Response

Fort Lauderdale, Orlando airports knocked for slow departures Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, leading to high travel demands at Florida airports. Orlando and Fort Lauderdale International Airports are known for substantial delays during this period. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport experiences the sixth highest rate of flight departure delays in the US, at 21.2%. Orlando International Airport ranks seventh, with delays around 20%. Miami International Airport, on the other hand, is ranked ninth for prompt departures, with an 81.8% on-time rate. Salt Lake City tops the list with 87.5% of flights leaving on time. Travel advisors recommend early morning flights for the best chance of on-time departures, as flights between 6 to 7 a.m. have a 96.4% on-time rate. Late afternoon or early evening departures, particularly between 2 to 3 p.m., are associated with more delays, with on-time departures dropping as low as 64.8%.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/675679-fort-lauderdale-orlando-airports-knocked-for-slow-departures-memorial-day-weekend/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 08:30:34

With hurricane season around the corner, utilities brace for unpredictability

Florida utility leaders have highlighted increased hurricane intensity and unpredictability, leading to escalating storm preparation costs. They emphasized the need for a conservative approach, preparing for higher category storms than projected due to the growing unpredictability. As forecasters anticipate a busier-than-normal hurricane season, utility executives are grappling with the complexity of cost recovery and logistical challenges in bringing in crews. They stressed the need to balance preparedness and affordability in the face of rising storm intensification. Despite these challenges, the officials expressed a commitment to being prepared for the upcoming hurricane season.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/05/23/hurricanes-unpredictable-florida.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 06:45:00

Florida Attorney General warns about upcoming ‘100 Deadly Days of Summer’

Florida Attorney General Ashely Moody is set to issue a warning about the "100 Deadly Days of Summer," referring to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which is known for being particularly dangerous for teen drivers. Despite March being Florida's deadliest month for teen drivers, Moody intends to alert parents about the increased risks during this 100-day stretch. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reports over 200,000 Florida teens aged 15-19 are currently driving with a learner's license. The announcement is scheduled for 11 a.m. in Land O’ Lakes at the FHP Suncoast Operations Center.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/2024/05/23/florida-attorney-general-warns-about-upcoming-100-deadly-days-of-summer/
Location: Land O' Lakes, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 00:42:14

Florida State University’s Flying High Circus begins long road to recovery after May 10 tornadoes

On May 10, three tornadoes struck Tallahassee within 30 minutes, causing significant damage, including the destruction of Florida State University's iconic circus tent. The tent, a unique feature of the FSU Flying High Circus since the mid-1960s, was left in ruins, rendering it and all its contents unusable. The circus, a beloved and integral part of FSU's history and tradition, serves as an extracurricular activity and has been influential in the lives of many students and alumni, creating a strong sense of community. Efforts are underway to assess the damage and work toward rebuilding the program with a focus on sustainability. Many former circus participants and supporters are hopeful for the program's revival.

Link: https://news.fsu.edu/news/students-campus-life/2024/05/22/florida-state-universitys-flying-high-circus-begins-long-road-to-recovery-after-may-10-tornadoes/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 19:52:51

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, supreme leader's protégé, dies at 63 in helicopter crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, known for his hard-line stance and overseeing mass executions in 1988, has died in a helicopter crash alongside Iran's foreign minister and other officials. His death comes at a time when Iran faces internal dissent and strained international relations. Raisi's rise to power was orchestrated by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his administration clashed with the international community over the nuclear deal and faced ongoing tensions with the U.S. and Israel. Raisi was also criticized for his role in a monthslong security crackdown following protests in 2022, as well as for human rights abuses during his tenure as head of Iran's judiciary. Speculation arose that he was being groomed as a potential future supreme leader. Raisi's death leaves a power vacuum in Iran at a critical juncture, and his influence stemmed from his ties to the country's ruling elite and his background as a cleric from a prominent family with lineage to Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/iran-president-ebrahim-raisi-supreme-leaders-protege-dies-at-63-in-helicopter-crash/3314802/
Location: Tehran, Iran
Published: 2024-05-20 01:36:14

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Tourism and Economy

AAA motor club projects most travelers for Memorial Day weekend in 20 years

- Travel experts predict a high volume of travel during Memorial Day weekend, with Florida expected to be a popular destination. - AAA projects 43.8 million Americans will travel nationally, marking a 5% increase from 2023. Road travel is expected to increase by 4% to 6%. - In Florida, 2.5 million people are expected to travel, with 2.3 million driving. Orlando is the top domestic destination, and Fort Lauderdale and Miami are also popular. - Gas prices are expected to remain above $3 per gallon, impacting road trip costs. Air travel costs are predicted to increase by 2%. - AAA advises travelers to monitor gas prices and suggests optimal driving times to avoid traffic.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/674254-aaa-motor-club-projects-most-travelers-for-memorial-day-weekend-in-20-years/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 08:15:24

Optimistic ... but cautious: Amidst the welter of economic signals, here's what Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic is paying attention to

Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and member of the Federal Open Market Committee, recently discussed various economic indicators, including inflation, housing prices, and the impact of artificial intelligence. Bostic provided insights on the recent slowdown in consumer price inflation and emphasized the need to closely monitor the data. He expressed cautious optimism about the economy, acknowledging that inflation has decreased but remains above the target. Bostic also highlighted the need to consider different economic scenarios and adjust policy accordingly. Additionally, he discussed the psychological impact on consumer behavior and the varying experiences of different income groups within the economy. Bostic emphasized the importance of closely analyzing economic data and consumer sentiment to inform timely policy decisions.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/05/23/bostic-jacksonville-inflation-housing.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Atlanta, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 06:45:00

TPC Sawgrass names new executive chef

Chef Johnattan Hernandez has been appointed to manage the culinary operations at TPC Sawgrass after spending more than 20 years in the industry. He previously served as the executive sous chef at Sawgrass from 2018 to 2023 and earned high praise for his work, leading to a chef directorship at TPC Las Vegas. Kent James, PGA Tour vice president of food and beverage, expressed excitement about Hernandez's return and highlighted his diverse industry experience. Hernandez expressed his enthusiasm about returning, stating that it feels like coming home and expressing a commitment to delivering exceptional experiences to the members and guests.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/05/23/tpc-sawgrass-chef.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 06:45:00

Allegiant Air launches service from Fort Lauderdale airport to Northern Michigan

Allegiant Air, an ultra-low-cost carrier, has introduced a new twice-weekly service connecting Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport with Northern Michigan's Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City. The airline cited growing travel demand as the impetus for the expansion, emphasizing the provision of affordable nonstop flights without layovers. Allegiant Air, a subsidiary of Allegiant Travel Company, operates as an integrated travel company based in Las Vegas, with a focus on connecting smaller cities to popular vacation destinations. The carrier's stock closed at $49 on Tuesday, reflecting a 2.6% decrease from the previous day's closing price.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/05/21/allegiant-fort-lauderdale-airport-michigan-service.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Traverse City, United States
Published: 2024-05-21 21:11:23

Bradford Marine will take over operations at Fort Lauderdale marina

Fort Lauderdale's Sunrise Harbor Marina will be managed by Bradford Marina starting on Aug. 1, after assuming operations from Suntex Marinas. The marina, with 2,500 linear feet of dockage and 22 wet slips, can accommodate yachts of up to 200 feet and offers amenities such as a pool, fitness center, business center, and tennis courts. Bradford Marine plans to expand the marina and has expressed enthusiasm for the acquisition. Additionally, the company has been actively expanding in Broward County, with two employees from the marina joining Bradford Marine. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/05/21/bradford-marine-to-operate-sunrise-harbor-marina.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Fort Lauderdale, United States
Published: 2024-05-21 18:50:48

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Healthcare and Public Health

Diagnosis for 5.22.24: Checking the pulse of Florida health care news and policy

Two major federal lawsuits pertaining to Florida's safety net health care program and subsidized children's health insurance programs are currently on hold. A federal judge postponed a trial challenging Governor Ron DeSantis' removal of people from the Medicaid rolls due to a family death, and a status conference is pending to discuss rescheduling the trial. The Medicaid lawsuit questions the state's proper notification process for terminating individuals from the program. Another lawsuit involves Florida's opposition to a federal requirement for continuous enrollment in the children's health insurance program and remains pending. The article also covers other health-related topics, including the number of uninsured Americans, a letter from Republican Governors opposing WHO instruments, Florida's nursing home bed regulations, dental insurance law changes, and a CDC program to reduce health disparities in Jacksonville communities. Finally, it mentions the Florida Health Care Association's Long Term Care Photo Contest winners.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/675789-diagnosis-for-5-22-24-checking-the-pulse-of-florida-health-care-news-and-policy/
Location: Jacksonville, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 08:00:26

Trump says he is open to restrictions on contraception before backing away from the statement

Former President Donald Trump suggested in an interview that his campaign would release a policy on contraception shortly, leading to speculation that a future Trump administration might support regulations or state restrictions on access to birth control. However, Trump later clarified on social media that he does not advocate for restricting birth control and other contraceptives. The Biden campaign quickly seized on the interview, asserting that Trump's potential second term could further restrict access to birth control and emergency contraceptives. Trump's stance on the Comstock Act and mailing of abortion pills remains unclear, despite promises to make a statement on the issue, leading to frustration and speculation from both abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion groups.

Link: https://wsvn.com/news/politics/trump-says-he-is-open-to-restrictions-on-contraception-before-backing-away-from-the-statement/
Location: Washington D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-23 03:19:38

'It is expensive': Voters want presidential candidates to hear their health care cost concerns

Four individuals met at a Wisconsin coffee shop to discuss healthcare. Ron Chmill, an insurance agent and cancer survivor, expressed gratitude for his health insurance coverage, detailing the significant costs and concerns about future coverage. Kamar Carter, a small business owner, highlighted the financial challenges of obtaining healthcare and called for bipartisan cooperation to find better solutions. Lynn Carey, a retired nurse and double lung transplant recipient, advocated for the Affordable Care Act and expanding Medicare coverage for all. Peter Gilbert, a retiree with extensive experience in the insurance industry, emphasized the inefficiency of tying healthcare to employment. The individuals collectively emphasized the importance of preventive healthcare and the need for a more inclusive and accessible healthcare system.

Link: https://www.wptv.com/Politics/path-to-the-white-house/it-is-expensive-voters-want-presidential-candidates-to-hear-their-health-care-cost-concerns
Location: Madison, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 19:23:40

'It's very frustrating': Voters voice concerns with rising health care costs

Juliana Zoet and Julie Buckholt express concerns about the high cost of medical treatment and prescription drugs. Both individuals face financial challenges due to medical expenses, with Zoet highlighting the burdensome deductible and Buckholt struggling with the high cost of weekly infusions. President Joe Biden's Inflation Reduction Act aims to provide relief by capping out-of-pocket spending for Medicare beneficiaries on prescription drugs. Additionally, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra emphasizes the need to reduce drug prices and invest in negotiation with drug companies. The text also mentions the Affordable Care Act, former President Donald Trump's Right to Try Law, and the perspectives of healthcare experts, including Tommy Thompson, on the need for healthcare system review and reform.

Link: https://www.wptv.com/Politics/path-to-the-white-house/its-very-frustrating-voters-voice-concerns-with-rising-health-care-costs
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-22 17:44:33

Stroke Patient Thanks Physicians Who Saved Him

Alex Diaz, one of 795,000 annual stroke sufferers, had a hemorrhagic stroke, posing a significant threat. Paramedics initially mistook his symptoms for COVID-19, but his wife's insistence led to prompt medical attention at HCA Florida Osceola Hospital. Supported by medical professionals and his wife, Alex made a remarkable recovery, emphasized in a presentation at UCF College of Medicine. Despite challenges in rehabilitation, including memory loss, he has returned to work, expressing gratitude towards his wife and medical team. The event served to remind emergency medicine practitioners of the human impact behind their cases.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/stroke-patient-thanks-physicians-who-saved-him/
Location: Kissimmee, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 14:43:29

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Education

Going green: UNF, Green Flower add 2 new cannabis education certificates

The University of North Florida has expanded its online cannabis education offerings in collaboration with Green Flower by introducing two new certification courses: Cannabis Compliance and Risk Management, and Cannabis Product Development and Design. These courses accompany three existing programs and aim to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the cannabis industry to prepare them for careers. Green Flower CEO Max Simon highlighted the advantage of these certifications in standing out among potential employees. The expansion reflects the increasing acceptance and adoption of cannabis in modern society.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/2024/05/23/unf-green-flower-add-cannabis-education-certs.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-23 06:45:00

Biden administration canceling student loans for another 160,000 borrowers

The Biden administration has announced the cancellation of student loans for an additional 160,000 borrowers, resulting in the erasure of $7.7 billion in federal student loans. This brings the total amount of student debt canceled by the administration to $167 billion for nearly 5 million Americans through various programs. President Biden has emphasized his commitment to making higher education a pathway to the middle class by canceling student debt. The latest relief will benefit borrowers in three categories, including those enrolled in Biden's new income-driven repayment plan and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The administration is proceeding with the loan cancellation despite legal challenges from Republican-led states. Additionally, the Education Department has been addressing previous mistakes that delayed cancellation for some borrowers. The administration is also working on a new, one-time cancellation plan that aims to provide relief to more than 30 million borrowers in various categories, including those with large sums of unpaid interest and those facing hardships. This plan has faced challenges from conservative opponents, but the administration is proceeding with the rulemaking process and plans to waive unpaid interest for millions of borrowers starting this fall.

Link: https://wsvn.com/news/politics/biden-administration-canceling-student-loans-for-another-160000-borrowers/
Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-22 23:37:48

USF prioritizes $222M, seven-story research institute in aspirational capital plan

The University of South Florida has adjusted its list of capital priorities to align with its growing focus on research. A proposed $222 million Translational Research Institute is now the university's top facility wish list item, replacing the Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences research and teaching facility. The project aims to attract top scientists and advance the university's research capabilities. USF's recent inclusion in the Association of American Universities is expected to result in increased federal research funding. President Rhea Law emphasized the importance of enhancing the university's research enterprise and is set to present a plan to boost the number of USF researchers. The proposed institute would drive internal research, complementing the existing USF Research Park's efforts to attract external biotech companies. Other capital priorities, such as USF St. Pete’s oceanographic building and a STEM nursing facility at USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus, have been delayed due to lack of state funding.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/05/22/usf-lab-space-research-institute.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 19:38:39

UCF’s Integrative General Studies Program Celebrates 2,000 Graduates, Bridging Diverse Paths to College Success

The Bachelor of Integrative General Studies (BIGS) program, offered through UCF’s College of Undergraduate Studies, has helped over 2,000 students from diverse fields complete their college degrees since its launch in 2019. The program allows students to design their own curriculum and tailor their education to their needs and goals. Chloe Gordon, one of the program's successful graduates, resumed her education online nearly 20 years after initially starting, integrating past and new courses to graduate with a BIGS degree. The program's flexibility and multidisciplinary approach have enabled students like Chloe and Nicolas Barth to pursue their passions and integrate their interests into their final projects. The program's faculty also emphasize the importance of evolving with students' needs, and they actively seek to integrate AI tools and technology to enhance the overall learning experience. The program's emphasis on customization and adaptability has been a key factor in its success, with faculty aiming to ensure that every student's needs are met.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/ucfs-integrative-general-studies-program-celebrates-2000-graduates-bridging-diverse-paths-to-college-success/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 15:38:04

FSU awards 339 honors medallions to Spring 2024 graduates

Florida State University recently honored 339 high-achieving graduates with honors medallions during a ceremony. The recipients were recognized for their outstanding achievements in various honors programs, including the University Honors Program, Honors in the Major Program, and Outstanding Senior Scholar designation. The ceremony featured remarks from university officials and showcased the diversity of academic majors represented by the awardees. The recipients, along with their hometowns, academic majors, and award designations, were acknowledged, emphasizing their dedication and academic accomplishments.

Link: https://news.fsu.edu/news/students-campus-life/2024/05/21/fsu-awards-339-honors-medallions-to-spring-2024-graduates/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-21 20:35:15

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Judicial and Legal Affairs

Leaders of Northwestern, UCLA and Rutgers to testify before Congress on campus protests

House Republicans have summoned leaders from Northwestern University, Rutgers University, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to testify about concessions given to pro-Palestinian protesters to end demonstrations on their campuses, amid tensions over the Israel-Hamas war. The hearings have sparked controversy, with resignations of presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania following the first hearing in December. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce's latest inquiry expands to large public universities, specifically criticizing Northwestern and Rutgers for negotiating with protesters. UCLA's oversight of campus protests has drawn scrutiny since a pro-Palestinian encampment was attacked by counter-demonstrators with Israeli flags, leading to the reassignment of the university's police chief.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/05/23/leaders-of-northwestern-ucla-and-rutgers-to-testify-before-congress-on-campus-protests/
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 04:07:25

Federal judge blocks part of Florida immigration law

A federal judge in Florida has issued a preliminary injunction blocking a portion of a 2023 law targeting illegal immigration, finding that it encroaches upon federal jurisdiction. The law, championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, imposed felony charges for transporting undocumented immigrants. The judge's ruling prohibits the enforcement of this specific section of the law, citing prior federal court decisions and emphasizing that immigration falls under federal, not state, authority. The plaintiffs, including The Farmworker Association of Florida and individual individuals, successfully argued that the law was unconstitutionally vague and exceeded state authority. The ruling did not affect other aspects of the law, which include stringent requirements for businesses and funding for transporting undocumented immigrants. The lawsuit was supported by civil-rights groups, and their attorneys welcomed the judge's decision. Governor DeSantis described the 2023 law as the most comprehensive anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country, aimed at opposing federal policies and protecting Florida taxpayers.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/florida/2024/05/22/federal-judge-blocks-part-of-florida-immigration-law/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 22:58:00

Florida can't enforce law criminalizing transportation of undocumented immigrants, judge rules

A federal judge has barred Florida from enforcing part of its immigration law that criminalizes the transportation of undocumented immigrants within the state. The ruling blocks the enforcement of Section 10 of SB 1718 on the grounds that it is preempted by federal immigration law. The lawsuit was filed by several advocacy groups and individuals, arguing that the law could lead to the felony prosecution of individuals for simple acts such as driving a family member to a medical appointment. The judge found that the law extended beyond the state's authority and that the plaintiffs would face irreparable harm without an injunction. The ACLU hailed the decision, while the state officials indicated their intention to appeal.

Link: https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/florida-cant-enforce-law-criminalizing-transportation-of-undocumented-immigrants-judge-rules/
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 22:21:16

Former Florida mayoral candidate arrested for armed robbery: report

Former mayoral candidate, Whitfield Leland, was arrested in Tallahassee for allegedly robbing a Dollar General store at gunpoint. Leland, who ran for Tallahassee mayor in 2022, was found by police following a trail of bills spilling from his pockets after the robbery. According to court records, Leland demanded cash from the store manager and attempted to access a safe, but was unsuccessful. Police apprehended him as he fled the scene. Leland faces charges including robbery with a firearm, grand theft, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Additionally, he had been paid for work on political campaigns prior to his arrest.

Link: https://www.wfla.com/news/florida/former-florida-mayoral-candidate-arrested-for-armed-robbery-report/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 22:16:20

Fact Focus: Trump distorts use of ‘deadly force’ language in FBI document for Mar-a-Lago search

Former President Donald Trump falsely claimed that the Biden administration had authorized the FBI to use lethal force during a search of his Mar-a-Lago estate in 2022, suggesting that this was evidence of a plot to kill him. However, the language he referenced in the FBI document is a standard policy statement used for issuing search warrants and is not unique to the search of his property. The policy statement is meant to limit the use of deadly force, and the FBI stated that they followed standard protocol during the search. Trump and his allies continued to spread this false allegation despite these facts. Additionally, Trump was charged with illegally retaining classified documents and obstructing government demands to return them, and the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago was part of this probe.

Link: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2024/05/22/fact-focus-trump-distorts-use-of-deadly-force-language-in-fbi-document-for-mar-a-lago-search/
Location: Palm Beach, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 20:43:56

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Local Elections

Push poll wrongly claims Bob Henriquez is overvaluing properties, suggests Tom Lee plans to challenge him

Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez plans to investigate the origins of a poll accusing him of overvaluing properties and causing a large increase in property taxes for residents. However, there is no evidence to support this claim, and Florida State Statute 195.096 (3) mandates annual audits to prevent over- or under-valuations. The poll may be connected to a case involving the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which was denied tax exemptions, but it did not involve property valuation disputes. The poll itself resembled a push poll and contained inaccuracies according to Henriquez. It also referenced former state Sen. Tom Lee, raising speculation about a potential challenge to Henriquez, who is currently unopposed for reelection. The Primary Election is scheduled for Aug. 20, and the General Election is on Nov. 5. Former Sen. Lee has not yet responded to requests for comment, leaving the potential challenge uncertain.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/675859-push-poll-wrongly-claims-bob-henriquez-is-over-valuing-properties-suggests-tom-lee-plans-to-challenge-him/
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-05-23 00:44:53

Shan Rose and Travaris McCurdy head to June runoff for Orlando City Commission District 5 seat

Candidates Shaniqua “Shan” Rose and Travaris McCurdy have advanced to a June 18 runoff in the special election race for City Council District 5 to replace suspended City Commissioner Regina Hill. Unofficial results from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office show Rose and McCurdy led the field in the election, with neither candidate receiving more than 50 percent of the vote, triggering a runoff. District 5 covers parts of west-downtown Orlando and other neighborhoods west of I-4, and the winning candidate will serve the rest of Hill’s term, which runs through 2025. The election is the result of Hill's suspension after being indicted and arrested on felony charges of alleged elder abuse and fraud. Both candidates have outlined their priorities, with Rose emphasizing affordable housing, safety, education, and employment, and McCurdy focusing on public safety, housing, infrastructure, and support for small businesses.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/shan-rose-and-travaris-mccurdy-head-to-june-runoff-for-orlando-city-commission-district-5-seat-36919494
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 11:58:00

Fabián Basabe to launch House re-election campaign in Miami Beach

Republican Rep. Fabián Basabe is launching his re-election campaign for House District 106, with an event planned for May 30 in Miami Beach. The event has the support of several key figures, including House Speaker-designate Daniel Perez. Basabe emphasizes the diversity of the district and his commitment to bringing people together and implementing ideas. He won the seat in 2022 and is facing a challenge from former Rep. Joe Saunders in the upcoming election. Basabe highlights his legislative accomplishments, including securing funding for resiliency and conservation and working to soften controversial state laws. His campaign focuses on uniting people and prioritizing the needs of Floridians. The Primary Election is on Aug. 20, followed by the General Election on Nov. 5, with only Basabe and Saunders currently running for the HD 106 seat.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/675036-fabian-basabe-to-launch-house-re-election-campaign-in-miami-beach/
Location: Miami Beach, United States
Published: 2024-05-17 21:00:23

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Environmental Policy

Election year politics roil the EV transition

The U.S. auto industry is encountering challenges in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) due to factors such as low consumer demand, potential oversupply of Chinese EVs, and the possibility of policy rollbacks if Donald Trump is re-elected as president. This raises concerns about the potential for the EV revolution in the United States to stall, allowing China to further dominate the global market for EVs. Industry analysts believe that despite these obstacles, the transition to EVs will persist due to significant investments and the global shift toward EVs in response to climate change. However, uncertainty remains about the impact of potential policy changes and the influence of Chinese automakers on the North American market. The industry's response to this uncertainty includes a shift toward offering more hybrid gas-and-electric vehicles and a cautious approach to further EV investments until the election outcome is known. Some experts emphasize the need for continued support and certainty from the government to ensure the industry's competitiveness in the global market. Despite challenges, there are varying consumer attitudes toward EVs in America, ranging from resistance to strong enthusiasm.

Link: https://www.mercurynews.com/2024/05/22/election-year-politics-roil-the-ev-transition/
Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-22 18:47:58

After DeSantis scrubs 'climate change' from state law, Florida begins repealing renewable-energy goals

Florida officials have initiated steps to repeal state renewable energy goals following the enactment of a controversial law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The law, HB 1645, eliminates state energy policies and renewable energy objectives, including removing references to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing offshore wind energy generation. The move has sparked debate, as critics argue that it downplays the urgency of addressing climate change. The renewable energy targets, established in 2022, called for a gradual increase in renewable energy production, with a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The new law, effective July 1, is seen as a philosophical shift by the Republican-controlled Legislature, emphasizing cost-effective energy supply and easing regulations on natural gas pipelines. Additionally, it directs the Public Service Commission to explore the feasibility of advanced nuclear power technologies, such as small modular reactors, for meeting electric-power needs.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/after-desantis-scrubs-climate-change-from-state-law-florida-begins-repealing-renewable-energy-goals-36927019
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 14:03:00

U.S. Sugar partners with FAMU, Tuskegee University to study impact of sugar-cane farming in the Glades

U.S. Sugar has collaborated with Florida A&M University and Tuskegee University to conduct a study on the impact of sugar-cane farming in the Glades area and explore sustainable farming practices. The project will include comprehensive environmental and economic analyses, with a focus on the industry's contributions to surrounding communities, especially minority groups. The initiative aims to involve community stakeholders to ensure farming practices benefit nearby residents. U.S. Sugar has expressed its commitment to strengthening partnerships and highlighting its role in environmental stewardship through this collaboration.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/674217-u-s-sugar-partners-with-famu-tuskegee-university-to-study-impact-of-sugarcane-farming-in-the-glades/
Location: Clewiston, United States
Published: 2024-05-20 08:15:53

FSU research team wins Environmental Protection Agency grant to advance Southeast Florida action on climate change

Florida State University's research team has been granted $222,412 by the Environmental Protection Agency through the Southeast Florida Climate Change Compact to assist in advancing local climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in the region. The team aims to ensure that strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions positively impact low-income and disadvantaged communities in Southeast Florida. This initiative is part of a larger collaboration involving 109 municipalities and tribal government jurisdictions to develop comprehensive climate action plans. The team's responsibilities include analyzing the benefits of greenhouse gas reduction measures for these communities, assessing co-pollutants and public health impacts, and identifying opportunities for creating high-quality jobs through the implementation of these measures. The project emphasizes the importance of addressing the needs of communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Link: https://news.fsu.edu/news/education-society/2024/05/17/fsu-research-team-wins-environmental-protection-agency-grant-to-advance-southeast-florida-action-on-climate-change/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-17 15:27:27

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Bills and Laws

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis receives 27 bills. Here’s what happens if they become law

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has received 27 bills, covering various issues such as homeowners' associations, flood disclosures on home sales, and surrendered infants. Some key bills include HB 59, which aims to change HOA rules; HB 141, which eliminates requirements related to the Regional Rural Development Grants Program, and HB 775, which increases the age limit for surrendered infants. Other bills involve changes to consultants' contracts, hurricane protection specifications for HOAs, and more. If approved, these bills will go into effect on various dates, but mostly on or after July 1, 2021.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/florida/2024/05/22/florida-gov-ron-desantis-receives-27-bills-heres-what-happens-if-they-become-law/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 09:48:18

ANOTHER ROUND: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs 10 more bills. Here’s what they do

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed 10 bills into law, addressing a variety of issues. The legislation includes amendments to state statutes, such as defining "Florida financial institution" and revising the boundaries of the Collier Mosquito Control District. Other laws cover topics like pregnancy and parenting resources, criminal penalties for tampering with critical infrastructure, and public meetings in small towns. Furthermore, the bills set requirements for alcoholic beverage licenses, term limits for district trustees, and forced labor vendor lists. Another bill makes changes related to dental insurance claims, prohibiting certain restrictions on payment methods and denying claims for procedures included in prior authorization. These laws will go into effect on different dates, ranging from July 1 to Jan. 1, 2025.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/florida/2024/05/20/florida-gov-ron-desantis-signs-10-more-bills-heres-what-they-do/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-20 09:00:00

Marijuana may soon be a Schedule III drug: What will change?

The Justice Department has initiated the process of reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug. This reclassification is not expected to decriminalize marijuana or legalize its recreational use at the federal level, but it would acknowledge its medical uses and potential for abuse. The potential reclassification would also make it easier for research to be conducted on marijuana and may lead to reduced federal taxes for cannabis businesses. President Joe Biden has also taken actions to pardon individuals convicted federally of simple possession of marijuana and has encouraged governors and local leaders to do the same. The move to reclassify marijuana has been approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland and will now go to the DEA for public comment and an administrative review.

Link: https://www.wfla.com/news/national/marijuana-may-soon-be-a-schedule-iii-drug-what-will-change/
Location: Washington, D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-19 16:13:33

Ohio voters approved reproductive rights. Will the state's near-ban on abortion stand?

A county judge in Ohio is expected to rule on the state's law banning most abortions as early as Monday. The law prohibits abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy. This is in conflict with a 2023 amendment to the state constitution that grants individuals the right to make their own reproductive decisions. Ohio's Republican attorney general has acknowledged that the ban may be unconstitutional in light of the amendment but seeks to maintain other elements of the prohibition. The state faces other legal challenges to various abortion restrictions, including a ban on telehealth for medication abortions and a mandate for fetal remains from surgical abortions to be cremated or buried. The state's ban on abortions due to Down syndrome diagnosis remains in effect. The anti-abortion Protect Women Ohio campaign suggested that Ohio’s parental consent law could be challenged following the passage of the new amendment. The state's "heartbeat bill" banning most abortions was initially vetoed by former Republican Gov. John Kasich but was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority was strengthened.

Link: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/politics/2024/05/19/ohio-voters-approved-reproductive-rights-will-the-states-near-ban-on-abortion-stand/
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Published: 2024-05-19 06:05:39

Ohio voters approved reproductive rights. Will the state's near-ban on abortion stand?

A county judge in Ohio is expected to rule on the state's law banning almost all abortions, taking into account a voter-approved amendment enshrining reproductive rights in the state constitution. The law, which bans most abortions once cardiac activity is detected, faces a legal challenge from abortion clinics and the state attorney general has acknowledged its potential unconstitutionality. Ohio's abortion restrictions are facing legal challenges, and a proposed House measure seeks to bring the state's laws in line with the new amendment, but faces opposition from Republican supermajorities. Additionally, Ohio's parental consent law and ban on dilation and extraction procedure have not been challenged in court, and the state's ban on abortions due to a Down syndrome diagnosis remains in effect. The law was signed by Governor Mike DeWine after the Supreme Court's conservative majority was solidified, raising hopes among abortion opponents for successful imposition of restrictions.

Link: https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2024/05/19/ohio-voters-approved-reproductive-rights-will-the-states-near-ban-on-abortion-stand/
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Published: 2024-05-19 06:05:39

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State Elections

California lawmaker Vince Fong wins special election to finish ousted House Speaker McCarthy's term

Vince Fong, a California State Assembly member endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won a special election to complete the term of former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Fong defeated fellow Republican Mike Boudreaux in the 20th Congressional District, with Trump's endorsement making the race a potential test of the former president's influence. Fong has outlined priorities such as border security, small business support, and water storage investment. The election result maintains the Republican hold on the district and increases their representation in the state delegation by one seat. Fong and Boudreaux will face each other again in November for a full two-year term, with Fong holding the advantage of incumbency. The race was marked by internal party rivalries and McCarthy's involvement in supporting Fong's candidacy.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/california-lawmaker-vince-fong-wins-special-election-to-finish-ousted-house-speaker-mccarthys-term/3316953/
Location: Bakersfield, United States
Published: 2024-05-22 00:19:14

Meet Leslie Lee, a 2024 CFO of the Year honoree

Leslie Lee serves as the chief financial and operating officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay and has been with the organization since 2005. She was recently honored as a CFO of the Year for 2024. Lee, who initially pursued finance as a concentration during her MBA studies, emphasizes the importance of a strong financial position for organizations. She highlights the role of technology in driving efficiency and business intelligence, expressing excitement about evaluating tools such as Chat GPT and artificial intelligence to advance the organization's mission. Lee is driven by the nonprofit's mission and emphasizes the importance of aligning resources with strategy to create lasting impact. Her favorite book is "What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing" by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry, and she enjoys cooking as a hidden talent. If she were not a CFO, she would be interested in the sciences, particularly neuroscience and physics. Her first paid job was door-to-door sales and marketing, and her favorite movie is "What About Bob?".

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2024/05/20/meet-leslie-lee-a-2024-cfo-of-the-year-honoree.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Tampa, United States
Published: 2024-05-20 10:00:00

20 current, former lawmakers endorse David Silvers for Senate

Lake Clarke Shores Democratic Rep. David Silvers has received endorsements from 20 current and former Democratic state lawmakers for his bid to represent Senate District 26. Notable supporters include Jacksonville Sen. Tracie Davis and Miami Gardens Sen. Shevrin Jones. Silvers emphasized his ability to offer real solutions and stand up for the community. He has also been endorsed by former Miami-Dade Democratic Party Chair Joe Geller. Silvers, elected in 2016, has focused on issues such as children's mental health, education reform, women's health, criminal justice reform, and protection for financially vulnerable citizens. He has received recognition for his legislative work, holds community involvement in various organizations, and works as an e-commerce and publishing executive. Silvers announced his candidacy in June and is expected to face at least one primary opponent in the 2026 election cycle.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/675125-20-current-former-lawmakers-endorse-david-silvers-for-senate/
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-20 08:45:25

Paul Renner endorses Sam Greco as HD 19 successor

Sam Greco, a Republican running for Northeast Florida’s House District 19, has received an endorsement from current House Speaker Paul Renner, whom Greco hopes to succeed. Renner praised Greco's naval background, public service commitment, and support for conservative values, and expressed confidence in Greco's ability to represent the district effectively. In response, Greco expressed honor and commitment to upholding these values. The district covers Flagler and part of St. Johns counties and leans Republican. Greco will compete in the primary against three other Republican candidates and one Democratic candidate.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/675210-paul-renner-endorses-sam-greco-as-hd-19-successor/
Location: St. Johns County, United States
Published: 2024-05-20 08:30:22

Noncitizen voting becomes a centerpiece of 2024 GOP messaging

Republicans are focusing on the issue of noncitizen voting, arguing for legislation to protect the integrity of U.S. elections amidst concerns over illegal immigration. The party is pushing for measures such as the SAVE Act, which would require proof of citizenship to register to vote. Democrats criticize this as a nonissue and accuse Republicans of using it to pave the way for challenging election results. Despite lack of evidence of significant noncitizen voting, Republicans continue to propose legislation and ballot measures on the topic. Some states have found minimal instances of noncitizen voting in the past, but experts argue that the number of noncitizens casting ballots is negligible. Republicans advocate for additional proof of citizenship, while Democrats express concerns that this could disenfranchise eligible voters. The issue has also brought attention to the limited phenomenon of noncitizens voting in local elections in some jurisdictions, prompting some states to consider measures to prevent this.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/national-international/2024-presidential-election-gop-illegal-immigrants-voting/3314214/
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-18 15:53:17

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Miami Politics

Health care union backs ‘dedicated advocate’ David Richardson for Miami-Dade Tax Collector

Former state lawmaker and Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson's bid for Miami-Dade’s next Tax Collector has received an endorsement from SEIU Local 1991, representing over 6,200 local health care workers. The union cites Richardson's advocacy for Jackson Health System as a key reason for their support. Richardson, an accountant with decades of public and private sector experience, aims to bring a "fresh approach" to the Tax Collector's office, focusing on customer service and enhanced technology. The upcoming election follows a constitutional amendment requiring the elected appointment of Tax Collectors, with Richardson being the only Democrat currently running in Miami-Dade. Two Republicans are also vying for the position.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/675689-health-care-union-backs-dedicated-advocate-david-richardson-for-miami-dade-tax-collector/
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-05-21 21:50:37

Kiki on the River group to open new restaurant on Miami River

New French Moroccan supper club, Habibi Miami, is set to open this summer in the Miami River District, adjacent to another popular venue. Created by Roman Jones, founder of Opium Group, the waterfront restaurant will offer a royal escape to the French Moroccan Riviera, featuring a 30-foot red-carpet entrance, outdoor patio, and bar accommodating 200 guests. The venue plans to host sunset parties and nightly shows with belly dancers, contortionists, and percussionists. The restaurant's decorative theme, overseen by Mark Lehmkuhl and Love Lake Studio, is Wes Anderson-inspired retro with nods to Moorish architecture. The shareable Middle Eastern menu and North African-Mediterranean-inspired cocktails will be available, alongside tea service. Habibi Miami is one of three ventures launched by Jones in the Miami River area, taking the place of the former Captain Tom's Seafood Restaurant. The establishment is situated on a 4,308-square-foot lot owned by Miami Riverwalk Inc.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2024/05/17/habibi-french-moroccan-restaurant-open-miami-river.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-05-17 20:20:13

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Social Issues

Workers with unseen disabilities say they face stigmas in the workplace

Workers with ADHD and ADD are hesitant to ask for accommodations in the workplace due to concerns about potential career repercussions. A survey by The Harris Poll for Understood.org found that 60% of workers worry about asking for support due to the stigma associated with seeking accommodations for disabilities. Among those who identify as neurodivergent, 59% fear that disclosing their disabilities could harm their careers. While there is significant support for accommodating workers with ADHD and ADD, many employees are unsure about how to request these accommodations. Additionally, studies have highlighted the challenges faced by workers with ADHD, such as maintaining focus, time management, and productivity costs associated with the condition. A lack of access to care for ADHD and concerns about the ability of employees with ADHD to handle complex tasks were also highlighted in the survey. The increasing discussion around disabilities in the workplace reflects a generational shift in addressing mental health and disability issues. Despite these challenges, the employment rate for those with disabilities reached a record high in 2022, with the availability of remote work potentially playing a role in this increase.

Link: https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/news/2024/05/21/workers-with-adhd-face-stigma-in-the-workplace.html?ana=brss_4268
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-21 20:20:30

The Senate filibuster is a hurdle to any national abortion bill. Democrats are campaigning on it

Multiple Democratic candidates for the Senate have expressed support for overturning the filibuster rule to safeguard reproductive rights if the Democratic party maintains control of the chamber. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and former Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida are among those advocating for this stance, emphasizing the importance of protecting reproductive rights in their campaigns. Additionally, Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowksi have introduced legislation aimed at solidifying the protections established by Roe v. Wade.

Link: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2024/05/19/the-senate-filibuster-is-a-hurdle-to-any-national-abortion-bill-democrats-are-campaigning-on-it/
Location: Madison, United States
Published: 2024-05-19 11:42:53

Doctors saw younger men seeking vasectomies after Roe v. Wade was overturned

The Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade nearly two years ago has led to an increase in young adults seeking vasectomies or tubal ligations, according to emerging research. In response to the court decision, there has been a rise in vasectomy rates among men under 30, particularly in states with more stringent abortion restrictions. Despite the overall increase in vasectomies, researchers noted that the trend was not solely driven by political climate, suggesting that increased marketing and awareness of the procedure also played a role. Additionally, concerns about abortion access and the current political climate were cited as key reasons for seeking vasectomies, particularly in states with restrictive abortion laws. This trend reflects a broader social conversation around reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision.

Link: https://www.mercurynews.com/2024/05/18/doctors-saw-younger-men-seeking-vasectomies-after-roe-v-wade-was-overturned/
Location: None
Published: 2024-05-18 10:01:10

Chaos erupts in hearing as Greene, Ocasio-Cortez clash over ‘fake eyelashes’ jibe at Crockett

During a House Oversight Committee hearing, chaos erupted as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez clashed after Greene made a comment about Rep. Jasmine Crockett's fake eyelashes. This led to disorder, insults, and a vote on whether Greene could continue speaking, which she was ultimately allowed to. The hearing also involved a move to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt, prompted by his refusal to hand over audio recordings claimed to be under executive privilege by President Joe Biden. Greene's comment, accusations against Democrats, and exchanges between lawmakers created mayhem, with further confrontations and insults exchanged among the committee members. The chaotic stretch of the hearing finally concluded after the panel voted to allow Greene to continue speaking.

Link: https://www.wfla.com/news/national/chaos-erupts-in-hearing-as-greene-ocasio-cortez-clash-over-fake-eyelashes-jibe-at-crockett/
Location: Washington D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-17 19:56:38

South Florida’s Jewish Democrats are split on Israel weapons vote

The South Florida Democratic congressional delegation, supportive of Israel, split on a bill regarding a paused U.S. weapons transfer to Israel. The bill was intended to highlight Democratic divisions over the Israel-Hamas war and force Democrats to vote on the issue. U.S. Rep. Wasserman Schultz criticized the bill as a partisan tactic, while U.S. Reps. Frankel and Moskowitz supported it. Ultimately, the bill passed the House but is unlikely to advance in the Senate. The divide reflects broader Democratic divisions over support for Israel amid the ongoing conflict.

Link: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2024/05/17/south-floridas-jewish-democrats-are-split-on-israel-weapons-vote/
Location: Washington D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-17 17:37:31

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Environmental Emergencies

Florida officials remove 10-foot alligator from homeowner's pool

A 10-foot alligator was found in a family's pool in Venetian Bay, Florida, and was removed by officers and a trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Due to its size, the alligator will not be relocated and will likely be euthanized. As Florida is in the midst of alligator mating season, sightings of alligators in unexpected places, such as pools, are not uncommon. The FWC's Nuisance Alligator Hotline is available for reporting such incidents.

Link: https://www.orlandoweekly.com/news/florida-officials-remove-10-foot-alligator-from-homeowners-pool-36917969
Location: Venetian Bay, Florida
Published: 2024-05-21 12:36:00

Ocean heat bleaches coral reefs in Florida, elsewhere

Ocean temperatures, especially in the Atlantic, have reached alarming levels, causing widespread coral bleaching. More than 62% of the world's coral reefs are currently suffering from this event, approaching the record levels seen in 2017. The Atlantic region, particularly off the Florida coast and in the Caribbean, has experienced severe losses in coral species. Some experts are hoping for the development of La Nina to cool the oceans, but concerns remain about the potential impact. The record-breaking ocean temperatures in April and the consecutive monthly ocean heat records indicate a worrying trend. The loss of coral reefs could have significant implications for seafood production and tourism globally and is considered a critical tipping point in the context of climate change.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/675129-ocean-heat-bleaches-coral-reefs-in-florida-elsewhere/
Location: Miami, United States
Published: 2024-05-18 21:02:29

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Central Florida Politics

Winner and Loser of the Week in Florida politics — Week of 5.12.24

U.S. Rep. Greg Steube has used a discharge petition to force a vote on legislation offering tax relief for disaster-affected individuals, a rare occurrence in Congress. Despite bipartisan support, it remains to be seen how the legislation will fare in the Senate. The Seminole Tribe of Florida received support from President Joe Biden's administration in its legal battle over the Gaming Compact, while Florida TaxWatch released its annual "Budget Turkey" report spotlighting potentially veto-worthy projects in the state's budget. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition backed off its lawsuit after the state agreed to set up a process for former felons to determine their voting rights. Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz faced criticisms for linking himself to a hate group and is under investigation by the House ethics panel. Carolina Amesty is under state investigation for allegedly violating notary laws, and Christian and Bridget Ziegler faced embarrassing revelations about their personal lives as they litigated to prevent public disclosure of additional information.

Link: https://floridapolitics.com/archives/674712-winner-and-loser-of-the-week-in-florida-politics-week-of-5-12-24/
Location: Tallahassee, United States
Published: 2024-05-19 09:30:37

Michael Okaty Named UCF Board of Trustees Vice Chair

Michael Okaty ’96 ’97 has been elected as the vice chair of UCF’s Board of Trustees in a recent vote by his colleagues. Okaty, a business lawyer and managing partner of Foley & Lardner LLP’s Orlando office, joined the UCF Board of Trustees in 2019. The UCF Board of Trustees Chair and President expressed their gratitude and confidence in Okaty's leadership and commitment. Okaty, who is a first-generation UCF graduate, emphasized his dedication to the university's success and expressed his honor in serving in this role. His term as vice chair will conclude on June 30, 2025, with the possibility of reappointment by the Board of Governors. The Board of Trustees, responsible for the administration of UCF, consists of 13 members and is tasked with overseeing the university's performance, financial management, and compliance with regulations and requirements.

Link: https://www.ucf.edu/news/michael-okaty-named-ucf-board-of-trustees-vice-chair/
Location: Orlando, United States
Published: 2024-05-17 22:10:46

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Legislative Sessions

Body shaming, IQ insults and cross talk: House committee meeting devolves into chaos amid personal insults

During a House Oversight Committee meeting focused on a resolution recommending Attorney General Merrick Garland be held in contempt of Congress, personal attacks and partisan bickering overshadowed the main agenda. The chaos ensued as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene made disrespectful comments about the physical appearance and intelligence of other committee members. Democratic representatives moved to strike Greene's words from the record and demanded an apology, which she refused to give. Amid intense debate and interruptions, the committee eventually voted along party lines to recommend holding Garland in contempt. The meeting, which was initially scheduled for 11 a.m., was rescheduled to 8 p.m. after committee members attended the trial of former President Donald Trump. The contempt resolution will be presented before the full House following the contentious meeting.

Link: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/politics/body-shaming-iq-insults-and-cross-talk-house-committee-meeting-devolves-into-chaos-amid-personal-insults/3313745/
Location: Washington D.C., United States
Published: 2024-05-17 16:21:24

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