Florida State Wide

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, at Governor DeSantis’ direction, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz issued an Emergency Order temporarily restricting visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs), adult family-care homes, long-term care facilities and adult group homes.

By restricting visitation, the state is taking proactive measures to limit the potential of COVID-19 entering those facilities. This order has been issued in recognition of the fact that the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. This is also consistent with directions given by the Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Continue reading

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody today named Franklin County Sheriff’s Sergeant Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt as 2019’s Law Enforcement Officers of the Year. The Attorney General’s Office recognized the father and son duo, along with eight other law enforcement officers across the state for their dedication to protecting Floridians.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Courage and service must run in our award winners’ family. While others were fleeing, this father and son duo headed straight toward the flames. Because of their bravery, an entire family was saved. I am proud to announce Sergeant Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt as 2019’s Law Enforcement Officers of the Year.”

On June 24, 2018, the small coastal town of Eastpoint experienced one of the most horrific fires in its history. The fire destroyed 36 homes and consumed more than 950 acres of land. Due to the brave and selfless actions of Sgt. Hewitt and Dep. Hewitt, there were no casualties during this tragedy. Continue reading

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing a Consumer Alert to ask Floridians to report suspicious crowdfunding charity pages. Friday, the Florida Highway Patrol made the Attorney General’s Office aware of a suspicious-looking page purporting to raise money for the family of a fallen FHP Trooper. In less than an hour, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, working with GoFundMe.com, secured the suspension of the page and the more than $500 that had been raised is being returned to donors.

The account in question featured the name and photo of FHP Trooper Joseph Bullock. Trooper Bullock, a 19-year veteran of law enforcement, was shot and killed in the line of duty last week. An investigation into his death is underway.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Trooper Bullock is a hero, and people want to help honor his service by donating to his family. When FHP told us that someone unknown to the family might be trying to exploit the death of this brave law enforcement officer, I asked my Consumer Protection investigators to act quickly. Our office immediately contacted GoFundMe and the crowdsourcing site took swift action to protect the donations. The company has assured our investigators that these funds will only be released to a member of Trooper Bullock’s family or returned to the donors—per its distribution policies.” Continue reading

On February 12, 2020, in News Releases, by Staff

Jacksonville, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced he is awarding more than $3.6 million through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to the Florida State College at Jacksonville and St. Johns River State College to create the Northeast Florida Fintech Initiative. This Initiative represents a partnership between both colleges, regional schools, nonprofits and numerous financial services companies to provide new financial technology, or “FinTech” training and certification opportunities.

“I’m pleased to launch the Northeast Florida FinTech Initiative in conjunction with Florida State College at Jacksonville and St. John’s River State College,” said Governor DeSantis. “This innovative collaboration to provide new FinTech-related training and certifications will help equip Floridians with skills in demand by Northeast Florida’s growing FinTech industry.”

The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund award for $3.67 million will help the Northwest Florida FinTech Initiative create two FinTech Technical Certificate Programs, a FinTech Support Technician Boot Camp Academy and will embed FinTech related skills and coursework into existing programs related to Accounting, Business Administration, Financial Services and Information Technology. Continue reading

After many months of obstruction by the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Governor’s office received deeply disturbing information regarding the organization’s practices over the past several years.  These practices include exorbitant compensation payouts, abuse of state dollars, withholding of information, and breach of public trust.

Governor Ron DeSantis has requested Chief Inspector General (CIG), Melinda Miguel, to determine if there are reasonable grounds to refer the matter for criminal investigation to law enforcement.  If the evidence leads to that conclusion, CIG Miguel will take the appropriate action going forward. This investigation is a top priority for Governor DeSantis.

The Governor has been urging action on this matter since 2019. Due to these ongoing concerns, the Governor recommended competitive procurement for domestic violence services rather than continuing to directly contract with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence in his Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget recommendations. Continue reading

Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointments of Dr. Patricia Snyder, Nancy Hardt, Dr. Margarita Labarta, Dr. Karen Cole-Smith and Charles “Lee” Pinkoson to the Children’s Trust of Alachua County Advisory Board. These board members are appointed by the Governor from a list of candidates selected by Alachua County’s Board of County Commissioners.

Dr. Patricia Snyder

Dr. Snyder, of Gainesville, is the director of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies at the University of Florida. She earned her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from the State University of New York, her master’s degree in special education from Millersville University and her doctorate degree in early childhood special education from the University of New Orleans. Dr. Snyder is appointed to a four-year term. Continue reading

Friends,

The 2020 Legislative Session will have soon reached a conclusion, maybe even before this article makes it to publishing and we’re very much looking forward to being back home in the district. Once we return, we’ll be ready to tour the district to give a full report on all that we’ve accomplished these last few months. Until that time, however, we will keep providing a few updates on some of the highlights.

For this column, we should address the budget.

The Florida Senate passed Senate Bill 2500: Appropriations, a proposed state budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. This proposed budget invests in Florida’s teachers, state employees, and environment while maintaining $3.5 billion in total reserves. With $500 million for a new Teacher Salary Increase Allocation and $325 million in increased flexible funding through the Base Student Allocation, the state budget provides funding for schools districts to increase the starting salary for classroom teachers while also investing in other members of school district personnel who serve our children. This has been a big priority for Governor DeSantis and President Galvano. I’m excited to be a part of this great team, working to improve education in the State of Florida. Continue reading

On January 17, 2020, in News Releases, by Staff

Photo Credit: Governor’s Press Office

Jacksonville, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that Made In Space has decided to relocate their corporate headquarters and satellite manufacturing operations from California to Florida. The headquarters relocation and expansion effort will involve more than $3 million in new capital investment for Jacksonville.

“As a global leader for in-space manufacturing and assembly, Made In Space has a proven track record of delivering innovative space technology demonstrations at an industry-leading pace,” said Governor DeSantis. “Made In Space’s move to Florida is more evidence of Florida’s success and growth in the aerospace industry. My administration remains committed to supporting that growth and ensuring we maintain an economic climate that allows companies like Made In Space to prosper.” Continue reading

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis delivered the State of the State address to a joint session of the Florida Legislature and Floridians everywhere, highlighting Florida’s strengths while reporting on the promising prospects for the future with the support of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Governor DeSantis said, “In 2019, we took bold steps to expand educational opportunities, protect our environment and natural resources, reform health care, invest in infrastructure and bolster public safety – all while reducing taxes and adding to our budget reserves. While we should look with favor on these bold beginnings, we have much more to do.

“For everything there is a season, and this is Florida’s season of opportunity – we have the chance to build on a strong foundation, the chance to face the challenges before us and the chance to leave a legacy of success that will benefit our people now and in the future. There is no reason why we can’t seize this moment and deliver for the people of Florida.”

Friends,

Legislative discussion in Tallahassee continues, and I have been encouraged by a lot of what our leadership has accomplished so far. Vigilance from you, the voter, is still very important at this stage as we are beginning to see which bills are running out of time, and those (which we may or may not like) that are still pressing forward through the committee process.

Quick update on the SB 404, the Parental Consent for Abortion Act that I have written about previously. The bill has just made it through its second committee of referral and only faces one more hurdle before being sent to the Senate floor for a vote. Thank you to all of you who traveled to Tallahassee to advocate and support this good legislation, and for those you back home who supported us through word-of-mouth and more importantly, prayer. I am very optimistic that we will get this passed, and parents’ rights will be restored. Continue reading

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