Florida State Wide

Dear friends,

I hope you are enjoying our sunny Florida weather this summer. We are so fortunate to be living in a free, open state, which just happens to have great weather too! We have seen reports that there are one-thousand people a day moving in to Florida. They have seen how prosperous we are and how many opportunities that we have here that may not exist anywhere else in the country. We have one of the best, most affordable education systems in America. We continue to expand school choice and allow families the freedom to determine how and where their students will learn. We continue to invest in our beautiful, natural resources and this fiscal year alone, funding from the legislature totals nearly $300 million, which go in to the Resilient Florida Trust Fund and the Water Protection and Sustainability Trust Fund. Our cost of living is nearly half of that of California’s or New York’s. We do not suffocate our businesses with burdensome taxes and regulation and our citizens can earn a paycheck, free of state income taxes. We are not following the failed, authoritarian policies of mask ordinances or vaccine passports. We do not tolerate rioting, looting, or the destruction of private property by lawless groups of Marxists. Our houses of worship are open and we maintain that the State has no authority to order their closure under the first amendment of the constitution. Continue reading

MIAMI –Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by Cuban-American leaders and elected officials in Miami for a roundtable supporting the Cuban people who are protesting the regime’s tyrannical grip on the island.

Governor DeSantis called on the Biden Administration to take a strong stance against the oppressive, communist regime that has been using violence against its own people to crush dissent for more than six decades.

Governor DeSantis said, “We stand with the people of Cuba. For far too long, a tyrannical communist regime has oppressed its people and used its power to silence any dissidents. Now, the Cuban people are making their voices heard to demand freedom and an end to this dictatorship. Continue reading

Dear friends,

In continuation of last month’s column, we will be bringing you some more highlights of the 2021 Legislative Session. Last month was our budget update, and this month will be a highlight of legislation that was sponsored and passed by your Senator of the 12th District. Overall, we passed thirteen bills, either as stand-alone bills or added to a larger policy package.

Our priority legislation was SB 90, relating to Election Administration was passed through both chambers and signed by Governor DeSantis shortly after Session ended. This bill addresses a number of issues related to election administration and vote-by-mail. One provision in SB 90 addresses ballot harvesting so that no person may possess a ballot other than his or her own, those of immediate family members and two other designated individuals. We have tightened up the security around drop boxes. Our bill requires that they only be used during early voting hours, and that they must be monitored, in person, at all times by staff or volunteers of our Supervisor of Elections. Also, the bill expands the timeframe for canvassing vote-by-mail ballots, providing that one vote-by-mail ballot request is good for all elections through the next regularly scheduled general election. Current law states that one request is good for all elections through the next two general elections. This change is necessary to provide voters with more flexibility to decide which method of voting they want to utilize, instead of being locked in for two cycles. Continue reading

  1. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis joined members of the Florida Legislature and Florida’s law enforcement community to support law enforcement canines injured in the line of duty by signing Senate Bill 388.

“Law enforcement K-9s are often the first to put their lives on the line as they work to apprehend dangerous or armed suspects in high-intensity situations,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “From responding to fires to finding missing persons to detecting narcotics or explosives, law enforcement dogs use their unique abilities to rescue victims and detect danger. I’m proud to sign this legislation today to ensure they quickly receive the care needed to recover when injured in the line of duty.”

“I applaud Governor DeSantis and the Legislature on this bill that will help protect our K-9 partners,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “These dogs are a great asset to Florida law enforcement and the communities we serve and enhancing the ability for them to get critical care in the line of duty is important.” Continue reading

Dear Friends,

The 2021 Legislative Session (and the ensuing Special Session on Gaming) has concluded. It feels good to be back in Senate District 12 with my family and friends. Thanks to Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Governor Ron DeSantis, we accomplished much and we are very proud of the strong position that Florida is in for the future. For the next two or three columns, we will highlight some of the work we did as a body, on behalf of the citizens of Florida. This month, we will report on the budget.

A quick note: In the last two columns, we have highlighted extensively our elections integrity bill and we are excited to report that the bill was approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor.

The legislature approved a $101.5 billion balanced budget that leaves $6 billion in state reserves, while making key investments in infrastructure, child welfare, and increasing the state employee minimum wage. The budget also included bonuses to our hardworking state and local first responders, teachers, and childcare providers, and nearly $1 billion will be provided to reimburse health care employees and emergency responders for childcare expenses incurred during the pandemic. Continue reading

In 2015, Edward Caniglia and his wife had an argument at their home Rhode Island. During the argument, Caniglia retrieved an unloaded gun from their bedroom. Mrs. Caniglia left. , Mrs. Caniglia called the police the next day to request a wellness check on her husband. At the home, the sergeant determined that Caniglia was in imminent danger to himself and to others. The police requested that Caniglia go to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. Caniglia agreed  based on a promise from police that they would not confiscate his guns. The sergeant seized firearms and ammunition from the home. Some time later, Caniglia attempted to get his firearms back from the police department on several occasions.  His requests were denied. Caniglia filed suit in district court against the police department and city officials, alleging violations to the U.S. Constitution and to state law. The firearms were returned to Caniglia. The district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the U.S. Court of appeal for the 1st Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody is enlisting more Floridians in the fight to end human trafficking. Attorney General Moody made the announcement today in Sarasota County that all of PGT Innovations will receive anti-human trafficking training through the Highway Heroes campaign. PGT Innovations is the largest private-sector employer in Sarasota County and enlisting the company in the campaign will add more Truckers Against Trafficking certified commercial driver license holders on Florida roadways.

Highway Heroes is a multifaceted outreach campaign including specialized training, awareness materials mailed directly to CDL holders and a website with resources to educate drivers how to identify victims and report suspected human trafficking. The campaign started in October 2020 through a partnership between the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Continue reading

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office today arrested the owner of a home and community-based service provider for more than $50,000 in Medicaid fraud. Quantara Clarke, 49, is the owner of Golden Angels Professional Services, LLC in Gadsden County and allegedly over-billed Medicaid for services not provided. The investigation also revealed that Clarke, on multiple occasions, did not provide quality care or one-on-one support to patients.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “This defendant is expected to provide daily support services that are essential for vulnerable patients and are meant to make their lives easier. Not only did she bilk the Medicaid program for services that were physically not possible to provide, she overstated the quality of care and, in some instances, scared her patients. That is unacceptable and my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit won’t stand for it.” Continue reading

Dear Friends,

By the time you read this, the Florida Legislature (barring unforeseen events) will have completed the 2021 Legislative Session. Under the leadership of Senate President Wilton Simpson and our Governor Ron DeSantis we have accomplished a lot and we have much to be grateful for in the great state of Florida. Your Senator’s role this year in steering the Ethics and Election Committee was great experience and the team that we have put together to work on those issues are world-class. We will highlight some of that work for you in today’s column. Continue reading

(NAPSI)—There is good news for many individuals who care for a loved one living with an injury or illness connected to military service. They’re now eligible for free professional assistance.

Who Helps

A new program offered by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation provides veteran caregivers with trained professionals to perform daily tasks, including housekeeping, meal preparation, grocery shopping, and grooming.

Military caregivers nationwide can apply for 24 hours of services free through the Foundation’s website hiddenheroes.org/respite. The number of available hours is limited, so caregivers are urged to apply right away.

“Military caregivers have always struggled with the enormous responsibility on their shoulders, but the risks and restrictions of COVID-19 have sent rates of caregiver burnout, depression and isolation soaring,” said Steve Schwab, CEO of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “We developed this emergency assistance program to give America’s hidden heroes the precious time they need to rest, relax and recharge.”  Continue reading

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