Florida State Wide

Florida Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop, Lowest Since January 2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida businesses have created more than 1.64 million jobs since December 2010, including 21,200 private-sector jobs in October. Over the past year, 241,500 new private-sector jobs were created in Florida. Florida’s annual job growth rate has outpaced the nation for 78 of the past 79 months. The only month that Florida did not exceed the nation was due to Hurricane Irma. Florida’s unemployment rate continued to drop in October, down from 3.5 percent to 3.4 percent, and is now the lowest since January 2007.

Governor Scott said, “Over the last eight years, we have recovered from a recession and rebuilt a strong and resilient economy that attracts businesses from all industries to create great jobs for Floridians. Every Floridian can be proud of our state’s incredible success, which has now driven down unemployment to just 3.4 percent – the lowest it has been since January 2007. Today, with more than 1.64 million jobs created since December 2010, we all see the importance of continuing to cut taxes and attract companies to Florida so people can live their dreams and support their families in the Sunshine State.”  Continue reading

From the Governor’s Desk

Today, following a request from Governor Rick Scott to ensure all counties impacted by Hurricane Michael are receiving the federal assistance needed to fully recover, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved additional Public Assistance (PA) for 10 counties. Please see more information on FEMA’s PA approval below:

  • Okaloosa and Walton counties are approved for Public Assistance categories A-G.
  • Franklin, Holmes, Jefferson, Leon, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties are approved for Public Assistance categories C-G (already designated for Individual Assistance and PA categories A and B).

Continue reading

Working with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office this week, we stopped a massive smash and grab theft ring responsible for nearly one million dollars in property loss. Members of the crime organization face charges connected to burglaries of at least 14 businesses, spanning several Florida counties.

According to a multi-agency investigation, the crimes occurred from May through September and followed a similar pattern. The method of operation involved members of the ring smashing a hole in the wall of a business, rushing inside, disabling the security system and fleeing with thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise.

The investigation estimates the ring is responsible for more than $830,000 in stolen goods and property damage. Businesses targeted include boating, discount, liquor and tire stores among others. The burglaries occurred in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Polk counties. Most of the defendants reside in Miami. Stolen items include cigarettes, liquor, tires, a hand gun, boating and fishing equipment, and a digital video recorder system. Continue reading

Attorney General Pam Bondi

Black Friday is the unofficial beginning of the holiday shopping season. This week, just in time for the shopping frenzy, I released my 2018 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide. The guide is full of great advice for making secure purchases online and tips on avoiding identity theft and charity scams. It also includes safety information about toys and recalled items to better prepare shoppers to make wise purchases this holiday season.

Consumers should make sure they are using a secure web browser before submitting financial information when shopping online. Using a credit card to make an online purchase adds another layer of protection for online shoppers. It is also important to keep all receipts and understand a retailer’s return policies and deadlines.

In addition to smart online shopping tips, the guide includes a list of items recalled by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission during the past year. It specifically focuses on children’s toys and items that pose a threat to children and teenagers. These products have been recalled by a manufacturer because of safety and health concerns. Recalled items include clothing, furniture, sporting goods, toys and other home products that may be unsafe for children. You can find more information on recalls and a comprehensive list of recalled items year-round at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s ww.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls.

The holidays are a time to be grateful for what we have and enjoy the company of family and friends. I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels for those visiting family this week.


Despite much anxiety over the recent election, we have many reasons to be thankful. First, we were given by our forefathers a system of self-government where we can select our own leaders, none of whom can appoint themselves. Secondly, I am extremely grateful to the voters of Senate District 12 for providing a clear statement of confirmation for me to continue to be their Senator. Thirdly, we are grateful that 65 of 67 counties of Florida have been able to conduct with fairness and professionalism a clear tabulation of our elections. Fourth, we have a clear set of law for resolving remaining questions in close elections. We also have a court system to resolve any remaining issues in a timely manner. Finally, I am extremely grateful that no remaining issues will delay the timely convening of the organizational session of the Florida Legislature on November 20th. This session is our opportunity to organize our government for the next two years. We will move onward and upward! Continue reading

Nicholas Holmes, a senior in the EMIT (Engineering and Manufacturing Institute of Technology) program at Forest High School, has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts. This accomplishment is the culmination of over six years of adventure, fun, work, and dedication to the Boy Scout program for Holmes, a member of Troop 200 in Ocala.

For his Eagle Project, Holmes worked in conjunction with other community volunteers to build “Charlie’s Garden” at Interfaith Emergency Services’ “Center for Life.”

The concept for Charlie’s Garden, a place for parents to honor the memory of their unborn children, came about because the father of a child who was aborted without his consent wanted a place to grieve the loss of the child he called “Charlie.” When the old abortion clinic in downtown Ocala came up for sale, he donated funds to purchase it and convert it into a “Center for Life.”

Holmes led his group of over 25 volunteers in the building of three planter benches, a fountain and a free-standing circular waterfall wall. His project involved a total of 273 volunteer hours and over $1,400 worth of materials and supplies.

Holmes and his volunteers didn’t stop upon completion of his approved Eagle Project. They also pitched in to help ready Charlie’s Garden for its dedication by planting new bushes and flowers to replace ones killed by frost, building the archway entrance to the garden, pressure washing the sidewalks and seating areas in the garden, and refinishing the donated cast iron tables and chairs.  Continue reading

Scams and Your Small Business: A Guide for Business

Scams and Your Small Business: A Guide for Business

In the FTC’s efforts to help small business owners avoid scams, this free guide for businesses explains common scams that target small businesses and non-profit organizations, describes scammers’ tactics, and provides steps people can take to protect their company from scams. Free copies can be ordered on their website.

Order Free Copies 

If you own a small business or are part of a non-profit organization, you spend a lot of time and effort making sure the organization works well. But when scammers go after your organization, it can hurt your reputation and your bottom line. Your best protection? Learn the signs of scams that target businesses. Then tell your employees and colleagues what to look for so they can avoid scams.

  • Scammers’ Tactics
  • How Can I Protect My Business?
  • Common Scams that Target Small Business
  • Learn
  • Report
  • Engage

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott is in constant communication with federal, state and local emergency management officials and state agency leaders to ensure that communities impacted by Hurricane Michael are receiving the resources they need. Governor Scott has surveyed damage from Hurricane Michael in Bay, Gadsden, Washington, Liberty, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Wakulla, Franklin and Jackson counties. Yesterday, the Governor issued Executive Order 18-283 which gives Supervisors of Elections in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty and Washington counties the authority to extend and enhance voting options based on needs and challenges they have identified.

Following Governor Scott’s request, President Donald Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Michael. See the declaration at www.flgov.com. On October 7th, Governor Scott declared a state of emergency in 26 Florida counties, and expanded it to include 35 counties total on October 8th. To see his Emergency Order, go to  www.flgov.com.   Continue reading

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida today thanked the following businesses for their generous donations to the Florida Disaster Fund, which was activated by Governor Scott to aid those impacted by Hurricane Michael. The Florida Disaster Fund, administered by the Volunteer Florida Foundation, is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities in times of disaster. To make a contribution, visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222 to make a donation of $10.

  • Wells Fargo ($250,00)
  • Aetna ($100,000)
  • Duke Energy ($50,000)
  • Uber ($25,000)

Governor Scott said, “As we recover from Hurricane Michael, we have seen so much support for families impacted by this devastating storm and we are grateful for the generosity of so many Floridians and Americans who donated. Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund go directly to support families in their recovery and help them get back on their feet. We cannot thank these businesses enough for helping our state during this difficult time.” Continue reading

The recovery efforts continue in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Michael, and this week, I joined first responders, recovery crews and volunteers helping people in the aftermath of this deadly storm. I cannot thank our utility companies enough for their tireless efforts to restore power in areas filled with total devastation.

Cell service continues to provide challenges for first response and people affected by Michael. A major issue was that most of the cell service in the area was powered by Verizon. Governor Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have championed this issue to help these citizens regain the cell service they desperately need. AT&T stepped up and brought in many mobile cell towers, as well as mobile phones.

I want to thank Tracfone, a national company based in Miami, for donating 200 phones fully charged with 60 days of AT&T service to help our first responders. These are just a few example of organizations stepping up to help those in need. In Franklin County with Sheriff A.J. Smith, we met a group of St. Petersburg pilots flying donated chainsaws, gas cans and other necessities directly to disaster sites. Continue reading

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