Florida State Wide

By Senator Dennis Baxley

Friends, some very serious questions will be answered by you this November and never have the prospects for Florida’s future been in more stark contrast as we are looking at two very different visions in the Governor’s race. Ron DeSantis (R) represents a solid free enterprise, strong Florida and strong America plan, based on close alignment with our President’s worldview. It is a path of protecting core American values of faith, family, freedom and opportunity. This path has led to unprecedented economic stability, job growth, low unemployment, government financial stability (Florida is currently #1), lowest violent crime rate in 47 years, and significant investments in making capital welcome. In polarizing contrast, the Tallahassee Mayor Gillum is a far left socialist democrat who is openly proposing higher taxes, more central control of government, and is closely aligned with George Soros and his post-America globalist worldview. Meanwhile, no one is seriously addressing the Mayor’s corruption concerns, mismanaged storm recovery, and high crime rate (highest in the State of Florida) that is plaguing the City of Tallahassee under Gillum’s regime. Continue reading

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution today announced the conviction and sentencing of Willie Marion Jenkins, a St. Petersburg heroin trafficker. OSP prosecuted the case and a Pinellas County jury found Jenkins guilty of trafficking illegal drugs and conspiracy to traffic illegal drugs. The Honorable Frank Quesada imposed a 25-year state prison sentence on the defendant. Jenkins’ conviction follows guilty pleas from four criminal associates.

In September 2014, authorities arrested Jenkins, along with associate Mary Hampton, following a several months-long investigation into the heroin distribution by Jenkins’ network of drug dealers in South St. Petersburg. The Drug Enforcement Administration and St. Petersburg Police Department conducted the investigation, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. During the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately four ounces of heroin and one firearm. Continue reading

Under the Florida Information Protection Act, Florida residents are supposed to be notified if they are a victim of a data breach within 30 days. Given how expansive and complex our use of cyber platforms have become, we must take every precaution to protect the personal information of Floridians, and frankly all Americans, from being exposed and used against them.

This week, I along with 49 other attorneys general and the District of Columbia, reached a major settlement with the ride-sharing transportation company, Uber, after they allegedly failed to report a 2016 breach of their drivers’ personal information. Continue reading

This week, I hosted Florida’s 2018 Human Trafficking Summit bringing together local, state and national leaders in the fight to eradicate trafficking. Hundreds of Floridians dedicated to this fight attended the one-day summit in Orlando, including law enforcement, prosecutors, survivors, advocates, educators, counselors and more.

Florida’s annual summit allows us to share strategies about identifying, reporting, investigating, and prosecuting trafficking cases. It also allows us to continue our collaborative efforts to help victims become survivors.

To view the opening session of the summit, click here.

We have gained a lot of ground in this battle. Since taking office in 2011, we’ve strengthened human trafficking laws, prosecuted traffickers, improved reporting practices and worked together to identify and develop resources to help survivors. Continue reading

8/31/18

Horror unfolded in a Jacksonville pizzeria last Sunday. While gamers competed in a video game tournament, one contestant took out a weapon and began firing at competitors. The attack ended in a matter of minutes leaving three dead, including the shooter, and several more injured.

First responders participating in a nearby training exercise rushed to the scene and immediately began rendering aid to victims of the shooting. Local law enforcement began clearing the scene. I immediately sent my victim advocates to help the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office counsel survivors, offer trauma services and assist with medical expenses. While in Jacksonville following the shooting, I also had the opportunity to visit with some of the victims and hear their stories. Continue reading

August 24, 2018
Last Sunday, Clay County Deputy Ben Zirbel sustained critical injuries from a motorcycle accident. Just three days later, we learned that he passed away from those injuries. Every time I hear about a brave law enforcement officer getting critically injured while protecting our communities, it takes my breath away. My deepest sympathies go out to Deputy Zirbel’s family, friends and the entire Clay County law enforcement community.

May you rest in peace deputy.

This week, we filed legal action against a Florida travel agency that collected millions from consumers, then failed to provide promised vacations. Legendary Journeys, a now-shuttered Sarasota-based travel agency, still owes customers nationwide more than $3 million in refunds. Continue reading

Friends,

It is a great day to live in America! This week, across the State of Florida, school has begun again. There is much anticipation and excitement from students, parents and teachers. Excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and that we live in a great country where anything is possible. A country where a young man who got his start washing cars at Hiers funeral home, could go to school, get a degree and one day become the principle of that company. That same man is now your State Senator, and it is an honor and privilege to serve you in Tallahassee. This is the final column of a short series that has highlighted many of our accomplishments since joining the Senate in 2016.

Last year, your Senator was awarded an “A” by the Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida (ICUF) in recognition of our continued support for higher education in the 2018 legislative session. The ICUF is a diverse association of 29 private, not-for-profit, educational institutions based in Florida that serve more the 130,000 students. Continue reading

~$50 million toward fixes for federal Herbert Hoover Dike, $700,000 for Lee County~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have reached an agreement on a $50 million state investment to fund repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike. This agreement follows a $50 million investment made earlier this year, bringing the State of Florida’s total investment in this federal project to $100 million. After decades of federal inaction, Gov. Scott fought to secure this state funding and secured a commitment from the White House to provide the federal funds to fix the Herbert Hoover Dike. The funding will accelerate critical repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Once completed, this project will reduce the need for harmful water releases from the Army Corps of Engineers by allowing more water to be stored in Lake Okeechobee. Continue reading

July 27, 2018

The days of Florida being called the Pill Mill Capital of the Country are now behind us and we are making significant strides to combat the national opioid crisis. As a state and nation, we still face significant challenges exacerbated by heroin, fentanyl and other deadly drugs. Illegally sold prescription pills also continue to fuel addiction in our country.

This week, my office and the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Dr. Armando Falcon and two office managers following a lengthy undercover investigation. According to the investigation, Dr. Falcon operated a pill mill at the Pain Center of Cutler Bay, a pain management center in South Florida. The investigation determined that Dr. Falcon met with patients for less than two minutes before prescribing in many cases approximately 150, 30 mg, oxycodone pills—earning millions as a result of his criminal enterprise. Continue reading

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the release of the 2018 Florida Military-Friendly Guide. The annual guide, created by the Florida Defense Support Task Force, offers a summary of Florida’s laws, programs and services benefitting military service members and their families. It also highlights Florida’s low tax and financial advantages, educational benefits, professional licensure opportunities and fee waivers for service men, women and their families stationed in Florida. A digital copy of the 2018 Florida Military-Friendly Guide is available https://www.enterpriseflorida.com/wp-content/uploads/Florida-Military-Friendly-Guide-2018.pdf  Continue reading

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