Later today, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis will hold a "listening session" on mental health issues. The discussion will take place at 3 p.m. at the governor's mansion.
Changes to behavioral health have been a focal point of the DeSantis administration. In January, mental health experts and medical professionals -- members of DeSantis' transition team -- discussed various ways to combat ongoing issues in the Sunshine State.
The high-profile problems plaguing the state involve a lingering opioid crisis, and mental health among adolescents involved in last year's Parkland shooting.
On Wednesday, Senator Tom Lee's bill that would prevent government agencies from releasing recordings from acts of mass violence passed unanimously in the Senate.
SB 186, inspired by last year's school shooting in Parkland that left 17 people dead, applies to photos, video, and audio that show people being killed. The bill defines a "mass violence" event as involving the deaths of three or more people, not including perpetrators.
Senators voted 40-0 to approve the bill, which defines a "mass violence" event as involving the deaths of three or more people, not including perpetrators.
Lee claimed that the measure would helped victims impacted by such events.
Republican candidates looking to represent constituents in House District 7 will meet one final time on April 4th to garner support from key voters before they cast their ballot on April 9th.
The debate, hosted by The Florida Report and sponsored by Republican Executive Committees in District 7, will be held in Monticello, Florida at the Monticello Opera House.
Voters will have an opportunity to meet the candidates prior to the event at 5:30. The debate will kick off shortly after at 6:30 p.m.
The four Republican hopefuls scheduled to attend: Florida Right to Life President Lynda Bell, RN Virginia Fuller, Vice President of St. Joe Gas Company Jason Shoaf, and CEO of Big Bend Community Based Care Mike Watkins.
The forum will be moderated by Founder/Editor-in-Chief of The Florida Report Jordan Kirkland.
Everyone who cares about the future of HD 7 are encouraged to attend and take part in the debate. Below are the details.
Today, State Representative Toby Overdorf announced that HB 219 passed out of the House Criminal Justice Committee. Overdorf is the primary sponsor of the legislation that would require a 30-day mandatory minimum term of incarceration for solicitation of prostitution involving victims of human trafficking.
Florida has the third highest number of human trafficking cases in the country, trailing only California and New York.
“I’m very pleased to see this important bill move forward,” said Overdorf. “Human beings are not commodities to be bought and sold, and Florida must make it crystal-clear that we will not look the other way when evildoers use vulnerable people to line their own pockets. Quite simply, imposing tougher penalties will reduce demand for services provided by victims of human trafficking and will go a long way toward eradicating this scourge in our state.”
On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation recognizing March 25th, 2019 as Medal of Honor Day in Florida. The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States can receive.
“I am proud to sign this proclamation on Medal of Honor Day in Florida as Governor of the most veteran-friendly state in the nation,” said Governor DeSantis. “This is a well-deserved recognition honoring the many who have distinguished themselves by serving our country with bravery and gallantry. We can never thank them enough.”
Florida annually recognizes March 25th as Medal of Honor Day. To commemorate this day public officials, schools, private organizations and all Floridians are called upon to honor recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor for their bravery and efforts in defending the United States.
The first weekend of the 2019 NCAA Tournament is in the books, and the field has dropped from 68 teams down to 16.
Following Sunday's games, the Sweet 16 is officially set, and there are a slew of juggernaut teams remaining. On the flip side, the Florida legislature is underway, with many big name lawmakers battling others to pass comprehensive legislation that could impact the state for many years to come.
In the spirit of March Madness, we've created our own Sweet 16 of the 2019 legislative session, comprising of officials and their team counterpart.
Who is made the list? What legislator best resembles top-seeded teams? Find out below.
With February in the books, Florida's job market continues to expand under the DeSantis administration.
On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis touted new job growth numbers for the month of February. DeSantis announced that Florida’s labor force continued to grow with 170,000 people entering the labor force at an annual growth rate of 1.7 percent, up 0.2 percent from January 2019. Also in the past year, 206,300 new private-sector jobs were created in Florida overall and 24,300 private-sector jobs were created in February. Florida’s unemployment rate is at a low 3.5 percent.
“Florida’s economy is working,” said Governor DeSantis. “We have to continue this success by keeping taxes low and regulations limited, supporting policy to make Florida the best state for career and technical education, and maki
Numerous reports have surfaced claiming that final ISIS stronghold no longer remains, with the remaining caliphate crumbling.
This is a milestone victory for the U.S., counter-terrorism, and the Trump administration.
Although no official announcement has been made, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have pushed insurgents back against the Euphrates River outside of the besieged village of Baghuz.
Early Friday, Fox News first reported that military troops were bringing down the black flags of ISIS that have flown over the territories that were held by the brutal insurgent regime that ruled over eight million people in the Middle East.
It's only been a week since an attack on two mosques in New Zealand left 50 dead -- the nation's deadliest massacre in history.
As a response, the country is now banning sales on of “military-style” semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines in an attempt to prevent attacks like this in the future.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Thursday.
"In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country," Ardern said on Thursday.
While the majority of Florida legislators are focusing hot-button issues like abortion, sanctuary cities and gun control, one Republican official is using this legislative session to help rebuild the community he grew up in.
Representative Jay Trumbull, who represents the 6th District, which includes Panama City, is leading the charge to help rebuild that Panhandle after Hurricane Michael devastated the area back in October.
On Tuesday, the conservative lawmaker announced funding that would help a dismantled Bay County start to recover.
On Tuesday, the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee passed legislation to create a statewide task force to fight the rampant opioid drug abuse that plagues the state.
The bill, HB 875, would create a task force that would examine, research and evaluate effective strategies to deal with opioid abuse in the Sunshine State.
The measure passed unanimously in the subcommittee, with a vote of 13-0.
The opioid epidemic has been a top priority for Attorney General Ashley Moody. During her campaign, she promised to continue the fight against pharmaceutical companies -- something her predecessor, Pam Bondi, started.
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans rolled out their education budget for the year, which would increase spending on public schools to $22.2 billion, which is $1.1 billion more than Gov. Ron DeSantis' initial proposal.
The measure would allocate the $22.2 billion to public schools, an increase of around $350 per student.
The Senate plan would also provide $68 million to help Florida schools hire at least one safety officer for each school, $46 million to assist struggling schools, $31 million to address youth mental health issues, and $14.2 million to assist any schools in the Panhandle who lost enrollment due to Hurricane Michael.
Appearing at a town hall event hosted by CNN, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called for the elimination of the Electoral College.
An outspoken critic of the America's voting system, Warren claimed that she would support an effort to remove the Electoral College and replace it with a national popular vote.
“My view is that every vote matters,” Warren said to a applause. “And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College — and every vote counts.”
The town hall event was held in Jackson, Mississippi on Monday night.
Earlier today, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill repealing Florida’s ban on smokable medical marijuana. The bill, SB 182, allows medical patients to smoke medical marijuana legally.
DeSantis made the announcement on Monday, officially signing SB 182 “Medical Use of Marijuana” into law.
“Over 70 percent of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld. Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”
President Donald Trump followed-up on his massive Twitter firestorm Sunday, using his platform on Monday morning to tout his accomplishments and lambast his opponents.
"93% Approval Rating in the Republican Party. Thank You!" Trump said on Twitter this morning.
He also took the opportunity to demand that GM reopen a plant in Lordstown, Ohio.
"Just spoke to Marry Barra, CEO of General Motors about the Lordstown Ohio plant. I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING."
Florida Republicans are fighting back when it comes to the life of an unborn baby, hoping that HB 235 and SB 792 will breathe life (literally) into the ongoing abortion debate that unfolding across the nation.
On Thursday, House and Senate Republicans took the first step to right the wrongs of abortion, holding a joint press conference at the State Capitol to bring awareness to the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.
The bill would prohibit a person from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The proposal would also make it a felony to knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant person if a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
The measure was introduced by Senator Dennis Baxley and Representative Mike Hill, and has been praised by conservatives looking to be the example when it comes to fighting for the unborn life.
On Wednesday, the Florida House overwhelmingly passed legislation to lift the ban on smokable medical marijuana, with a vote of 101 in favor of the measure and only 11 against.
The vote comes one week after the Senate voted 34-4 to remove the ban on smokable cannabis.
The bill now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis' desk to sign, just a day before the mandatory the deadline he imposed is set to pass.
Legislators passed a law in 2017 legalizing the use of medical marijuana -- approved by 71 percent of voters in 2016. The law, however, barred patients from access to smokable marijuana, restricting them to oils and baked goods.
On Thursday, legislators who co-sponsored the all-important SB 792 will participate in a joint session press conference with leadership of Florida Right to Life.
The bill, also known as the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, would prohibit a person from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected. The proposal would also make it a felony to knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant person if a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
This would not apply if two physicians certify in writing that the abortion is necessary to save the pregnant person’s life or avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person other than a psychological condition.
The measure was introduced by Senator Dennis Baxley, and has been praised by conservatives looking to set an important precedent on abortion in the state of Florida.
ICYMI: Editor-in Chief of The Florida Report, Jordan Kirkland, sat down with Greg Tish and Bobby Mac of Real Talk 93.3 to discuss a variety of topics pertaining to Florida politics.
In it, they discuss why Kirkland started his political news website, the current political landscape in the Sunshine State, Governor Ron DeSantis, and the upcoming HD 7 race.
If you missed the interview, you can listen to it by clicking the video to the right.
Patients in Florida could be able to legally smoke medical marijuana by the end of this week.
Today, Florida lawmakers in the House will decide whether or not to lift the ban on smokable medical marijuana, two days prior to the mandatory deadline set by Governor Ron DeSantis.
Last week, the Senate unanimously passed SB 182 by a 34-4 vote to remove the prohibition.
Legislators passed a law in 2017 legalizing the use of medical marijuana -- approved by 71 percent of voters in 2016. The law, however, barred patients from access to smokable marijuana, restricting them to oils and baked good
HB 6005, a gun-related bull that would allow licensed concealed carry for adults in school campus parking lots, provided the guns stays locked in the car, passed unanimously today in the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
The bill, introduced by Representative Cord Byrd, passed with a 10 to 3 vote, with 2 legislators abstaining.
The bill was co-sponsored by Representatives Anthony Sabatini and Spencer Roach, and is just one of the many gun-related bills to be voted on this legislative session.
The bill has also been referred to two other committees -- Education and Judiciary -- because of the complexity and controversy surrounding the topic.
Candidates running for House District 7 were required to meet a deadline to report campaign finance activity on Monday, and new fundraising numbers show that Jason Shoaf has surpassed Mike Watkins, according to the Division of Elections website.
The Port St. Joe businessman saw a monumental boom to his campaign coffer for the months of January and February, hauling in $99.276 in contributions -- with $20,000 coming directly from Shoaf himself.
Likewise, Watkins had much slower fundraising period, pulling in only $42,836 during the said time frame.
Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida got off to an incredible start in 2019.
From making the environment a top priority, to reshaping Florida's Supreme Court, Gov. DeSantis' bipartisan approach had leaders on both sides of the aisle applauding his efforts.
And while the state has a lot to cheer about with regards to the inner workings of legislature, it's the economy that will have Floridians cheering heading into 2019.
On Monday, Gov. DeSantis released a report on how well the economy is doing compared to the rest of the nation. In it, the report showed that Florida is not only doing well, it is outpacing the national government.
Before Governor Ron DeSantis took office, he made a promise that he would put Florida's environment first, bucking the trend that Republicans aren't environmentally conscious.
Florida's new Republican governor has moved quickly on a number of environmental priorities. In just two months, Gov. DeSantis has issued several directives aimed at cleaning up water. He also called for a fresh start at the South Florida Water Management District, sending letters to all board members, asking for their resignations for another toxic algae outbreak.
Aside from this, Gov. DeSantis called for appointing chief science officer to coordinate scientific research, and he staked an opposition to fracking and offshore oil and gas activities.
After losing to Gov. Ron DeSantis back in November, insiders believed that it would only be a matter of time before former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum decided to run for office again. Late last week, he released a video signaling that he may be ready to enter the political arena again.
It's been only a few months since he became a contributor for CNN, but given the language in the recent announcement he made on Twitter, all signs point to Gillum gearing up for another shot at holding office.
"If we are not at the table, then we are likely on the menu, Gillum says in his 41-second teaser.
"It's time for us to get off the menu. It's time for us to decide for ourselves."hi
He’s set to make a "major announcement" on March 20. in Miami, Florida.
When Governor Ron DeSantis took office, many political pundits were skeptical, wondering if he would be a true governor of the people, or another placeholder official. Eight weeks into his tenure, and Gov. DeSantis has silenced his critics and eliminated any doubts levied against his ability to lead.
Gov. DeSantis has done more in two months than many governors accomplish in two years – and he's achieved this by compromising and working across the aisle.
In such a short amount of time, he's amassed an impressive list of achievements – making both Republicans and Democrats happy. From reshaping Florida's Supreme Court, to making the environment a top priority, Gov. DeSantis has a policy for everyone, making him one of the most popular governors in America.
But to say that he's completed these feats on his own would be asinine. Of course, he has a competent group in his cabinet, He also has a majority legislature in his pocket. These are valuable assets at his disposal, but all pale in comparison to his "secret weapon": his wife.
With the Republican primary for House District 7 a little over a month away, voters and constituents are playing their part, working to learn more about the candidates and their issues.
While meet and greets, local gatherings, and Facebook are good ways to get educated on certain issues pertaining to the campaign, they pale in comparison to public discussions that allow candidates to connect with voters and further divulge into their policies and platforms.
In a few short weeks, voters will take to the polls to cast their votes for one of the four candidates: Lynda Bell, Virginia Fuller, Jason Shoaf, and Mike Watkins. But with questions still on the table, shouldn't each of them have an opportunity to address these concerns?
Bell, president of Florida Right to Life, believes so.
"Debates are an excellent way to take a look at the candidates and measure them against one another and how they best suit the needs of the local community. I embrace the opportunity to show the residents of house district 7 that I'm the best candidate. I'm the most qualified to serve and meet the needs of our residents. I look forward to a healthy debate," Bell told The Florida Report.
Tuesday marked a new beginning for Florida's political scene, as legislators and officials arrived in Tallahassee to start the 60-day legislative session.
But before debating began on any contentious bill, Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered his State of the State Address, calling for environmental protections, lower taxes, and sweeping changes to education.
"Less than 60 days, my administration has taken bold action to address issues that Floridians care about," DeSantis said in front of a joint session of lawmakers.
At 11:15 a.m. today, Broward County’s School Board will convene to decide the fate of embattled Superintendent Robert Runcie.
The monumental vote, initiated by School Board member Lori Alhadeff, will determine whether or not Runcie will be fired following his role in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Runcie's failures have been front and center since the massacre occurred, and many in the Parkland community believe that his administrative mistakes resulted in school district being less safe.
On Sunday, a tornado rampaged through southeast Alabama, killing at least 23 people in process -- three of those being children.
Houses were destroyed and neighborhood were flatten in the wake of Sunday's storms. Lee County, Alabama, where the deaths occurred, was hit extremely hard, with many residents still unaccounted for.
On Monday, President Donald Trump addressed the tragedy that befell Alabama in a press conference
"I'd like to start by sending our love and prayers to the incredible people of Alabama," Trump said prior to the White House hosting FCS Division I national champions North Dakota State.
With Tuesday marking the official start to the 2019 Florida Legislative Session, all eyes will shift to the Capitol where officials and lawmakers will attempt to pass their bills during the 60-day assembly.
Many of these bills could have an immediate impact on the landscape of Florida, while others could alter the Sunshine State for many years to come.
Thousand of bills have been filed for the upcoming session, but like comparing the movies in the Star Wars franchise, not all are equal (we're talking about you Star Wars: The Last Jedi).
For that reason, we have compiled a top 5 list of bills that you need to keep and eye on this legislative cycle. These bills are in no particular order of importance or ranking.
While discussing abortion policy Thursday night on CBS Miami Reports, Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva drew sharp criticism from opponents on the left when he referred to women as "host bodies."
Oliva made the comments while discussing abortion with interviewer Jim DeFede. Oliva would go on to use the term five times.
“The challenge there is that there are two lives involved,” Oliva told interviewer DeFede during the conversation. “It’s a complex issue because one has to think, well, there’s a host body, and that host body has to have a certain amount of rights. because at the end of the day, it is that body that that carries this entire other body to term. But there is an additional life there.”
On Friday, Speaker Oliva clarified his use of the word "host" in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel.
Oliva also issued a formal apology shortly after.
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