Florida governor pushes through pardon for COVID-19 rule breakers
With Gov. Ron DeSantis saying lockdown restrictions and mask mandates meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 did more harm than good, the state clemency board on Wednesday pardoned all Floridians who were arrested or fined for violating local-government requirements about wearing masks or social distancing.
Florida rescinds nursing home visitation orders
As such, DeSantis said, the number of COVID-19 deaths among long-term care residents has plummeted. According to the latest state report, 523 long-term care facilities --- which include assisted living facilities, nursing homes and institutions for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities --- in the state had COVID-19-infected residents and staff. Caregivers for Compromise Florida founder Mary Daniel has been pressing the administration in recent weeks to rescind the October executive order on visitation policies. Daniel made national news last year for working as a dishwasher at the long-term care facility in Jacksonville where her husband is a resident. The bill is supported by the Florida Heatlh Care Association, the Florida Hospital Association and other healthcare groups.
Florida to lower vaccine eligibility age to 55 and older soon, governor says
ORLANDO, Fla. – Millions more Floridians could soon be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine as Gov. During a news conference in Palm Harbor Wednesday, DeSantis said Florida will allow people 55 and older to qualify for the coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks. “I’m not going to announce it yet, but we definitely will lower to 55 sometime in March,” he said. Ad“As I mentioned, we’ve done over 3 million seniors have gotten shots, and we’re closing in on two-thirds of all seniors in Florida,” DeSantis said. Nearly 2.5 million Floridians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
$1,000 checks for first responders and other ways Florida’s governor wants to spend federal stimulus money
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida hasn’t yet received its chunk of cash from the federal coronavirus stimulus bill that recently passed but Gov. [TRENDING: Fire destroys former US Rep’s home | FDLE: Principal rigged homecoming votes | Can employer make you get vaccine?] The state is still waiting on federal guidelines that will likely stipulate how the money is spent. With potential limitations in mind, DeSantis outlined how he’d like $4.1 billion from the American Rescue Plan to be spent. Ad“Part of what is going to be determined is what was your revenue loss, the way they’re calculating the revenue loss.
Felons can get voting rights back sooner under Florida’s new clemency plan
“Those who have had their voting rights restored under Amendment 4, it makes sense to also restore the other civil rights,” DeSantis said. Since taking office in 2019, Fried has pushed DeSantis and other clemency board members to make it easier for felons to have their rights restored. Wednesday’s action reversed five- and seven-year waiting periods imposed by the clemency board when it was made up of former Gov. Florida’s labyrinthine and lengthy clemency process has been assailed for decades as a system designed to keep Black people from voting. Under the old rules, restitution had to be paid in full before felons could apply to have their rights restored.
Central Florida lawmaker calls on Gov. DeSantis to open more vaccine sites
“I’m glad to hear they are working hard to get into the Hispanic community,” Arroyo said. AdMorales said she wants to open two 24-hour vaccination sites in her district in an effort to reach more seniors, many who have limited transportation and are unemployed. We have people that can’t go back to work because the unemployment system is not working,” Morales explained. On Wednesday, La Alianza Orlando church was able to serve 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Morales believes this event is a good start for the Hispanic community in Orlando.
Florida waiting to receive 209,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as snowstorm causes shipment delays
Ron DeSantis said Florida will get previously delayed shipments of coronavirus vaccine before the weekend. Florida’s Division of Emergency Management confirmed Tuesday that weather conditions across the U.S. are also impacting the state’s shipment of Moderna vaccine. Typically, the state receives its shipments of Moderna on Tuesday or Wednesday, but 200,000 doses have yet made their way to Florida. As the state makes plans to quickly distribute the 209,000 doses of the delayed vaccine, DeSantis said Florida can only plan to receive them and not necessarily how they make it to the state. “We are going to get the Moderna but it is not here when it would normally be here,” he said.
Every county in Florida has access to a COVID-19 vaccine, governor says
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – All of Florida’s 67 counties now have at least one site offering a coronavirus vaccine. This will be the first large county where Publix pharmacies will be rolling out its vaccination program since partnering with the state. The governor spoke again in Brevard County on Tuesday afternoon, announcing that 22 Publix pharmacies there would also be administering shots starting on Thursday. With the inclusion of Brevard County, the governor said 242 Publix pharmacies statewide would now be providing the vaccine to people 65 and older. With plans to gain access to the next vaccine approved for use, DeSantis said, for now, Florida will stay the course and increase access to the vaccine as best as possible.
Central Florida lawmaker pushing governor to prioritize school workers for vaccination
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A state representative from Central Florida is putting pressure on the governor to make COVID-19 vaccines available to teachers. State Rep. Carlos Smith sent a letter to Florida Gov. We’ve just sent a letter urging @GovRonDeSantis to make #COVID19 vaccines IMMEDIATELY available to K-12 essential FL teachers and school district personnel 65+ currently in direct contact with students. Smith represents the 49th congressional district, which covers a large portion of Orange County, including the University of Central Florida. Several school leaders in Central Florida have sent similar letters to the governor, urging him to give educators and school staff priority when it comes to vaccinations.
Here’s when the general Florida population could receive a COVID-19 vaccine
TAMPA, Fla. – During a news conference at Tampa General Hospital Monday morning, a 31-year-old nurse rolled up her sleeve and became one of the first Floridians to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of a clinical trial. At Tampa General Hospital, the delivery arrived via FedEx at 10 a.m. -- 30 minutes ahead of schedule -- and included 19,500 doses. Alan Harris, the emergency manager for Seminole County, said the doses going to AdventHealth will be spread out. We will have health care workers getting vaccinated much sooner than anybody would have anticipated just six months ago,” DeSantis said. Still, DeSantis is hopeful that Moderna’s vaccine could receive emergency use authorization before by Friday and begin shipping shortly thereafter.
Florida awarded $28 million grant for COVID-19 disaster relief employment
TALLAHASSEE – Florida has been awarded a $28 million federal grant to help those negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic find work, Gov. The money from the U.S. Department of Labor Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grant will be administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to provide temporary jobs, employment and training services and supportive services. “I look forward to putting these dollars to use right away to give Floridians in need an opportunity to work.”The DEO already received $12 million for the Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grant earlier this year. “The Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grant will help Floridians who have lost jobs by providing employment and training services. Anyone interested in receiving help through the grant should click here to find their local CareerSource center.
Florida governor says COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed ‘relatively soon’
AdventHealth Orlando has already said it will be among one of the first hospitals to receive the vaccine. DeSantis said once they receive FDA approval, 25 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 15 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will be made available nationwide. DeSantis expects that first round of vaccines to be available by the end of December, although it’s unclear how many doses Florida will potentially receive. “Our goal is to make all safe and effective COVID vaccines available to Floridians who want them, but the state will not mandate that Floridians take these vaccines. He also included in his remarks that 3,000 doses of a monoclonal antibody treatment from Eli Lilly have arrived at Florida hospitals within the past few days.
Florida Gov. DeSantis expands emergency for ‘erratic’ Eta
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Pointing to the “erratic nature” of the storm as it threatened a large part of Florida’s west coast, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday expanded a state of emergency and asked President Donald Trump for a federal emergency declaration as Tropical Storm Eta prepared to make landfall Thursday. The hurricane center advisory said tropical-storm and storm-surge warnings were in effect from Bonita Beach in Southwest Florida to the Suwannee River in northern Florida. The governor on Saturday declared a state of emergency for counties in the southern part of the state, after Eta last week hit Nicaragua as a hurricane. In the request to Trump, which could bring federal financial assistance to Florida, DeSantis said some counties also had declared local states of emergency.
Florida man accused of changing governor’s voter registration address
NAPLES, Fla. – A Florida man is accused of altering voter registration records for Gov. Ron DeSantis to change his address, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Agents said the governor tried to vote at his assigned polling location Monday afternoon but was told that his registration address had been changed to Pretty Lane in West Palm Beach. Officials said they also believe Guevara accessed voter registration records for Sen. Rick Scott, Michael Jordan and LeBron James but made no changes to those records. Guevara is facing charges of unauthorized access of a computer and altering a voter registration without consent.
Florida governor says closing schools to stop spread of COVID-19 was a mistake
DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran have pushed heavily to reopen classrooms for the new school year. “They’re not doing it based on data. They’re not doing it based on evidence. They’re doing it based on either politics or emotion. Schools in Miami-Dade County begin staggered reopenings on Monday, with Broward County schools restarting in-person instruction on Oct. 9.
‘Parental choice works:’ Florida governor, White House task force doctor tout reopening schools
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida education leaders joined the governor and medical professionals Monday to reinforce the state’s stance on reopening schools and allowing in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Do the virtual, and really not fall far behind,” DeSantis said about the enhanced virtual opportunities available to students. Atlas was making at least three stops with DeSantis around the state Monday, including in Tampa and The Villages. “If you have a cough you’re three times as likely to spread than if you don’t have a cough,” he said. “We have the data, there’s extraordinarily low risk in children, there’s extraordinarily very low risk in everybody else in the school.
WATCH LIVE AT NOON: Gov. DeSantis holds discussion at Universal Orlando
Ron DeSantis will hold a roundtable discussion about theme parks Wednesday at Universal Orlando. The roundtable, which will be streamed live on ClickOrlando.com in the video player above, is scheduled to start at noon. Universal and SeaWorld Orlando reopened to guests in early June after closing months earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis visit to Universal comes as Florida continues to see a drop in new daily cases of coronavirus. Tuesday marked the 10th straight day that the state reported fewer than 5,000 new cases.
Governor announces loan program to help with housing after Hurricane Michael
Ron DeSantis was in Panama City Monday afternoon to announce a program that will provide $15,000 loans to help residents find housing after Hurricane Michael. DeSantis said that come Sept. 1, the state will relaunch the Hurricane Michael loan recovery program to provide residents with $15,000 loans to assist with housing costs. “Expected to launch September 1, the Hurricane Michael Recovery Loan Program will offer below market 30-year fixed rate first mortgages coupled with up to $15,000 in down payment (DPA) and closing cost assistance for qualified homebuyers. DPA loans will be zero percent interest, non-amortizing and forgivable at 20 percent per year over five years. The DPA loan is fully forgivable if an active duty serviceperson is officially reassigned and must sell the home,” it read.
50 Florida construction projects accelerated during coronavirus shutdown, governor says
Ron DeSantis was in Orlando Friday to participate in a roundtable discussion about transportation, during which he touted the state’s efforts to speed up construction projects during the COVID-19 shutdown. In total, DeSantis said 50 road projects were sped up while there was less traffic during the months of March and April when many businesses were shut down to stop the spread of COVID-19. The construction industry was deemed essential, which allowed workers to continue making progress on road projects. Also in Central Florida, the project to widen Sand Lake Road was accelerated by four to six weeks. Florida has reported a cumulative total of 518,075 coronavirus cases and 8,051 deaths as of Friday.
Floridas top Democrat unveils ads aimed at mask wearing
Critics have said DeSantis should have shut down the state sooner last spring as the virus was spreading and should order a mandatory statewide mask requirement. As of Monday, Florida had a total of 491,884 coronavirus cases and around 7,200 related deaths. On many days last week, the number of reported new cases was around double Monday's tally. Florida's seven-day average of daily reported deaths was 176, second to Texas in total numbers for the summer resurgence of the pandemic in the Sunbelt states. Floridas numbers compare with average daily reported deaths of more than 760 per day for New York in mid-April.
‘You have blood on your hands:’ Protesters interrupt Florida governor’s coronavirus update in Orlando
Ron DeSantis hosted in Orlando Monday afternoon to push for convalescent plasma donations to help COVID-19 patients got off to a rocky start as protesters interrupted just minutes into his remarks. Despite the demonstration, DeSantis carried on about how convalescent plasma has proven to be a promising treatment for COVID-19 patients. OneBlood Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rita Reik said that there is no database of recovered COVID-19 patients so the organization can only rely on self-reporting. According to Scholl, plasma can be donated every 28 days so he hopes residents will make it a regular habit. For more information on how to donate convalescent plasma, click here.
American Academy of Pediatrics urges Gov. DeSantis to reconsider reopening schools
Ron DeSantis on Saturday defended his plan to reopen schools for the upcoming academic year, even as the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics on Thursday sent a letter to his office, asking that he reconsider allowing school districts to resume face-to-face learning. DeSantis said that distance learning just isn’t the same as in-person classes and that the quality of education suffers in that format. DeSantis said he hadn’t seen the letter but added: “Parents should be able to make the decision that’s best for their kid. "I'm going to be doing a lot more personally getting involved to just help some of the school districts," DeSantis said. https://www.clickorlando.com/topic/back_to_school/This comes one day after the Orange County School board voted on a plan to send to the state.
South Florida mayor asks governor for statewide mask mandate
MIAMI, Fla. Among the requests from Miami-Dade County mayors when it comes to Floridas coronavirus response is a statewide mask mandate. Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez said if things dont improve within the next few weeks, its possible that some of the reopenings could be rolled back. As the efforts continue, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said consistency in messaging is key, which is why he implored DeSantis to issue a statewide mask mandate. The only reason I thought its important, is I think it will tell people, You have to do this.' Making sure the data provided by the Florida Department of Health is consistent with numbers provided by local health departments.
74 new electric car charging stations coming to Florida highways
ORLANDO, Fla. – Using money from a settlement, Florida is adding 74 new electric car charging stations along the state’s major highways. From that, $8.5 million will be used to create the 74 charging stations along Interstate 75 and Intestate 95, spanning about 1,200 miles. We are now ready to award over $8.5 million in contracts to build 74 additional fast electric charging stations belongs to Florida has major highways and evacuation routes,” DeSantis said. There are plans in the future to add additional charging stations using that same settlement money. Valenstein called the move “another step forward for the environment here in Florida.”With the charging stations already slated to be built along the Turnpike by the Florida Department of Transportation, there will soon be about 100 charging stations statewide.
New Florida laws address algae, environmental pollution
Ron DeSantis signed a slew of environmental bills in less than 24 hours that address issues ranging from sea level rise to blue-green algae blooms -- and even gives the state authority to use drones to fight invasive Burmese pythons. “A huge component of this is dealing with these wastewater discharges,” DeSantis said of the bill signed Tuesday that was based on recommendations of a task force he formed to address algae blooms. “Many wastewater treatment systems in Florida are poorly maintained and the network of pipes supporting them have fallen into disrepair,” DeSantis said. The new law will require public coastal construction projects to first be reviewed for impacts on the state’s fragile seashore because of rising sea levels. The bipartisan bill DeSantis signed on coastal construction is limited to public projects that rely on state money.
Governor says Florida isnt ready to enter third phase of coronavirus reopening
Ron DeSantis said Florida isnt ready for the next phase of his effort to reinvigorate the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. We never anticipated necessarily doing anything different in terms of the next phase at this point anyways, DeSantis said Thursday during a bill-signing event in Tampa. Obviously, South Florida is where they are. Later, the occupancy limit was bumped to 50%, gyms, barber shops and hair salons were allowed to open, and the South Florida counties --- which have been virus hotspots --- were able to take part. In early June, the second phase started in all but South Florida.
Gov. DeSantis grants more flexibility to Supervisor of Elections for upcoming elections
DeSantis grants more flexibility to Supervisor of Elections for upcoming electionsPublished: June 18, 2020, 12:31 pmOn Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order that would allow some flexibility under state law for elections supervisors to begin processing mail-in ballots earlier than the law would typically allow, according to the Miami Herald.
‘There’ll be a lot of red:' Florida governor gets budget as cuts loom
He said such cuts could help keep lawmakers from having to readdress the budget before the November elections. “There’s going to be a lot more vetoes, there’ll be a lot of red,” DeSantis told reporters during a news conference Tuesday. Lawmakers passed the record spending plan March 19 for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Also, it includes $100 million for the Florida Forever land-conservation program, $50 million for the Visit Florida tourism-marketing agency and 3% across-the-board pay raises for state employees. The budget, in part, would boost Medicaid payment rates for nursing homes and funnel additional money to the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
Why was Orlando not chosen to host Republican National Convention?
Why was Orlando not chosen to host Republican National Convention? Published: June 15, 2020, 9:56 amUCF Professor and News 6 political analyst Jim Clark discusses potential reasons why Orlando was not chosen to host the Republican National Convention.
Governor breaks silence on protests: Florida has zero tolerance for violence
It wasn't until Monday afternoon that DeSantis office issued a statement, which only made mention of law enforcement efforts. I am in constant contact with state and local leaders, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Florida National Guard and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). We have devoted significant resources, including the mobilization of 700 Florida National Guard soldiers who are specially trained to support law enforcement. I have also worked with FHP to coordinate more than 1,300 sworn Florida Highway Patrol troopers to support local law enforcement efforts. This is an AR-15 --- this will be a very common sight upon illegal entry at any Lake County business --- FYI! Sabatini tweeted on Sunday.
Gov. Ron DeSantis comments on Montalvo case during news conference
Ron DeSantis made brief remarks on Nicole Montalvo’s murder case after Attorney General Ashley Moody wrote a letter to him, asking that her office take over the prosecution in the case. DeSantis said his office was reviewing the case and that he has been in contact with Montalvo’s brothers. “We have a lot of focus on the criminal but don’t always have a focus on the victims,” DeSantis said. The questions come amid a dispute between Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson. After that news conference, Moody stepped in and asked DeSantis to reassign the case to a new state attorney altogether.
Florida governor’s budget proposal includes raising minimum teacher pay to $47,500
The budget proposal released Monday is slightly more than the state’s current $91 billion spending plan. The budget proposal includes more than $600 million to raise the minimum salary for teachers to $47,500, which DeSantis said will boost the pay for more than 101,000 teachers. Her starting salary was $39,500 four years ago and now she earns $43,000. Currently, she says the starting salary for a teacher in Orange County is $40,000. You can’t retain teachers if there is not a progressive rise in your pay year to year.”The governor’s proposal also includes $75 million in grants to help make schools more secure.