DeSantis: Freedom is good, COVID mandates, lockdowns are bad
Ron DeSantis made it clear in his State of the State speech Tuesday that he likes teachers, first responders and freedom and he doesn't like Dr. Anthony Fauci, critical race theory, abortion, illegal immigration and Burmese pythons. “Florida has become the escape hatch for those chafing under authoritarian, arbitrary and seemingly never-ending mandates and restrictions,” DeSantis said. Companies who are facilitating the movement of illegal aliens from the southern border to Florida should be held accountable,” DeSantis said. “As he walked in, there was no decorum in the recognition,” said Fried, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge DeSantis. She also said DeSantis' speech was more of an appeal to a national audience than it was an outline of goals for the state.wftv.com
DeSantis refers to Florida as free state, speaks against COVID mandates in State of the State speech
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made clear in his State of the State speech that he likes teachers, first responders and freedom and he doesn’t like Dr. Anthony Fauci, critical race theory, abortion, illegal immigration and Burmese pythons.
Rainbow Alliance accepting scholarship applications for LGBTQ+ students
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — The Volusia-Flagler Rainbow Alliance has begun accepting scholarship applications for the 2022 school year. These scholarships are available to LGBTQ+ students currently enrolled in college, trade school, or an educational internship. “We hope to be able to reach a greater number of potential applicants by making the process not only easier but less intrusive,” said Rainbow Alliance Scholarship Chair Dr. Meg Young. Read: Commissioner Nikki Fried and FDACS launch LGBTQ resources pageThe deadline to apply is April 1, 2022. Read: ‘A safe place.’ For LGBT asylum seekers, a new shot at lifeYou can apply HERE.wftv.com
Florida Department of Education Removes LGBTQ Resources. Nikki Fried Provides Her Own Instead.
Following the removal of anti-bullying resources from the Florida Department of Education website, including information regarding LGBTQ students, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is providing that information instead. In a Tuesday press release, Fried announced a set of LGBTQ resources hosted on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website. “That’s why I believe it’s imperative that we make these resources available.”Advocates complain that removing resources for LGBTQ students is the latest attack on LGBTQ Floridians by the DeSantis administration. The state education website also provided resources for targeted groups, including students with disabilities, LGBTQ students, and for discrimination based on race or ethnicity. Republican lawmakers have provided parents with a tool to direct the education of their students and the Florida education system.flaglerlive.com
Osceola County logo dispute continues with no sign of school board member’s proposed student contest
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — The controversy over an effort to select a new logo for Osceola County continues. In response, Osceola School Board member Jon Arguello announced a contest for students to design the new logo, saying the winning design would be presented to the county as another option. Osceola County Logo Design Contest Rules Will your child design the next county logo??? Here are the logo contest rules … Please submit your designs to firstname.lastname@example.org Please share with your friends. Posted by Jon Arguello, Osceola County School Board Member - District 3 on Friday, October 22, 2021Arguello announced his plan at a school board meeting in October.wftv.com
Commissioner Nikki Fried and FDACS launch LGBTQ resources page
ORLANDO, Fla. — Earlier this month, the Florida Department of Education removed anti-bullying and LGBTQ resources from its website. On Tuesday, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced the launch of a new resource page for LGBTQ Floridians. The page, which can be found on the FDACS website, contains anti-bullying resources, information for parents and educators, resources for inclusive schools, suicide prevention information and background on LGBTQ initiatives taken by FDACS. “It’s so important that LGBTQ Floridians know that they matter, there are resources to help and that we will continue to advocate for them. Our LGBTQ students experience bullying and harassment at higher rates,” said Nathan Bruemmer, an LGBTQ consumer advocate at FDACS.wftv.com
Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried accuses Ron DeSantis of extorting campaign donations out of university trustees
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried accuse d says that current Governor Ron DeSantis squeezed campaign donations out of sitting state university trustees, threatening their position...orlandoweekly.com
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted $100k donations from University of Florida trustees or they'd lose their appointments, Democratic Florida commissioner alleges
Several trustees in the state's university system have already donated to DeSantis's reelection campaign or the state GOP, some with the exact figure.news.yahoo.com
Florida officials want to pump millions of gallons of mining wastewater into a deep well. Environmentalists say it could be "disastrous."
Officials want to put millions of gallons of wastewater in a deep injection well. But with a long history of incidents and issues, locals and some officials say they have "zero confidence" there won't be any problems.cbsnews.com
Agriculture commissioner calls for investigation into state’s high gas prices
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Agriculture and consumer services commissioner Nikki Fried is calling for an investigation into the high gas prices in the state. In her letter, Fried asks Attorney General Ashley Moody to investigate the high gas prices under the Florida Antitrust Act. Expect to pay more to fill up your gas tankRead her full letter in the tweet below:Oil companies are reaping record profits while consumers are paying high gas prices, even as fuel costs decrease. pic.twitter.com/1TZgvcfYvg — Commissioner Nikki Fried (@NikkiFriedFL) November 17, 2021Fried said since September her Division of Consumer Services has received 80 consumer complaints about high gas prices as company profits soar. “I hope our Attorney General will take action to help us protect Florida consumers at the gas pump,” Fried tweeted.wftv.com
‘Foam free’: Florida Department of Agriculture aims to eliminate polystyrene by end of decade
In this Feb. 14, 2013, file photo, a Dunkin' Donuts' foam cup is discarded in a trash bin in New York. Dunkin' Donuts said Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, that the polystyrene foam cups will be completely phased out from all its stores globally by 2020. In this Feb. 14, 2013, file photo, a Dunkin' Donuts' foam cup is discarded in a trash bin in New York. Dunkin' Donuts said Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, that the polystyrene foam cups will be completely phased out from all its stores globally by 2020. Fried said there is no data on how polystyrene food packaging is being used in Florida businesses.wftv.com
Black farmers face uphill battle in bid to grow medical marijuana
ORLANDO, Fla. — Five years after Florida officially approved medical marijuana, there are still no Black farmers growing it in the state. When Florida first opened up licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana, the application fee was $60,000. in 1999 the feds agreed to pay more than $1 billion to 16,000 Black farmers, about 2,000 in Florida. These 2,000 are the only farmers who are eligible to apply for Florida’s extra medical marijuana license, but now at twice the price. “That’s a big hill for us to climb as Black farmers acquiring the medical marijuana license,” Warthen said.wftv.com
At 1 p.m.: Nikki Fried to host news conference on discriminatory rule for medical marijuana licenses
ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said she will hold a news conference regarding a “discriminatory rule” recently announced by the Florida Department of Health. The rule creates new financial and regulatory burdens that only affects Black farmers applying for medical marijuana licenses who are recognized class members of the historic Pigford v. Glickman discrimination lawsuit. Fried will be joined by Rep. Geraldine Thompson and Erik Range, chairman of the Board of Minorities For Medical Marijuana. The news conference will start at 1 p.m. and is being held in Orlando. READ: “Love one another”: Lt. Debra Clayton’s widower reflects on wife’s passion for law enforcementChannel 9 will live stream the conference on its website.wftv.com
Happening today: Commissioner Nikki Fried to release FL school district COVID-19 data
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said she will release and discuss Florida school district COVID-19 data on Thursday morning. Fried said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has worked to block the information, despite it being public record. Check back and watch Eyewitness News for updates. Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.wftv.com
FL Agriculture Commissioner to release school COVID data ahead of State Board of Education meeting
TALLAHASSEE, Fla, — Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried plans to release COVID-19 data for schools that she says has been hidden by Governor Ron DeSantis. Fried announced a virtual press conference to be held early Thursday morning where she plans to discuss COVID-19 data for Florida school districts. >>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<READ: Are mask mandates in schools legal? What’s next in Florida’s court battleAccording to Fried’s office, the press conference was scheduled specifically to precede a state Board of Education meeting Thursday afternoon where board members will consider punishments for 11 school districts- including Orange and Brevard Counties- where mask requirements have been enacted. A Florida Department of Health emergency rule requires schools to offer an option for parents to opt their children out of the mandates.wftv.com
Florida kids to receive over $1B in school lunch relief
Ron DeSantis and one of his potential rivals in the 2022 gubernatorial election, Florida children are set to receive over $1 billion in federal relief funding. State Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried said Florida’s plan for Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer funding was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program was created last year by Congress to assist children who lost access to free and reduced school lunch in the wake of the transition to virtual instruction. Florida signed up for the program for the 2020-2021 school year, but the Department of Children and Families elected not to reapply after the program was extended into the summer. “This is a huge victory for the children of our state and for our families who are struggling during these times,” she said.wftv.com
Letter: Why we need something new for Florida
I remember watching Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first ad as a candidate, featuring his two small children. It’s not the use of family that upset me, that’s a common and accepted practice; it was the images of his children building a “wall” with cardboard bricks and reading a book on political division.news.yahoo.com
Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried seeks federal money for schools stripped of funding over mask policy
With Gov. Ron DeSantis threatening to withhold money from school districts that require students to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki...orlandoweekly.com
Kraken attorney's fundraising group gets Florida's approval
The office of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, which polices charities, said it has approved paperwork filed by attorney Sidney Powell’s Defending the Republic group. Fried's office had filed an administrative complaint last month against the group, accusing it of seeking donations without registering with the state as required. The group filed its paperwork a few days later. In the paperwork filed with the state, Defending the Republic said it expects to raise almost $7.2 million during a fiscal year that ends Sept. 30. It said $6 million will be spent on undefined programs, $900,000 on management and nearly $300,000 on fundraising.wftv.com
Kraken attorney's fundraising group gets Florida's approval
A group run by one of former President Donald Trump’s most prominent election conspiracy adherents, reacting to accusations it was illegally seeking donations in Florida, has registered with the state and says it will raise $7 million, documents released Wednesday show. The office of Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, which polices charities, said it has approved paperwork filed by attorney Sidney Powell’s Defending the Republic group. Fried's office had filed an administrative complaint last month against the group, accusing it of seeking donations without registering with the state as required.news.yahoo.com
Democrat Nikki Fried announces modest first-month fundraising in 2022 run for governor
With a strategy of leaning on small-dollar donors, Democrat candidate for Florida governor Nikki Fried announced her first month’s fundraising numbers Tuesday, a modest haul coming in at just under $813,000.news.yahoo.com
Backlash after Florida governor signs bill against ‘indoctrination’ at colleges
Republican Ron DeSantis claims university campuses are ‘intellectually repressive environments’ The Florida governor, Ron DeSantis: ‘It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas.’ Photograph: Wilfredo Lee/AP Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, sparked backlash this week when he signed legislation cracking down on so-called educational “indoctrination” at colleges and universities, soon after the state banned critical racenews.yahoo.com
Statewide energy equity study could pave the way for relief from high energy costs
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Aging homes leave residents like Cynthia Harris with their share of problems. That’s resulting in high utility costs that disproportionately impact residents in communities of color. It’s driven by increased utility costs from energy inefficient appliances, insulation and weatherization. Now, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced Florida’s first ever statewide energy equity study to help develop equitable energy solutions for Floridians looking for relief from high energy costs. According to Fried, data shows that 5% of Floridians spend more than 50% of income on housing costs including utilities, and energy-efficient upgrades can reduce the burden by 25%.wftv.com
Democrat Nikki Fried files complaint against former Trump attorney’s organization
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Friday said her office has filed a formal complaint against a charity run by Sidney Powell, a former attorney who joined President Donald Trump’s legal team and spewed false voter fraud claims about the 2020 election.news.yahoo.com
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.
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.
Sunshine State dims for Dems amid election losses, cash woes
And that was despite $100 million spent by Michael Bloomberg to help Democrats in the state. When the spending tally is complete, the last election cycle in Florida is expected to rank as among the most expensive in state history. Ad“I don’t know anybody who’s happy with investing $100 million and not winning,” said Manny Diaz, the new chair of the Florida Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Florida’s Democratic Party ran up debts of up to $860,000 and had to cancel health insurance coverage for party employees late last year — prompting the national party and other states' party organizations to provide some assistance. Diaz, the state party chairman, is trying to reverse the slide in its voter registration advantage over Republicans.
Sunshine State dims for Dems amid election losses, cash woes
Democrats hope to make deeper strides in changing their fortunes in a state that has become friendlier place for Republicans. And that was despite $100 million spent by Michael Bloomberg to help Democrats in the state. When the spending tally is complete, the last election cycle in Florida is expected to rank as among the most expensive in state history. Ad“I don’t know anybody who’s happy with investing $100 million and not winning,” said Manny Diaz, the new chair of the Florida Democratic Party. Diaz, the state party chairman, is trying to reverse the slide in its voter registration advantage over Republicans.
Florida governor faces growing claims of vaccine favoritism
Bruce Rauner, last week gave the Florida governor's campaign committee $250,000. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried joined Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in calling for federal officials to probe the DeSantis administration’s vaccine distribution programs. AdDuring a Thursday news conference, DeSantis expressed no misgivings about the early vaccinations at the exclusive Key Largo community. In recent weeks, other reports have surfaced of wealthy retirement communities getting exclusive access to vaccine doses through pop-up vaccine sites. Bruce Rauner to the Florida governor's campaign committee.
Controversy swirls in Florida over lowering of flags for Rush Limbaugh
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Palm Beach County defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' Tuesday afternoon order directing its U.S. and Florida flags to be flown at half-staff. He also ordered the Town of Palm Beach and the State Capitol in Tallahassee to fly their flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday. Trump also lives in Palm Beach at his Mar-a-Lago club and he and Limbaugh were close friends. DeSantis called Limbaugh a legend during a news conference two days later and indicated he would direct flags to be flown at half-staff to honor him.
Florida county refuses to lower flags for Rush Limbaugh
(AP Photo/Julie Smith, File)FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Palm Beach County defied Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday, refusing to lower its courthouse flags to half-staff in honor of the late conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh — a move that the governor's office called “petty.”The county's courthouse flags remained at full staff, ignoring Gov. Ron DeSantis' Tuesday afternoon order directing its U.S. and Florida flags to be flown at half-staff. He also ordered the Town of Palm Beach and the State Capitol in Tallahassee to fly their flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday. Trump also lives in Palm Beach at his Mar-a-Lago club and he and Limbaugh were close friends.
Florida governor orders that flags be lowered after Rush Limbaugh’s death
FILE - This Nov. 5, 2018 file photo shows radio personality Rush Limbaugh introducing President Donald Trump at the start of a campaign rally in Cape Girardeau, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)Following the death of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, Gov. Ron DeSantis said flags will be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday in his honor. @FLCaseyDeSantis and I are saddened to learn of the passing of fellow Floridian and our friend, Rush Limbaugh. @GovRonDeSantis is lowering Florida's flags to half-staff for Rush Limbaugh.
Florida agriculture commissioner won’t lower flags for Rush Limbaugh
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried intends to defy a call by Gov. Ron DeSantis to lower flags to half-staff to honor conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who died last week. Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, issued a statement Monday that she will direct offices within her Cabinet agency not to lower flags. On Friday, DeSantis said Florida will lower flags to half-staff after funeral plans are set for Limbaugh, a Palm Beach resident who died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. “When there’s things of this magnitude, once the date of internment for Rush is announced, we’re going to be lowering the flags to half-staff,” DeSantis said during a campaign-style press event at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport in West Palm Beach.
Orlando restaurant manager who rescued boy with secret sign honored by proclamation
ORLANDO, Fla. – A restaurant manager credited with rescuing a boy from severe child abuse by using a secret sign was honored Thursday by a Florida cabinet member. “You saved somebody’s life.”The proclamation declares January 28, 2021 as Flaviane Carvalho Child Advocacy Day in the state of Florida. Following the proclamation, Carvalho wanted to share a message about her experience and what people can take away from it. Wilson was arrested on multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. “When one woman took that advice to heart, she rescued a boy from some dangerous abuse,” OPD said in a news release.
Special state capitol lighting will honor COVID-19 victims
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Capitol will be illuminated amber on Tuesday as part of the Biden-Harris inauguration’s national moment of unity and remembrance for the more than 397,000 American lives lost to COVID-19. Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried requested the capitol lighting, according to a news release from her office. State capitols and town halls across the nation are set to illuminate on Tuesday alongside the first-ever lighting display around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Poll in Washington. More than 24,136 Floridians have died from COVID-19 since the coronavirus began in March. “It’s my honor to request that Florida’s Capitol be lit in their memory, with hope for brighter days ahead,” Fried said in the news release.
Are tourists flocking to Florida to get COVID-19 vaccine? DeSantis downplays notion
Javier Crespo, can administer a COVID-19 vaccine shot at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. State officials have moved quickly to disavow such scuttlebutt. Ron DeSantis said stories of people flying to Florida, getting vaccinated and returning home are overblown. She praised Florida officials for allowing outsiders to get shots. This has nothing to do with where you’re from.”___Lush reported from St. Petersburg, Florida, and Calvan from Tallahassee, Florida.
Florida sets record for concealed weapon applications in October
ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida set a record earlier this year when it comes applications for concealed weapons licenses. Statistics show there were 38,349 new CWL applications in October, in addition to 8,590 CWL renewal applications. There have been at least 36,000 new CWL applications every month since July 2020, with the department projected to process a record 305,043 new applications and 143,749 renewal applications in 2020. In 2019, Florida received 202,698 new CWL applications, and in 2018, there were 188,900 new CWL applications. That’s why we’re hiring more staff and further streamlining our processes to reduce both application review times and customer service times.
Wildfires rage in Florida Panhandle; 500 evacuated
The 2,000-acre (809-hectare) fire in Santa Rosa County, located just east of Pensacola, prompted the evacuation of 1,100 homes Wednesday. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a news conference Thursday afternoon that fire officials are working around the clock to contain the wildfires. Rich Aloy, with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, was patrolling Wednesday when he and other deputies rescued an older couple trapped by a burning power line. The Santa Rosa County fire began Monday when a prescribed burn by a private contractor got out of control, Fried said. In neighboring Walton County, a 575-acre (233-hectare) fire in Walton County prompted about 500 people to evacuate.
Florida posts list showing locations of free meals for kids during coronavirus school closures
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has posted a list of locations families can find free meals for kids during coronavirus school closures. Some counties will begin the free meal program on March 16, other counties will begin on March 23. “That’s why we’re activating our Summer BreakSpot locations, to offer families an alternative way to find healthy, nutritious meals. For many children, these meals will be the only meals they can count on. To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter or go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.
Florida lawmakers push to have Groveland Four exonerated
Florida lawmakers push to have Groveland Four exoneratedPublished: December 10, 2019, 6:18 pmFlorida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida lawmakers will renew their effort Tuesday to exonerate four men, known as the Groveland Four, who were wrongfully convicted of rape in 1949 in Lake County.
Florida leaders renew effort to exonerate Groveland Four
LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Florida lawmakers will renew their effort Tuesday to exonerate four men, known as the Groveland Four, who were wrongfully convicted of rape in 1949 in Lake County. Last year, the Florida Clemency Board posthumously pardoned Ernest Thomas, Samuel Shepherd, Charles Greenlee and Walter Irvin. “Pardons were a major step forward, and the Greenlee family is very grateful to the Cabinet members for their actions earlier this year,” said Carol Greenlee, the daughter of Charles Greenlee. Thompson announced Tuesday she would push for a joint House-Senate resolution, to exonerate the men and ensure that the state officially recognizes their innocence. “I was proud to stand with my cabinet colleagues to issue a pardon of the Groveland Four — but more action is needed.