2 area representatives voted to expel embattled Rep. George Santos, 3 others wanted him to stay in office
In a historic moment, the House voted on Friday to expel Republican Rep. George Santos of New York after a critical ethics report on his conduct that accused him of converting campaign donations for his own use. He was just the sixth member in the chamber’s history to be ousted by colleagues.
About 15 members of Fernandina Beach church group arrive home after making it out of Israel
Members of a group that went on a touring trip to Israel with First Baptist Church Fernandina Beach is set to come back home to the States Saturday night after they crossed safely into Jordan amid the ongoing turmoil of the war between Israel and Hamas, according to Executive Pastor Dan Beck.
‘We can’t wait to see you guys’: Fernandina Beach church group begins heading home after making it out of Israel
A group of 54 people touring Israel with First Baptist Church Fernandina Beach has safely crossed the border into Jordan after being trapped amid the violent conflict between Hamas and Israel.
‘A great victory’: Local leaders applaud judge’s ruling that DeSantis’ congressional map in Florida is unconstitutional
Republican Congressman Aaron Bean last year the first Republican to represent Jacksonville’s minority voters in three decades. But how his district was created, according to a state judge, was unconstitutional.
Non-profit organization aims to empower veterans and military spouses
Operation New Uniform is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that empowers Veterans and Military Spouses to transition to purposeful careers after service. Since 2014, ONU has helped thousands of Veterans develop the skills necessary to translate their talents and backgrounds into business. ONU offers numerous ways to get involved and join us in giving back to the Veterans who served our country, such as volunteer opportunities and fundraising events.
Gas tax proposal; Florida’s upcoming special legislative session
On this edition of “This Week in Jacksonville,” Jacksonville City Councilwoman LeAnna Cumber explains her view on the local option gas tax proposal. Author and local attorney Chris Hand also shares his view and provides insight on the proposal. And state Sen. Aaron Bean talks about Florida’s upcoming special legislative session.
Sen. Aaron Bean tests positive for COVID-19 as 2021 legislative session opens
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Aaron Bean, president pro tempore of the Florida Senate, and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning as they arrived at the state Capitol for the opening session of the 2021 Legislature, a Senate spokeswoman confirmed. Bean had tested negative on Monday and attended committee meetings while wearing a mask as called for in safety protocols in place as lawmakers return to work in Tallahassee this year. #OpeningDay pic.twitter.com/hrmoShF5cn — Aaron Bean (@AaronPBean) March 2, 2021To adhere to social-distancing requirements during the 60-day legislative session, the House is offering limited seating on a “first-come, first-served basis” for committee meetings in which legislation is discussed. Members of the public who aren’t registered lobbyists and can’t attend committee meetings in person will be allowed to submit written comments to committee members electronically. Bean is among dozens of Florida lawmakers who have contracted the virus over the past year, including Senate President Wilton Simpson and Senate Democratic Leader Gary Farmer.
Senate eyes limiting state dollars for salaries at child-welfare, mental-health groups
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would limit state dollars that could go to salaries at two types of organizations that play key roles in the child-welfare and mental-health systems. The limit would apply to employees of community-based care lead organizations and managing entities. Community-based care lead agencies contract with the department to manage foster care and other child-welfare services, while managing entities contract to help direct mental-health and substance-abuse services. Under the bill, employees would not be able to receive state-funded salaries that would exceed the amount made by the secretary of the Department of Children and Families. Bean said, however, the bill would allow employees to be paid more if the additional funding came from other sources.
Battle builds for Aaron Bean’s Senate seat
With Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, facing term limits next year, a battle is shaping up among Republicans seeking to succeed him in a district that currently covers all of Nassau County and part of Nassau County. The district’s boundaries and potentially the number will change before the 2022 elections because of reapportionment. Byrd is in his third term in House District 11, which also includes Nassau and part of Duval counties. Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, and Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, also have opened accounts to try to succeed Bean. Yarborough is in his third term in Duval’s House District 12, while Fischer is in his third term in Duval’s House District 16.
Florida senators raise questions on state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A leading Senate Republican on Wednesday chided Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees about the state’s COVID-19 vaccine-distribution efforts, saying Gov. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.38 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been distributed nationwide. A separate state health department report showed the state had administered 707,428 doses as of Tuesday and that 61,158 people had received the required two doses. Florida on Tuesday topped 1.5 million reported cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started early last year, and at least 23,396 Florida residents have died. “A million doses a month, 22 million people, that’s a maximum of 22 months.
Florida vaccinations would take more than a year at current pace
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It could take more than a year to vaccinate all Floridians based on the number of vaccine doses the state is currently receiving on a weekly basis. The timetable came to light as the Florida Surgeon General fielded tough questions from state senators. Testifying before the Senate Health Policy Committee, State Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees said the COVID-19 vaccine supply isn’t meeting the demand. At that rate, it would take more than a year to vaccinate the general population, but Rivkees provided some hope for optimism. The state has received 1.6 million vaccine doses to date.
Florida State Capitol security tight ahead of potential protests
On Monday, Florida state senators spent an hour behind closed doors for a classified security briefing. “And our Senate President was dead serious when he said they would keep us safe, and I felt very good walking out of that security briefing,” said State Senator Janet Cruz. State Senator Linda Stewart said the security briefing included tips for when senators were not in the Capitol as well. Lawmakers themselves won’t be at the Capitol over the weekend, nor next week, when the chances of violent protests are greatest. Flags at the State Capitol are currently at half staff in honor of the two officers who died as a result of last week’s protest at the U.S. Capitol.
Jacksonville’s Yarborough has eye on Bean’s Florida Senate seat
State Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville, has taken the first step in running for a Northeast Florida Senate seat in 2022, as Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, faces term limits. Yarborough, who has served in the House since 2016, opened a campaign account this week to run in what is now Senate District 4, according to the state Division of Elections website. Yarborough is the first candidate to open a campaign account for the 2022 race. Also, this week Largo Republican Timothy Lewis opened an account to try to succeed term-limited Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, according to the Division of Elections website. Brandes represents Pinellas County’s Senate District 24.
State Sen. Aaron Bean; City Councilwoman Brenda Priestly Jackson; Safe schools challenge
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4Jax anchor Tom Wills is the guest host of this edition of “This Week In Jacksonville.”State Sen. Aaron Bean discusses his new role as Florida Senate president pro tempore. Jacksonville City Councilwoman Brenda Priestly Jackson provides insight on Lot J, the Jaguars and the JEA investigation. And the American Civility Association’s Amy Barnett explains how the organization is making schools safer.
Fernandina Beach lawmaker named president pro tempore of Florida Senate
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Fernandina Beach Republican Aaron Bean and Naples Republican Kathleen Passidomo will serve as top lieutenants to incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, Simpson announced Friday. Bean, who was first elected to the Senate in 2012 and has been a leader on health-care issues, will serve the next two years as Senate president pro tempore. “Throughout her years of public service, Senator Passidomo has gained the respect of senators on both sides of the political aisle by listening to the concerns each senator brings forward and working to build consensus,” Simpson said in a statement. “She has exhibited sound judgment and a fair-minded, reasonable and thoughtful approach to decision making that, I am confident, will be a great benefit to the Senate over the next two years.”The appointments were the first two announced by Simpson, who will formally become Senate president during a Nov. 17 organization session. Incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, announced a full leadership team and changes in House committees on Thursday.
Hubbard House annual breakfast goes virtual for 1st time
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Hubbard House continued its work to combat the ongoing problem and hosted its annual breakfast Thursday morning. For the first time, the 26th annual Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast was free and virtual. Press play below to re-watch the event:Local leaders and other members of the community took part in the event to learn about domestic violence and hear from strong survivors who have found safety. Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.
Gov. DeSantis signs 15 bills, budget awaits action
Ron DeSantis on Saturday signed 15 bills from this year’s legislative session, including a measure aimed at helping protect firefighters from cancer-causing chemicals. The bill sets up a program that will provide grants to local fire departments to buy equipment and provide training to help shield firefighters from exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. DeSantis, who has line-item veto power, will need to act on the spending plan before Wednesday. He also issued a veto Saturday, nixing a public-records bill (SB 1292). He said the bill was a “nullity” because it was tied to a juvenile-justice bill that did not pass during the session.
Painful health care vetoes predicted for Florida budget
The News Service of Florida obtained a nine-page spreadsheet that contains more than 175 health and human-services projects, slated to receive $99.4 million, that could get vetoed. The Florida Health Care Association, the states largest nursing home group, sent a letter to DeSantis in April asking him not to veto the increase. Lawmakers also funneled $128 million in new state and federal funding to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council sent a letter to DeSantis in May asking him to keep the increased funding intact. Additionally, lawmakers approved spending $10.3 million in state money so the Agency for Health Care Administration can hire a contractor to help Florida get a Canadian prescription-drug importation program established.
Salute to Nassau County Council on Aging’s 45 years of service
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – A dinner, dance and fundraiser Friday night at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort celebrated the Council on Agin’s 45 years of service to seniors in Nassau County. News4Jax anchor Kent Justice was master of ceremonies at the Council on Aging’s 16th annual gala, themed “SS Saphhire Seas, Gem of the Island.” State Sen. Aaron Bean looked the part, dressing as “Admiral of Auction, the Commodore of Coin” has he hosted a live auction to raise money in support of NCCOA. “In almost five decades, NCCOA now offers a full complement of programs, services and resources for seniors in Nassau County," Executive Director Janice Ancrum said. Pianist John Springer and the Leelynn Osborn Live Band provided entertainment.
Costs could increase for opioid fight
Shutterstock via CNNTALLAHASSEE, Fla. - If the state wants to continue efforts at current levels to curb opioid abuse, it will need to find about $76 million, members of a Senate health-care spending panel were told Wednesday. Panel Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, assured members that continued opioid funding would be a priority when the Legislature convenes in January and begins working on the state budget for next fiscal year. Rick Scott in 2017 declared opioid abuse a state emergency. The federal government also gave Florida grants to fight the opioid epidemic in 2018 and 2019. Gazioch told lawmakers that the funding appears to have made a difference, based on an interim medical examiners report released in July.