Twitter's suspension of fired Florida data scientist marks a win for Gov. Ron DeSantis
Twitter suspended the account of Rebekah Jones earlier this week — a win for Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Washington Post reports.What happened: Jones, a fired health department worker whom the state recognized as a whistleblower last month, had her account suspended for violating "spam and platform manipulation" rules.Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Representatives for DeSantis' office told the Post that the suspension was "long overdue," calling Jones "thenews.yahoo.com
Florida Senate passes gambling agreement with Seminole Tribe
In a nearly unanimous vote, the Florida Senate on Tuesday approved a gambling deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that would include allowing sports betting in the state. Senators voted 38-1 to pass the proposal (SB 2A) on the second day of a special legislative session.
Debate brews in Florida about parental consent over sex ed
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Culture-war politics over sex education could again erupt in Florida’s statehouse, as a Senate Committee advanced a measure Tuesday that would require public school boards to hold hearings on what should be included in sex education curricula. The move sets up a potential clash with a House bill that seeks to require school districts to first get parental permission before a student can be taught about human reproduction and its consequences. AdComprehensive sex education is not mandated across Florida, but state law does not bar school districts from offering such instruction in their classrooms. “We are in a time when our basic values are up for debate,” said state Sen. Dennis Baxley, a Republican. Sex education has long been an area of fierce debate.
Florida proposes new barrier to citizen ballot proposals
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Republicans are once again trying to make it more difficult for citizens to amend the state constitution through petition drives, this time by limiting contributions to political committees proposing a ballot initiative. A bill setting the limit was approved by the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee on a party-line vote Tuesday. Medical marijuana was approved by voters in 2016 and a gradual increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour was approved last year. “National and out-of-state political groups are not committed to Florida, but to their own special interests,” said Republican Sen. Ray Rodrigues, the bill's sponsor. Separately, Republicans are also seeking a ballot measure that would ask voters to raise the threshold to pass a constitutional amendment from 60% of the votes cast to two-thirds.
The Latest: New Zealand opens 1st big vaccination clinic
New Zealand has opened its first large vaccination clinic as it scales up efforts to protect people from the coronavirus. (New Zealand Ministry of Health via AP)WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand has opened its first large vaccination clinic as it scales up efforts to protect people from the coronavirus. Gordon cites Wyoming’s declining number of COVID-19 cases and its success in distributing vaccines as reasons to lift the restrictions. AdThe nation of 1.3 million has seen a rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases n the past few weeks. Italy’s total virus cases surpassed 3 million last week, with a new surge powered by the highly contagious variant that was first identified in Britain.
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.
Remote participation in legislative meetings proposed
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As the House and Senate take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a South Florida Democrat filed a bill Thursday that could allow some lawmakers to participate remotely in legislative meetings during public-health emergencies. Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, filed the bill (SB 648) for consideration during the legislative session that starts March 2. Under the proposal, lawmakers seeking to use remote technology to participate in committee meetings or floor sessions would need approval from the Senate president or House speaker. Also, the majority of members of the House and Senate would have to be physically present to constitute quorums for floor sessions or committee meetings. The Florida Constitution includes a series of requirements about quorums and procedures, and lawmakers are currently required to be physically present to take part and vote in meetings.
With another Florida loss, Democrats begin second guessing
As election postmortems go, the one that began in Florida Wednesday was especially wrenching for Democrats. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Perhaps only in Florida is a loss by fewer than 4 percentage points considered a public drubbing. Democrats zeroed in on two clear explanations: Biden didn't connect with the state's Latino voters, performing particularly poorly with Cuban voters in South Florida. Some Democrats also give Republicans credit for registering thousands of new voters and narrowing the voter registration advantage Democrats have long had. For Taddeo, the Democratic state senator, it means going back to basics.
DEO recoups unemployment checks, Democrats propose reforms
Florida Democrats are condemning the Department’s actions and have unveiled their plan to fix the state’s unemployment system ahead of the 2021 legislative session. DEO won’t reveal how much money it incorrectly paid out, or how many people are being asked to pay back their unemployment benefits. “We’re trying to set the bar as to what we ought to do as a state with our unemployment system,” said State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez. The bill also requires DEO to make a determination on a person’s eligibility within three weeks of applying for unemployment and creates an ombudsman position at DEO, that would be responsible for streamlining the unemployment system. Despite a plague of issues at the start of the pandemic, DEO has paid more than $17 billion in unemployment this year.
Surge in new GOP voters puts pressure on Florida Democrats
“We’ve always had that registration advantage, and I think it’s definitely concerning what the Republicans have done,” said state Sen. Annette Taddeo. As of August, Republicans have cut that lead almost in half and could further narrow the gap before Monday’s voter registration deadline. “They didn’t show up, and that is what explains our voter registration numbers,” Wiles said. But the coronavirus outbreak scuttled the party’s voter registration drive, sidelining the operation into the virtual realm. With just days to go before Monday’s voter registration deadline, both parties are making a final push to grow their voter rolls.
Trump visiting Florida during a pandemic, hurricane threat
With Air Force One in the background, President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event with Florida Sheriffs in Tampa, Fla., Friday, July 31, 2020. In Florida, Trump also participated in a meeting to review the response to COVID-19 and the states preparedness for Hurricane Isaias, which was centered in the Bahamas on Friday and expected to move near South Florida on Saturday. Asked if the rising COVID-19 death toll could diminish his chances in the state, Trump told reporters that he had confidence in his adopted home state. Democratic supporters of Biden in Florida criticized Trump for coming to the state to fundraise during such a critical time for the state and nation. President Trumps leadership on coronavirus has put us in a strong position to protect vulnerable Americans and rebuild our economy, he said.
Florida Democrats return PPP money
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Florida Democratic Party applied for and received $780,000 from the Payroll Protection Program, but the party should not have applied in the first place. Criticism for accepting the PPP money has come from both inside and outside the Democratic Party. In a statement, the Florida Democratic Party said, in part: The bank, the loan processor and agents of the Small Business Association approved the funding. I really wish that the Trump administration was as responsive when it came to actually funding PPP, said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, the lone statewide elected Democrat. At least one Tallahassee lobbying firm has also returned PPP money.
Bill filed to make day after Halloween a school holiday in Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida students may soon be able to sleep in after a long night of Halloween trick-or-treating. A bill filed by Florida Sen. Annette Taddeo would make Nov. 1, the day after Halloween, an official school holiday, according to WPLG. Taddeo, who represents District 40 in Southwest Miami-Dade County, filed SB 1462 in the Florida legislature on Monday. Parents and students have long complained about having to wake up early after a night of fun on All-Hallows’ Eve. Taddeo’s bill will allow children to fully enjoy the holiday.
How Russian intelligence officers interfered in the 2016 election
There was a lot of testimony during this past week's impeachment inquiry about foreign interference in our 2016 election, including the president's assertion that Ukraine was involved. All have access to the underlying intelligence, and have no doubt the Russians interfered in the 2016 election. 60 Minutes Extra: Department of Justice senior official on 2016 Russian election hack effortPosing as Guccifer 2.0, the Russians offered up stolen documents to Julian Assange's WikiLeaks and self proclaimed "dirty trickster" Roger Stone. Will you make a commitment not to use any of these stolen materials in the-- in the campaign, or in the 2016 election?" Nevins posted the stolen documents on his website, organized in files, and alerted Florida journalists who couldn't resist publishing the Democrats' secrets.cbsnews.com
Florida state senator decries being targeted by 2016 Russian election hacking
Florida State Senator Annette Taddeo will appear on 60 Minutes Sunday to decry the Russian hack of the 2016 elections. Department of Justice officials say those files were hacked and dumped by a Russian military intelligence units. Florida State Senator Annette TaddeoTaddeo speaks to Bill Whitaker for a report that explains in detail how the Russians stole the critical information and disseminated it to undermine political candidates in 2016. Robert Anderson, who played leading roles in the FBI's counter intelligence and cyber security divisions, tracked Russian intelligence operatives for years. He warns in an interview with Whitaker that the Russians will be back for the 2020 election.cbsnews.com
Bill could boost job efforts for Florida inmates
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida inmates could work toward licensure in state-regulated professions while incarcerated, under a bill advanced Tuesday by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, said her bill (SB 194) would help inmates work toward licenses when they take prison courses that meet curriculum requirements for professions regulated by the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The proposal would not require state prisons to offer new courses, Taddeo said. Instead, it would require current courses offered by the Florida Department of Corrections to implement plans so inmates could apply credits toward licensure in professions such as cosmetology. Taddeo said the proposal could help reduce the chances of inmates returning to prison after release, adding that it would be a state investment.
Repeal sought of longstanding gun law
Scott Olson/Getty ImagesTALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Democratic senator Wednesday filed a bill that seeks to repeal a decades-old prohibition on cities and counties passing gun restrictions that are stricter than state firearms laws. Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, filed the bill (SB 134) for consideration during the 2020 legislative session, which starts in January. Florida since 1987 has barred cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than state firearms laws. The issue gained renewed attention last month when a Leon County circuit judge struck down a 2011 law that threatened tough penalties if city and county officials approve gun restrictions. Attorneys for the state have appealed the circuit judges ruling, which did not strike down the underlying 1987 law, known as a preemption law.
De Blasio shouts Cuban revolutionary slogan at Miami rally
De Blasio said he would stand by the workers "every step of the way." __ or "Until victory, always" __ a phrase most associated with revolutionary leader Che Guevara. How can anyone wanting to be the leader of the free world quote a murderous guerrilla - in Miami no less!" The strike was to protest what workers called hazardous working conditions and was first reported by CBS Miami in April. "There will be voices that tell you there is not enough money to treat working people right," de Blasio told the strikers.chicagotribune.com