Joe Biden’s Justice Department notched another victory last week in the agency’s sprawling investigation into the January 6 protest on Capitol Hill against Biden’s presidency.
On Wednesday, Michael Curzio pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol building. The government offered the plea deal to Curzio’s court-appointed attorney in June; Curzio faced four misdemeanor charges, including trespassing and disorderly conduct, for his role in the Capitol breach.
Curzio will pay the government “restitution” in the amount of $500 to help pay for the nearly $1.5 million in damages the building reportedly sustained. (The Architect of the Capitol initially said the protest caused $30 million in damages but prosecutors have set the figure far lower.) Read More
There’s nothing worse than when you’re having a bad day and come back to your car to find a parking ticket on your windshield. Except, maybe, if that ticket was for $100,000, and you got it for parking on your own property.
That’s what happened to Sandy Martinez, a resident of Lantana, Florida. Teaming up with attorneys at the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice (IJ), she is suing the town over a parking violation fine assigned to her that totaled more than $100,000. Read More
A federal judge in Florida temporarily halted President Joe Biden’s $4 billion debt relief program exclusively for farmers of color, saying in a Wednesday order that the program was racially discriminatory.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard sided with Scott Wynn, a Florida-based white farmer who sued to block the program in May. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) program was originally passed in March as part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, with the intention of providing relief to “socially disadvantaged farmers.”
“Section 1005’s rigid, categorical, race-based qualification for relief is the antithesis of flexibility,” Howard wrote. “The debt relief provision applies strictly on racial grounds irrespective of any other factor.” Read More
Just 14 states saw positive employment growth between April and May while the majority of the growth was concentrated in a handful of states, according to the Department of Labor.
Fourteen states led by California, Florida and Texas experienced significant job growth, 35 states experienced stagnant job growth and Wyoming saw a decline in employment last month, according to a Department of Labor report released Wednesday. Overall, the unemployment rates in 21 states decreased between April and May while every state’s employment improved compared to May 2020.
While the U.S. continues to report increased job growth, the report showed that the vast majority of the growth has come from about a dozen states. Read More
Throughout America, a very important – and highly racialized – conversation is taking place about overcoming injustice. Here in Florida, that conversation has often gone in a markedly different and very promising direction. And schoolchildren of color are among the greatest beneficiaries.
The conversation in Florida, at least as it pertains to education, has focused on what might be called “systemic privilege.”
If you are unfamiliar with this (de-racialized) mash-up term, try this: Go to a public forum and suggest that all families should be treated fairly – that all parents should have access to the per-pupil funds for their children even if they choose to educate them outside the public school system. Read More
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he would veto funding for his state’s legislature after Democrats delayed the passage of an expansive elections bill.
Democrats in the state House quietly left the floor late Sunday with just hours to spare in the legislative session, preventing the bill from coming up for a vote. If signed into law, Senate Bill 7 would enhance voter ID provisions, empower partisan poll watchers and ban ballot drop boxes and drive-thru voting centers, which were used disproportionately in Texas’ biggest counties.
It would also make it easier to overturn an election in the state, allowing courts to throw out the results of an entire election if the amount of illegally cast votes exceeds the margin between two candidates, regardless of which candidate received more fraudulent votes. In 2020, there were just 43 documented cases of voter fraud, according to the Houston Chronicle. Read More
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday banning biological males from women’s sports.
The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act prohibits biological males from participating in athletic teams or sports designated for female students and requires that a student’s school or institution “request a certain health examination and consent form or other statement from the student’s health care provider to verify the student’s biological sex under certain circumstances.”
“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will empower Florida women & girls to be able to compete on a level playing field,” DeSantis tweeted Tuesday. “This will help ensure that opportunities for things like college scholarships will be protected for female athletes for years to come.” Read More
A concert promoter in Florida is selling $18 discounted tickets to an upcoming show for those who have been vaccinated and charging $999.99 per ticket for those who have not, ABC News reports.
Paul Williams of Leadfoot Promotions in Tampa Bay is organizing the concert which is set to take place on June 26 at the VFW Post 39 venue in St. Petersburg. It will feature performances from three punk rock banks: Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin, according to the report.
Posters for the punk event feature an image of “Nightmare on Elm Street” killer Freddy Krueger with needles for fingers and the Leadfoot Promotions booking page advises attendees to bring their “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card” showing they have had two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on or before 6/12/2021. Read More
Months after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer flew on a secret trip to Florida, Michiganders are starting to find answers.
Whitmer’s campaign committee will pay for her March Florida flight to visit her father after she initially attempted to use a nonprofit to charter the flight through a separate company.
The flight sparked an Federal Aviation Agency investigation, because the jet company was not authorized to operate charter flights. Read More
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed an education bill that allows for greater school choice in his state.
The new law, which streamlines Florida school choice scholarship programs and expands eligibility, was touted by DeSantis at a May 11 news conference at Jacksonville Catholic School.
Children in families of four that earn less than $100,000 will be eligible for a fully funded K-12 education at the school of their choice. Read More
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is once again under fire for a Florida trip she took months ago.
The trip was partially paid for by a 501(c)4 group, which critics say presents legal questions.
Whitmer used funds from an inauguration-related nonprofit to pay for a $27,521 trip to Florida to visit her ailing father in March, MIRS News reported. “She continued to carry out her duties as governor while she assisted her father [in Florida] with household duties like cooking and cleaning,” JoAnne Huls, the governor’s chief of staff, wrote in a memo. “The governor’s flight was not a gift, not paid for at taxpayer expense, and was done in compliance with the law.” Read More
Government documents from Florida show that social media giant Twitter failed to properly file to do business in the state, incurring a fine for transacting business there without the official permission of state officials.
The documents, available on the website of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations, show that in March the department received from Twitter an “application by foreign corporation for authorization to transact business in Florida.”
The application reveals that Twitter “first transacted business in Florida” in June 2015, apparently well before it registered to do business there. A letter sent back to Twitter by the department indicates that the social media company failed to properly register with the state, potentially for many years. Read More
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Wednesday scrapping all COVID-19 restrictions throughout the state and an accompanying bill that limits localities’ ability to enforce emergency precautions.
“I think that’s the evidence-based thing to do,” DeSantis said during a press conference Tuesday announcing the executive order. “I think folks are saying they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that, then you’re really saying you don’t believe in the vaccines.”
DeSantis signed SB 2006, which says that any emergency orders can last no longer than six weeks. It gives him the authority to overrule cities that adopt restrictions deemed too harsh or unnecessary, and gives city and county commissions the power to overrule mayors. Read More
Texas and Florida are slated to gain congressional seats during the decennial redistricting process, while California and New York are set to each lose one, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday.
The U.S. Census Bureau released the decennial state population and congressional apportionment totals Monday, outlining how many districts each state will have for the next decade. The data also determines how many Electoral College votes each state will have through 2032, and allocates how federal money is distributed to each state for schools, roads and other public projects.
The release was originally scheduled for December, but faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to exclude non-citizens from the count. Read More
A key Senate panel Wednesday amended a controversial bill imposing a range of restrictions on the state’s vote-by-mail (VBM) laws but did not vote on the measure after an exhaustive debate.
The Senate Rules Committee ran out of time before it could issue a verdict on Senate Bill 90 during a fiery marathon meeting that began with an hours’-long fracas over a proposed bill preempting local governments from regulating ports in areas “of critical state concern.”
Committee chair Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, concluded the meeting without calling for a vote on SB 90, saying the panel could take up the measure in its Friday meeting or next week. The bill was not on panel’s Friday agenda as of Thursday afternoon. Read More
Undocumented immigrants in Florida have been routinely denied access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.
A valid Florida driver’s license or government-issued I.D., utility bill or rental agreement is required to receive the vaccine, the Herald reported. Other undocumented immigrants who worked as essential workers across the U.S. haven’t been able to receive the vaccine, though some local governments are advocating for other proofs of residency so they will have access.
“What we feel is that they don’t want immigrants vaccinated,” Doris Mejia, an undocumented immigrant living in Florida told the Herald. “They see us as less, yet we work the most.” Read More
Thirteen states sued President Joe Biden’s administration over an American Rescue Plan provision prohibiting states from cutting taxes after accepting coronavirus relief funds.
The 13-state coalition argued that the provision included in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package preventing states from cutting taxes if they accept relief from the federal government is unconstitutional. The coalition, led by Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
“Never before has the federal government attempted such a complete takeover of state finances,” Morrisey said in a Wednesday statement. “We cannot stand for such overreach.” Read More
During a press conference in Palm Harbor, Florida on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that his administration is banning “Critical Race Theory” from being taught in Florida schools.
The governor made the announcement while describing a new civics education initiative aimed at teaching students “foundational concepts” in America, rather than “unsubstantiated theories.” Read More
A spring break celebration in Miami Beach, Florida led to over 100 partygoers being arrested over the weekend after a crowd became unruly, with two police officers being injured, as reported by CNN.
The incident took place on Friday night, where a crowd allegedly began surrounding and taunting a group of police officers. The Miami Beach Police Department’s official Twitter account described the crowd as “disorderly,” and said that pepper balls were used to disperse the crowd as dozens were arrested. Read More
When Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis takes the stage to deliver a welcoming address at the Conservative Political Action Conference on his home field in Orlando Friday, it will be as a fast-rising force in the conservative movement and an increasingly plausible and popular contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024.
DeSantis will be followed in the spotlight on the first full day of CPAC 2021 by a succession of marquee GOP names vying to woo the party’s conservative base at the movement’s signature annual gathering of the tribes. Among them will be potential 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls and aspiring heirs to the leadership of their party’s populist conservative wing, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, respectively. Read More
Florida passed a ballot initiative Tuesday to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2026, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Amendment 2 on the Florida ballot called for the minimum wage to be incrementally increased over the next six years, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Read More
Over 50 million Americans have voted early with 11 days remaining until Election Day, far surpassing the 47 million early ballots cast in 2016.
While nearly every state has begun early voting, Texas, California and Florida lead the way, with 6.3 million, 5.8 million and 4.2 million ballots cast in each state, according to the U.S. Elections Project. Read More
A Florida US Postal Service worker is accused of stealing a mail-in ballot, dozens of political flyers and 4 prepaid debit cards in a scheme that may have started nearly two years ago, federal authorities said Monday, the The New York Post reports.
Crystal Nicole Myrie, “embezzled letters, postal cards, and mail which came into her possession intended to be carried or delivered by her,” according to a criminal complaint. Read More
A free-speech group has repeatedly warned the University of South Florida about the unfairness and unconstitutionality of its coronavirus guidelines.
The Southeastern Legal Foundation has now sent three letters to the public university in Florida, warning it about problems with both its approaches to student gatherings and coronavirus tracking and reporting. Read More
President Donald Trump traveled to Fort Myers, Florida Friday to give a speech focusing on health care costs, Social Security and other issues that impact senior citizens. In his speech, the president sought to reassure elderly voters, who have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, that he cares about them, and is doing do everything he can to protect and defend them. Read More
Police were called to the Florida home of Brad Parscale Sunday after the well-known Trump campaign operative allegedly threatened to harm himself.
Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Karen Dietrich told The Sun Sentinel that the “encounter” was brief and without additional incident.
“We went out and it was very short. We went and got him help,” the police chief said. Read More
Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump in six of the most competitive battleground states as both candidates amp up their fundraising efforts and place multimillion dollar ad buys just over seven weeks out from the election, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation review.
In 2016, Trump pulled off an upset win after flipping Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Now, those three states, in addition to Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, are likely to decide the winner of November’s presidential election. Read More
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is committing at least $100 million to help Joe Biden’s presidential campaign in the crucial battleground state of Florida.
Bloomberg’s late-stage infusion of cash reflects Democrats’ concerns about the tight race in a state that is a priority for President Donald Trump. A victory for Biden in Florida, the largest of the perennial battleground states, would significantly complicate Trump’s path to reaching the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure a second term. Read More
President Donald Trump is winning the Cuban vote by large margins in one of the most contentious counties in Florida less than three months before Election Day, a new poll published Tuesday found.
Cuban-Americans in Florida’s Miami-Dade County support Trump over Biden by 38 points, according to a Bendixen & Amandi International poll. The poll, conducted Sept. 1 to Sept. 4, found the former vice president narrowly behind overall Hispanic voters in the county, with Trump leading 47% to 46%. Read More
Election officials in three battleground states wouldn’t say when the U.S. can expect the results from November’s presidential race, and an official in a fourth state said the timing is uncertain.
Numerous news reports have indicated that election results could take a week to return due to the coronavirus pandemic and an increased reliance on mail-in ballots. Accuracy and timing will be especially crucial in the battleground states that will likely determine whether President Donald Trump will serve another term or be ousted by former Vice President Joe Biden. Read More
A viral report of a sudden surge of coronavirus cases in infants in a single county in Texas is inaccurate, a local official said on Saturday.
On Friday, the top health official for the Corpus Christi area said at a press conference that the county currently has 85 cases of newborns with coronavirus. Read More
Trump supporters in Florida were celebrating the president’s birthday Sunday with caravans, flotillas and parades throughout his adopted home state.
In Palm Beach County — home of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort — separate caravans of trucks, motorcycles and boats were riding along highways and the intercoastal waterway at various times in the morning. The organizers were part of the president’s Florida re-election effort. Read More
After President Donald Trump took to Twitter to threaten pulling the Republican National Convention out of Charlotte, N.C, other southeast states with Trump allies as governor have offered to host the convention.
The GOP convention is scheduled for late August in Charlotte. North Carolina entered phase two of its reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic last week under Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who has been cautious in lifting restrictions. Read More
The Saudi national who shot three Americans at a military base in Pensacola, Fl., in December had been in contact with Al Qaeda before the attack, according to law enforcement officials.
Cell phone evidence links Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, a Saudi Air Force cadet who trained at the Naval Air Station Pensacola alongside American military officials, to the terrorist organization, according to government officials who spoke with the New York Times. The FBI discovered cell phone communication between Alshamrani and an Al Qaeda operative from before the December 2019 shooting spree. Read More
President Donald Trump warned 3M on Twitter Thursday night that it will “have a big price to pay” after the company was accused of various wrongdoings surrounding its production of N95 respirator masks. Read More
U.S. Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida on Saturday released what he described as a 30-Day Plan to help America get back to normal following the spread of the coronavirus. Read More
Tuesday’s upcoming presidential primary contests with a combined 577 delegates up for grabs will move forward as planned despite the coronavirus pandemic. Read More
The governor of Florida is expected to sign a bill requiring parental consent for minors to get abortions. Read More
A man driving a Chevrolet van plowed through a Republican group’s voter registration tent outside of a Walmart in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday, the local sheriff’s office said.
Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott suggested it was a politically motivated attack. Read More
A Florida police officer who was in the running for chief of his local department was temporarily suspended last week after the Miami Herald outed him for liking comments on Facebook that were critical of U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI-13). Read More
The Florida House will investigate “Chinese meddling in taxpayer-funded research” following a series of resignations at the Moffitt Cancer Center, a research nonprofit created by the Legislature in 1981 at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Read More
President Donald Trump, a lifelong New Yorker, changed his primary residence from Manhattan to Palm Beach, Florida, court documents show. Read More
A comprehensive report by the Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) breaks down the cost of illegal immigration to U.S. taxpayers: $115.9 billion annually. Read More
Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the Florida Supreme Court to issue an advisory opinion on whether convicted felons must pay all fines and fees before their voting rights are restored under Amendment 4, the November 2018 ballot measure approved by 64.5 percent of state voters. Read More
There were more hepatitis A cases reported in Florida during the first seven months of 2019 than were reported in the last seven years combined, spurring state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to declare the outbreak a public health emergency. Read More