Florida RPOF Update
Florida continues to lead on school choice for parents and students
The Legislature has passed bills maximizing parental choice by expanding eligibility and streamlining school choice scholarship programs for students with unique abilities and students from lower income families. The Senate passed House Bill 7045, School Choice, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Manny Diaz, Jr.
“I’m pleased to see the Senate stand with Florida parents who overwhelmingly support expanding eligibility for these popular school choice programs. We know that parents are their children’s first and best educators, a fact that has certainly been highlighted over the last year,” Senate President Wilton Simpson said. “We want school choice to be an option for every family. This important legislation further streamlines our existing school choice scholarships, and expands eligibility for lower income families, families of students with unique abilities, adopted children, and children whose parents serve in our military.”
The legislation expands school choice to allow a family of four earning less than $100,000 to receive full funding for K-12 education costs at a school of their choice under an expansion of the Family Empowerment Scholarship Program. Eligibility is expanded to students who are not enrolled in a public school, students of parents serving in the military, and students who are in foster care or adopted.
Read much more here: https://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/3963
The Wall Street Journal ran a terrific editorial on Florida’s school choice bill, the final line of which is: Florida is a haven for overtaxed northerners, but it’s also an education refuge for low- and middle-income families.
Read more here:
Holding Big Tech accountable. Both chambers of the Florida Legislature have now approved legislation barring social media companies from deplatforming political candidates. It’s a classic free speech, anti-censorship, equal access and protection bill for all Floridians.
Republicans and free-speech advocates — and just a lot of Americans — were outraged after the sitting President of the United States, President Donald Trump, was suspended and then banned from Facebook and Twitter in January on the spurious accusation that his content had the potential to incite violence. It did not, but plenty of content that the social media platforms do allow does have the potential, and expectation, to incite violence — such as Antifa organizing on their platforms.
After the appalling, partisan ban of the President,the New York Post, Parler, and Republican candidates such as Laura Loomer, Governor Ron DeSantis called for laws stopping the social media giants from doing this again. After all, for better or worse, they are the public square now and access to them is required for free speech to flourish. Under the measure, social media giants would be forbidden to suspend the accounts of candidates for more than 60 days before an election has been resolved.
Read more here: https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2021/04/28/florida-house-oks-bills-banning-social-media-deplatforming–voting-drop-boxes-
The Florida House and Senate have agreed to a budget that is balanced, while making record investments in flood mitigation, education and leaving $6 billion in budget reserves. The 2021 General Appropriations Act prepares Florida today for a better tomorrow. In reconciling the House and Senate budgets, both sides praised the other for their spirit of cooperation throughout the process.
“Working together with our partners in the Senate, we were able to craft a budget that funds immediate needs and also long-term priorities for the future,” House Speaker Chris Sprowls said. “In the greenest budget in Florida’s history, we respond to the needs of our state in areas like flooding mitigation, state park maintenance and water quality. We provide unprecedented levels of budget reserves, make record investments in higher-education funding, fund an overhaul of our workforce system and extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from two months to a full year.”
House Appropriations Committee Chair Trumbull said: “We make smart, good-government investments into programs that provide lasting benefits for generations. From unprecedented infrastructure funding to record investments into beach renourishment to bonuses for teachers and front-line workers, we make the right decisions for Florida’s future.”
The $101.5 billion budget includes $6.9 billion in federal funding from Medicaid increases and federal education stimulus funds. If those funds were not included, the budget would be $94.6 billion, slightly above the $92.3 billion budget approved last year.
Read more here: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?DocumentType=Press%20Release&FileName=763
Governor DeSantis announced a historic gaming compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The agreement will generate a minimum of $2.5 billion in new state revenue over the next five years, and an estimated $6 billion through 2030.
“This historic compact expands economic opportunity, tourism, and recreation, and bolsters the fiscal success of our state in one fell swoop for the benefit of all Floridians and Seminoles alike,” Governor DeSantis said. “Our agreement establishes the framework to generate billions in new revenue and untold waves of positive economic impact.”
Larger and more expansive than any other gaming compact in U.S. history, the agreement increases the revenue to the State of Florida from the Seminole Tribe from no revenue to over $6 billion over the next decade, with a guaranteed minimum of $2.5 billion during the first five years. Most notably, the compact modernizes the gaming industry through the authorization of sports betting in Florida through the Tribe. The agreement also provides protections for pari-mutuel operations and the opportunity to participate in sports betting offered by the Tribe.
Read more here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/04/23/governor-ron-desantis-strikes-historic-gaming-compact-with-seminole-tribe-of-florida/
Governor DeSantis announced significant progress in the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project in a press conference where he was joined by Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein and the South Florida Water Management District to announce significant progress on the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project.
The SFWMD Governing Board unanimously approved an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that keeps the Corps on track to begin federal construction on the reservoir component this year. In April 2020, Governor DeSantis announced that the South Florida Water Management District began construction on the State of Florida’s component of the project, the stormwater treatment area, 12 months ahead of schedule.
“Today marks a critical milestone for Everglades restoration and achieving our state’s long-term environmental goals,” Governor DeSantis said.
Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2021/04/22/governor-ron-desantis-announces-major-milestone-to-advance-eaa-reservoir-project/
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis needled Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer with a letter this week in response to ongoing revelations that she and a top staffer visited Florida recently after telling Michigan residents they should not travel — particularly to Florida. CFO Patronis provided the governor and her staff with tourism materials from the state’s “Visit Florida” marketing board to “help plan” their next trip down.
“Now that you and your COO have personally experienced what the Sunshine State has to offer, I encourage you to share your experiences publicly. More importantly, however, don’t be a stranger!”
Read more here: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/desantis-cabinet-member-trolls-michigans-whitmer-over-travel-mess-by-sending-tourism-pamphlets
REMEMBER: @FloridaGOP and retweet and share. The Republican message must be spread around the state and you are integral to making that happen.
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