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Briefs | The Phoenix Flyer

Lawmakers seek stricter consequences for leaving kids unattended in car and failing to use...

A state lawmaker wants to increase current child welfare protections in Florida, focusing on instances where children are unattended in a vehicle or aren’t buckled up in seat belts or child safety seats.State Rep. Cord Byrd, a Republican who represents Nassau and part of Duval County, presented legislation Thursday before the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.HB 413 would expand the definition of harm to include situations where a person leaves a child unattended in a car and fails to restrain them in a child safety seat.In Florida, from 1998 to 2018, 89 children died from heat strokes in...
Florida's surgeon general

State health officials seek budget boost to contain the hepatitis A outbreak

Florida health officials are asking for $15 million in the new state budget to contain an outbreak of hepatitis A and other emerging diseases, including measles and Zika.The liver disease hepatitis A has infected 3,221 Floridians this year through Dec. 7, according to the state Department of Health. It is nearly six times the number of residents – 548 – who were infected last year.Florida has the second highest death toll in the nation from hepatitis A, with 56 deaths since June 2018, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kentucky has the highest hepatitis A...
I voted sticker

Florida joins multi-state voter registration project – assuming the Legislature is willing to pay

Florida has been accepted into a multi-state project that will allow elections officials to spot duplicate voter registrations, but also to reach out to eligible but nonregistered citizens and encourage them to sign up.Florida becomes the 30th state (counting the District of Columbia) to participate in the Electronic Registration Information Center – or ERIC – which draws upon voter registration data in member states, plus Department of Motor Vehicles, Social Security Administration, and Postal Service records, to compare voter lists. The Pew Charitable Trusts devised the system.“My administration is committed to protecting the integrity of Florida’s voter rolls and...

House budget chief says an affordable housing fund sweep is likely in House budget...

Despite a plea to fully fund affordable housing programs in the new state budget, the House’s top budget leader says his chamber is likely to look again at shifting some of the housing money to other spending priorities in the 2020-21 budget.“If I was to predict, I would say that we’re going to take a hard look at that. We were pleased last year that the sweep was not maybe as much as it had been in the past, which I think is a victory for affordable workforce housing, which the need is great through the state,” House Appropriations...

Second death reported in FL linked to vaping, CDC releases new findings

Shortly after the Florida Department of Health reported one death related to e-cigarette use, also known as vaping, the agency disclosed an updated report showing a second death this year.National and state health departments launched a nationwide investigation on an outbreak of lung injuries and diseases associated with e-cigarette or vaping use.Florida has now reported 103 cases from Jan. 1, 2019. to Dec. 7, according to the Florida Department of Health.The first death reported was in late November. And state health officials previously told the Florida Phoenix that they can’t disclose any information about the reported death last month...
Fried

PAC report: Nikki Fried’s fundraising in November was best this year

Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried’s political committee outdid fellow Cabinet members' PACs during November, collecting nearly $273,000 mostly through contributions of $100 or less.It was her strongest fundraising month this year, according to records kept by the Florida Division of Elections.Fried is the only Democrat of the elected statewide officials who comprise the Florida Cabinet, as well as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.But her PAC contributions in some cases reflect Republican-leaning entities.Fried’s Florida Consumers First collected two $25,000 donations – one from the Florida Prosperity Fund, a PAC controlled by the business lobby, Associated Industries of Florida;...

FL Senate panel backs parental-consent abortion bill

Teenagers will have to secure the approval of their parents before they have an abortion under a bill that cleared the Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday.The 6-3 vote, along party lines with the Democrats in opposition, advanced a bill (SB 404) that would require women under the age of 18 to have the consent of a parent or legal guardian before ending a pregnancy. Florida law already requires parents to be notified if their child is seeking an abortion.The bill would allow teenagers to go to court and seek a waiver from the consent requirement. A similar judicial...

Gov. DeSantis showcases his civics knowledge, pushes for a citizenship-type civics exam for all...

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday directed Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to require all high school seniors in Florida to take a civics exam similar to the citizenship test given to people who want to become naturalized U.S. citizens.It wasn’t clear when such an exam would launch in schools; if and when legislation would be required; and precisely what the exam would look like for high school seniors.DeSantis made the announcement in Naples, stressing that a high school civics exam would be part of a package of reforms for Florida’s academic standards, including civics education and understanding the U.S. Constitution...
Gov. Ron DeSantis

PAC report: Gov. DeSantis’ committee continues to amass cash

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ political committee collected more than $700,000 during November, including a single donation of $100,000 from Charles B. Johnson, the retired chairman and CEO of investment house Franklin Templeton, according to records filed with the state.Johnson, who lives in Palm Beach and is worth nearly $5 billion, according to Forbes, retired in 2013.The Friends of Ron DeSantis collected six donations of $50,000. They came from Jacksonville real estate developer John D. Baker II; the Committee of Safety Net Hospitals; Florida CUPAC, representing credit unions; the Lewis Bear Co., a Pensacola beverage distributor; Humana; and Melbourne Greyhound Park...
State Capitol

FL bill that helps victims of housing discrimination passes in Senate committee

People who claim they’ve been discriminated against in housing would have another way to fix the problem, under legislation moving through the Florida Legislature.The bill, SB 374, passed unanimously in a Senate committee Monday, would help alleged victims of housing discrimination to pursue a civil lawsuit.Sen. Darryl Rouson, who represents parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, presented the legislation Monday to the Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability.The proposed bill will have to pass in the full House and Senate in the 2020 legislative session that begins Jan. 14.  Gov. Ron DeSantis would also have to approve it.Rouson...

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