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Briefs | The Phoenix Flyer

Florida farmers question state Ag rules on hemp crops

Future hemp farmers of Florida fear that proposed rules for cultivating and producing hemp contain big flaws, especially restrictions on seeds and methods for testing crops for over-the-limit concentrations of psychoactive THC.The concerns came at a public hearing Friday, where the Florida Department of Agriculture's draft hemp rules were discussed.Chris Topping of Cedar Key and others said the rules as proposed require growers to plant “certified” seeds and cultivars (clones) that aren’t readily available.“If there is no feminized, certified seed, how are farmers going to know what seed to plant?” Topping asked. He said Florida farmers hoping for harvests...
early voting booth

Conservative group says Florida should ban ‘vote harvesting’

Florida is one of 27 states that allows “vote harvesting” and it should be banned according to a new report.Vote harvesting is the practice of allowing a third-party to collect absentee or mail-in ballots from voters and deliver them to election officials.The practice allows “party activists, campaign managers, consultants, and other political guns-for-hire with a vested political or monetary interest in winning an election the ability to manipulate the outcome through intimidation and coercion of voters, or the outright theft and forgery of their ballots,” according to an Oct. 8 report from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group.“It...

Florida juvenile arrests reach 44-year low, new report shows

Juvenile arrests in Florida dropped 8 percent in the last year, reaching the lowest arrest level in the last 44 years, a new report from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice shows.In 2018-19, Florida had 54,768 juvenile arrests, down from 59,598 in the prior year, the report shows. The data also shows the arrests have declined 27 percent since five years ago.“The continued decline in juvenile arrests demonstrates our dedication to keeping Florida safe and keeping our young people out of the juvenile justice system through effective prevention and early intervention services,” Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a...

Politically connected conservatives tapped for key state appellate court

Federalist Society members will fill two vacancies on 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee – arguably the second-most important state court because it hears appeals involving Florida government, including constitutional challenges to state laws and administrative actions.Gov. Ron DeSantis tapped Rachel Nordby, a partner at Shutts & Bowen in Tallahassee, and Adam Tanenbaum, general counsel for the Florida House, from among nine candidates for 1st DCA seats submitted to the governor by the judicial nominating commission for the court.The Florida Phoenix reviewed the backgrounds of all nine candidates, finding that none were members of minority groups.When the two...

Gov. DeSantis hits New York for meetings with bankers, airline

Gov. Ron DeSantis was headed back to New York City Thursday for meetings with bankers and airline executives.The governor had a meeting scheduled with BNY Mellon at 2 p.m. in New York’s financial district, and another at 3:14 p.m. across the East River at Jet Blue’s corporate headquarters in Long Island City.DeSantis has made a number of out-of-state trips prospecting for financial services companies willing to establish offices in Florida – most recently on Sept. 19, when he met with executives at ME Group and Northern Trust Corp. in Chicago. In May, he visited a half-dozen finance and technology...
Capitol

U.S. House overwhelmingly votes to condemn Trump’s Syrian troop withdrawal

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wednesday approved a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria. The resolution passed the House with broad bipartisan support, delivering a stinging rebuke to the president. The final vote was 354-60. A half dozen Florida Republicans were among the 60 GOP lawmakers voting against the resolution. They were U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz, Neal Dunn, John Rutherford, Bill Posey, Gregory Steube and Brian Mast.Democrats voting for the resolution were Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Val Demings, Charlie Crist, Kathy Castor, Alcee Hastings, Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson, Debbie...

Attorney General to investigate vaping sales and marketing at some FL companies

Citing an “epidemic” of vaping among Florida’s youth, state Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Wednesday she will investigate the marketing and sales of e-cigarettes at more than 20 companies operating in Florida.Moody said an April study by the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco-Free Florida Bureau found a 58 percent increase in vaping among high school students from 2017 to 2018 and reported that nearly one in four students now use e-cigarettes. Moody said she visited areas around Florida this summer to see for herself.“As a mother, I cannot sit on the sidelines while underage vaping skyrockets and our next...

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman apparently fit right in among Florida Republican elite

Questions about campaign assistance from two figures in the Ukraine scandal followed Gov. Ron DeSantis to Jupiter Wednesday, where the governor traveled to announce his plan to boost regulation over water quality.The first question during the news conference concerned DeSantis' campaign’s acceptance of $50,000 in donations Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman through their company, Global Energy Producers. Additional Florida GOP beneficiaries of their campaign largesse included U.S. Sen. Rick Scott. Both politicians have disgorged the donations.DeSantis described a milieu in which two now-indicted businessmen who were deeply involved in Rudolf Giuliani’s efforts to produce dirt about Joe Biden and...

Group says privacy rights threatened by legislation seeking to limit access to abortions

With lawmakers ready to take up a parental-consent abortion bill next week, a reproductive rights group is warning that the legislation is potentially "alarming" and could lead to new limits on the right to privacy in Florida.The House Health and Human Services Committee is scheduled on Tuesday to hear legislation (HB 265) from Rep. Erin Grall, a Vero Beach Republican, requiring women under the age of 18 to have parental consent before ending a pregnancy.The House voted 69-44 for a similar bill in the 2019 session. But the measure died in the Senate.In a memorandum released Wednesday, the Florida...

Pasco County senator in line to become the next Florida Senate president

Florida Senate Republicans on Tuesday unanimously designated Sen. Wilton Simpson as their next Senate president.Simpson, a wealthy 53-year-old farmer and businessman from Pasco County, will take over the 40-member Senate following the 2020 general election, if the Republicans maintain their majority in the chamber. He will succeed Senate President Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican.In his designation speech, Simpson highlighted water quality, adoption, and Florida’s economy as some of his top issues for his term, which will include the annual legislative sessions in 2021 and 2022.He said he wants to complete the water-storage projects on the north side of Lake...

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