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Briefs | The Phoenix Flyer

Senate Dems urge Gov. DeSantis to reverse course on sending officers to Mexican border

Democrats in the Florida Senate have urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to reverse his decision to send law enforcement officers to defend the border with Mexico in Texas and Arizona, contending he is acting for “purely political purposes.” “On behalf of the millions of diverse constituents the Senate Democratic Caucus represents, we urge you to consider the dangers such a move presents,” the letter, signed by all 16 Democratic state senators, reads. “As you acknowledged earlier this month, we are experiencing a spike in incidents of gun violence throughout our state, most notably in South Florida. Florida kids are dying in the...

‘Tell the truth,’ Louisiana college president says of struggle to vaccinate returning students

WASHINGTON—Leaders in higher education from Florida and Louisiana on Thursday related how colleges coped with a rough year of online learning and vaccine distribution amid the pandemic, during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. The hearing included Dr. Reynold Verret, the president of Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically Black college in New Orleans, as well as Madeline Pumariega, the president of Miami Dade College, a community college which with 100,000 students is one of the largest higher education institutions in the U.S. Verret was asked what advice he would give universities that are trying to move to...

Floridians respond to the survival of “Obamacare”

Millions of Floridians and other Americans concerned about losing their health care can breathe easier today. As the Associated Press writes: "The Supreme Court dismissed a major challenge to the Obama era health care law on Thursday, turning aside an effort by Republican-led states to throw out the law that provides insurance coverage for millions of Americans. "The justices, by a 7-2 vote, left the entire law intact in ruling that Texas, other GOP-led states and two individuals had no right to bring their lawsuit in federal court. The Biden administration says 31 million people have health insurance because of the law...

Federal judge halts Biden pause on new oil and gas leases across the U.S.

A federal judge in Louisiana has ordered the Biden administration to restart regular sales of oil and gas leases, forcing the administration to prematurely abandon a central piece of its climate change agenda. In a preliminary ruling issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty granted the request of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and 12 other Republican-led states, including Georgia, Missouri and Montana, that filed a court challenge, and ordered the administration to hold quarterly lease sales nationally at least until the case is decided. The order in the Western District of Louisiana is not a final ruling on the case, but does...

Mayors of U.S. cities plead for federal funds to alleviate housing crisis

WASHINGTON—The mayors of U.S. cities stressed the need for affordable housing to be included in any congressional infrastructure package during a Tuesday hearing before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee. Mayors Daniel Horrigan of Akron, Ohio, Cyndy Andrus of Bozeman, Mont., and Corey Woods of Tempe, Ariz., all said that their cities are facing a housing crisis. For businesses to retain talented workers and for their communities to grow, they need help from the federal government to invest in affordable housing, they said. “Housing is the basic building block of a community,” Andrus said in her opening statement. “Why...

AARP report: COVID-19 cases at Florida nursing homes have been on the rise

While COVID-19 infections have slowed, cases among residents at Florida's nursing homes have been increasing, with the rate of infections higher than the national average, according to a new report released by AARP. Data from the the AARP Public Policy Institute, collaborating with Scripps Gerontology Center at Ohio's Miami University, created a "Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard" to track nursing home measures in four-week snapshots in several categories. The most recent period ending May 16 shows that Florida had .63 COVID-19 cases per 100 nursing home residents. That's higher than the national average of 0.4 per 100 residents, according to the data. Florida's...

FL lags behind on President Biden’s vaccine goal for July 4th

President Joe Biden has been pushing hard to reach a goal of 70 percent of U.S. adults receiving at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by July 4th — but Florida isn't there yet. Overall, 62.2 percent of Florida residents 18 and older have gotten at least one vaccine dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida ranks 26th of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. in reaching the 70 percent goal that President Biden is pursuing. Florida has about 21 days left. Several states have already reached the goal. The CDC data show that Vermont has the highest...

Biden pick: Robin Carnahan vows to modernize government IT systems as U.S. agency chief

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the General Services Administration, former Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, told senators Thursday that she was “horrified” by the slow pace of federal pandemic relief. While Congress responded to the crisis with new programs and resources, in too many instances, that help was not fast enough in reaching families due to outdated technology systems, she said. “We can’t implement government policy if we can’t make the damn websites work,” she told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during her confirmation hearing. If confirmed to run an agency tasked with supporting federal agencies,...

Doug Emhoff, Veep’s husband, promotes COVID vaccination drive in visit to Tallahassee

Note: This story is based on a pool report provided by James Call of the Tallahassee Democrat. Doug Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, traveled to Tallahassee Thursday in support of the Biden administration’s efforts to promote vaccinations against COVID-19. Emhoff arrived during the late morning at the Neighborhood Medical Center, located in one of Florida’s poorest zip codes, for a vaccination clinic. The administration has set a goal of achieving a 70 percent vaccination rate among adults by July 4. Emhoff is the first male spouse of a vice president and, consequently, the first such to visit Florida’s capital city. He...

FL has cut back on COVID data to the public, but you can still...

Last week, the Florida Department of Health decided to cut back on the detailed, daily counts of COVID-19 infections and deaths, instead reporting weekly data to the public though COVID continues despite vaccinations and a slowdown of cases. But if you want to see data on a daily basis, you can go on the federal government's website, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The daily data gives not only a one-day picture, but spans daily cases of infections and deaths all the way back to January 2020. In a one-day picture of the latest CDC data, for example, Florida...

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