RPOF Newsletter 11/18/2021

Chairman’s Message


 

The Florida Legislature’s Special Session was short but powerful, enshrining in state law freedoms for Florida employees and parents.

Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the Republican Legislature went into the Session with the clear goal of standing for workers and parents’ rights. The rapid success of these new laws is exactly what robust, principled and effective leadership looks like.

The legislation signed by Governor DeSantis is the strongest pro-freedom, anti-mandate action taken by any state in the nation. 

“I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs and today we made that the law,” Governor DeSantis said. “Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida. I’m thankful to the Florida Legislature for joining me in standing up for freedom.”

Here are the elements of the legislation protecting employees:

  • Private employer vaccine mandates are prohibited.
  • Employees can choose from numerous exemptions, including health or religious concerns; pregnancy or anticipated future pregnancy; and past recovery from COVID-19.
  • Employees can choose to opt for periodic testing or PPE as an exemption.
  • Prohibits employers from passing along the costs of testing and PPE to employees.
  • Employers who violate these employee health protections will be fined. For businesses with 99 employees or less, the fine is $10,000 per employee violation. For businesses with 100 or more employees, the fine is $50,000 per employee violation.
  • Government entities may not require COVID-19 vaccinations of anyone, including employees.
  • $5 million for the Attorney General to investigate complaints.

And here are the elements of the legislation protecting families:

  • Educational institutions may not require students to be COVID-19 vaccinated.
  • School districts may not require students to wear face masks.
  • School districts may not quarantine healthy students.
  • Students and parents may sue violating school districts and recover costs and attorney’s fees.

The Governor also signed legislation that would allow for removing Florida businesses from the onerous control of an ever expanding OSHA, and create a Florida equivalent administration to ensure workplace safety without the federal overreach.

Republican leadership in the Legislature was unified and every Republican in both chambers supported the legislation.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls: ​​”We have passed the smartest, strongest legislation in America to combat the Biden Administration’s unlawful vaccine mandate. We are proud to stand alongside every Florida parent and worker and say that forced masking of our kids in schools and forced vaccinations to keep your job stops here in Florida.”

Senate President Wilton Simpson: “Today we are sending a clear message that Florida stands for freedom. To our health care workers, law enforcement, first responders, farmers, truckers, and every other worker who never got a day off and couldn’t work from home during the pandemic – thank you for getting us through this crisis. Thank you for putting your family at risk. You stood with us when we needed you most, and we are proud to stand with you now.

Read more here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/11/18/governor-ron-desantis-signs-legislation-to-protect-florida-jobs/

Also at the signing event, Attorney General Ashley Moody announced that Florida is suing the Biden administration over the unlawful CDC vaccine mandate that threatens to exacerbate the health care worker shortage. The unlawful mandate comes as the nation is already experiencing what some are calling the worst health care labor crisis in memory. 

Attorney General Moody filed the complaint for Temporary Restraining Order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola.

“Governor DeSantis has shown exemplary leadership throughout the pandemic, and I am proud to stand with him as we challenge unlawful vaccine mandates forced on Floridians by the president and his power-hungry bureaucrats,” Attorney General Moody said. “I will always fight for freedom, Florida’s sovereignty and the autonomy of American workers.” 

Read more on the lawsuit here:​​http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/C9F27051EC65B86D852587910059F8C1 

​​

Florida

The Environmental Governor continues to comes through

Governor DeSantis traveled to Naples and Miami Tuesday to lay out his environmental budget proposals for the legislative session, including more than $960 million for Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources, and more than $550 million to ensure that communities are prepared to deal with the impacts of sea level rise, intensified storms and flooding.

The proposed $960 million investment will bring the total four-year investment for Everglades restoration and water resource protection to over $3 billion, more than doubling investments from the previous four years and surpassing Governor DeSantis’ ambitious goal of $2.5 billion. The proposed $550 million investment for resilience will build on the historic funding already received this year. This would bring the total state investment in resiliency to more than $1 billion over two years.

“When I took office, I outlined a bold vision to protect Florida’s environment, and we have not only kept the promises we made, we’ve exceeded them,” Governor DeSantis said. “We are excited to announce this historic support for Florida’s environment, Everglades restoration, and our water resources. We have seen great results so far, but we are not yet at the finish line. It’s nice to see so many coming together to support these initiatives. We will be pushing hard to continue the momentum this legislative session.”

The $960 million in Everglades restoration and water protection include:

  • $660 million for Everglades restoration, including the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the EAA Reservoir Project, and the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project;
  • $175 million for targeted water quality improvements;
  • $50 million for projects to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs;
  • $40 million for the Alternative Water Supply Grant Program;
  • $35 million for increased water quality monitoring and to combat harmful algal blooms including blue-green algae and red tide;
  • $3 million to remove invasive Burmese pythons.

The $550 million for community resilience includes $500 million for projects to make communities more resilient to sea level rise, intensified storms, and flooding; and more than $50 million to close the gap in resiliency planning and to protect our state’s coral reefs.

Environmental groups are praising the Governor’s actions. 

“Because of Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida’s one-of-a-kind environment and water resources will have the funding to be protected and restored,” said Eric Eikenberg, Chief Executive Officer, Everglades Foundation.

“The Everglades is a national treasure, and the entire country is behind the movement to protect it,” said Capt. Daniel Andrews, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Captains For Clean Water. “With this record funding, Governor DeSantis is going far above the commitment he made when he took office to restore and protect the Everglades and Florida’s water resources.

Read more here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/11/16/governor-ron-desantis-announces-budget-proposals-for-everglades-restoration-the-protection-of-water-resources-and-the-resilient-florida-program/ 

And here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/11/16/what-they-are-saying-governor-ron-desantis-announces-budget-proposals-for-everglades-restoration-the-protection-of-water-resources-and-the-resilient-florida-program/ 

 

Preserving Freedom Tower

Governor DeSantis proposed a $25 million preserve, refurbish and enhance the Freedom Tower in Miami.

For nearly 100 years, the tower has been a symbol of freedom and democracy, becoming an integral part of the Miami skyline and Miami history. From 1962 to 1974, the Freedom Tower became one of the most recognizable historic buildings in Florida — the place where Cuban refugees would be taken for assistance after fleeing the communist regime and landing in Florida.

It is worth noting that Governor DeSantis made this announcement at the same time as the people in Cuba continue to fight against the totalitarian communist regime. Over the weekend, Cuban Americans in Miami rallied in support of the Cuban people while the oppressive Cuban dictatorship continued to crack down on protestors on the island.

“After the Communist Regime took over in Cuba, hundreds of thousands of people fled and came to Florida to have a chance at freedom,” Governor DeSantis said. “Now it is our responsibility to carry on that legacy. We will continue to make sure the Freedom Tower remains one of the premier symbols of freedom and liberty in our nation.”

Read more here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/11/15/governor-desantis-announces-25-million-budget-proposal-for-the-freedom-tower/

 

Florida committed to Correctional Officers

Governor DeSantis and the Florida Department of Corrections announced unprecedented incentives for new correctional officer hires, including hiring bonuses up to $5,000.

“As so many cities and states choose to disrespect, degrade and defund the work of law enforcement, we want Florida to continue valuing our men and women of law enforcement today, tomorrow and for generations to come,” Governor DeSantis said.

Effective immediately, here are the new incentives:

  • $3,000 new hire bonus for all new correctional officers;
  • $1,000 hiring bonus for correctional officers to join high vacancy institutions;
  • $1,000 hiring bonus for certified correctional officer applicants.

Beginning January 2022, state correctional officers starting salary will be raised to $38,750, an increase of 16%. This shows our state’s permanent commitment to all law enforcement.

Read more here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/11/17/governor-ron-desantis-and-florida-department-of-corrections-announce-increased-hiring-bonuses-additional-incentives-for-correctional-officers/ 

 

Additional workforce training for veterans and spouses 

Governor DeSantis announced $8.6 million to workforce development boards across the state to expand career and workforce training opportunities for military veterans and spouses seeking employment. The Governor’s announcement comes as Paychecks for Patriots Career Fairs for veterans and military families are underway across the state.

“We owe the freedoms we enjoy as Americans to our military veterans, and I am focused on ensuring Florida is the best state in the nation for those who have served to find great jobs, start or grow businesses and support their families,” said Governor DeSantis. “Business is booming in Florida, and employers are looking for the leadership skills, training and teamwork military veterans bring to the workforce.” 

Read more here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/11/11/governor-desantis-announces-8-6-million-to-expand-career-and-workforce-training-opportunities-for-military-veterans-and-spouses/

Read more about Paychecks for Patriots here: https://floridajobs.org/paychecks-for-patriots ​​

 

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Marco Rubio has been a strong and consistent advocate for veterans and veteran care. For Veterans’ Day, Rubio put out an ad  

“They had a job to do, and they did it. No matter how they felt about it, no matter what they believed about it beforehand or after,” he says in a clip from one of the many events he has been part of in support of veterans.

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyrZ5ZuoxrI

 

Attorney General Ashley Moody

 

Moody leads the charge against robocall scammers

Attorney General Ashley Moody continues to lead the fight to protect Floridians from robo scammers who have found workarounds to bypass anti-robocall tech.

Moody is the leader of a letter from 50 state attorneys generals calling on the Federal Communications Commission‘s to implement stricter processes on companies to curtail the calls. In particular, Moody noted that bad actors are exploiting legitimate phone numbers to circumvent previously implemented anti-robocall technology.

“Working with the FCC, we have been successful in reducing the number of scam robocalls targeting Americans,” Moody said. “Unfortunately, in recent months, scammers have found ways to circumvent the technology created to protect our citizens from fraudulent robocall messages.”

Read more here: https://thecapitolist.com/ashley-moody-leads-effort-to-stop-robocallers-from-abusing-phone-numbers/ 

ICYMI

Florida’s outstanding financial condition

The state of Florida has earned the highest possible financial rating from Standard and Poor, higher than the United States’ rating.

S&P confirmed late last week that Florida’s AAA Stable rating on Florida’s General Obligation bonds, the highest rating available, showed that Florida revealed a rating higher than the nation’s and h higher than other big states, such as California and New York.  

Here it is from the S&P report: “Florida’s GO bonds are eligible to be rated above the sovereign because we believe the state can maintain better credit characteristics than the U.S. in a stress scenario.”

“Florida’s economy is strong because we have kept the state open, maintained a positive economic climate, taxed lightly and spent wisely,” Governor DeSantis said. “Florida is yet again outpacing the nation, and the state is well-positioned to weather future economic challenges.”

Read more here: https://www.flgov.com/2021/11/12/sp-announces-floridas-aaa-credit-rating-ranks-higher-than-the-nation/ 

 

Tweets 

https://twitter.com/GovRonDeSantis/status/1461022432295362565

https://twitter.com/marcorubio/status/1460972510326009865

https://twitter.com/AGAshleyMoody/status/1460358644499992584 

https://twitter.com/JimmyPatronis/status/1460358531442479111

https://twitter.com/teamrondesantis/status/1459250556489326596 

https://twitter.com/TeamMarco/status/1461077685094940677

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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