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US Senator Rick Scott’s Week in Review 04/29/2022

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This week, Senator Rick Scott unveiled a package of four finance-focused bills to hold Communist China accountable and better protect the retirements and investments of Florida families. As tensions between the U.S. and Communist China continue to rise, these important bills will put safeguards in place to protect Americans’ hard-earned investments and stop exploitation by the Communist Chinese government. 

The proposed legislation will hold Communist China accountable by closing investment sanctions loopholes, protecting investors from dubious Chinese companies, imposing new sanctions, demanding additional transparency and accountability from publicly-traded companies, and identifying vulnerabilities and requiring disclosures so that transactions are transparent and safe for Americans.

  • The Sanction Transactions Originating from Pernicious Chinese Companies and Policies (STOP CCP) Act, cosponsored by Senators Joni Ernst, Ted Cruz, Bill Hagerty and Mike Braun, would expand the jurisdiction of existing U.S. investment restrictions targeting Chinese entities placed on the NS-CMIC Companies list as well as establish that Chinese companies sanctioned under one U.S. authority be automatically sanctioned under all other authorities.

  • The bipartisan Protecting American Capital Act, co-led with Senator Jeanne Shaheen, would require the U.S. Department of the Treasury to analyze and submit an annual report to congress on the United States’ financial exposure among certain sectors of the Chinese economy that pose significant risk.

  • The Transaction and Sourcing Knowledge (TASK) Act, cosponsored by Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Braun, would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to report on specific sourcing and transaction activities within the forced labor region of the Xinjiang province. Additionally, this bill would require an annual report disclosing if there is a Chinese Communist Party committee member apart of the companies’ operation and summarize the actions and corporate decisions in which such committees may have participated.

  • The Secure America’s Financial Exchanges (SAFE) Act, cosponsored by Senator Mike Braun, would require the SEC to implement specific disclosure requirements for Chinese-based companies seeking access into U.S.-based exchanges through Initial Public Offering (IPOs).

Read more about Senator Scott’s proposals HERE.

See more of what Senator Scott has been up to this week below.

Sen. Rick Scott on Senate Floor: Biden’s Fed Nominees Don’t Deserve to Hold Their Seats

Senator Rick Scott spoke on the Senate Floor to express his disapproval of President Joe Biden’s nominees to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and slam their disastrous policy decisions which continue to distort credit markets and hurt America’s poorest families and those on fixed incomes.

Senator Rick Scott said, “FOR YEARS, I have urged Fed Chair Jay Powell and members of the Federal Open Market Committee to reduce the Fed’s unprecedented balance sheet – but they have failed to act. Month after month, the Fed has purchased BILLIONS in Treasuries and Mortgage-Backed Securities, with no plan to wind down and right size its balance sheet. At every turn in recent years when the Fed could have been fighting for American families by mitigating the long-term risks of its massive balance sheet and telling the truth about the terrible consequences of reckless government spending, it instead chose to appease Joe Biden, Wall Street and the Democrats running Washington. These nominees have completely failed the American people and don’t deserve to hold their seats.” Watch more in the video HERE or below.

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Sen. Rick Scott to CBP Commissioner: We Must Enforce STOP Act & End Cartel Drug Smuggling Via USPS

Senator Rick Scott sent a letter to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus urging CBP to take immediate action to close a loophole allowing dangerous drug cartels to smuggle fentanyl into America using the United States Postal Service (USPS), and demanding answers on CBP’s enforcement of the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act. The STOP Act, signed into law in 2018, requires USPS to be held to the same standard as commercial shipping services, like FedEx and UPS, to use an informational marker system to share information between shippers, CBP and receivers. Currently under CBP’s direction, USPS is failing to follow the requirements of the law; allowing criminal organizations in countries like Communist China to use USPS to smuggle deadly fentanyl into the United States. Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott: Biden’s Agenda Devastates America, His Confusion & Lies Only Make Things Worse

Following reports that U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined at a 1.4% annualized rate, Senator Rick Scott issued the following statement in response to Joe Biden’s confused lies about his plan to rescue America and the president’s failed agenda.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Today, in response to a horrific GDP report showing 1.4% annualized decline, the president issued a desperate statement lying about my plan to rescue America and calling on Congress to pass legislation to bolster U.S. supply chains, lower the federal deficit and stop inflation. That’s rich coming from the man who is single handedly responsible for historically high inflation, wants to raise the federal debt to $45 TRILLION, has no plan to balance the budget and whose failed leadership is pushing our nation into an economic recession where the labor participation rate is shockingly low.

“Joe Biden is clearly obsessed with my plan to rescue America and very confused about his own agenda that is devastating American families. Unlike Joe Biden, I’m a proven tax cutter. I’ve cut more taxes than anyone in Washington and even the liberal Washington Post has corrected Biden’s lies about me. Sadly, it’s no surprise after spending a year hiding in his basement before spending another year hiding in the White House and his Delaware vacation home, that Biden has lost his grip on reality. Thankfully, the American people aren’t buying his lies. As long as Biden and the Democrats keep trying to destroy this great country, I’ll be fighting to rescue it. We’ll stop at nothing to hold Biden and the radical Left responsible for the disasters they’ve created.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Demands Answers After Biden’s Afghanistan Failure Left $7 Billion of Equipment in Enemy Hands

Senator Rick Scott released the below statement after a Pentagon report revealed that more than $7 BILLION of U.S. military equipment was left in Afghanistan due to President Biden’s botched military withdrawal. For months, Senator Scott has been pushing for a bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan to conduct a full investigation into President Biden’s failed and tragic withdrawal of U.S. forces that stranded hundreds of Americans behind enemy lines, took the lives of 13 U.S. service members and left billions of dollars in U.S. military equipment in the hands of terrorists.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Not only has Biden’s failed Afghanistan withdrawal led to the tragic deaths of U.S. service members, left Americans stranded and our world in a more dangerous place, it has literally made the Taliban regime that we fought for DECADES better equipped to fight. Thanks to President Biden’s failures and incompetence as commander in chief, over $7 BILLION worth of American military equipment, paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars, was left behind enemy lines in Afghanistan and in the hands of terrorists. Months later, we still have no explanation as to what led to the United States’ most stunning, unforced and humiliating defeat in decades. Americans are sick of waiting for the accountability we deserve. We need to pass my resolution to establish a bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan and finally launch a full investigation into the U.S. Afghanistan withdrawal.” Read more HERE.

Sen. Rick Scott Issues Weekly Update on Biden’s Inflation Crisis

Senator Rick Scott released the below statement following the Bureau of Economic Analysis report noting the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index has risen to 6.6% over the year. This is the largest annual increase in the PCE Price Index since 1982 – marking a 40-year high in prices under Joe Biden’s failed leadership. This data shows how President Biden’s inflation crisis, caused by his and Democrats’ socialist policies and reckless government spending, is shrinking budgets for families as the prices of everyday goods continue to skyrocket.

Senator Rick Scott said, “Inflation is a tax on every American and under President Biden’s failed leadership, that tax is going up every month. Joe Biden can keep lying about how ‘great’ the economy is doing and using all the excuses he wants, but here are the facts: inflation is the worst we’ve seen in more than 40 years, the economy is shrinking, labor participation is shockingly low and labor costs are at record highs we haven’t seen in two decades. For small businesses and our poorest families, like mine growing up, Biden’s raging inflation crisis is absolutely devastating. Hardworking Floridians simply can’t afford another two-and-a-half years of Joe Biden’s reckless, socialist policies and tax and spend agenda.” Read more HERE.

Florida Daily: Rick Scott: U.S. Needs to ‘Stand Up to Thugs Like Xi and Putin’

Last week, Senator Rick Scott traveled to Poland, Lithuania and Ramstein Air Base in Germany to meet with service members, high-ranking officials and community members to reinforce the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine and NATO allies in the face of Russia’s murderous invasion. While abroad, Senator Scott became the first U.S. senator to visit the Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania where he met with Eric Huang, head of the Taiwanese Representative Office, and discussed the importance of working together and continuing to stand up for human rights, freedom and ways to fight communist aggression around the world.

Read more in the Florida Daily article, Rick Scott: U.S. Needs to ‘Stand Up to Thugs Like Xi and Putin,’ below:

“As Communist China’s threats against the peaceful people of Taiwan continue to grow more severe, the United States and our partners in democracy, like Lithuania, must stand strongly against Xi’s communist aggression.

During my meeting with Mr. Huang I reaffirmed the importance of maintaining a strong partnership between the U.S., Taiwan and Lithuania, and reiterated my commitment to fight every day alongside our partners and allies…

Now is the time for the U.S. government and the entire American business community to show absolute economic and political support for nations like Lithuania that stand up to thugs like Xi and Putin and support fellow democracies like Taiwan.

Also last week, Scott visited the U.S. Army outpost in Pabradė, Lithuania to meet with American soldiers stationed there, including several from Florida, and received an operations brief from commanding officers.”

Read the full article in Florida Daily HERE.

Roll Call: Senate Republicans balk on funds related to Biden’s border move

Forbes: ‘The Fault Of Joe Biden And Joe Biden Alone’: Rick Scott Hammers Biden, Fed On Senate Floor

Orlando Sentinel: Rubio, Scott lead bipartisan push to bring Space Force training HQ to Space Coast

The Capitolist: Florida lawmakers push to bring Space Force headquarters to Florida

Florida Daily: Rick Scott: Customs and Border Protection Need to Crack Down on Fentanyl Being Smuggled Through the Mail

EVTV: Senador Scott pide a Biden no invitar a Cuba, Venezuela y Nicaragua a Cumbre de Las Américas

El Nacional: Rick Scott pide a Biden que los gobiernos de Venezuela y Cuba sean excluidos de la Cumbre de las Américas

Sen. Rick Scott’s Office Hosts Mobile Office Hours

This week, Senator Scott’s staff held mobile office hours in Lakewood Ranch, Apopka, Miami, West Melbourne, Marianna, Bradenton, Green Cove Springs, Punta Gorda and Sewalls Point to help with issues related to federal agencies.

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US Senator Marco Rubio 04/29/2022

Marco Rubio - U.S. Senator for Florida E-Newsletter

This Week in the Office of Senator Marco Rubio 


On Wednesday, I spoke on the Senate floor and released a statement after the Senate rejected my joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Biden Administration’s 2021 Final Rule on the Title X Family Planning Program. The Final Rule reversed the Trump Administration’s 2019 ban on federal funding to entities, such as Planned Parenthood, that provide abortion services or referrals to pregnant mothers. Read more here


On Wednesday, I joined Fox & Friends to discuss the latest on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the crisis at the southern border, China, and more. Watch the interview here


On Wednesday, I joined Good Day Orlando to discuss Disney, Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, inflation, and immigration. Watch the interview here


On Wednesday, I published an op-ed in Fox Business discussing China’s latest COVID-19 lockdowns and the devastating impact they will have on the global supply chain. Read the op-ed in English hereand in Spanish here


On Tuesday, I led Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) and bipartisan members of the Florida delegation in sending a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall regarding his forthcoming selection of a permanent location for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Training and Readiness Command. We urged Secretary Kendall to select Patrick Space Force Base and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Read more here



Last Friday, I sent a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge regarding unsafe and unsanitary conditions at several properties throughout the State of Florida being managed by Cambridge Management, Inc. under the Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance program. Read more here



On Thursday, I led Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and John Cornyn (R-TX) in sending a letter to U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen regarding Chinese-funded Alphawave IP Group’s intent to acquire U.S.-based semiconductor IP developer OpenFive. Read more here



On Wednesday, I sent a letter to Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group, asking for further information regarding Volkswagen’s partnerships with Chinese companies Huayou Cobalt and Tsingshan Holding Group. Both companies are implicated in egregious human rights abuses around the world. Read more here



On Monday, I released a statement calling the establishment of a presumptive service connection for nine rare respiratory cancers by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) long overdue and woefully insufficient. Read more here



On Monday, I welcomed the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus’s endorsement of myRestoring Resilient Reefs Act and Built to Last Act . Read more here


On Monday, I issued a statement after a Russian court declared opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza a “foreign agent” and charged him with spreading “false” information. Read more here


On Monday, U.S. Representative Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and I sent a letter to Samantha Tate, Division Chief for United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Monitoring and Enforcement, calling for an investigation into possible violations of the USMCA by Mexico due to their use of foreign medical personnel from Cuba. Read more here





Legislation Introduced
  • On Tuesday, Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and I introduced legislation to block the Biden Administration from diverting VA resources from our nation’s veterans to manage the escalating crisis at the southern border. Read more here

  • On Wednesday, I joined Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and colleagues in introducing aCongressional Review Act joint resolution of disapproval to prohibit the U.S. Department of Justice from implementing a new rule that would expand the definition of a firearm and establish a national gun registry. Read more here

  • On Thursday, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and I reintroduced the Higher Education Innovation Act . The bill would ensure students who attend high-quality trade schools, community colleges, and other postsecondary programs have access to federal financial aid. Read more here

In Case You Missed It…

“‘It’s despicable that the Biden administration would prioritize resources for illegal immigrants over the veterans who bravely served our country,’ Rubio told Fox News Digital. ‘This bill would ensure that VA resources are not diverted to deal with the administration’s growing border surge.’” (Republican senators introduce bill blocking Biden admin from sending VA resources to ‘bear burden’ at border, Fox News , 4/26/2022)

“South Florida Republicans: Labor Department Needs to Investigate if Mexico is Using Cuban Medical Personnel” (Florida Daily , 4/26/2022)

“Rubio, Scott lead bipartisan push to bring Space Force training HQ to Space Coast” (Orlando Sentinel , 4/27/2022)  

“Rubio Questions Volkswagen’s Ties to Metal Suppliers in China Over Human Rights”(Bloomberg , 4/28/2022)

“Marco Rubio Slams Senate, Biden, After Resolution to Ban Federally Funded Abortion Voted Down” (Breitbart , 4/28/2022) 

“Webster, Scott, Rubio Recommend Multiple Florida Locations for New Space Endeavors” (The Floridian , 4/28/2022)

“Marco Rubio Backs Bill to Protect Intellectual Property Rights of Vaccine Manufacturers From China, Russia” (Florida Daily , 4/28/2022)

“Marco Rubio Backs Bill Stopping White House Using VA Personnel to Secure the Border”(Florida Daily , 4/28/2022)

“Senator Marco Rubio, vice-chairman of the US Select Committee on Intelligence and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee, said the region had been dangerously neglected. ‘While this and previous administrations ignored the Pacific islands, the Chinese Communist Party quietly worked to claim the allegiance of our partners in this critical area,’ Senator Rubio said.” (US senators urge Biden, Australia to step up Pacific diplomacy, Financial Review , 4/27/2022)

“Marco Rubio: VA Needs to Do More to Help Veterans Impacted by Burn Pits” (Florida Daily , 4/27/2022)


Coming up…
  • My staff will host Mobile Office Hours next week to assist constituents with federal casework issues in their communities. More information and locations near you here


Keep up with me on Facebook and Twitter.  
RPOF Newsletter 4/29/2022

Chairman’s Message

Further Strengthening Election Integrity

Florida was already a leader in election integrity and efficiency, but it is even more so now. Governor DeSantis signed into law SB 524, the Election Administration bill, to ensure that Florida continues to have the most secure and accurate elections in the nation.

This new law will strengthen election security measures by requiring voter rolls to be annually reviewed and updated, further firm up ID requirements, establish the Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election law violations, and increase penalties for violations of election laws. 

“Twenty years ago, nobody thought Florida was a prime example of how to conduct elections, but we have become a national leader by running the most secure elections in the country,” Governor DeSantis said. “We need to do more to ensure our elections remain secure. We have ended ballot harvesting, stopped drop boxes and the mass mailing of ballots, and banned Zuckerbucks. And this bill will give us more resources to make sure bad actors are held accountable.”

Before now, there was not a dedicated office to investigate all election crimes in Florida. This year’s budget provided more positions and resources for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to support the criminal investigation of election crimes with the new Office of Election Crimes and Security.

“Governor DeSantis has made elections integrity a top priority from the very beginning of his administration, taking steps to ensure we invested in our elections systems, strengthened our cyber defenses, modernized equipment, updated voter rolls, and improved transparency, and we’ve seen results,” said Florida Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee.

The new law also requires the Department of State to recommend a plan on how to strengthen ID requirements for mail-in ballots. The plan will include how to use a Florida driver license number, Florida identification card number, social security number, or any part thereof to confirm the identity of each elector returning a vote-by-mail-ballot.


Read more:
https://www.flgov.com/2022/04/25/governor-ron-desantis-signs-bill-to-strengthen-floridas-election-integrity/

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Governor signs law to stop woke discrimination

Governor DeSantis signed HB 7 into law giving businesses, employees, children and families more tools to stand up to against discrimination and woke indoctrination.

The law aims to prevent discriminatory instruction in the workplace and in public schools, and defines individual freedoms based on the fundamental truth that all individuals are equal before the law and have inalienable rights. This law is the first of its kind in the nation to take on both corporate wokeness and Critical Race Theory in schools in one act.

“No one should be instructed to feel as if they are not equal or shamed because of their race,” Governor DeSantis said. “In Florida, we will not let the far-left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces. There is no place for indoctrination or discrimination in Florida.”

“We are in the initial stages down a dark path, but luckily community leaders have said not in this state, not in this country,” said Christopher Rufo, Senior Fellow and Director of the Initiative on Critical Race Theory at The Manhattan Institute.

The law now protects civil rights in employment and K-20 education by specifying that subjecting an employee or student to a required activity that promotes, advances or compels individuals to believe discriminatory concepts, is unlawful discrimination.

Concepts constituting unlawful discrimination include: 

  • That members of one race, color, national origin or sex are morally superior to members of another race, color, national origin or sex.
  • That a person by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist or oppressive.
  • That a person’s moral character or status as privileged or oppressed is determined by race, color, national origin or sex.
  • That a person, by virtue of their race, color, national origin or sex should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity or inclusion.

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/04/22/governor-ron-desantis-signs-legislation-to-protect-floridians-from-discrimination-and-woke-indoctrination/


FLORIDA
Special Session on home insurance

Citing Florida experiencing “two straight years of net underwriting losses exceeding $1 billion each year,” and an outsized proportion of lawsuits regarding homeowner claims, Governor Ron DeSantis has called a Special Session of the Legislature for May 23-27. 

In the proclamation for the session, the Governor included topics to consider, including reinsurance, role of the Office of Insurance Regulation and changes to the Florida Building Code with the goal to improve the affordability of property insurance.

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/04/26/calling-on-the-legislature-to-hold-a-special-session-regarding-property-insurance/

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Governor announces $15 million for infrastructure in 10 communities

Governor DeSantis has announced more than $15 million to 10 Florida communities through the Rural Infrastructure Fund and the Community Development Block Grant program.

Additionally, when the review of the state’s budget is complete, an additional $600,000 will be committed through the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to support the construction of ADA compliant facilities at the Joe Budd Youth Conservation Center Shooting Complex in Gadsden County.

“My administration is dedicated to building infrastructure that strengthens Florida’s communities,” Governor DeSantis said. “These strategic, meaningful investments will help produce a stronger economy and a more confident workforce.”

Read more and see the list of projects here: https://www.flgov.com/2022/04/22/governor-ron-desantis-awards-more-than-15-6-million-to-10-florida-communities-for-community-development/ 


IMPORTANT REMINDER: You have the ability to greatly expand the beliefs and ideas of the Republican Party of Florida by sharing out Facebook and Twitter posts. Please follow and retweet us on Twitter @FloridaGOP, and like and share us on Facebook at FloridaGOP. We can win over others only if we all pitch in to reach them with our message.

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Senator Rubio guest column on Fox Business:
China’s COVID lockdowns will create a new supply chain crisis

Senator Rubio wrote a guest column for Fox Business this week explaining the impact of the disastrous Chinese Communist Party’s lockdown of Shanghai.

In 2020, China’s draconian lockdowns created massive supply chain shortages that rippled throughout the globe almost as fast as COVID-19. For months, Americans faced empty shelves and enormous shipping delays. Two years later, we’re still dealing with the problem, with a new round of Chinese lockdowns threatening to produce yet another wave of disruptions. 

While Americans are adapting to a post-pandemic world (something Florida started doing long ago!), the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is behaving exactly the same now as it did when COVID first appeared in Wuhan. Left-wing journalists initially lauded Beijing’s pandemic response as superior to our own. Today, it’s plain to see that the CCP’s “zero-COVID” policy is keeping China in a perpetual state of emergency — and the rest of the world is going to suffer for it. 

Stopping COVID in its tracks was never feasible. Liberal governors and overzealous public health officials tried it in the U.S. and failed. Moreover, omicron has made it virtually impossible, a fact even Anthony Fauci appears to recognize. Unfortunately, the CCP didn’t get the memo. Beijing recently put the entire city of Shanghai under lockdown in an attempt to isolate the virus. This may be perfectly in line with CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s emphasis on top-down state control in all aspects of life, but its consequences will extend far beyond China’s borders. 

Shanghai is the largest container port in the world and processes a massive 20 percent of Chinese exports. The CCP’s measures have put almost every one of the city’s warehouses, plants, and trucks out of commission, and the port and airport are only functioning in a limited capacity. Cargo is piling up, and it will continue to do so for as long as the lockdown remains in effect. 

When Shanghai’s lockdown lifts — which experts predict will occur in June at the earliest — the global supply chain will be overwhelmed by a tidal wave of freight. Industry insiders are saying that the situation is “worse than Wuhan” and may create “the most significant logistics disruption since the start of the pandemic.” Americans will doubtlessly feel the impact, which is bad news for working families already struggling with inflation, rising fuel prices, and food shortages.

Well before COVID reached our shores, I made the point that our dependence on Chinese imports is a national liability. It’s why I issued a report in 2019 warning that off-shoring critical industries to China left us economically and militarily vulnerable.

Read more: https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/china-covid-lockdowns-supply-chain-crisis-marco-rubio

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AG Moody issues emergency rule banning eight synthetic opioids

Attorney General Moody has filed an emergency rule to add eight deadly synthetic opioids to the Schedule I of controlled substances in Florida. The drugs, categorized as nitazenes, have no medical use and can cause adverse health effects, including overdose deaths. 

These synthetic opioids are linked to at least 15 deaths in Florida since 2020, including two in Pasco County. This emergency order makes it a felony for an individual to possess, sell, manufacture or deliver any of these eight drugs.

“I am taking immediate action to outlaw these eight deadly synthetic opioids in Florida, to prevent future deaths,” Attorney General Moody said. “Not only are we seeing an increase in the number of nitazene cases identified in Florida, but we also suspect these substances are being mixed with more common street drugs and sold to unsuspecting users. Some nitazenes are many times more lethal than fentanyl and we must make sure they do not become more prevalent in our state, or I am afraid we will see overdose deaths skyrocket.” 

Read more:http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/20A252ABCE8F7F57852588300072602E 

Watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YTfrgENAas

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AG Ashley Moody and Tommy Bowden guest column at Fox News:
“Public school football coaches need the right to pray”

Attorney General Moody and Tommy Bowden wrote a guest column for Fox News this week as the U.S. Supreme Court took up the issue of freedom of religion for a football coach to pray in public:

Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of Coach Joe Kennedy, a football coach who has been banned from doing the thing he loves for more than six years. The reason: He exercised his constitutional right to pray silently at the 50-yard line at the end of games.

Coach Kennedy’s school district in Washington State prohibits him from engaging in any “demonstrative religious activity” that is “readily observable.” This includes Coach Kennedy’s practice of engaging in silent prayer at the end of football games, whether the team won or lost.  

It was that silent prayer that caused the school district to fire him more than six years ago.

The Ninth Circuit, siding with the school district, found it problematic that “spectators, students, parents, and community members” might observe Coach Kennedy’s “religious conduct.” But that broad reasoning would seem to allow a public school to fire a teacher for wearing a crucifix or a yarmulke, or even bowing his head for a brief silent prayer before eating in the cafeteria.

The school district and the Ninth Circuit are wrong. The right to pray silently is in the core of the First Amendment. And public school teachers, like other government employees, do not check their constitutional rights at the door when they agree to pursue a career of public service.

Making matters worse, the school district’s approach sends the exact wrong message. We should be encouraging people of faith to pursue noble careers educating and coaching our youth. Stripping people of faith of their dignity when they walk through the schoolhouse door does just the opposite. 

That is why I (Ashley Moody) filed a brief in support of Coach Kennedy’s case. As Florida’s Attorney General, I believe no American should be forced to choose between their faith and the job they love. Banning a public school’s coach from praying, just because he can be seen by the public, is wrong and violates the Constitution. 

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/public-school-coaches-prayer-supreme-court-ashley-moody 

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CFO Patronis: Fraud losses nationwide spiked 70% in 2021

Florida CFO Patronis is raising the warning on a little-noticed FTC report that found a giant spike in fraud losses nationally in 2021. Here’s the story from News4Jax: 

The state’s chief financial officer on Monday cautioned Floridians about a major rise in fraud losses across the nation and offered tips to prevent scams.

According to a news release from CFO Jimmy Patronis, which cited data from the Federal Trade Commission, fraud losses spiked 70% in 2021 compared to 2020. It cost American consumers more than $5.8 billion nationwide. 

The FTC got more than 156,000 reports from Floridians last year — and identity theft was the most commonly reported fraud category.

“Last year, Florida ranked fifth in fraud reports nationwide, costing Floridians an estimated $331.3 million. Every day, fraudsters are looking for new and creative ways to steal your money and identity. Many scams can be prevented by doing your research, navigating to only reputable websites, and refusing to share your personal information,” Patronis said in a prepared statement.

Read more: https://www.news4jax.com/money/2022/04/25/fraud-losses-nationwide-spiked-70-in-2021-state-cfo-says/

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LG hosts roundtable highlighting anti-human trafficking efforts

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez hosted a roundtable aimed at combating human trafficking and highlighting strong community partnerships in the Polk County area.

The roundtable brought together experts from the Florida Department of Children and Families, One More Child, Heartland for Children, Central Florida Behavioral Health Network and the Mayor of Lakeland, who discussed the importance of the integrated approach that state and community partners are using to battle human trafficking while enhancing survivor services.

“Governor DeSantis and I understand and recognize the threat that human trafficking poses to every neighborhood and every community within our state,” Lieutenant Governor Nuñez said. “We must all take an active role to support survivors, hold these criminal traffickers accountable, and work in partnership to eradicate this heinous crime from our communities. Together, we will continue to build upon every opportunity to prevent human trafficking and provide hope for all impacted.”

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/04/26/lieutenant-governor-jeanette-nunez-and-community-partners-host-roundtable-to-highlight-human-trafficking-prevention-efforts-in-central-florida/

 

Social Media Highlights   

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