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:


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/

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/



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.


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


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


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 



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/



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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