Governor DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet Invest More than $56 Million to Acquire Nearly 20,000 Acres for Conservation
Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet invested more than $56 million to acquire seven properties across the state that will be designated for conservation. The seven parcels total nearly 20,000 acres, more than 98% of which are within the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a recently designated network of connected lands that are crucial for wildlife habitat.
“Acquiring lands for conservation and recreation is a top priority for my administration,” said Governor DeSantis. “Conservation of these key properties will forever benefit water quality, rare wildlife habitats and corridor linkages, as well as support Florida’s ever-growing economy.”
To learn more about properties that make up the 20,000 acres acquired for conservation, click here.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Has a New Commissioner
Governor Ron DeSantis announced the approval of Mark Glass as Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Glass has been the Acting Commissioner since May 1, 2022.
“As Acting Commissioner, Mark has led the brave men and women of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with honor and integrity,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.“In less than four months, he has made major strides towards combating Biden’s Border Crisis, safeguarding Florida’s elections, and advancing FDLE’s crime fighting capabilities. I am proud to appoint him as Commissioner and I have the utmost confidence he will continue to serve and protect all Floridians.”
Since June of 2022, FDLE has played a key role in a strike force of state and local law enforcement to interdict human smuggling and human trafficking and to seize illegal weapons being transported through the state. The strike force has undertaken three criminal interdictions, the most recent of which concluded August 21.
The first two interdictions, along I-10 in Northwest Florida and along I-75 in Hernando and Sumpter counties, resulted in 16 charges of human smuggling, 102 total felony charges, and the seizure of more than $300,000 worth of illicit drugs. The most recent interdiction was conducted statewide, and more information will be available in the near future.
Additionally during Commissioner Glass’ tenure, Governor DeSantis announced that FDLE, in coordination with the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor and newly created Office of Election Crimes and Security, is arresting 20 individuals for breaking elections laws.
To learn more about Commissioner Glass’ career experience, click here.
CFO Jimmy Patronis Celebrates NASA Kennedy Space Center 60th Anniversary
Last week, during a meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis presented a resolution celebrating the 60th anniversary of the NASA Kennedy Space Center and its role in space exploration and as a global leader in scientific discovery. The Kennedy Space Center employs over 2,000 civil servants, 6,100 government contractors, and generated $5.25 billion economic impact in 2021.
CFO Jimmy Patronis said, “The Kennedy Space Center holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Floridians across the state. Many of us can remember the first time that we watched a shuttle being launched from Florida’s beautiful space coast. Florida has served as the launchpad for many young Americans who have dreamed of shooting for the stars and achieving their dreams. Due to NASA’s achievements in space exploration, our civilization has experienced unprecedented technological progress and inspired future generations to continue the American tradition of pushing boundaries and exploring the unknown.”
Congratulation to NASA Kennedy Space Center for six decades of distinguished innovation, serving as the world’s leading space institution, inspiring the imaginations of children generation after generation, and pursuing exploration of the universe.
To view CFO Patronis’ proclamation, click here.
FDOT Unveils Groundbreaking Statewide Notification System to Enhance Safety for Drivers and Roadway Workers
Florida is first in the nation to implement this technology
With the support of Governor Ron DeSantis’ historic Freedom First Budget, the Florida Department of Transportation continues to invest in further enhancements increasing safety on road and bridge construction projects across the state. Safety remains the Department’s number one priority, and this new technology will enhance safety for the traveling public and also for the men and women who are on site working to improve Florida’s roadways.
The Lane Closure Notification System (LCNS) will improve the safety of workers by alerting drivers about active work zones or lane closures, it will also aid motorists in navigating these work zones safely, timely, and efficiently. The system leverages the latest GPS and mapping technologies to provide advanced notices to motorists through leading GPS apps and services.
Drivers can now count on real-time and accurate work zone information through their preferred mapping app or device. These notices are put into the system by supervisors who are located on the scene of the work zone.
Overall, the anticipated benefits of the LCNS include:
- Reduction in work zone crashes, fatalities, and serious injuries.
- Improved worker safety.
- More construction lane closures identified and tracked in real-time.
- Automatically share real-time lane closure information with travelers via third-party navigation application systems and automated driving systems.
- Improved travel time reliability and reduced congestion by informing road users about lane closures.
A statewide rollout to over 500 construction projects is anticipated over the next few months and will be published to navigation apps such as Google Maps, Waze, TomTom, and Apple Maps as the mapping companies decide to utilize the feature.
SunPass Savings Announced for Daily Toll Road Commuters
Governor Ron DeSantis announced the launch of “SunPass Savings,” a new toll discount program for customers who use Florida’s Turnpike System and toll facilities owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). This rewards program will begin September 1, 2022, run for six months, and is estimated to provide $38 million in relief to SunPass commuters. Additionally, Governor DeSantis called on the Legislature to take necessary action during next year’s legislative session so more Florida families can benefit from toll relief.
“This program will help frequent SunPass customers keep more money in their pockets during a time of growing inflation,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida families who depend on these FDOT facilities for a timely commute to work will benefit from these savings. We will, of course, seek to enact greater savings for commuters in the next legislative session.”
Drivers with 40 to 79 eligible toll transactions per month will receive a 20% discount and drivers with 80+ eligible toll transactions per month will receive a 25% discount.
A map of included toll facilities and more information on the program can be found here.
30th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew
This past week marked the 30th Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. The category 5 storm was the first named storm in 1992. It struck Miami-Dade County on August 24th causing unprecedented financial and property damage, loss of life, and also led to an overhaul of the way hurricanes and other major weather crises are forecasted. The recovery and rebuilding processes were also improved.
Although we have been fortunate that the 2022 Hurricane Season has been fairly quiet, the tragedy and aftermath caused by just one storm can effect lives and the economy for decades.
Florida has an abundance of resources to help you with a storm preparation plan for your family and your property. Don’t be complacent, be prepared, click here to learn more.
Florida’s “Tool Time” Sales Tax Holiday Begins September 3rd
The 2022 Sales Tax Holiday for tools commonly used by skilled trade workers, apprentices, and “do-it-yourselfers” begins September 3rd and continues thru September 9th. With inflation at historic highs, the Florida Legislature passed the “Tool Time” tax holiday this past session and it was signed into law by Governor DeSantis. During thisperiod, sales tax will not be collected on select tools, equipment, and eligible home improvement items.
Before shopping, you can find a list of eligible items here.