Florida, as we know, is decidedly not California. The two coastal giants, Nos. 3 and 1 among states in population, are competing for congressional seats and federal funding in the 2020 Census, and they’re going about it differently. California has budgeted more than $100 million and has more than two dozen people working to reach traditionally hard-to-count communities, such as Los Angeles County, with 88 cities, more than 1 million undocumented immigrants and with more than half its population speaking a language other than English at home.
President Donald Trump told Gov. Ron DeSantis he never wanted hundreds of migrants shipped into South Florida. “President @realDonaldTrump and I spoke yesterday and confirmed that he did not approve, nor would approve, sending immigrants who illegally cross the border, to Florida,” DeSantis tweeted on Sunday. “It is not going to happen.” That account caps off days of anxiety about a purported plan by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to do just that.
A small county in the Florida panhandle was one of the two counties in the state whose voter registration database was hacked by Russia during the 2016 election, according to The Washington Post. Two US officials told the newspaper that the database of Washington County in Florida, with a population of about 25,000, was breached by Russian government hackers in 2016. The officials revealed the information to the Post under condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter. Washington County has declined to comment to CNN.
Elections officials across Florida have been fielding a question that sounds like it comes from a spy movie script. Have you been hacked by the Russians? Most elections supervisors give a curt no, or at least say they don’t have any knowledge of a hack. But the Miami Herald reports two counties — Washington and Sumter — offered legalese non-denials. Meanwhile, anonymous sources told the Washington Post that one of those counties — Washington — indeed was hit by a Russian hack in 2016.
Gov. Ron DeSantis accomplished two good purposes with a single significant stroke of his veto pen, when he quashed a bill that would have stopped local governments from banning plastic straws. First, he sided with environmentalists in killing the legislation (HB 771) that would have proclaimed a five-year moratorium on local ordinances banning use of single-use plastic drinking straws. That, in itself, was good news for our beaches, streams and landscape.
The nation is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, and Lakeland is not an exception. Brenda Petty-Moore said she was shocked when she was forced to confront the reality of the city’s apartment-rental market last year. She and her brother, Charles Moore, were given an eviction notice forcing them to move out of Swan Cove Apartments last May after a leaky roof caused significant mold issues. The notice kicked off a “frustrating” hunt for an affordable two-bedroom apartment priced at $950 a month or less.
Tampa Bay Times
Florida is in a housing state of emergency. As an entrepreneur building a multistate affordable housing company and having traveled the state for two years as a candidate for governor and then the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, I have heard time and again from people all over the state that we have a major problem with the lack of affordable housing in Florida. It is big, it is troubling and it will eat up our economic future if our leaders in Tallahassee do not respond with speed and imagination.
Tallahassee has an affordable housing crisis. Housing prices and rents are rising faster than people’s incomes, and a growing number of families are finding it difficult to keep a roof over their heads. In 1991 the Florida Legislature created the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund to funnel revenues generated through doc stamp taxes to help finance more affordable housing in communities across the state. And though the Legislature has been diverting those funds ever since, Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he wants to protect the state’s affordable housing trust fund going forward.
From creating new vocational high school programs to supporting a fledgling hemp industry, lawmakers passed a number of measures this year that are designed to spur jobs and help boost the economy. In a new survey of the Florida Influencers, a group of 50 prominent political and policy figures from across the state, more than half listed vocational education as the top accomplishment of the Legislature when it comes to job creation and economic growth. There was also strong support for the Legislature’s decision to continue funding Visit Florida and its decision to take the first steps toward a potentially lucrative hemp industry.
The Palm Beach Post
With each day’s news, experts spar over the best way to safeguard South Florida’s water supply. Scientists and policymakers of good faith are working diligently to prevent last summer’s water woes, and to find a long-term fix to safeguard drinking water and manage flow through flood and drought. There is no shortage of proposals under discussion. Palm Beach County has a critical stake in these discussions.
U.S. President Donald Trump raised federal cost-sharing to 90 percent for Hurricane Michael recovery spending on Saturday. The decision to have the federal government cover 90% of disaster recovery costs should save Bay County taxpayers millions of dollars in spending for debris removal and emergency protective measures needed after the Category 5 storm. According to a Saturday press release, Trump’s office informed the Bay County Commission that the president officially approved the increase of how much of the recovery cost the Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover for the Oct. 10 disaster.