Commentary: Florida is Overcoming ‘Systemic Privilege’ by Putting Students Before the ‘System’

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

Throughout America, a very important – and highly racialized – conversation is taking place about overcoming injustice. Here in Florida, that conversation has often gone in a markedly different and very promising direction. And schoolchildren of color are among the greatest beneficiaries.

The conversation in Florida, at least as it pertains to education, has focused on what might be called “systemic privilege.”

If you are unfamiliar with this (de-racialized) mash-up term, try this: Go to a public forum and suggest that all families should be treated fairly – that all parents should have access to the per-pupil funds for their children even if they choose to educate them outside the public school system.  

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Greg Abbott Says He’ll Suspend Lawmakers’ Pay After Democrats Walk Out on Election Bill

Greg Abbott

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he would veto funding for his state’s legislature after Democrats delayed the passage of an expansive elections bill.

Democrats in the state House quietly left the floor late Sunday with just hours to spare in the legislative session, preventing the bill from coming up for a vote. If signed into law, Senate Bill 7 would enhance voter ID provisions, empower partisan poll watchers and ban ballot drop boxes and drive-thru voting centers, which were used disproportionately in Texas’ biggest counties.

It would also make it easier to overturn an election in the state, allowing courts to throw out the results of an entire election if the amount of illegally cast votes exceeds the margin between two candidates, regardless of which candidate received more fraudulent votes. In 2020, there were just 43 documented cases of voter fraud, according to the Houston Chronicle.

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Florida Bans Biological Men from Competing in Women’s Sports

Women's volleyball game

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Tuesday banning biological males from women’s sports.

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act prohibits biological males from participating in athletic teams or sports designated for female students and requires that a student’s school or institution “request a certain health examination and consent form or other statement from the student’s health care provider to verify the student’s biological sex under certain circumstances.”

“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will empower Florida women & girls to be able to compete on a level playing field,” DeSantis tweeted Tuesday. “This will help ensure that opportunities for things like college scholarships will be protected for female athletes for years to come.”

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Florida Concert Promoter: Tickets Are $18 if You’re Vaccinated but $1,000 if You’re Not

Live concert

A concert promoter in Florida is selling $18 discounted tickets to an upcoming show for those who have been vaccinated and charging $999.99 per ticket for those who have not, ABC News reports.

Paul Williams of Leadfoot Promotions in Tampa Bay is organizing the concert which is set to take place on June 26 at the VFW Post 39 venue in St. Petersburg. It will feature performances from three punk rock banks: Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin, according to the report.

Posters for the punk event feature an image of “Nightmare on Elm Street” killer Freddy Krueger with needles for fingers and the Leadfoot Promotions booking page advises attendees to bring their “COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card” showing they have had two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on or before 6/12/2021.

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DeSantis Signs New School Choice Law, Could Make Florida First in Nation

Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed an education bill that allows for greater school choice in his state.

The new law, which streamlines Florida school choice scholarship programs and expands eligibility, was touted by DeSantis at a May 11 news conference at Jacksonville Catholic School.

Children in families of four that earn less than $100,000 will be eligible for a fully funded K-12 education at the school of their choice.

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Documents Reveal Twitter Failed to Properly Register in Florida Before Doing Business There

Government documents from Florida show that social media giant Twitter failed to properly file to do business in the state, incurring a fine for transacting business there without the official permission of state officials.

The documents, available on the website of the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations, show that in March the department received from Twitter an “application by foreign corporation for authorization to transact business in Florida.”

The application reveals that Twitter “first transacted business in Florida” in June 2015, apparently well before it registered to do business there. A letter sent back to Twitter by the department indicates that the social media company failed to properly register with the state, potentially for many years.

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Ron DeSantis Signs Bill Scrapping All of Florida’s Covid Restrictions

Gov. DeSantis discussing COVID-19 bill.

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Wednesday scrapping all COVID-19 restrictions throughout the state and an accompanying bill that limits localities’ ability to enforce emergency precautions.

“I think that’s the evidence-based thing to do,” DeSantis said during a press conference Tuesday announcing the executive order. “I think folks are saying they need to be policing people at this point, if you’re saying that, then you’re really saying you don’t believe in the vaccines.”

DeSantis signed SB 2006, which says that any emergency orders can last no longer than six weeks. It gives him the authority to overrule cities that adopt restrictions deemed too harsh or unnecessary, and gives city and county commissions the power to overrule mayors.

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Census Bureau Announces States in the South, Northwest Pick up Congressional Seats

Texas and Florida are slated to gain congressional seats during the decennial redistricting process, while California and New York are set to each lose one, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the decennial state population and congressional apportionment totals Monday, outlining how many districts each state will have for the next decade. The data also determines how many Electoral College votes each state will have through 2032, and allocates how federal money is distributed to each state for schools, roads and other public projects.

The release was originally scheduled for December, but faced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Trump administration’s unsuccessful effort to exclude non-citizens from the count.

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Proposed Florida Vote-By-Mail Restrictions Scaled Back, But Opponents Not Swayed

Dennis Baxley

A key Senate panel Wednesday amended a controversial bill imposing a range of restrictions on the state’s vote-by-mail (VBM) laws but did not vote on the measure after an exhaustive debate.

The Senate Rules Committee ran out of time before it could issue a verdict on Senate Bill 90 during a fiery marathon meeting that began with an hours’-long fracas over a proposed bill preempting local governments from regulating ports in areas “of critical state concern.”

Committee chair Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, concluded the meeting without calling for a vote on SB 90, saying the panel could take up the measure in its Friday meeting or next week. The bill was not on panel’s Friday agenda as of Thursday afternoon.

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Proposed Florida Vote-By-Mail Restrictions Scaled Back, But Opponents Not Swayed

Dennis Baxley

A key Senate panel Wednesday amended a controversial bill imposing a range of restrictions on the state’s vote-by-mail (VBM) laws but did not vote on the measure after an exhaustive debate.

The Senate Rules Committee ran out of time before it could issue a verdict on Senate Bill 90 during a fiery marathon meeting that began with an hours’-long fracas over a proposed bill preempting local governments from regulating ports in areas “of critical state concern.”

Committee chair Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, concluded the meeting without calling for a vote on SB 90, saying the panel could take up the measure in its Friday meeting or next week. The bill was not on panel’s Friday agenda as of Thursday afternoon.

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Florida No-Fault Repeal Advances with No Certainty it Will Lower Auto Insurance Rates

Erin Gall

For decades, Florida lawmakers have pondered bills seeking to repeal the state’s half-century-old no-fault auto insurance system.

They’ve perennially failed because there’s no certainty a repeal would lower Florida auto insurance rates.

There still isn’t, at least according to the insurance industry, but nevertheless, Florida’s 16 million drivers, who already pay the nation’s highest auto insurance premiums, may learn the answer to that long-debated question next year.

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Florida Trade Secret Revamp, Crackdown on Foreign Research Theft Set for Adoption

Bills revising Florida’s trade secret law and placing enhanced disclosure requirements on sources of foreign grants for university, medical and high-tech researchers are set for adoption by the House and Senate.

The bills are a response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call for lawmakers to adopt legislation to thwart attempts by foreign governments to infiltrate agencies and universities to steal trade secrets.

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Illegal Immigrants Repeatedly Denied COVID-19 Vaccine in Florida: Report

COVID Vaccine

Undocumented immigrants in Florida have been routinely denied access to the COVID-19 vaccine, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.

A valid Florida driver’s license or government-issued I.D., utility bill or rental agreement is required to receive the vaccine, the Herald reported. Other undocumented immigrants who worked as essential workers across the U.S. haven’t been able to receive the vaccine, though some local governments are advocating for other proofs of residency so they will have access.

“What we feel is that they don’t want immigrants vaccinated,” Doris Mejia, an undocumented immigrant living in Florida told the Herald. “They see us as less, yet we work the most.”

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Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings Dead at 84

Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings died Tuesday morning after complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 84.

Hastings was diagnosed with the cancer in 2018 but continued to serve and make public appearances in between receiving medical treatment. In recent days he was placed in hospice care, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

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13 States Sue Biden Administration, Demand Ability to Cut Taxes

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

Thirteen states sued President Joe Biden’s administration over an American Rescue Plan provision prohibiting states from cutting taxes after accepting coronavirus relief funds.

The 13-state coalition argued that the provision included in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package preventing states from cutting taxes if they accept relief from the federal government is unconstitutional. The coalition, led by Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

“Never before has the federal government attempted such a complete takeover of state finances,” Morrisey said in a Wednesday statement. “We cannot stand for such overreach.”

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DeSantis Slams Critical Race Theory, Says Florida Schools Will Exclude ‘Unsubstantiated Theories’ from Curriculum

During a press conference in Palm Harbor, Florida on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that his administration is banning “Critical Race Theory” from being taught in Florida schools.

The governor made the announcement while describing a new civics education initiative aimed at teaching students “foundational concepts” in America, rather than “unsubstantiated theories.”

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Over 100 Arrested at Miami Beach Spring Break Celebrations

A spring break celebration in Miami Beach, Florida led to over 100 partygoers being arrested over the weekend after a crowd became unruly, with two police officers being injured, as reported by CNN.

The incident took place on Friday night, where a crowd allegedly began surrounding and taunting a group of police officers. The Miami Beach Police Department’s official Twitter account described the crowd as “disorderly,” and said that pepper balls were used to disperse the crowd as dozens were arrested.

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After Defying COVID Groupthink, Big Tech Censors, DeSantis Hosts CPAC as Rising GOP Star for 2024

When Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis takes the stage to deliver a welcoming address at the Conservative Political Action Conference on his home field in Orlando Friday, it will be as a fast-rising force in the conservative movement and an increasingly plausible and popular contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024.

DeSantis will be followed in the spotlight on the first full day of CPAC 2021 by a succession of marquee GOP names vying to woo the party’s conservative base at the movement’s signature annual gathering of the tribes. Among them will be potential 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls and aspiring heirs to the leadership of their party’s populist conservative wing, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, respectively.

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Hogan Gidley on Joe Biden Campaign: ‘You Can’t Run This Country on Gumdrops, Rainbows and Unicorn Hair’

Tuesday morning on The John Fredericks Show, host John Fredricks welcomed Hogan Gidley, principal deputy press secretary at the White House, to the show to discuss the Trump ground game in Florida and early voting polls of Democrats and Republicans.

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Early Vote Count Passes 2016 Total with 11 Days Until the Election

Over 50 million Americans have voted early with 11 days remaining until Election Day, far surpassing the 47 million early ballots cast in 2016.

While nearly every state has begun early voting, Texas, California and Florida lead the way, with 6.3 million, 5.8 million and 4.2 million ballots cast in each state, according to the U.S. Elections Project.

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Florida USPS Worker Accused of Stealing Mail-in Ballots

A Florida US Postal Service worker is accused of stealing a mail-in ballot, dozens of political flyers and 4 prepaid debit cards in a scheme that may have started nearly two years ago, federal authorities said Monday, the The New York Post reports.

Crystal Nicole Myrie, “embezzled letters, postal cards, and mail which came into her possession intended to be carried or delivered by her,” according to a criminal complaint.

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University Told Student Groups Not to Gather, but Allowed Black Lives Matter Protest

A free-speech group has repeatedly warned the University of South Florida about the unfairness and unconstitutionality of its coronavirus guidelines.

The Southeastern Legal Foundation has now sent three letters to the public university in Florida, warning it about problems with both its approaches to student gatherings and coronavirus tracking and reporting.

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Faith, Family, and Freedom: Republican Candidate for Florida’s Tenth Congressional District, Vennia Francois Pushes the Conservative Message to Oust Val Demings

Monday morning on The John Fredericks Show, host John Fredricks welcomed the 10th congressional district of Florida candidate (R) Vennia Francois to the show to discuss her ground game against Democratic incumbent Val Demings.

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Trump To Seniors: I Will Protect, Defend, and Fight for You With Every Ounce of Energy I Have

President Donald Trump traveled to Fort Myers, Florida Friday to give a speech focusing on health care costs, Social Security and other issues that impact senior citizens. In his speech, the president sought to reassure elderly voters, who have borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, that he cares about them, and is doing do everything he can to protect and defend them.

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