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Gov. Ron DeSantis

  • Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a series of actions, Sept. 28, aimed at mitigating impacts of migrants seeking entry into the U.S. from the Southern border being resettled in the sunshine state. We’ll take a closer look at the situation with Fort Myers-based immigration attorney Indera DeMine and FGCU Law Professor and attorney Pamella Seay, whose expertise includes immigration and constitutional law.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis announced a series of actions, Tuesday aimed at mitigating negative impacts of immigrants seeking entry into the U.S. from the Southern border being resettled in the sunshine state. Those actions include a new executive order, a lawsuit against the Biden Administration, and the appointment of a Public Safety Czar.
  • Lee Health and the NCH Healthcare systems have resumed performing elective surgeries as numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients continue to decline.State workers in Florida are still struggling more than a year and a half into the pandemic. Three state prisons have closed due to a lack of corrections officers. Agencies under Governor Ron DeSantis' control began ordering employees back to their offices last October with mask wearing and social distancing optional. Since then, state agencies have disclosed little public information about how their workers are faring.Gov. DeSantis is crediting the recent decline in hospitalized COVID-19 patients to his efforts to increase access to monoclonal antibody treatments, but doctors argue that the treatments are just part of the reason why hospitalizations are on the decline and that the treatments are not a replacement for vaccination.A lawsuit filed by several Florida school districts over mask mandates was recently dismissed, but Leon County School District officials say they’ll refile their suit to reflect recent rule changes from the Florida Department of Health. A dozen other Florida districts are presently defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempts to ban mandatory masking in schools.
  • On Friday, Florida reported more than 75,000 COVID-19 cases over the past week, which marks a continuing decline from the summer surge driven by the delta variant. Over the past week, Florida reported an average of more than 10,800 new infections a day.Hospitals in Southwest Florida also continue to report gradual declines in admitted COVID-19 patients.A Florida Highway Patrol trooper in Fort Myers died of complications due to COVID-19 over the weekend. The coronavirus is the leading cause of death this year for law enforcement officers nationwide.Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.0% in August as state leaders continue to push people back into the workforce.A University of Miami study (still pending peer review) finds that vaccinating teachers and cutting class sizes in half would be effective tools for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody vowed, Monday, that Florida will fight local and federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates for both public and private workers. DeSantis says any Florida city or county that requires workers to get the vaccine, will be fined $5,000 per infraction.Parents suing to overturn DeSantis’ efforts to ban school districts from imposing student mask mandates are asking the Florida Supreme Court to take up the case after an appeals court, Friday, reinstated a stay on a ruling that allowed districts to keep their mask rules in place.Thousands of people attended a school mask exemption event in Venice, Sunday, where doctors were signing notes to exempt Sarasota school district students from the district’s mask mandate.Hospitals throughout Southwest Florida continue to report a decline in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, as deaths continue to rise.
  • A Leon County judge ruled Friday in favor of parents who filed a lawsuit challenging Governor Ron DeSantis’ executive order barring school districts from imposing mask mandates on students. DeSantis has defended his order by citing a new state law called the Parents’ Bill of Rights, but in his ruling, the judge said the law doesn’t prevent school districts from imposing mask rules. The state will likely appeal the ruling, but for now, school districts can keep their mask policies.Although virus-related hospitalizations Florida have recently begun to level off, the number of daily reported deaths continues to climb. Federal data reports about 279 COVID deaths a day in Florida over the past week. A month ago, the average death rate stood at 52 fatalities a day. AdventHealth, Volusia County and Sarasota Memorial Hospital all reported leasing refrigerated trucks to expand morgue capacity amid the spike in deaths and backup at funeral homes.As Florida deals with another surge of COVID patients, supplies of oxygen for healthcare providers are running low and the shortage is affecting other industries outside of healthcare like aerospace.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis says school districts that choose mask mandates could see their school board and superintendent’s salaries cut. a group of parents have filed suit over DeSantis’ executive order in Leon County Court, and a second mask lawsuit has been filed in South Florida. Democratic Senators have pledged to create a GoFundMe campaign to help repay any school leaders who lose their salaries by trying to put a student mask requirement in place.The ongoing surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations has resulted in an exponential increase in pediatric patients requiring treatment and hospitalization in Lee Health’s Golisano Children’s Hospital in Fort Myers. The start of a new school year, with mask wearing optional, is alarming local healthcare professionals, who shared their experiences treating children sick with COVID during a news conference, Tuesday.Sarasota Memorial Hospital and Lee Health both reported record-high number of COVID -19 patients admitted to their hospitals with 201 and 455 patients, respectively.Florida health officials and the administration of Governor Ron DeSantis said late Monday that the number of new COVID-19 infections reported publicly by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was wrong. Finger pointing over the data comes as the numbers of hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19 increases.The Celebrity Cruise Line plans to sail and comply with a state order barring businesses from requiring proof of vaccination status by placing several restrictions on passengers who refuse to provide proof of vaccination when asked.
  • Over the weekend, the nationwide COVID-19 surge surpassed 100,000 new confirmed daily infections. The AP reports, that milestone was last exceeded during the surge this past winter. The current resurgence is being driven by the more transmissible Delta variant and lower vaccination rates in Florida and other Southern states. Florida accounts for one in five new COVID-19 infections nationwide, which is more than any other state. The Tallahassee Democrat reports, the state broke another record for most reported new cases in a single day with 23,903 cases reported Friday, according to the CDC.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported, Saturday, that there were 13,750 COVID-19 patients in Florida hospitals, marking another record high.Florida’s State Board of Education approved two emergency rules related to the ongoing pandemic, further riling up worried parents who are preparing to send their kids back to school classrooms this month. The first rule involves how students will be counted for attendance: kids who must quarantine due to coronavirus exposure or infection will be counted present if they have to learn at home. The second rule now in effect would allow students who are bullied over COVID to transfer to other schools using the state’s HOPE scholarship voucherStudents in K-12 schools throughout Southwest Florida return to the classroom Tuesday, Aug. 10, including in the Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota County school districts. In Lee County, officials announced over the weekend that there will be a mask mandate. Parents who want to opt their kids out of mask wearing can do so by filling out a form that the district said it will make available by Monday evening.Private Catholic school students within the Diocese of Venice in Southwest Florida return to the classroom Monday, Aug. 9, and many parents are expressing anger over a last-minute decision to impose a mandatory mask policyA federal judge, Sunday night, granted the Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line's request to temporarily block a Florida law that bars businesses and government entities from requiring proof of vaccination status.The AP reports, the judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by Norwegian, as the company seeks to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination status of passengers before they board a ship.Florida hospital leaders and Gov. Ron DeSantis are urging more people to take advantage of monoclonal antibodies, a COVID-19 treatment that is proving to be very effective at preventing serious illness.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently expanded its emergency use authorization for the therapy.
  • Florida added 20,133 cases Thursday, an increase over the last three days, continuing an upward surge from COVID-19.Statewide, another 400 patients were hospitalized in the last day, continuing a record-breaking surge of patients. Currently, more than 12,888 people are hospitalized statewide – and nearly 2,600 are in the intensive care unit.The State Board of Education is set to review a proposed policy, Aug. 6, that would allow for Hope Scholarship vouchers to be made available to students in public school districts with mask mandates, whose parents don't want their kids wearing masks in the classroom.Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is now asking the federal government for additional school funding that could offset lost state dollars to districts that defy Gov. DeSantis’ executive order barring them from mandating masks.Lee Health and Sarasota Memorial Hospital officials say elective surgeries are being postponed in order to redirect staff and other resources amid the ongoing surge in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings heads to court Aug. 6. The Miami-based company is requesting that a federal judge overturn Florida’s ban on vaccine passports.President Joe Biden said he’s buying struggling renters time with a new eviction moratorium that might not pass Constitutional muster. The new, more focused order only extends to areas of high COVID transmission. That includes all of Florida.
  • State lawmakers ended Florida’s 2021 annual legislative session, Friday, after passing a record $101.5 billion budget. Much of Governor Ron DeSantis’ priority measures did pass. We’ll get a closer analysis of what passed, what didn’t and what it all means for Floridians going forward are Florida Gulf Coast University Political Science professors Peter Bergerson, Ph.D., and Roger Green, Ph.D.