Showing posts with label Rick Scott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rick Scott. Show all posts

Friday, March 9, 2018

Florida Governor Signs Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act


TALLAHASSEE, Florida – Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a law which permits arming non-classroom teacher school employees, raises the age to buy all types of firearms from 18 to 21, bans bump-stocks, and provides funding for school resource officers and youth mental health counseling.

The law also creates “Risk Protection Orders” which allows a court to prohibit a violent or mentally ill individual from purchasing or possessing a firearm or any other weapon.

It also allows law enforcement to seize firearms when a person has been detained under the “Baker Act” and prohibits a person who has been “adjudicated mentally defective” or who has been “committed to a mental institution” from owning or possessing a firearm.

Criminal penalties for individuals who make threats to schools, such as social media threats of shootings or bombings were also enhanced under the new law.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act also provides $99 million for school hardening measures such as metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors and upgraded locks.  

The Brevard Public Schools administration applauded the action taken by Governor Rick Scott.

“I’m proud of our state leaders’ courage to consider recommendations from both sides of the aisle for the greater good,” said BPS Superintendent Desmond Blackburn.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey and Blackburn announced their intention to arm school employees before the act was passed. With the exception of Volusia County, all other Central Florida school districts are opposed to arming school employees.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Florida Governor Rick Scott Proposes To Give Teachers $350 To Buy School Supplies


Governor Rick Scott announced that his 2018-2019 budget proposal will include $63 million for teacher supply grants. This proposal is an increase of nearly $18 million, or $100 additional dollars per teacher. These annual grants are used by educators to purchase classroom supplies needed for the school year. 

Currently, Florida teachers receive $250 annually for classroom supplies. The Governor’s proposal will increase this funding to $350 annually. That’s in addition to annual bonuses of $1,200 or $800 that teachers will see this year (depending on a teacher’s evaluation).

“I have the opportunity to travel to schools and meet with our hardworking teachers, and yesterday, I was fortunate to meet with our Teachers of the Year to hear how we can make our schools even better,” Governor Rick Scott said. 

“Teachers are heroes to our students and I’m committed to championing policies to continue to help them. We have worked every year to ensure that Florida’s teachers have the resources they need to help our students succeed. Far too often, teachers are forced to reach into their own pockets to buy supplies for their classrooms and I am proud to propose additional money for this critical program. Teacher supply grants allow our educators to secure the tools they need in the classroom and we will continue to fight to ensure that every Florida teacher can focus on student success.”

This year, the Governor secured the highest per-pupil funding in Florida history which follows multiple years of Governor Scott securing historic funding for education.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Florida Governor Rick Scott Declares State of Emergency For White Nationalist Richard Spencer’s Speech


GAINESVILLE, Florida – Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency on Monday for Alachua County ahead of a speech by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer at the University of Florida on Thursday, October 19, 2017.

The Governor’s declaration comes following a request from Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell to assist local law enforcement’s response to rallies and counter-demonstrations planned on the University of Florida campus.


Scott’s Executive Order activates Florida’s Mutual Aid Plan which allows the state and Sheriff Darnell to quickly coordinate resources from other state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies.

“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority,” said Governor Scott. 

“I have been in constant contact with Sheriff Darnell who has requested this Executive Order to ensure that county and local law enforcement have every needed resource. This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.”

“BREAKING: Hurricane Ricardo expected to hit Gainesville this Thursday,” Spencer tweeted in response to the State of Emergency which are more commonly declared when a hurricane approaches the Sunshine State.



“I urge our campus community to join together, respect one another and promote positive speech, while allowing for differing opinions,” said University of Florida W. Kent Fuchs. “It is up to every student, faculty member, staff member, and myself to demonstrate our university values of respect and inclusion in all that we do. We have an opportunity to lead the way.”

A Facebook event called “No Nazis at UF” is expected to counter-demonstrate Thursday’s speech and rally. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Most Florida Tolls To Reopen After Being Closed For Hurricane Irma


Most of Florida tolls will resume at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, September 21, 2017, after all of the tolls in the Sunshine State were suspended by Governor Rick Scott on September 5, 2017, in order to facilitate the evacuation of residents as Hurricane Irma approached.


Tolls on the vast majority of Florida’s Turnpike system, all Florida Department of Transportation roads and bridges, and all regional toll facilities throughout Florida will be reinstated on September 21.

Tolls will remain suspended on the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike south of the interchange with State Road 874 (mile marker 0-17) in order to assist residents in Monroe County, including the Florida Keys, with recovery efforts.

Image credit: Google

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Florida Governor Declares State Of Emergency As Hurricane Irma Nears


TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency for all 67 counties as Hurricane Irma approaches the Sunshine State.


“Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared,” said Governor Scott. “I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Hurricane Irma and current forecast models have Florida in Irma’s path – potentially impacting millions of Floridians.”

The State of Emergency activates Florida’s Emergency Management Plans, authorizes cooperation with the Federal Government, activates the Florida National Guard, and authorizes the waiver of tolls on Florida roads as may be needed.

The Executive Order also provides for the suspension of Florida administrative actions, such as those in the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, in the event those offices are closed to inclement weather.

Pharmacists are also authorized to issue an additional 30 day refill of prescription maintenance medications.

“In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared,” Scott said.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Governor Rick Scott Gives Florida Teachers $234 Million In Bonuses


For the next three years, Florida teachers will see annual bonuses of $1,200 or $800 depending on their evaluation as “Highly Effective” or “Effective” thanks to a massive education bill signed by Governor Rick Scott on Friday.

The teachers’ bonus will be paid out of state funds, thereby relieving financial pressure on local school districts’ budgets for teacher raises.


71% of Brevard Public School teachers were ranked “Highly Effective” and 29% were ranked “Effective,” according to data from the Florida Department of Education.

At Brevard Public Schools, teachers’ salaries currently range from $3,922 to $5,988 a month under their 10-month contract. With the additional state bonus for very effective teachers, their salaries will now range from $4,042 to $6,108, which is well above the average monthly wage of $3,899 for all residents in Brevard County.

But despite earning higher monthly salary than most residents in Brevard County, some teachers say that they are struggling to make ends meet, according to a recent Florida Today article.

The bill also provides the highest per student K-12 funding in state history, increasing funding by $100 per student.

“When I was growing up, I had access to a good quality education, and every Florida child should have the same opportunity,” Governor Scott said. “Florida’s K-12 education system is so important to the future of our children and our state, and we will never stop looking for ways to improve how our students learn and achieve.”

Under Governor Scott’s administration, state funding for Florida’s K-12 public schools has increased by nearly $3 billion or 34 percent from a total amount of $8.7 billion in 2011 to $11.7 billion in this year’s budget.

Since taking office, Governor Scott has signed legislation providing flexibility and more than $450 million in funding to Florida’s high performing charter schools, allowing these schools to grow and serve more students.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Florida Sees Record Visitors In First Quarter Of 2017


Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record by welcoming the highest number of quarterly visitors in the state’s history with 31.1 million visitors in the first quarter of 2017. This represents a 2.5 percent increase over the same period in 2016.



Lower gas prices have fueled record-breaking domestic travel to Florida. VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 27.1 million domestic visitors traveled to Florida in Q1 2017, reflecting a 3.2 percent increase over the same period last year.

But a strong U.S. dollar has continued to stifle visitor growth from Canada and overseas since 2013. Estimates also show that 2.7 million overseas visitors and 1.3 million Canadians came to the Sunshine State in January-March 2017, unchanged from the first quarter of last year.

Chart: Gas Price Correlation Domestic Tourism

Instead of addressing the impact of economic factors such as fuel prices and currency exchange rates on tourism in the Sunshine State, Governor Scott took another swipe at the Florida Legislature for defunding VISIT FLORIDA.

“I am proud to announce today that Florida set another record by welcoming 31.1 million visitors during the first quarter of 2017, the highest number of quarterly visitors in the state’s history,” said Scott. “This historic number would not have been possible without the significant funding we have invested in VISIT FLORIDA over the past few years. It is disappointing that the Florida Legislature made a shortsighted decision to jeopardize the growth of our tourism industry and the 1.4 million jobs that rely on it by cutting funding to VISIT FLORIDA by 67 percent. Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. In business, you would never stop marketing when you start to see great results. Instead of decimating funding to VISIT FLORIDA, we should be investing in tourism marketing so we can continue to bring record visitors to our state.”

Photo and chart credit: Brevard Times

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Oops! VISIT FLORIDA Hires Company To Market Visitors From Syria


Scandal-prone VISIT FLORIDA just can’t catch a break lately.  

After receiving criticism for spending millions on a video featuring rapper Pit Bull, a cooking show featuring Emeril Lagasse, a fishing show,  and other questionable expenses, VISIT FLORIDA saw its budget stripped down from $76 million to $25 million by the Florida Legislature this year.

Now, the Sunshine State’s travel agency was caught by Naples’ Daily News spending money to market tourists from Syria, which is one of the Middle-Eastern countries subject to President Donald Trump’s travel ban.


Florida Governor Rick Scott has supported both travel bans issued by the Trump administration. Scott also opposed the relocation of Syrian refugees back in 2015.

After the issue was brought to VISIT FLORIDA’s attention by the newspaper, a new contract with the marketing company was made which excluded Syria.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Florida Legislature Passes Tampon Tax Exemption


TALLAHASSEE, Florida – The Florida Legislature overwhelmingly passed a state budget on Monday that includes a tax exemption for feminine hygiene products.

Currently, Florida law imposes a sales tax on luxury items such as cosmetics and toiletries, while providing tax exemptions for medical products used to prevent or treat illness.


The new legislation makes it clear that feminine hygiene products are not luxury items in the same category as toiletries, but rather a necessity for women’s overall health, hygiene, and well-being. Several states including: Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, and the District of Columbia currently exempt these items.

Another proposal to make also make diapers tax exempt failed during this legislative session.

The bill now goes to Governor Rick Scott’s desk for approval or veto.

Image credit: Proctor and Gamble

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Governor Scott Declares State Of Emergency For Florida Wildfires


ORLANDO, Florida – Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak of recent wildfires across the Sunshine State and the high potential for increased wildfires in 2017.


National Weather Service forecasters predict hotter and drier conditions than normal in Florida during the coming months. Florida wildfires have already burned 250 percent more acreage during the first three months of 2017 than during the same time period last year. There are currently more than 100 active wildfires across more than 20,000 acres in Florida.

“As wildfires impact our state, our incredible firefighters and first responders have bravely rushed to aid our communities and worked tirelessly to protect our homes and families,” Governor Scott said. “Last month I traveled to Collier County with Commissioner Putnam to see the impacts of one of these wildfires firsthand and we have continued to monitor the growing number of fires across the state. I’ve continued to be in contact with Commissioner Putnam and local officials about the wildfires across the state and today I am declaring a state of emergency in Florida to ensure we are ready to respond to and prepare for these fires.”


Much of Central and South Florida are approaching drought-like conditions and the chances for wildfires are continuing to increase with hotter temperatures and low rainfall, Scott added. “This may only get worse as we enter the hotter summer months and it is crucial that we take every action right now to be prepared. It is incredibly important that wildfire response is swift and deliberate and this state of emergency will make it easier for our state, regional and local agencies to quickly work together to protect our families, visitors and communities.”

According to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Florida has not had this active of a season since 2011.

Photo credit: Florida Forest Service

Monday, October 3, 2016

Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency As Hurricane Matthew Nears


Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for every Florida county on Monday due to the severity and magnitude of Hurricane Matthew that is projected to near or hit the Sunshine State in just a couple days.

 


“Hurricane Matthew is a life-threatening category four hurricane and we must all take it seriously,” Governor Scott said. “If Hurricane Matthew directly impacts Florida, there could be massive destruction which we haven’t seen since Hurricane Andrew devastated Miami-Dade County in 1992. That is why we cannot delay and must prepare for direct impact now. Today, I signed an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency in every Florida county to ensure we have resources for evacuations, sheltering and other logistical needs across our state. We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best and we will not take any chances to ensure our state is prepared.”

“Although Matthew is not currently projected to directly impact Florida, we all know how quickly the track of these storms can change,” Scott continued. “While there are no evacuation orders currently in place, this storm could threaten our state with very little notice and no one should be caught off guard. If an evacuation order is activated in your area, leave immediately. Once severe weather comes, our first responders will not be able to rescue you until the weather subsides.”

The State of Emergency activates Florida’s Emergency Management Plans, authorizes cooperation with the Federal Government, activates the Florida National Guard, and authorizes the waiver of tolls on Florida roads as may be needed.

“Our National Guard stands ready to be deployed if needed. I am also in contact with the utilities across the state and will stay in communication with them regarding their plans if there are any power outages,” added Scott. “We are taking steps to move additional fuel to the state’s east coast. On the Florida Turnpike, we also have extra fuel trucks on standby to get anywhere in our state. Again, while we are preparing for the worst, we are hoping for the best and will not take any chances with a storm of this magnitude.”

The Executive Order also provides for the suspension of Florida administrative actions, such as those in the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, in the event those offices are closed to inclement weather.

Pharmacists are also authorized to issue an additional 30 day refill of prescription maintenance medications.

Image credit: NOAA

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Governor Rick Scott: Hurricane Matthew May Hit Florida By Wednesday



On Sunday, Florida Governor Rick Scott urged residents and visitors in the Sunshine State to prepare for Hurricane Matthew that is churning over the Caribbean Sea.

 


“This is a serious and life threatening storm,” Governor Scott said of the Category 4 tropical cyclone. “I was just briefed on the developments of Hurricane Matthew as it moves through the Caribbean Sea. This storm is catastrophic, and if it hits our state, we could see impacts that we have not seen in many years.”

“Even though the storm’s projected path is just east of our state, no one should take this lightly. Storms change fast and Hurricane Matthew could hit Florida as early as Wednesday,” Scott continued. 

“At this time, there have been no evacuations ordered in Florida, but that could change quickly. Please stay alert and watch your local news and listen to your local officials for protective actions and emergency messages. I urge everyone to visit FLGetAPlan.com to get prepared before the weekend is over. Make sure to have three days of food and water, flashlights, batteries and a battery powered radio.”

Monday, August 15, 2016

Florida Governor Rick Scott: Locally Acquired Zika Virus Cases Rise To 30

Aedes aegypti mosquito spreads Zika virus.

Florida Governor Rick Scott announced on Monday that two more cases of the Zika virus that were locally acquired through mosquito bites were confirmed in Miami-Dade County by the Florida Department of Health (DOH), bringing  the total number of local transmissions to 30 in Florida. 

“While we have learned there are two new individuals that contracted the Zika virus through mosquito bites in our state, we still believe local transmissions are only occurring in an area that is less than one square mile in Wynwood,” said Governor Scott.

“I have stayed in constant communication with Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County to ensure the county has all of the resources they need. The Department of Health has been fulfilling requests for Miami-Dade County since June, and they are expediting the county’s additional request made on Friday for funding for additional staff and mosquito traps.”

DOH is currently investigating three locations in Miami-Dade County and one in Palm Beach County where local transmissions of the Zika virus may have occurred. 


In addition to the two local transmission, there were 28 new travel-related cases confirmed on Monday with eleven in Miami-Dade, eight in Broward, two in Volusia, one in Alachua, one in Bay, one in Brevard, one in Hillsborough, one in Marion, one in Polk and one involving a pregnant woman. This is Marion County’s first travel-related case and they have been added to the Declaration for Public Health Emergency.

The Zika virus is spread by bites from two mosquito species: Aedes aegypti (primarily) and Aedes albopictus, both found in Florida. In addition to the Zika virus, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes can also transmit dengue feverChikungunya virusWest Nile virus, and Yellow Fever.

NASA study predicted that locally acquired outbreaks were most likely to occur in Miami in July during peak mosquito and travel season.  Central Florida is the second most likely area in the United States where a Zika outbreak may occur after South Florida, according to the study.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, babies born with the Zika virus transmitted from their mothers who contracted the disease while pregnant have developed microcephaly – a disease which causes the babies’ brains and heads to shrink.  Women who are pregnant or could become pregnant should avoid travel to Zika-affected areas, including Florida. 

As of August 15, 2016, there have been 440 confirmed travel-related cases plus 59 cases involving pregnant women in the Sunshine State. DOH announced in June that there had been the first confirmed case of microcephaly in a baby born in Florida. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Big Changes To Florida’s Back-to-School Tax Holiday Weekend In 2016


TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Florida's back-to-school tax-free holiday kicked off at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, August 5, 2016 and lasts through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 7. 2016.

The Florida Legislature and Florida Governor Rick Scott made some important changes to the 2016 back-to-school tax free weekend when compared to past years. The limit on clothing and footwear has been reduced from $75 to $60. The number of days the tax-free holidays lasts have been reduced from ten to three. Also, computers are no longer tax free.

 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

NASA Predicted Zika Virus Outbreak Would Happen In Miami During July

Where Zika Virus Is Most Likely To Spread In The United States

MIAMI, Florida – Florida Governor Rick Scott announced on Friday that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) has concluded that four cases of the Zika virus are likely mosquito-borne in  Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. And a Zika Risk Map created by NASA predicted that such a mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika Virus in the United States would most likely occur in the Miami area during the month of July 2016.

 

“We learned today that four people in our state likely have the Zika virus as a result of a mosquito bite,” Governor Scott said.  “All four of these people live in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and the Florida Department of Health believes that active transmissions of this virus could be occurring in one small area in Miami.  While no mosquitoes have tested positive for the Zika virus, DOH is aggressively testing people in this area to ensure there are no other cases.”

So far, the Florida Department of Health believes that active transmissions of the Zika virus are occurring in one small area in Miami-Dade County, just north of downtown.   The cases are likely the first known occurrence of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States.

“All the evidence we have seen indicates that this is mosquito-borne transmission that occurred several weeks ago in several blocks in Miami,” said Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

NASA’s scientific model published in April predicted that the Zika virus pandemic that has afflicted much of Latin America and the Caribbean was most likely to gain a foothold in the continental U.S. through South Florida during this summer.

NASA scientists examined three key factors – mosquito abundance in the U.S., international travel to Zika infested regions, and socioeconomic status – that contribute to the spread of Zika virus to understand where and when a potential outbreak may occur.

The Zika virus is spread by bites from two mosquito species: Aedes aegypti (primarily) and Aedes albopictus, both found in Florida.

The study found that Florida cities have the heaviest amount of travelers arriving from countries where the Zika virus has become pandemic in combination with the longest mosquito season in the United States. Those two main factors have made the Sunshine State ground zero for a local transmission outbreak of the Zika virus.

Miami-Dade County and Broward County were the most likely areas to have the first local transmission of the Zika Virus in the continental U.S. The next most likely area is Orlando, Florida, according to the Zika Risk Map.

According to the CDC, babies born with the Zika virus transmitted from their mothers who contracted the disease while pregnant have developed microcephaly – a disease which causes the babies’ brains and heads to shrink.  The first baby born with microcephaly in Florida was reported in June. Women who are pregnant or could become pregnant should avoid travel to Zika-affected areas, including Florida.

“We have been working with state and local governments to prepare for the likelihood of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States and Hawaii,” said Lyle Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., incident manager for CDC’s Zika virus response. “We anticipate that there may be additional cases of ‘homegrown’ Zika in the coming weeks.  Our top priority is to protect pregnant women from the potentially devastating harm caused by Zika.”

Despite the known risks to pregnant mothers and their babies in the United States, President Obama and Congress have not enacted any travel restrictions to and from countries with Zika outbreaks.

Map credit: NASA

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Florida Governor Rick Scott: 300 Astrotech Jobs Coming To Titusville

Space workers process a Navy MUOS satellite delivered to Astrotech.  Photo credit: Lockheed Martin


TITUSVILLE, Florida – Florida Governor Rick Scott announced on Tuesday that Lockheed Martin plans to expand capabilities at its Astrotech Space Operations site in Titusville, Florida, creating up to 300 jobs.
 
Astrotech Space Operations offers payload processing services—like encapsulating and fueling a satellite for launch—for a range of customers. Under the planned expansion, its scope of work could potentially include production of aerospace components and subsystems. Lockheed Martin is currently evaluating options that are contingent on the completion of additional business case analyses. Those analyses are slated to occur in 2016 and 2017.
 

 






“Florida is home to one of the largest aerospace and aviation industries in the nation and we continue to grow,” Governor Rick Scott said. “It’s exciting that Lockheed Martin continues to expand in Florida, adding hundreds of jobs for our families.  We will do all we can to make it easier for businesses like Lockheed Martin to succeed in Florida.”

With a history in Florida going back 60 years, Lockheed Martin has had a significant presence at Cape Canaveral. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, Astrotech Space Operations has prepared more than 300 payloads for launch since 1984.
 
“We have sites across the country, but Brevard County offers a unique blend of skilled people and a growth-friendly business environment that make it a great fit for this project,” Tom Malko, Vice President of Assembly, Test and Launch Operations at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, said. “Partnering with the community creates a win-win for Florida, for Lockheed Martin and for our customers.”
 
Brevard County’s taxpayer incentive support is provided by the North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ) in addition to State of Florida tax dollars which provided the best business case for Lockheed Martin to expand its operations on Florida’s Space Coast.
 

“The North Brevard Economic Development Zone is committed to bringing high caliber jobs and companies to our area. It is important this area remains competitive and top of mind when businesses are considering the best location for workforce and resources,” said North Brevard Economic Development Zone Board Chair George Mikitarian.

Florida is a premier aerospace manufacturing and launch location. The state ranks first among states for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness, and is home to nearly 500 industry companies that excel in everything from parts and assembly to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
 

“Lockheed Martin’s decision to select the Space Coast aligns with Space Florida’s vision of Florida as global leader in enabling space commerce. Additionally, it is a testament to the area’s workforce and opportunity. We are seeing a transformation of the region’s aerospace legacy to include research and development and manufacturing capabilities, as Lockheed Martin’s decision comes on the heels of Blue Origin and OneWeb Satellites’ announcements,” said Space Florida President Frank DiBello.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

First baby with Zika Virus-related microcephaly born in Florida

Aedes aegypti mosquito spreads Zika virus.

The Florida Department of Health announced on Tuesday that there has been the first confirmed case of microcephaly in a baby born in Florida. The location of the birth was not disclosed.

The newborn’s mother had a travel-related case of Zika contracted while in Haiti. Although the Zika virus pandemic has afflicted much of Latin America and the Caribbean and is most likely to gain a foothold in the continental U.S. through Florida this summer, President Barack Obama and Congress have not enacted any travel restrictions from those countries.



“The Olympics will begin in less than 40 days and millions of Americans will travel through our state to and from Brazil, a country where the Zika virus is rapidly spreading, and we must be prepared,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott in response to the first confirmed case.

“Now that a baby has been born in our state with adverse impacts from Zika, it is clear that every available resource is needed to prevent local transmissions in our state.”

While local transmissions have not occurred in the Sunshine State, local transmissions are possible if a Zika infected visitor or returning traveler is bitten by Florida mosquitoes that then spread the virus to other people they bite.

A recent NASA study predicts that locally acquired outbreaks are most likely to occur in Florida during July during peak mosquito and travel season.

The Zika virus is spread by bites from two mosquito species: Aedes aegypti (primarily) and Aedes albopictus, both found in Florida. In addition to the Zika virus, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes can also transmit dengue fever, Chikungunya virus, West Nile virus, and Yellow Fever.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, babies born with the Zika virus transmitted from their mothers who contracted the disease while pregnant have developed microcephaly – a disease which causes the babies’ brains and heads to shrink.  Women who are pregnant or could become pregnant should avoid travel to Zika-affected areas.

Florida’s Department of Health is now working with the family to connect the child to services through Florida’s Early Steps program.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency After Pulse Orlando Shooting

Governor Rick Scott
ORLANDO, Florida – Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency for Orange County, Florida in following the mass shooting by Omar Mateen at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando that left 50 dead and 53 wounded, many of which remain in critical condition.  

“This is clearly an act of terror that happened in Orlando this morning,” Governor Scott said. “It sickens me and makes me angry. Of course, this is a time of great tragedy, and in every tragedy, there is a flood of sadness, confusion and despair. But, this is an attack on our people.  An attack on Orlando.  An attack on Florida.  An attack on America.  An attack on all of us.”


“We still have a lot of questions that are unanswered. Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of everyone touched by this senseless tragedy. I want to urge the people of our state to pray for the victims, families of those who have been killed and wounded.  Pray for our city, state and country.”

“We are a great state.  We are a diverse state and we have wonderful people here in Florida that will respond with dignity, strength and fortitude in the days ahead.”

“To the people who did this or may be thinking about doing something similar: you don’t want to commit an act of terror in our state.  In Florida, our justice system is swift and our penalties are severe.  We are at a 45-year crime low and proud to be a safe state for our 20 million residents and 100 million tourists.”

“While our hearts are broken for the injuries and the loss of life that occurred here early this morning, I have every confidence that the Orlando community will come together and heal. We are a strong and resilient state.  We have declared a state of emergency in Orange County to ensure all resources are made available to handle this tragic incident.  We will also devote every and all available resources to help the city of Orlando heal.”





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Monday, June 6, 2016

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Declares State of Emergency

Tropical Storm Colin

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency today as Tropical Storm Colin approaches Florida’s Gulf Coast bringing possible tornadoes, waterspouts, flooding, high winds, and heavy rain to the Sunshine State.

In the Governor’s Executive Order, Scott declared that, “Tropical Storm Colin poses a severe threat to the State of Florida and requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, critical infrastructure, and general welfare of this State.”


Scott declared a State of Emergency for the following Florida counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Franklin, Gilchrist, Hernando, Hillsborourgh, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, Volusia, and Wakulla.

The State of Emergency activates Florida’s Emergency Management Plans, authorizes cooperation with the Federal Government, activates the Florida National Guard, and authorizes the waiver of tolls on Florida roads as may be needed.  

The Executive Order also provides for the suspension of Florida administrative actions, such as those in the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, in the event those offices are closed to inclement weather.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Applauds Agencies’ Response To Indian River Lagoon Fish Kill


BREVARD COUNTY, Florida – Florida Governor Rick Scott applauded the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) for partnering with other state, regional and local agencies to assess and respond to the large brown algal bloom which has recently inundated the Indian River and Banana River lagoons in Brevard County, Florida. 

While brown algae is typically non-toxic to humans, it can reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, impacting fish and other wildlife. Coordinating state agencies are assessing and responding to algal bloom events, monitoring and analyzing impacts to wildlife and water quality, and addressing short and longer-term solutions.

“The quality and safety of Florida’s waters is a top priority for our state,” Governor Scott said. “While this brown tide event is not a health threat to our families or visitors, we are assessing and responding to areas that are seeing a loss of fish. I applaud our state agencies for working together to quickly determine the effects of this recent event, and we will continue to do all we can to protect water quality in the Indian River Lagoon.”

“Getting answers to help address this serious situation is a top priority,” FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley said. “We are working closely with our partners and the local community to better understand the problem and help develop solutions. Florida’s natural treasures and wildlife are incredibly important to our state and we will continue to do all we can to ensure its protection and preservation.”


Brevard County Algae Bloom Unrelated To Lake Okeechobee Discharges

Although algal bloom events can be unpredictable, contributing factors can include weather conditions and excess nutrients in waterways. The Governor’s office emphasized that the water from Lake Okeechobee does not reach Brevard County through the Indian River Lagoon, so there is no evidence as of now that this bloom is related to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Health Concerns Over Brown Tide, Fish Kill

“While brown tides are not associated with toxins and do not impact human health directly, it is important that people do not handle, collect or eat fish or wildlife found dead or dying,” said Interim State Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip. “DOH will continue to work with our partnering agencies to keep local families and visitors safe during this recovery process.”

“This algal bloom event reinforces the need for continued restoration work in the lagoon,” DEP Secretary Jon Steverson said. “We are committed to working with our state and local partners to expedite and implement projects that will improve water quality conditions, and ensure our natural treasures are safe for Florida’s families and visitors to enjoy.”

SJRWMD Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle said, “It’s only through collaboration with our communities and partners, like FWC and DEP, that we can make progress with recovery efforts at the Indian River Lagoon. Our district is committed to not only helping with immediate relief in the hardest hit areas, but also by expediting efforts to put projects in the ground that will offer long-term relief to the nutrient problem in the lagoon.”

What Government Agencies Are Doing Right Now

The Governor’s Office said in a release that local, state and federal agencies will continue to work together to find answers to the cause of this brown tide and to identify what can be done in the future to limit or avoid similar events and build on restoration efforts underway. DEP and SJRWMD have deployed staff and boats to assist Brevard County with their local recovery and clean-up efforts, and local DOH offices continue to monitor for human health impacts and encourage public safety.

Short-term response efforts include:

FWC is serving as the lead agency for documenting and determining the cause of fish and wildlife mortality events.

On March 19, FWC began taking fish and water samples to analyze at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. Current data and historic analysis indicate fish impacts appear to be the result of low dissolved oxygen conditions associated with the brown algae bloom.

To help them respond to this algal bloom and other wildlife events, FWC encourages the public to hotline allows the public to report directly to researchers the locations of fish kills and diseased or abnormal fish by calling a toll-free hotline at 1-800-636-0511.

The SJRWMD continues to collect water quality monitoring samples and track movement and trends in the bloom activity. The water management district routinely monitors water quality in the Indian River Lagoon and its tributaries, collecting and managing data from 58 sites monthly to provide reliable data about current water quality conditions.

To monitor specifically for algae species, the SJRWMD partners with FWC and the University of Florida to sample and analyze five sites monthly and provides additional event-driven support when algal blooms are reported. The district also maintains five stations that provide continuous water quality monitoring, sending the information electronically to the agency’s headquarters.

In addition to on-the-ground response and monitoring efforts, state and local agencies are also focusing on longer-term water quality restoration efforts for Indian River Lagoon. These restoration projects and management strategies are essential to reducing nitrogen and phosphorous levels, which will help to decrease the intensity and duration of algal bloom events.


Long-term restoration efforts include:

Including the recently signed Florida First budget, the state will have invested nearly $80 million dollars in projects in Brevard County to restore the lagoon over a three-year span.

To address elevated levels of nutrients in the lagoon in 2013, DEP adopted three basin management action plans (BMAPs) to implement the projects and activities necessary to bring the lagoon back to health. In addition, the Department has adopted the St. Lucie BMAP, which will also help the Southern Indian River Lagoon. To date, the stakeholders have achieved all obligations outlined in the BMAPs.

Several projects have been completed in recent months that will bring relief to the Indian River Lagoon in time. Recently, SJRWMD activated large scale stormwater treatment and control projects on the C-1 Canal and at the Wheeler Stormwater Park.

DEP and the district are also working to expedite a number of projects that can help improve the health of the lagoon. Recently, innovative dispersed water pilot projects have been approved in Indian River County that are projected to keep thousands of pounds of nutrients from reaching the lagoon.


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