RPOF Newsletter – June 2, 2020

Governor Ron DeSantis’ COVID Response:
Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. 
Plan for Florida’s Recovery

Before diving into our standard Week in Review newsletter, I want to take the time to share the following messages from Governor Ron DeSantis thanking state and local leaders for their partnership to keep Floridians safe.

On Monday, June 1, 2020 Gov. DeSantis issued the following statement:

 “Florida has zero tolerance for violence, rioting and looting. George Floyd’s murder was appalling, and the Minnesota perpetrators need to be brought to justice, but this cannot be used as a pretext for violence in our Florida communities.

“I am in constant contact with state and local leaders, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Florida National Guard and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). We have devoted significant resources, including the mobilization of 700 Florida National Guard soldiers who are specially trained to support law enforcement. I have also worked with FHP to coordinate more than 1,300 sworn Florida Highway Patrol troopers to support local law enforcement efforts. We will continue to do everything necessary to keep residents safe.

“Over the past 48 hours, I have spoken with President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Senate President Bill Galvano, FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, Florida National Guard Adjutant General James Eifert, FHP Director Colonel Gene Spaulding, Broward County Mayor Dale V.C. Holness, Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Representative James Bush, Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer, Boca Raton Police Chief Michele Miuccio, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Senator Darryl Rouson.

“I thank these leaders for their continued partnership and efforts to keep Floridians safe.”

On Tuesday, June 2, 2020 Governor DeSantis issued the following statement:

“Demonstrations across the state of Florida have remained largely peaceful over the past 24 hours and no significant law enforcement or civilian injuries or deaths have been reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Additionally, FDLE has not received reports of widespread property damage, commercial or residential. 

“I appreciate all the hard work being done by our local officials, the Florida National Guard, the Florida Highway Patrol and our law enforcement to help ensure the safety of residents and visitors, as well as those who are engaging in peaceful First Amendment activity,” said Governor DeSantis. “Over the past 24 hours, demonstrations have remained largely peaceful thanks to these collaborative efforts. We will remain vigilant and stand ready in the event something changes. Florida will not tolerate rioting, looting or violence. We encourage all residents and visitors to continue abiding by local curfews and directives and thank everyone for their cooperation.” 

The Governor remains in constant contact with law enforcement and state and local leaders to ensure all necessary actions are being taken to protect Floridians. The Governor mobilized 700 Florida National Guard soldiers specially trained to support law enforcement and worked with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) to coordinate more than 1,300 sworn FHP troopers to support local law enforcement efforts. 


Message from Chairman Joe Gruters

The Florida model continues to grow attention on a national level. Specifically, the Governor’s targeted approach to protecting vulnerable populations in long-term care facilities. Those efforts are now being touted as one of the most important ways to mitigate the impacts of the virus. See our “In the News” section for state and national stories and articles about Governor DeSantis and Florida’s response to COVID-19.

Last week at a news conference  in South Florida, Gov. DeSantis discussed why testing remains central to Floria’s ongoing response to COVID-19.  More than 90% of people getting tested for COVID-19 in Florida are negative as our state moves forward with re-opening. To date, nearly one million individuals have been tested for COVID-19.  However, the percent of tests that come back positive for our new cases has ranged between 0.67% and 3.3%. That means more than 90% of people who are testing are coming back negative.

In other news, the Governor spent the week traveling the state highlighting Florida’s efforts to safely head down the road to economic recovery. Several major announcements were made, including his two selections to the Florida Supreme Court; Florida’s Pandemic EBT program for families that rely on free and reduced-price school meals; a key land acquisition to protect our state’s environmental heritage; hurricane recovery updates and hurricane preparedness measures; and a new COVID testing partnership with Home Depot and Publix. Lastly, this past weekend marked the breathtaking launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in the Crew Dragon capsule. 

I was honored to have witnessed NASA’s first commercial launch with American astronauts, on an American rocket ship, on American soil since 2011 right here in the Sunshine State. With Governor Ron DeSantis’ steadfast commitment to the space industry, we will once again see human space flight from the Great State of Florida. We thank President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence for coming back to Florida to take part in the historic accomplishment at the Kennedy Space Center. 


A Week in Review

Tuesday, May 26 Governor Ron DeSantis traveled to South Florida where he announced his two appointees to the Florida Supreme Court. He announced the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis and she will fill the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Robert Luck, who now serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after being appointed by President Donald Trump. Francis will officially take her seat on the Supreme Court on September 24, 2020. Judge Francis will be the first Jamaican-American named to sit on the Florida Supreme Court. He also named John Couriel to the Florida Supreme Court. Mr. Couriel’s appointment fills the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa, who now serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after being appointed by President Donald Trump.

While in South Florida the Governor was also asked about the possibility of Florida hosting the Republican National Convention after tweets by President Trump expressed concerns about North Carolina still being in shut-down mode. Gov. DeSantis said that he would welcome the Republican National Convention to Florida and that he was sure several cities would love to host it. 

“Florida would love to have the RNC. Heck, I’m a Republican, it would be good for us to have the RNC in terms of the economic impact when you talk about major events like that. So my posture on all this is we should try to get it done as best we can in accordance with whatever safety requirements.” 

~~ Gov. Ron DeSantis

Wednesday, May 27  Governor Ron DeSantis announced federal approval for the implementation of Florida’s Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT) in partnership with the the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The P-EBT program automatically issues benefits during the month of June to more than 2.1 million children who have temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals during COVID-19-related school closures.  Gov. DeSantis thanked President Trump and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for allowing states to identify gaps in services and develop new and needed programs that will allow parents to continue to receive healthy lunches throughout the summer months. For more information and Frequently Asked Questions about the P-EBT benefit program, please visit https://www.myflfamilies.com/covid19/access.shtml

Thursday, May 28 Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved a 17,080-acre land acquisition within the Dickerson Bay/ Bald Point Florida Forever project from The Nature Conservancy. Acquisition of this property, which is also known as The Bluffs, provides a permanent means of protecting and restoring the estuaries that recreational and commercial fishers rely on for finfish and shellfish species that are the economic lifeblood of the region. For more information and to hear what Florida conservation leaders are saying about this acquisition please click here.

Also on Thursday, Gov. DeSantis announced the appointment of Kyle Cohen to the Twentieth Circuit Court which includes Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties. Cohen, of Estero, has been an Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida since 2008 and currently serves in the Civil Division of the office. 

Friday, May 29 Governor DeSantis announced the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has partnered with Home Depot and Publix to establish six additional COVID-19 testing sites. Governor DeSantis made this announcement at the first Home Depot testing site in Boca Raton. The Florida Division of Emergency Management is providing staffing and personal protective equipment. Each of these test sites will be able to conduct up to 100 tests per day. Tests will be sent to Quest Diagnostics and results will be available within 5 – 7 days. Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, the state has established more than 15 drive-thru and 15 walk-up testing sites across the state. To date, more than 210,000 individuals have been tested at these sites. Floridians can find a site near them here.

Gov. DeSantis also encouraged Floridians to prepare for Hurricane Season by taking advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday: May 29th – June 4th. Floridians are urged to prepare for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season by taking advantage of the Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, during which critical supplies for hurricane preparedness such as water, medicine, flashlights, batteries, and generators, are tax free. For more information click here.