RPOF Newsletter – May 6, 2022

Chairman’s Message

Historic funding for manatee protection efforts

Governor DeSantis said this week he will commit more than $30 million to improve and expand manatee rescue and rehabilitation efforts and provide habitat restoration for areas where manatees are concentrated. This record investment in manatee protection more than doubles this year’s budget.

“This historic funding will support important restoration efforts across the state to benefit our manatees and Florida’s natural environment,” Governor DeSantis said while visiting the Manatee Critical Care Center located at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “My administration will continue working to find new and innovative ways to support our native species, like the manatee, so that the generations to come can experience Florida’s natural resources.” 

The $30 million includes:

  • $20 million to expand the network of manatee acute care facilities, restore access to springs, provide habitat restoration in manatee concentrated areas, expand manatee rescue and recovery efforts, and implement pilot projects like the supplemental feeding trials that took place this past winter.
  • $5.3 million to expand Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manatee mortality and response efforts, including 12 new positions.
  • $4.7 million in base funding to support manatee acute care facilities and research, rescue, and conservation activities
  • $160,000 to support increased aerial surveys

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/05/02/governor-ron-desantis-announces-historic-30-million-in-funding-for-manatee-rescue-programs-and-habitat-restoration/


Expanding the fight against red tide

Governor DeSantis announced that Florida will invest another $14 million to continue combating red tide, bringing the total Florida has invested since he took office in 2019 to $40 million to mitigate the impacts of red tide. 

This funding will support research through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory along with grants through the Department of Environmental Protection for red tide cleanup.

 “Since my first week in office, I have been focused on protecting Florida’s environment,” Governor DeSantis said. “Not only do red tide blooms affect our coastal waterways, but impacts of blooms can also negatively impact businesses and decrease tourism. We will continue to proactively work with local partners to ensure Florida is at the forefront of innovative technologies to mitigate against harmful blooms.” 

About $4.8 million will go to the Center for Red Tide Research at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, which was created at the request of Governor DeSantis in 2019 to improve statewide red tide monitoring and conduct research to better track, predict, and mitigate the effects of red tide on Florida communities. As a result, red tide sampling has increased by 68 percent and involves more than 60 partners across the state. Additionally, offshore sampling, where red tide originates, has doubled since 2019.

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/05/04/governor-ron-desantis-announces-funding-to-continue-supporting-red-tide-research-and-innovative-mitigation-technologies/


More data shows Florida leading the nation in business creation

Under Governor DeSantis’ strong leadership prioritizing freedom for individuals and businesses while providing tools for expanding workforce education, Florida has become the leader in small business creation and in training the employees needed to support that growth.

Florida leads the nation in business formations, increasing by 61% since 2019. In 2021, Florida saw 114,000 more new businesses than the second place state of California, despite that state having a population that is 40% larger than Florida’s. As of January 2022, the number of small businesses opening in Florida increased nearly 10 percent compared to pre-pandemic January 2020. 

And this week Governor DeSantis has announced that Florida accounts for nearly 30 percent of all Entrepreneurship and Small Business (ESB) certifications nationwide. That surge has led the United States to pass China in the number of ESB examinations between January 2021 and March 2022 with 25,754 exams compared to China’s 16,199. More than 7,500 Florida students have earned the certification in just the past eight months.

This is creating a strong foundation for business and employment growth in Florida.

“Florida’s economy depends on entrepreneurship and successful small businesses, and we know that freedom is the best way to achieve economic success, contrary to the philosophy of the Chinese Communist Party,” Governor DeSantis said. “Florida is committed to being the best place to do business and it is by supporting manufacturing and business friendly policies that this country can continue to surpass China on all fronts. The rest of the nation should take note that this is how you place the U.S. back as a leader on the world stage.”

Supporting access to ESB certifications is a part of Florida’s goal to be the best state in the nation for workforce education by 2030. Governor DeSantis has supported entrepreneurship and small business education throughout his time in office, including keeping Florida open over the past two years. 

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/05/04/florida-propels-u-s-to-surpass-china-in-entrepreneurship-and-small-business-certifications/ 

IMPORTANT REMINDER: You have the ability to greatly expand the beliefs and ideas of the Republican Party of Florida by sharing out Facebook and Twitter posts. Please follow and retweet us on Twitter @FloridaGOP, and like and share us on Facebook at FloridaGOP. We can win over others only if we all pitch in to reach them with our message.



$20 million for resilience from flooding

Governor DeSantis announced nearly $20 million for the Resilient Florida Program Planning Grants to support 98 projects to develop or update comprehensive vulnerability assessments in inland and coastal communities.  

Additionally, Governor DeSantis announced that the Department of Environmental Protection has opened the application portal for Resilient Florida Planning Grants for the coming fiscal year.  

“For the first time, Florida has strategic coordination guiding statewide efforts to protect coastal and inland infrastructure, and dedicated funding to support these projects,” Governor DeSantis said. “These grants will strengthen Florida’s infrastructure to withstand the impacts of flooding and storm surge. My administration will continue the momentum to support resilience in communities across the state.” 

Vulnerability assessments are required to identify infrastructure at risk of flooding from sea level rise, storm surge and rainfall events. The assessments assist local communities in developing strategies and projects to mitigate the effects of flooding.

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/05/03/governor-ron-desantis-announces-award-of-nearly-20-million-for-98-projects-through-the-resilient-florida-grant-program/ 

See the list of projects here: https://protectingfloridatogether.gov/sites/default/files/documents/FY2021-22_RF_PlanningGrants.pdf

The application portal is here: https://protectingfloridatogether.gov/state-action/grants-submissions



$22 million for broadband and other infrastructure

Governor DeSantis announced $22 million in funding to 15 Florida communities to support projects that include expanding broadband internet services, improving community centers and accessing small business grants.  

“We have been responsible, we have protected people’s freedoms, and we have kept the economy open in Florida,” Governor DeSantis. “Today we are proud to announce another $22 million for workforce development and infrastructure across Florida. Communities across the state are going to benefit from this funding and their growth will help us continue to succeed as a state.”

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/04/29/governor-ron-desantis-awards-more-than-22-million-for-broadband-infrastructure-and-workforce-development-in-florida-communities/


More help on the way for tornado ravaged Southwest Florida

Governor DeSantis and the Florida Division of Emergency Management announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration granted Florida’s request for a Disaster Declaration, which makes disaster loans available to individuals and businesses impacted by the January 2022 Southwest Florida tornadoes.  

The Disaster Declaration provides additional relief in the form of low-interest loans in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. This announcement follows the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s decision to deny Florida’s appeal for Individual Assistance for disaster survivors. 

“In January, I assured Southwest Florida residents that the State of Florida would identify all available forms of assistance to help their recovery efforts following the tornadoes,” Governor DeSantis said. “It’s a shame that after months of waiting for an appeal decision, the Biden Administration decided to deny Individual Assistance again to these disaster survivors. However, despite the federal government’s lack of support, the State of Florida will not let impacted residents suffer because of White House politics.”

Read more: https://www.flgov.com/2022/05/04/governor-desantis-announces-u-s-small-business-administration-disaster-loans-available-to-residents-impacted-by-southwest-florida-tornadoes/


Video: Marco Rubio is right for Florida

Watch video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5RE6dGL-bQ



AG Moody chosen to lead national fight against human trafficking

Attorney General Ashley Moody was chosen this week by the National Association of Attorneys Generals to lead the organization’s Human Trafficking Committee that focuses on anti-human trafficking policies and services for survivors.  

“Ending human trafficking in Florida is one of my top priorities, but we can’t achieve this lofty goal by working within our state borders alone,” Attorney General Moody said. “That’s not how traffickers operate, so we too must break down barriers and work together. The members of this prestigious committee will work in unison to share ideas and strategies for combating human trafficking and saving lives.”

The Human Trafficking Committee helps with education, investigation, outreach, prevention, prosecution and victim services protection while sharing information on emerging issues and practices in the fight against human trafficking. 

In January, Attorney General Moody launched the 100 Percent Club, which recognizes Florida businesses and organizations that commit to training their employees on how to spot and report suspected human trafficking.  

Further, the Attorney General is working with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to train truck drivers to spot and report human trafficking. Since its launch, more than 4,600 commercial truck drivers have received anti-human trafficking training and are now better equipped to help keep an eye on Florida’s 12,000 miles of highways. 

Read more: http://www.myfloridalegal.com/newsrel.nsf/newsreleases/CBC0AEAB075F2AB18525883600541775

And more: https://thecapitolist.com/ag-ashley-moody-tapped-to-lead-national-human-trafficking-committee/


LG Nuñez guest editorial in the Miami Herald:

“Florida has a special bond with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East”

My faith has been an inextinguishable light in my life. There are moments where, yes, it flickers and dims, but there are moments where that light burns ever so brightly.

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, alongside five other lieutenant governors from across the county. We exchanged ideas with Israeli industry leaders, met with government officials and military leaders, visited the Embassy in Jerusalem, the Iron Dome, all while exploring cultural and biblical sites that date back to over 3,000 years ago. Israel is a vibrant country where faith is palpable and warmth is exuded at every turn.

We arrived during the festival of Purim, yet another example of the tenacity of the Jewish people. I am reminded that Esther and Mordecai risked their lives to save those of their fellow Jews. We are all called to serve, undoubtedly in different capacities.

There is no room for nonchalance when it comes to Israel. “For such a time as this.” Pride is clearly in the Israeli’s DNA. They do not apologize for their zeal. They promote it. They do not reflect on their trials and lament; they perceive the triumph through their battles. They do not wallow in defeat; they learn and surge in victory.  

As I walked the halls of Yad Vashem seeing portraits of those innocent souls lost, I thought about our Holocaust survivors in Florida and I reflected on my own moral responsibility as a public servant. The phrase “never again” compels us to fight against hatred in all its forms and challenges us to confront today’s polarization so that we build stronger, safer and unified communities.

Read the rest here: https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article261023347.html