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After missteps with some Hispanic voters in 2020, Biden faces pressure to get 2024 outreach right



KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Joe Biden vowed in 2020 to work “like the devil” to energize Hispanic voters, and flew to Florida seven weeks before Election Day to do just that. But as he stepped to the podium at a Hispanic Heritage Month event near Disney World, Biden declared, “I just have one thing to say” and used his phone to play part of “Despacito.”

It was meant as a salute to the singer of the reggaeton hit, Luis Fonsi, who had introduced Biden and cried, “Dance a little bit, Joe.” Still, the gesture triggered swift online backlash from some Hispanics, who saw it as playing to belittling stereotypes — proof that while outreach is important, failing to strike the right cultural tone can undermine such efforts.

“The details actually matter for people because it’s respecting their background, respecting their history, respecting their culture,” said Grecia Lima, national political director of Community Change Action. “It’s not an insignificant portion of what campaigns are going to have to wrestle with in the ’24 cycle.”

Biden is hardly the first politician to strike a sour note trying to connect across cultural lines, but the blowback he encountered illustrates a bigger challenge facing the president and his party as he seeks a second term next year.

Hispanic voters, long a core constituency for Democrats, have reliably supported them based on substantive matters of policy, from health care to managing the economy, according to Pew Research Center surveys. But recent signs that Republicans have made inroads with those voters are adding to the sense that Democrats have work to do to maintain their advantage.

Democratic candidates won 57% of Hispanic voters during last year’s midterms, a smaller percentage than the 63% of Hispanic voters Biden won in 2020 and the 66% of Hispanic voters supporting the party in 2018, when Democrats took control of the House, according to AP VoteCast, a sweeping survey of the national electorate.

Meanwhile, 39% of Hispanic voters backed Republicans last year, a tick up from the 35% who supported former President Donald Trump’s reelection bid.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, a Republican considering a White House run, said Democrats have failed to connect with Hispanic voters and hurt themselves by adopting terms like Latinx, a gender-neutral alternative to “Latino” and “Latina.”

“They’ve created a tremendous opportunity for Republicans,” Suarez said. “A lot of the issues that Hispanics care about are issues that are being touted by the Republican Party.”

Democrats say they maintain the upper hand on policy, but party leaders had expected another boost in electoral support from recent demographic shifts in the Hispanic population. A growing share were English-speaking and U.S. born, and they came from a wider array of backgrounds.

Many Democrats also believed harsh rhetoric from Republicans before, during and after the presidency of Trump — who famously used his campaign launch in 2015 to declare immigrants from Mexico to be rapists and criminals — would work in their favor.

Yet even modest swings toward Republicans could mean millions more 2024 GOP votes since Hispanics made up 62% of total growth in the nation’s eligible voters between 2018 and last year’s election, according to Pew. And that makes engaging in effective Hispanic outreach critical, activists say.

“Are they behind?” asked Javier Palomarez CEO of the United States Hispanic Business Council. “Yes.”

Hispanic support for Republicans has risen in places like New Mexico and New York, said Palomarez, who noted that such trends could continue — especially since word-of-mouth is crucial to influencing Hispanic voting — unless Democrats change the way they work to mobilize Hispanic voters.

“What they need to do immediately is really start talking to the Hispanic community in a genuine fashion,” said Palomarez, a fierce Trump critic who once joined the Trump administration’s council on diversity in hopes of finding consensus. “We’re no less important than any other community, but we’ve been left behind.”

Democratic strategist Maria Cardona countered that nearly every cycle features “activists with their hair on fire: ‘The campaign’s not doing enough, we’re not hearing from enough people.’”

She said Biden’s campaign is neutralizing those perceptions with “historic strides and investments” in Hispanic voter mobilization, especially important since a new Hispanic American turns 18 years old nationwide about every 30 seconds. That helps account for around 4 million more eligible Hispanic voters ahead of 2024 than there were in 2020.

Biden supporters also say incidents like playing “Despacito” don’t resonate with Hispanic voters who are more interested in concrete policy achievements, especially when leading Republican candidates feed racially charged fear-mongering about immigrants and the U.S.-Mexico border.

“President Biden has spent his first two years in office focusing on the issues facing many Latino families — lowering health care costs, creating good-paying jobs, getting our small businesses and schools reopened, and fighting gun violence in our communities,” Kevin Munoz, a spokesperson for Biden’s reelection campaign, said in a statement.

Of course, cultural gaffes are bipartisan, going back to 1976, when President Gerald Ford bit into a Texas tamale without removing the corn husk. And Trump and other top Republicans have long used language such as “illegal alien,” regarded by many Latinos as dehumanizing.

In the long run, the anti-immigration policies enacted by the Trump administration, including separating children from their parents at the border with no plans to reunite them, could matter more than Hispanic voter outreach efforts. Still, Hispanic voter support for Republican candidates held steady between 2018 and 2020 at 35% nationally, according to Vote Cast.

And “Despacito” wasn’t the Biden camp’s only misstep since then.

During a visit to Puerto Rico last fall, the president sought help pronouncing Caño Martín Peña while promoting federal funding to improve that canal. First lady Jill Biden flubbed the pronunciation of “Si Se Puede,” the old farmworkers union slogan that later became an Obama-era rallying cry, during a speech in California last spring. Then, in Texas last summer, she said the Hispanic community was as “unique as breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.” “We are not tacos,” the National Association of Hispanic Journalists tweeted in response, prompting an apology from the first lady’s office.

Matt Barreto, who does polling for the White House and the Democratic National Committee, said some of the shift toward Republicans occurred among those who cited the economy as their chief concern.

Barreto said the Democratic Party and its allies have intensified Hispanic outreach programs for the past two-plus years and found ways to make sure their message resonates.

“We’ve been learning our lessons, and constantly improving, and not taking the community for granted,” Barreto said. “That doesn’t mean some of the people who want us to do more are wrong.”

Democrats were also hindered in 2020 by the pandemic, which severely limited on-the-ground organizing and door-knocking. But when those efforts resumed in 2022, Democrats nonetheless lost House races in heavily Hispanic parts of Southern California and Florida, even as they exceeded expectations nationally.

Indeed, the shift toward Republicans was particularly pronounced in Florida, where over half of Hispanic voters backed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is now running for president. He champions hard-line immigration stances that included using state funds to send asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard because, he said, Democrats in northern cities were ignoring problems on the U.S.-Mexico border.

GOP messages portraying Democrats as too far left and anti-capitalist also resonated with Hispanic voters in South Florida, particularly recent immigrants from struggling socialist countries like Venezuela and Cuba.

In Florida’s Broward County, one of the state’s few remaining Democratic strongholds, Richard Ramunno, a 31-year-old business owner of Argentine and Chilean background, remembered Biden’s “Despacito” episode but laughed it off. He said he worries more about policy decisions Republicans are making at the state level, including the Parental Rights in Education law signed by DeSantis, which makes it easier to challenge a book over its content.

“The laws they are passing are very conservative right now,” he said. “Books are being removed from schools.”

But Ramunno also said Democrats should be doing more to reach out to voters ahead of the 2024 election.

A brighter spot for Democrats last year was Nevada, where the first Latina elected to the Senate, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, won reelection despite Republicans flipping the governorship. Melissa Morales, founder of Somos PAC, which supported Cortez Masto, said the midterms showed the importance of focusing on economic policies like affordable housing and health care — not GOP-led culture war issues.

“The thing that really emerged for us in 2022 was that Latinos were so solutions-oriented,” Morales said.

Lima, whose progressive group mobilizes voters for races up and down the ballot, said that the economy is a top motivator for Hispanics and that Biden and top Democratic candidates can point to legislative accomplishments, including a major public works package and increased federal spending on health care, social services and green energy.

But Lima also called those “down payments” and said Hispanic voters will expect Biden and Democrats “to make good” on policies that help the economy work better for them — even with Republicans controlling the House.

“We can’t come back to them without progress in 2024,” she said.

Many of the same activists who have criticized Biden and Democrats, however, praised the president for selecting Julie Chavez Rodriguez, granddaughter of civil rights icon Cesar Chavez, to manage his reelection campaign. Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar is a campaign co-chair.

Morales said choosing Rodriguez was not only symbolically important but also encouraging given her organizing background.

“It’s so clear that she is the right person for the job,” Morales said.

In a memo detailing 2024 strategy, which the Biden campaign produced in English and Spanish, Rodriguez promised that the campaign would “engage early and often” with Hispanic and other voters the campaign is counting on. The DNC also plans to build on Adelante, or “Forward,” a seven-figure outreach plan that last year featured bilingual radio and print ads in Florida, Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The ads began last May, earlier before a midterm election than the DNC says it has ever started Spanish-language media. The committee is also helping fund Hispanic coalition and organizing staff in battleground states and planning to resume “boot camps” it used during the midterms. They train bilingual campaign staff in key states.

“I believe that now the Democratic Party is in a position where, when I go and tell people, ‘I want you to do more,’ I have willing partners,” said Barreto, who worked closely with Rodriguez on Hispanic outreach during Biden’s 2020 campaign. “That gives me more optimism that I’m not going to be spending the next 12 months trying to hit people over the head and saying, ‘Don’t forget, Latinos are important.’”


State Senator Linda Stewart Re-Files 6 Bills Ahead of 2024 Legislative Session



ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – With the 2024 legislative session quickly approaching, State Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) re-filed multiple bills that did not pass during the legislature’s brief 60-day session earlier this year.

· Reading Achievement Initiative for Scholastic Excellence Program – Allows school districts to authorize payment to students serving as afterschool tutors.

· Public Restroom Requirements – Creates requirement for accessibility hook in new restrooms.

· Professional Licensing Requirements for Barbers and Cosmetologists – Allows for specific inmates to apply hours learned while incarcerated towards their barber/cosmetology license.

· Review of Employment Contracts – Gives workers right to access a copy of their employment agreement.

· Flood Zone Disclosures – Requires apartments to disclose flood zone information to tenants/new renters.

· Comprehensive Waste Reduction and Recycling Program – Directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to implement statewide waste reduction methods and recycling program.

These bills touch on many policy areas all with a common goal of improving the lives of Floridians. Expanding access to higher education, increasing transparency to renters, and reducing waste and improving recycling programs are a few of the subjects addressed in today’s filings.

“It can often take multiple tries to pass a bill into law. Some of these bills are from earlier this year, while others I have filed for multiple consecutive years. With 2024 being my final session in the State Senate, I am looking forward to giving these important common sense policies that represent my constituency’s interests one last push towards the finish line,” said Stewart.

Over the course of the next three months, the legislature will convene for a total of six committee weeks where legislators will begin reviewing bills assigned to their respective committees. During this time Senator Stewart will continue to accept legislation suggestions and file bills until deadlines later this year.

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US President Joe Biden Coming to Florida Saturday to Survey Idalia’s Aftermath



President Joe Biden told reporters at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington that he planned to make the trip on Saturday morning. The White House previously said Biden was planning to visit his vacation home in Rehoboth, Delaware, over the Labor Day weekend.

Biden said he had spoken with the governor for a third time on Thursday to assure him the federal government would continue to provide necessary resources to recover from the storm.

Biden also traveled to the state to tour damage with DeSantis after Hurricane Ian battered Florida last September.

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Governor Ron DeSantis Issues Updates on Hurricane Idalia, August 30th



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. This afternoon, Governor DeSantis provided updates on the ongoing response to Hurricane Idalia in Perry, Florida. He was joined by Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, Major General John D. Haas and members of the Florida State Guard who were activated for the first time in 75 years. Full remarks can be found here. Governor DeSantis’ Emergency Order can be found here.
Additionally, the Governor gave updates on response efforts with AHCA Secretary Jason Weida and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. to provide updates on healthcare facilities and school closures. Full remarks can be found here.
The Governor announced that all state bridges in areas impacted by Hurricane Idalia have been cleared by FDOT, including Cedar Key Bridge. This is an important step in the recovery process and will allow first responders, law enforcement, utility linemen and supplies to come onto the island. FDOT has nearly 700 team members deployed to the impacted areas, which includes nearly 100 Bridge Inspectors and 224 Cut and Toss crew members. Those crew members have cleared 6,600 miles of roadway. Nearly 250 pieces of major equipment, including 140 dump trucks, 59 pumps, and 207 other heavy equipment (front-end loaders, skid-steers, etc.) have been deployed with FDOT crews. Nearly 1,100 generators have been deployed to help restore traffic signals.
Yesterday, Governor DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the activation of the Florida Disaster Fund to support communities impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Since activating, the fund has raised more than $1 million to support impacted Floridians. To donate, click here.
State Response Efforts
  • FDEM is leading the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) for the Hurricane Idalia response.
  • FDEM has mobilized requested resources to support residents and first responders including more than 100 pallets of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), nearly 500 pallets of bottled water, and more than 20 pallets of tarps.
  • Just two months after the first graduation of Florida State Guard soldiers in 75 years, they’ve been called up to support Florida’s Hurricane Response and are on the ground in Taylor County. We thank them for their service during this community’s time of need.
  • The Florida National Guard (FLNG) has been fully activated, with a mobilization of 5,300 guardsmen in position across the state for response efforts. Mobilized units are postured to support humanitarian assistance, route clearance, traffic control, aviation, and security missions throughout impacted areas.
  • The Florida National Guard’s Air Force Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadrin Engineer (REDHORSE) is a highly trained unit in heavy construction that is uniquley mobile and also able to quickly move debris and clear vital routes for our responders. They have worked tirelessly since early morning to clear routes for our own teams to conduct door to door wellness checks for our fellow Floridians.
  • The FLNG 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team has deployed forward into western and northwestern Florida.
  • The Florida National Guard currently has:
    • 2400 vehicles to include high mobility and high-water vehicles,
    • 14 FLARNG helicopters strategically placed around the state and that number could double with assistance from neighboring states,
    • 23 small watercrafts ready to support search and rescue, and reconnaissance missions.
  • Two National Guard Truck Companies from neighboring states are enroute to Florida to provide our Guardsmen with additional mobility capabilities.
  • The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) mutual aid team is coordinating Florida’s law enforcement response with 68 active missions including deployment of search and rescue teams.
  • A total of 80 FDLE agents from Miami, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Pensacola are deployed into the impacted area and an FDLE drone operator is working with Urban Search and Rescue Teams.
  • FDLE has deployed the following equipment:
    • One command center
    • One mobile command center
    • Six mobile staging units
    • Three large trailers
    • Four box trailers
    • Two cargo trucks
    • One forklift
    • 24 generators
    • 30 Chainsaws.
  • The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) two rapid response teams The teams have of a total of 47 officers and support personnel and the following equipment:
    • 47 four-wheel drive vehicles
    • 15 vessels including airboats and shallow draft vessels
    • 9 UTV/ATVs
    • 1 drone unit
    • 4 swamp buggies
    • 2 supply trailers
    • 1 command trailer
    • multiple generators
    • mobile communications equipment
    • fuel resupply containers
  • FWC response teams have integrated with three teams from the Department of Financial Services Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosives Investigations with heavy debris removal capability.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol has activated 300 troopers and implemented 12-hour Alpha, Bravo to provide resources to impacted areas. This activation has resulted in regular days off being cancelled and 24-Hour enhanced coverage.
  • The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is actively working to provide any needed assistance to drinking water, wastewater and hazardous waste facilities. Outreach to these facilities to determine operation status is ongoing.
  • DEP’s request for a fuel waiver was granted by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to temporarily adjust certain regulatory requirements statewide so the state can ensure a sustained, useable fuel supply.
  • DEP is coordinating with Florida’s Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (FlaWARN), the Florida Rural Water Association and other response agencies to dispatch fuel and pump trucks to assist drinking and wastewater facilities.
  • 14 Florida State Parks strike teams have been assembled to assist with assessment and recovery efforts at impacted parks.
  • DEP’s Emergency Final Order removes barriers for expediting necessary repair, replacement and restoration of structures, equipment, surface water management systems, works and other systems that may be damaged by the storm.
Health and Human Services
  • The Florida Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) has released more than $104 million in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits early in preparation/response to Hurricane Idalia for over 327,000 households that would normally receive their September SNAP benefit between the 1st – 14th of the month. This applies to SNAP households located in one of the 49 designated counties in Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order. Eligible recipients will have the benefits automatically added to their EBT card. There is no need for recipients to apply.
  • The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is staging mobile field hospitals and emergency rooms for deployment to facilities in the Big Bend.
  • DOH and AHCA are supporting patient transport and efficient reopening of health care facilities in affected areas.
  • Over 400 ambulances and paratransit buses are deployed or staged to support emergency medical services and patient transport.
  • DOH is supporting 45 special needs shelters in the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Charlotte, Clay, Columbia, Citrus, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Glades/Henry, Hardee, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, St. John’s, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, and Volusia.
  • DOH Children’s Medical Services Managed Care Plan (CMS) conducted outreach to providers and high-risk clients within 46 counties. CMS has ensured clients have access to early prescription refills.
  • DOH has provided additional supplies of special infant formula to Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clients in need. WIC clients have been contacted regarding clinic closures.
  • The DOH and Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) sent information regarding early prescription refills permitted under Executive Order 23-171. This information was sent to the public, health insurers, managed care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacy chains, and health care providers.
  • The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is pulling reports utilizing newly developed GIS software that includes information from residential providers and hospitals in impacted areas.
  • AHCA opened an event in the Health Facility Reporting System, All Residential/Inpatient Health Care Providers must submit updates on census, bed availability, evacuation and receiving status, power outages and generator status by 10AM daily & when a situation changes. This has been put in place for all 67 counties.
  • On-site post storm visits will be made by the Agency to conduct health and life safety surveys.
  • For health facilities with storm damage, damage assessment guidelines, are available here.
  • Teledoc is providing free virtual health care services, including general medical telehealth visits, non-emergency services, and prescription refills, to Florida residents, first responders and others directly impacted by Hurricane Idalia. Call Teladoc directly at 855-225-5032.
  • AHCA sent a Medicaid Provider Alert outlining Key Medicaid Information for Fee-For-Service and Managed Care Providers during Hurricane Idalia, this can be found here.
  • The Agency waived all prior authorization requirements for providers to perform critical services beyond policy limits until further notice.
  • AHCA has activated the Emergency Patient Look-Up System (E-PLUS). Special needs shelters are able to utilize the system to retrieve patient medical records. E-PLUS is also available to assist medical providers and emergency response personnel with locating missing or displaced persons after the storm.
  • Publix pharmacies have agreed to share data with the E-PLUS and are also being credentialed to use the system to assist with prescribing needs.
  • 100% of operating long-term care facilities have a generator on-site. The Generator Status Map for long-term care facilities is available here.
  • AHCA has contacted the Medicaid Managed Care Plans, to ensure they are allowing for early prescription refills. Fee-for-service recipients are also eligible for early refills.
  • The Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), APD and its partners have contacted APD clients, families, providers and critical stakeholders pre-landfall to ensure readiness and track any evacuations plans for post storm activities.
  • APD Field Leadership and their teams are checking in with clients, providers, and staff in the affected areas to determine health and safety post landfall.
  • The Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) is receiving daily updates from all 11 Area Agencies on Aging throughout Florida. PSA 6 is currently closed to the public but is operating in a more limited capacity with staff working on the Elder Help Line and in their Long-Term Care Services Departments. There are currently no unmet needs being reported by any PSA 6 providers.
Infrastructure, Roads, State Closures and Outages
  • The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) continues to complete assessments of the fuel supplies as locations reported by CITGO to determine the severity of contaminated fuel within on-site tanks. Updates on inspections and testing can be found here.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is maintaining high visibility on interstate systems, bridges, and rest areas. Motorists can report disabled vehicles or dangerous driving conditions to *FHP (*347).
  • FHP is coordinating UAV flights to capture images of all the State Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS) towers to ensure state law enforcement personnel have communications to provide Hurricane Idalia response and law enforcement resources.
  • FLHSMV driver license and motor vehicle service center closures can be found here.
  • FDACS has opened up the consumer hotline to receive complaints from consumers impacted by the Port of Tampa fuel contamination. If you believe you were sold contaminated gasoline, you can file a complaint by calling 1-800-HELP-FLA or visiting
  • Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) For the latest and real-time road and bridge closures, please visit Florida 511, at or download the app. Florida’s 511 Traveler Information System is available for drivers to stay informed about roadway conditions during emergencies. This service is monitored and updated 24/7 by FDOT and includes traffic conditions, road and bridge closures, and other specialized alerts.
  • FDOT has nearly 700 team members deployed to the impacted areas, which includes nearly 100 Bridge Inspectors and 224 Cut and Toss crew members.
  • Nearly 250 pieces of major equipment, including 140 dump trucks, 59 pumps, and 207 other heavy equipment (front-end loaders, skid-steers, etc.)
  • Nearly 1,100 generators are ready to deploy as needed to quickly restore traffic signals.
  • All 13 traffic management centers across the state, which are open 24/7, are monitoring road conditions and traffic levels along critical corridors including I-10, I-75, and I-4 to ensure safe travel for drivers.
  • 185 Road Rangers are available across the state to assist motorists in need.
  • Tolls have been suspended at facilities along the West Coast of Florida until Noon on Tuesday, September 5. The facilities include the I-4 Connector, Selmon Expressway (S.R. 618), Veterans Expressway (S.R. 589), Suncoast Parkway (S.R. 589), Turnpike Mainline (I-75 to I-4), Pinellas Bayway (S.R. 679), Sunshine Skyway Bridge (U.S. 19).
  • FDOT issued an Emergency Order to temporarily allow expanded weight and size requirements for vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agriculture commodities and citrus.
  • For rolling updates on Florida’s airport, seaport, and transit partners, please visit local listings or
  • Remember to heed the advice of local officials following a severe weather event. FDOT reminds motorists to always proceed cautiously and drive safely.
  • DEP has pre-authorized 707 Disaster Debris Management Sites for the counties included in the Governor’s Executive Order to temporarily stage storm-generated debris that may result from the storm.
  • The Florida Department of Education is consistently updating their website with school district closures, as well as State University System and Florida College System Closures.
    • 50 County School Districts have issued closures.
    • 20 Florida State College Systems have issued closures.
    • Nine State University Systems have issued closures.
    • Ten State Testing Site has issued closures.
    • Ten Division of Blind Services have issued closures.
    • 20 Vocational Rehabilitation Offices have issued closures.
Resources for Employees and Businesses
  • Today, FloridaCommerce and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey in response to Hurricane Idalia. Survey responses will allow the state to expedite Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses. Businesses can complete the survey online by visiting and selecting “Hurricane Idalia” from the dropdown menu.
  • In partnership with FloridaCommerce, DOH has provided resources to private sector partners selling generators to Floridians regarding generator safety and carbon monoxide poisoning prevention. Information regarding proper generator safety has also been distributed on social media platforms.
  • FloridaCommerce has activated the private sector hotline at 850-815-4925 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Inquiries may also be emailed to
  • FloridaCommerce has alerted the statewide Community Action Agency (CAA) Network and Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) to initiate disaster preparedness activities. LWDBs and CAAs have been advised to submit their anticipated cash needs or invoice packages for reimbursement, as appropriate, to ensure critical services to Floridians are not disrupted.
  • FloridaCommerce is hosting daily private sector coordination calls beginning Monday, August 28, 2023. Briefings will be provided by SERT meteorology, fuels, communications, transportation, and energy, as well as private sector partners such as the Florida Retail Federation, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, and VISIT FLORIDA.
  • FloridaCommerce is in contact with local ESF 18 representatives in the anticipated impacted areas to support economic resiliency in their communities.
  • FloridaCommerce has also been in contact with Amazon who will donate gift cards and supplies to nonprofits following the storm.
  • U-HAUL is offering 30 days of free self-storage or container use at more than 50 of its locations across the state. For more information contact the nearest participating location:
  • OnStar: Crisis Mode has been turned on for all OnStar-equipped Chevrolet, Buick, GMC & Cadillac owners impacted by Idalia. Services are complimentary. Just push your OnStar button and say “Advisor.”
  • Wells Fargo is ready to support Floridians by providing access to your accounts, banker support on their customer assistance line at 1-800-219-9739.
  • Visa is waiving interchange fees for donations made to the Florida Relief Fund. They will match employee donations made in support of Florida disaster relief efforts and the Visa Small Business Team has activated their Back to Business tools to help Floridians affected by Hurricane Idalia.
  • Comcast has opened 141,000 public Xfinity WiFi hotspots in areas it serves across Florida in Hurricane Idalia’s potential path for anyone to use, including non-Xfinity customers, for free.
  • Uber announced FREE* round-trip rides to Florida shelter locations in Alachua, Citrus, Collier, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lake, Leon, Marion, Manatee, Nassau, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Sumter, Union, and Volusia counties in preparation of Hurricane Idalia
    • Open your app.
    • Tap “Account” on the bottom right.
    • Tap Wallet
    • Scroll down to “+ Add Promo Code.”
    • Enter code IDALIARELIEF
      • *Up to $35 each way, to and from a state- approved evacuation shelter listed at
  • VISIT FLORIDA has activated the Emergency Accommodations Module with Expedia to provide real-time availability of hotel rooms throughout the state.
  • Updates on closures and business resources are consistently being updated at FloridaDisaster.Biz/CurrentDisasterUpdates.
  • The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) linking the Boil Water Notice Guidelines and the Emergency Recovery Guidelines was sent to food and lodging establishments throughout the impacted areas of the state to help businesses prepare for post-storm recovery.
  • DBPR is coordinating with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to secure accommodations for state workers and first responders deploying to impacted areas.
  • The DBPR Division of Hotels and Restaurants is coordinating emergency response teams in the Big Bend, North Florida and Tampa Bay regions for a post-storm rapid response to assist lodging establishments and restaurants in reopening as necessary.
  • DBPR encourages Florida’s licensed contractors who are looking to help property owners in need of post-storm construction-related services to register with the Florida Disaster Contractors Network at Once homeowners are safely able to assess their home repair needs, DBPR encourages them to log onto and search by county for a list of Florida-licensed contractors providing these services in their community.
  • OIR issued an Informational Memorandum to all authorized residential property insurers to provide guidance on hurricane preparedness and response. OIR directed insurers to review all aspects of their disaster preparedness and response plans to ensure they’re in compliance with Florida law. Informational Memorandum OIR-23-05M is available here.
Emergency Orders
  • DBPR Emergency Order 2023-06 also:
    • Extends the deadline for the filing of monthly reports and returns by certain alcoholic beverage and tobacco license holders to October 25, 2023.
    • Suspends and tolls through October 25, 2023, all final orders reflecting agency action and all-time requirements and deadlines for filing responses outlined in agency orders through September 28, 2023.
    • Suspends and tolls the annual $4 mobile home fee and $1 surcharge for mobile home park owners.
    • Waives the $200 fee for the issuance of temporary licenses for out-of-state veterinarians through October 25, 2023.
  • Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has FLHSMV has issued Emergency Order 082623, which:
    • waives specific requirements for commercial motor vehicles providing emergency relief; and
    • waives the replacement fees for driver’s license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.
  • Following the issuance of the Governor’s Executive Order, DEP has issued an Emergency Final Order waiving permitting requirements for the storage and processing of solid waste, including hurricane debris.
  • DEP’s Emergency Final Order also removes barriers for expediting necessary repair, replacement and restoration of structures, equipment, surface water management systems, works and other systems that may be damaged by the storm.
  • FDOT issued an Emergency Order to temporarily allow expanded weight and size requirements for vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agriculture commodities and citrus.

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