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DAYTONA 500 Champion Kurt Busch Gets Honorary Tampa Bay Lightning Jersey

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TAMPA BAY (FNN SPORTS) - DAYTONA 500 Champion Kurt Busch gets honorary Tampa Bay Lightning jersey in honor of DAYTONA 500 at Amalie Arena Thursday. Photo: Maggie Quant.

TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – 2017 DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch received his honorary Tampa Bay Lightning jersey at Amalie Arena Thursday. His jersey swap with Tampa Lightning forward Tyler Johnson was part of NASCAR’s nationwide media campaign to promote the 60th annual DAYTONA 500, which descends on Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 18, 2018.

 

DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch prepares to trade jerseys with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson at Amalie Arena. Photo: Maggie Quant/Florida National News.

DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch prepares to trade jerseys with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson at Amalie Arena. Photo: Maggie Quant/Florida National News.

 

 

TAMPA BAY (FNN SPORTS) - DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch trades jerseys with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson at Amalie Arena. Photo: Maggie Quant/Florida National News.

DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch trades jerseys with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson at Amalie Arena. Photo: Maggie Quant/Florida National News.

 

 

TAMPA BAY (FNN SPORTS) - DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch bestows his jersey to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson at Amalie Arena. Photo: Maggie Quant/Florida National News.

DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch bestows his jersey to Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson at Amalie Arena. Photo: Maggie Quant/Florida National News.

 

 

DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch receives his honorary Tampa Bay Lightning jersey at Amalie Arena Thursday. Photo: Maggie Quant/Florida National News.

DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch receives his honorary Tampa Bay Lightning jersey at Amalie Arena Thursday. Photo: Maggie Quant/Florida National News.

 

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Maggie Quant is a contributor for Florida National News based in Tampa, Florida. | social@floridanationalnews.com

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Florida

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Proposed Legislation on Teacher’s Bill of Rights

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced an unprecedented legislative proposal to create a Teacher’s Bill of Rights that empowers educators to be leaders in their classrooms, enact paycheck protection, reduce terms for school board members from twelve to eight years, and invest another $1 billion in teacher pay. For more information, click here.
“This is a huge package to increase teacher pay, support teacher empowerment and protect teachers’ paychecks by ensuring they have control over their hard-earned salary,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We want more transparency into how school unions operate, and we are going to fight against school union haggling that holds teachers and their salary increases hostage. Partisan groups should not be given special privileges.”
“From day one, Governor Ron DeSantis has made it his mission to raise teacher pay and elevate educators in the classroom — and he has succeeded,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “Today’s announcement goes another step further to provide historic funding for teachers’ salaries and ensure they have control over their classrooms and paychecks.”
Paycheck Protection
The Governor’s proposal will create more accountability and transparency for public sector unions, including K-12 teacher unions and higher education unions. This proposal will require school unions to represent at least 60% of employees eligible for representation, an increase over the current 50% threshold, and allow state investigations into unions suspected of fraud, waste and abuse. Additionally, the proposal will require annual audits and financial disclosures for unions.
To further ensure that school boards are acting in the best interests of Florida’s teachers and students, this proposal reduces term limits for school board members from 12 years to 8 years and seeks to make school board elections a partisan election. A joint resolution for the 2023 Legislative Session has already been filed by Senator Gruters and Representative Roach to begin this process.
Other paycheck protections that would be enacted under this proposal include:
  • Prohibit any union representing public employees from having its dues and assessments deducted by the public employee’s employer.
  • Require employees to submit a form acknowledging that Florida is a right to work state and union participation is optional.
  • Require school unions to annually notify members of the cost of membership.
  • Prohibit the distribution of union materials at the workplace.
  • Union officials cannot be paid more than the highest paid union member.
  • Prohibit union work while on the clock for their taxpayer funded job.
  • Prohibit school board members and superintendents from accepting a personal or work-related benefit such as a secret “office account” from a school union.
Teacher Empowerment
Since the Governor took office, education has been at the forefront of policy making decisions. Florida law currently contains comprehensive legislation related to students’ rights and parents’ rights in education but does not have a clear compilation of teachers’ rights and authorities. This proposal will establish teacher empowerment provisions in law and will include these main provisions:
  • Establish a new process for individuals to notify the state of a violation of teachers’ rights and ensure that the Department of Education can investigate those claims.
  • Empower teachers to maintain safe classroom environments by creating a “stand your ground” classroom safety policy to protect teachers who are often judged unfairly for maintaining order and safety in their classrooms.
  • Clarify that teachers have the choice to join their local teachers union and will not face any repercussions if they opt not to join.
  • Providing civil remedies for teachers who are asked to violate Florida law and punished by their employers for standing up for what is right.
Raising Teacher Pay
Since 2020, the Governor has secured more than $2 billion in funding for teacher pay, the largest pay increase for teachers in Florida history. This funding has allowed Florida to achieve an average starting teacher salary of $48,000 for the 2022-2023 school year, meeting and exceeding Florida’s goal of an average starting teacher salary of $47,500. The Governor is proposing an additional $200 million to continue raising teacher pay, bringing the total to $1 billion for teacher pay in his recommended budget for the next year.
This $200 million increase over the current year’s budget will be provided to school districts with maximum flexibility to best fit the school district’s needs. School districts will be able to apply the funding to continue raising starting teacher salaries or to provide salary increases for veteran teachers and other eligible instructional personnel.
No eligible full-time classroom teacher will receive a base salary less than the minimum base salary established during the 2022-2023 school year.

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Former State Representative Daisy Morales statement about the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California

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State Rep. Daisy Morales. Photo: Florida House of Representatives.

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 22, 2023) – Former State Representative Daisy Morales, the 2022 sponsor of the Active Shooter Alert System legislation (HB 1271), issued the following statement about the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California that left 10 dead and 10 wounded.

Former Florida State Representative Daisy Morales’ statement:

“I am horrified and deeply saddened to learn about the attack in Monterey Park following the 2023 Lunar New Year festival. I condemn this terrible and senseless act of violence against the Asian American community.

“America is becoming a country where human life doesn’t matter to some lawmakers over senseless gun violence. Lawmakers have a constitutional duty to build a safer future for all Americans and my Active Shooter Alert System legislation will do that.

“I look forward to working with state law enforcement officials, the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Police Chiefs Association and state lawmakers to reintroduce this lifesaving piece of legislation during the 2023 Legislative Session.”

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Florida high court OKs grand jury probe of COVID-19 vaccines

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FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks on Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. Gov. DeSantis said Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 that he plans to petition the state's Supreme Court to convene a grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

TALLAHASSEE (AP) — The Florida Supreme Court will convene a grand jury at Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to investigate any wrongdoing with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines, the court announced Thursday.

The Republican governor, who is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, earlier this month called for the investigation. He suggested it would be in part aimed to jog loose more information from pharmaceutical companies about the vaccines and potential side effects.

Vaccine studies funded by pharmaceutical companies that developed COVID-19 vaccines have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, and government panels reviewed data on the safety and effectiveness of the shots before approving them for use.

DeSantis’ request argues that pharmaceutical companies had a financial interest in creating a climate in which people believed that getting a coronavirus vaccine would ensure they couldn’t spread the virus to others.

Statewide grand juries, usually comprised of 18 people, can investigate criminal activity and issue indictments but also examine systemic problems in Florida and make recommendations. Recent panels have tackled immigration issues and school safety.

The grand jury will meet for one year.

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