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February 15 last day to sign up for health insurance



MIAMI – Sunday, February 15 is the last day to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care until next fall.

Volunteers across the state will be at libraries, malls and hospitals for enrollment events this weekend. Consumers can also enroll by calling the government hotline or going online.

Nearly 1.4 million Floridians have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace. About 57 percent are part of nearly 1 million who are re-enrolling from last year and 43 percent selected a plan for the first time. About 32 percent were under the age of 35.

Federal health officials also noted 93 percent of Florida consumers have been eligible for financial assistance.

Florida has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country and is leading enrollment among states using

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Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation to Set the Pace for Civics Education in America



Governor Ron DeSantis. Photo: John Raoux/AP.
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 5, SB 1108 and HB 233 that will collectively strengthen civics instruction and civics literacy education in Florida’s kindergarten through postsecondary public schools.
“I’m proud to sign three bills today that prioritize civics education in our schools,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The sad reality is that only two in five Americans can correctly name the three branches of government, and more than a third of Americans cannot name any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. It is abundantly clear that we need to do a much better job of educating our students in civics to prepare them for the rest of their lives. My thanks to Representative Zika, Representative Rizo, Representative Roach, Senator Ray Rodrigues, Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez and Senator Diaz for sponsoring this legislation that will ensure our students get an incredible civics education. I also want to thank President Simpson and Speaker Sprowls for making this important legislation a priority.”
“Civics education is an extremely important component of a student’s educational journey,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “A well-rounded civics education that also includes an opportunity for students to participate in the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative gives these students an increased chance of meeting or exceeding college-readiness benchmarks, leading to almost 99 percent of them attending college and increasing the chance of being offered college scholarships. The legislation signed today is a huge step forward for our students, our state and our nation and I thank our legislators for their commitment to increasing students’ civics knowledge.”
“We are fortunate to live in the greatest country the world has ever known,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson. “We aren’t perfect, but the freedom available to every American stands in stark contrast to the dangerous ideologies that produce corrupt regimes in other countries. Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Speaker Sprowls and so many patriots in the Legislature, I’m pleased to see Florida continue to focus on civics education and literacy, and to specifically highlight brave individuals who were victims of other nations’ governing policies. We also want to make sure we have a measurement of intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity within higher education. I’m grateful to our Governor for signing these key bills into law.”
“Educating people on the crimes of communism is the cornerstone of VOC’s mission,” said Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. “This education is especially crucial for America’s youth during their formative years, so we applaud Florida for ensuring their students will receive this education. VOC’s most recent poll on US Attitudes Toward Socialism, Communism and Collectivism further proves the necessity of student education on communism, as only 63% of Gen Z and Millennials believe the Declaration of Independence better “guarantees freedom and equality” over the Communist Manifesto and 40% of Americans today have a favorable view of socialism.”
“As a daughter and granddaughter of Cuban refugees, my family knows firsthand the dangers Communism and the fatal consequences of totalitarian regimes,” said Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez. “May this bill serve as a tool to assure history doesn’t repeat itself in our great nation.”
“My thanks to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing into law this important civic education legislation, that passed unanimously in the Florida Legislature,” said Representative Ardian Zika. “As an American who began my journey as an immigrant, I’m a product of America’s exceptionalism. Through the Portraits in Patriotism Act, American stories like mine and many others’ will be shared with our students!”
“Florida continues to lead the nation in education by providing every 11th grade student the opportunity to take the SAT/ACT,” said Senator Manny Diaz, Jr. “These assessments will not only ensure our students are academically prepared; they are molding the next generation of leaders. I applaud Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran for pushing Florida’s education system to new heights.”
“This bill not only affords the opportunity for every Junior in the State of Florida to take a college entrance exam at no cost to themselves, opening up the doors of opportunity like never before for every student, but it also will give an overall Benchmark for civic literacy in high school and will continue to build upon that benchmark in the University system,” said Representative Alex Rizo. “The legislature’s commitment to Civic literacy, as well as the governor’s, is evident in this bill like none other. I applaud the governor for signing SB 1108 and ensuring that young Floridians will have a much stronger basis in Civic literacy.”
“We have a responsibility to teach students how to think for themselves rather than indoctrinating them on what to think,” said Senator Ray Rodrigues. “Without a measurement of intellectual diversity, it is impossible to know if Florida taxpayers are providing an education or an indoctrination. Governor DeSantis understands the difference and I am grateful for his commitment to ensuring viewpoint diversity exists on our campuses.”
“When educational institutions place a premium on people that look different but think the same, that’s not diversity — that’s conformity,” said Representative Spencer Roach. “I thank Governor DeSantis for ensuring that Florida’s 12 state universities and 28 state colleges will foster ideological competition and diversity of viewpoint to make all campuses a true marketplace of ideas. Florida students deserve nothing less.”
Today, Governor DeSantis was joined by individuals who escaped persecution from totalitarian regimes in countries like Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, including Ana Margarita Abaunza. Ana came to Florida from Nicaragua when the Sandinista regime took power, then moved to Venezuela with her husband, and had a good life there until Hugo Chavez took power, forcing her to flee again to the United States. Governor DeSantis was also joined today by students taking part in the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative, including Sebastian Canizares, a student at Three Oaks Middle School. Sebastian won the Florida Gulf Coast Regionals in Original Oratory and placed second in the Florida Championships.
House Bill 5: Civic Education Curriculum
House Bill 5 requires the Florida Department of Education to create an integrated K-12 civic education curriculum that includes an understanding of citizens’ shared rights and responsiblities under the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It further expands required instruction in high school to include a comparative discussion of political ideologies that conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding priciples of the United States, such as communism and totalitarianism. This bill also provides a library of “Portraits in Patriotism” based on personal stories of diverse individuals who demonstrate civic minded qualities, including those who have moved to this country after being persecuted in nations like Cuba and Venezuela..
Senate Bill 1108: Education
Senate Bill 1108 requires state college and state university students to take both a civic literacy course and a civic literacy assessment as a graduation requirement, bridging civics education between our high schools and postsecondary institutions.
The bill further requires high school students to take a civic literacy assessment that has no high stakes consequences. If a high school student passes the test, that student is exempted from the postsecondary test requirement.
The bill also expands the character development curriculum for high school juniors and seniors to include instructions on how to register to vote.
House Bill 233: Postsecondary Education
House Bill 233 requires state colleges and universities to conduct annual assessments of the viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom at their institutions to ensure that Florida’s postsecondary students will be shown diverse ideas and opinions, including those that they may disagree with or find uncomfortable.

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Kathy Castor and Lois FrankeI Win Re-Election to Congress Without Opposition



TAMPA, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Dreams do come true if you ask two congressional Democrat incumbents in Florida who will get a free ride to re-election.

U.S. Representatives Kathy Castor -Tampa, and Lois Frankel – West Palm Beach both won automatic re-election to Congress when no one submitted paperwork and paid the $10,440 filing fee to challenge them before the May 4 deadline.

They are the only members of Florida’s congressional delegation to run unopposed this year.

U.S. Representatives in Florida

No free ride to re-election for the remaining congressional incumbents:

1Dosev, Cris (REP)Qualified
Ehr, Phil (DEM)Qualified
Gaetz, Matt (REP) *IncumbentQualified
Mills, John (REP)Qualified
Zimmerman, Jennifer M. (DEM)Qualified
2Dunn, Neal (REP) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
Peters, Brandon (DEM)Qualified
Rackleff, Bob (DEM)Qualified
3Gosai, Dushyant Jethagir (DEM)Qualified
Hayes Hinson, Yvonne (DEM)Qualified
Sapp, Judson (REP)Qualified
Wells, Tom (DEM)Qualified
Yoho, Ted (REP) *IncumbentQualified
4Berrios, Joceline (NPA)Qualified
Bulger, Jason Michael (NPA)Qualified
Koniz, Gary L. (WRI)Qualified
Murphy, Danny (WRI)Qualified
Rutherford, John H. (REP) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
Selmont, George “Ges” (DEM)QualifiedUnopposed
5Brown, Alvin (DEM)Qualified
Fuller, Virginia (REP)QualifiedUnopposed
Lawson, Al (DEM) *IncumbentQualified
6Costello, Fred (REP)Qualified
Sevigny, Stephen (DEM)Qualified
Soderberg, Nancy (DEM)Qualified
Upchurch, John (DEM)Qualified
Waltz, Michael (REP)Qualified
Ward, John (REP)Qualified
7Francois, Vennia (REP)Qualified
Miller, Mike (REP)Qualified
Murphy, Stephanie (DEM) *IncumbentQualified
Richardson, Chardo (DEM)Qualified
Sturgill, Scott (REP)Qualified
8Patel, Sanjay (DEM)QualifiedUnopposed
Posey, Bill (REP) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
9Grayson, Alan (DEM)Qualified
Liebnitzky, Wayne (REP)QualifiedUnopposed
Soto, Darren (DEM) *IncumbentQualified
10Darius, Wade (DEM)Qualified
Demings, Val (DEM) *IncumbentQualified
11Cottrell, Dana (DEM)QualifiedUnopposed
Saldana, Luis (WRI)Qualified
Webster, Daniel (REP) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
12Bilirakis, Gus Michael (REP) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
Hunter, Chris (DEM)Qualified
Perenich, Stephen M. (DEM)Qualified
Purkis, Angelika (NPA)Qualified
Tager, Robert Matthew (DEM)Qualified
13Buck, George (REP)Qualified
Crist, Charlie (DEM) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
Sostack, Brad (REP)Qualified
14Castor, Kathy (DEM) *IncumbentUnopposedUnopposedUnopposed
15Bynzar, Alek (WRI)Qualified
Carlson, Kristen (DEM)Qualified
Combee, Neil (REP)Qualified
Harper, Sean (REP)Qualified
Johnson, Dave (WRI)Qualified
Kushmer, Danny (REP)Qualified
Learned, Andrew P. (DEM)Qualified
Pena, Raymond “Ray” (DEM)Qualified
Rabinowitz, Jeffrey G. (WRI)Qualified
Rogers, Curt (REP)Qualified
Shoemaker, Ed (REP)Qualified
Spano, Ross (REP)Qualified
16Buchanan, Vern (REP) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
Schneider, Jan (DEM)Qualified
Shapiro, David (DEM)Qualified
17Akins, Bill (REP)Qualified
Freeman, April (DEM)Qualified
Gonzalez, Julio (REP)Qualified
Pollard, Bill (DEM)Qualified
Steube, Greg (REP)Qualified
18Baer, Lauren (DEM)Qualified
Cummings, Dave (REP)Qualified
Freeman, Mark (REP)Qualified
Keith, Pam (DEM)Qualified
Mast, Brian (REP) *IncumbentQualified
19Holden, David (DEM)Qualified
Pollard, Pete (WRI)Qualified
Rooney, Francis (REP) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
Truax, Todd James (DEM)Qualified
20Bonner, Jay (WRI)Qualified
Cherfilus-McCormick, Sheila (DEM)Qualified
Hastings, Alcee L. (DEM) *IncumbentQualified
21Frankel, Lois (DEM) *IncumbentUnopposedUnopposedUnopposed
22Deutch, Ted (DEM) *IncumbentQualified
Fandl, Jeff (DEM)Qualified
Kimaz, Nicolas (REP)Qualified
Manjarres, Javier “Javi” (REP)Qualified
Walters, Eddison (REP)Qualified
23Canova, Timothy A. “Tim” (NPA)Qualified
Endriss, Don (NPA)Qualified
Kaufman, Joseph “Joe” (REP)Qualified
Reyes, Carlos J. (REP)Qualified
Spalding, Carla (REP)Qualified
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie (DEM) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
24De La Fuente, Ricardo (DEM)Qualified
Wilson, Frederica S. (DEM) *IncumbentQualified
25Barzee Flores, Mary (DEM)QualifiedUnopposed
Diaz-Balart, Mario (REP) *IncumbentQualifiedUnopposed
26Curbelo, Carlos (REP) *IncumbentQualified
Faas, Souraya (REP)Qualified
Grimes, Demetries Andrew (DEM)Qualified
Mucarsel-Powell, Debbie (DEM)Qualified
27Adadi, Elizabeth (REP)Qualified
Barreiro, Bruno A. (REP)Qualified
Chirino, Angie (REP)Qualified
Gonzalez, Kristen Rosen (DEM)Qualified
Haggman, Matt (DEM)Qualified
Hepburn, Michael A. (DEM)Qualified
Joli, Mayra (NPA)Qualified
Marks, Stephen (REP)Qualified
Ohevzion, Michael (REP)Qualified
Peiro, Maria (REP)Qualified
Richardson, David (DEM)Qualified
Rodriguez Aguilera, Bettina (REP)Qualified
Salazar, Maria Elvira (REP)Qualified
Shalala, Donna (DEM)Qualified
Sosa, Gina (REP)Qualified

Courtesy of Florida Division of Elections

Most congressional incumbents will face off with an opponent(s) in the August 26 primary election or during the November 6 general election.


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Fazoli’s Announces Grand Opening of Nineteenth Location in Missouri



LEXINGTON, Ky., (FNN NEWS) By FazoliFazoli’s, America’s largest fast casual Italian chain, announced the opening of its newest franchised restaurant in Washington, Missouri. The new restaurant, located at 3161 Phoenix Center Drive, features Fazoli’s all-new contemporary design. A ribbon cutting ceremony with city officials will be held on Monday, October 10 at 4:30 p.m. The restaurant is open to the public at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, October 11.

Missouri’s newest location is locally owned and operated by businessman, Brad Swederska and Fred Travis, who’s also a professor at the University of Missouri. The pair, who own another franchise concept together, is excited to be one of the first locations nationwide with the new design.

“As a family with young children, it was important that we offered our guests a family friendly fast-casual dining option. With a vibrant and inviting atmosphere, Fazoli’s all-new design enhances the dining experience, especially for families,” said Swederska. “We’re excited to serve local residents and families for many years to come.”

The new restaurant design is one of the key elements in Fazoli’s franchise development strategy; which has seen significant growth with 14 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth — with franchisees boasting a 5.4 percent year-over-year same-store sales increase in September. Fazoli’s franchisees are experiencing nearly three times the industry average growth rate, with new franchised restaurants setting company-wide records.

“Fazoli’s continuous record-breaking growth along with their incentives offered to franchisees helped solidify our decision to become part of the Fazoli’s family,” added Swederska. “We look forward to evolving with the brand and sharing our passion with the community.”

With nearly 220 restaurants in 24 states, Fazoli’s is America’s largest Italian fast-casual chain, serving freshly prepared entrees, Submarinos® sandwiches, salads and pizza. Fazoli’s is currently seeking single- and multi-unit operators to join the brand’s rapid expansion. For more information about franchise opportunities, connect with Fazoli’s online at,, @Fazolis, and

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