Florida State Representative Ashley Gantt’s 2023 Legislative Priorities
Tallahassee, Fla. – For the 2023 Legislative Session, Representative Ashley V. Gantt (D-Miami) has filed CS/HB 87 – Lactation Spaces in Courthouses, HB 1493 – Reemployment Assistance, HB 1261 – Rent and Security Deposits of Communities for Adults Aged 55 or Older, HB 501 – Restoration of Voting Rights Information on Sentencing Scoresheets, HB 1473 – Vacating Premises After Rental Agreement Termination, HB 1213 – Assistant State Attorney and Assistant Public Defender Student Loan Repayment Program and HB 1075 – Divine Nine Specialty License Plate.
Representative Gantt’s legislative priorities are to support families and senior citizens, as well as educating Floridians about their voting rights.
Committee Substitute/House Bill 87 would require each Florida county courthouse to have a dedicated lactation space. The space must be private, clean, and accessible for mothers to nurse or pump breastmilk, and must be available for all courthouse patrons, including attorneys, jurors, and courthouse staff.
House Bill 1261 would create a guideline for rental communities designed for 55 & over residents by establishing a scale to prevent increases from exceeding 55 percent of the average fixed income of the renters in the community.
House Bill 501 would provide a notice to defendants about sentencing effects on their voting rights prior to conviction of an offense that could indefinitely prohibit the individual from voting.
For more information on legislation sponsored by Representative Gantt, please visit Representative Ashley Viola Gantt 2023- Sponsored Bills | Florida House of Representatives (myfloridahouse.gov)
Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Legislation to Protect Floridians from a Federally Controlled Central Bank Digital Currency and Surveillance State
- Expressly prohibiting the use of a federally adopted Central Bank Digital Currency as money within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).
- Instituting protections against a central global currency by prohibiting any CBDC issued by a foreign reserve or foreign sanctioned central bank.
- Calling on likeminded states to join Florida in adopting similar prohibitions within their respective Commercial Codes to fight back against this concept nationwide.
Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis Celebrate Black History Month with Students and Teachers
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis honored Black History Month with a reception at the Governor’s Mansion. At the event, the Governor and First Lady announced the winners of the student and educator contests. The Black History Month Student and Educator Contests are made possible through a collaboration between the Department of Education, Volunteer Florida, the Florida Lottery, and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.
“Black History Month is an important opportunity for students to learn about the achievements of African Americans to both our country and our great state,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “It was an honor to host this year’s art, essay and educator winners at the Governor’s Mansion and see what our students have learned over the month.”
“Our Black History Month essay and art competitions help Florida’s students discover and highlight the impressive contributions of African Americans to the great state of Florida. Every year I am excited to read the submissions that students send to honor those achievements,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “It was a pleasure to welcome this year’s student contest winners and some of our state’s best educators to the Governor’s Mansion.”
“Black history is an integral part of American history and Florida history. The Black History Month student art and essay contest allows Florida students to immerse themselves in a piece of Florida’s history,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “This contest would not be possible without our great teachers who engage our students and ensure that they are learning the facts of history. I congratulate all of the winners of this year’s contest.”
“Florida’s Black History Month contests provide students with an opportunity to learn about and recognize the inspirational African American leaders who make our state and nation proud,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Thank you to both the students and educators who participated in this year’s contests, and congratulations to the winners!”
“Florida goes the extra mile to recognize the immense and historical contributions of African Americans in our great state,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Josie Tamayo. “We are proud to offer this opportunity each year to recognize outstanding students and educators in Florida for their unique efforts and talents.”
“Florida is blessed to have such talented students and educators, and this year’s Black History Month essay and art contests are proof,” said Florida Lottery Secretary John F. Davis. “Seeing what these students have accomplished is inspiring and showcases the hard work and determination that they put forth in the classroom each and every day.”
Students in kindergarten through third grade were invited to submit original artworks for the contest. Four art contest winners were chosen to receive a $100 art supplies gift card and a 1-year pass to Florida state parks.
Students in fourth through twelfth grade were invited to submit an essay no longer than 500 words based on this year’s theme. Six winners were selected including two elementary students (grades 4–5), two middle school students (grades 6–8) and two high school students (grades 9–12). Winners will receive a 2-year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and a $100 gift card for school supplies.
Additionally, the Governor and First Lady announced the Black History Month Excellence in Education Award Contest. Four winners were selected from nominations sent in by principals, teachers, parents or guardians and students. Excellence in Education award winners will receive a $2,500 prize provided by Volunteer Florida.
Award recipients are as follows:
Student Art Contest
Isabella Miranda, Everglades K-8 Center, Miami-Dade
Isabella is a 3rd grade student who submitted her work titled “Celebrating the Achievements of African American Floridians” depicting Jackie Robinson.
Ke’Mari Cannon, Golfview Elementary Magnet School, Brevard County
Ke’Mari is a 2nd grade student who submitted her work titled “Highwayman’s Sunset” depicting a famous Highwaymen painting.
Camren Curtis Carrington, Harbordale Elementary, Broward County
Camren is a 2nd grade student who submitted a work titled “Joseph E. Lee,” depicting Lee.
Zaylan Hill, Golfview Elementary Magnet School, Brevard County
Zaylan is a 2nd grade student who submitted a work titled “Highwayman’s Sunset” depicting an interpretation of a Highwaymen painting.
Student Essay Contest
Taige Leathers, Richard Lewis Brown Gifted and Academically Talented Academy, Duval County
Taige is a 5th grade student who wrote an essay titled “Dr. Nathaniel Glover Jr: Making His Way Through Black History.”
Katherine Valdes Torres, Mike Davis Elementary, Collier County
Katherine is a 5th grade student who wrote an essay titled “James Weldon Johnson.” Katherine wants to be a geneticist when she grows up and wishes to be kind to others and help them succeed in life.
Adrian Arias, South Creek Middle School, Orange County
Adrian is a 6th grade student who wrote an essay titled “Fly High” about General Daniel James, Jr. Adrian wishes to study animal medicine and join the Army.
Adriana Singleton, Oak View Middle School, Alachua County
Adriana is an 8th grade student who wrote an essay titled “$1.50 and a Dream” about Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. Adriana wants to become an Emergency Medical Technician and later go on to nursing school.
Elyanah Gibson, Florida Virtual School, Lee County
Elyanah is a 9th grade student who wrote an essay titled “The Matriarch of Liberty City” about Augusta Savage. Elyanah hopes to one day become a pediatrician and enjoys volunteering to help stray animals.
Chanel Victorin, Strawberry Crest High School, Hillsborough County
Chanel is a 12th grade student who wrote an essay titled “Clarence Fort: Florida Hero.” Chanel plans to attend Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and become a software engineer.
Excellence in Education Award Winners
Brandi Grant, Castle Hill Elementary School, Broward County
Ms. Grant teaches 5th grade students and is described as an educator who is outgoing and loves to work together with other teachers to build exciting lesson plans for her students.
Linda Long, Grand Ridge School, Jackson County
Ms. Long teaches 6th grade students in English Language Arts. She is described as a standout for all that she has contributed to her school and puts her total dedication into all that she does for her students.
Cleon Edwards, Joseph Stilwell Military Academy of Leadership, Duval County
Ms. Edwards teaches 8th grade students and leads the military leadership program at her school. She is described as a role model for her students and to celebrate Black History Month, she encouraged her students to learn about influential or lesser known African Americans throughout history and create a poster about them.
Lisa Herron, Cypress Bay High School, Broward County
Ms. Herron teaches grades 9–12 and is the mathematics department chair at her school. She is described as respected and admired by both her students and fellow teachers. She is involved with multiple organizations on campus and she served as the Regional Director for the Florida Association of Mu Alpha Theta, making her the first African American to hold the position.
TV reporter, 9-year-old girl fatally shot in Florida, authorities say
A central Florida television journalist and a little girl were fatally shot Wednesday afternoon near the scene of a fatal shooting from earlier in the day, authorities said.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said during a news conference that they’ve detained Keith Melvin Moses, 19, who they believe is responsible for both shootings in the Orlando-area neighborhood.
Besides the Spectrum News 13 journalist and the 9-year-old girl, a TV crewmember and the girl’s mother were wounded during the second shooting. They were in critical condition at a local hospital.
“I want to acknowledge what a horrible day this has been for our community and our media partners,” Mina told a room full of reporters. “I work closely with all of you and know many of you and know the very difficult job that you do and also the very important job that you do for our community and for law enforcement. No one in our community — not a mother, not a 9-year-old and certainly not news professionals — should become the victim of gun violence in our community.”
Mina said they don’t immediately have a motive for any of the shootings.
“So, the suspect is not saying much right now,” Mina said. “It is unclear if he knew they were news media or not. We’re still trying to work all that out.”
Mina said the News 13 vehicle did not look like a typical news van with TV station markings.
Deputies had initially responded to the Pine Hills area, just northwest of Orlando, on Wednesday morning following reports of a woman in her 20s being shot.
Moses “was an acquaintance of the woman this morning, but as far as we know, had no connection to the reporters and no connection to the mother and the 9-year-old,” Mina said.
According to witnesses, a man approached the news vehicle later Wednesday and opened fire, hitting the two reporters. The man then walked to a nearby home and shot the mother and daughter.
WFTV crews, who were also reporting on the morning shooting, tried to give medical aid to the Spectrum 13 journalists.
Mina said Moses is already facing a murder charge for the initial victim, and charges are expected soon for the other four victims. Moses’ criminal history includes gun charges, as well as aggravated battery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft offenses, the sheriff said.
“Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the crew member injured in Orange County, Florida, as well as the whole Spectrum News team,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Twitter.
Spectrum News 13 was not identifying the crew members who were involved in the shooting, according to a story on the TV station’s website.
“Please, please, say a prayer tonight for our co-worker who is in critical condition. And while you’re at it, please say a prayer for every victim of gun violence in this country,” Spectrum 13 journalist Celeste Springer said during her live on-air report.
Worldwide 40 journalists were reported killed last year, plus another two this year before Wednesday, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Only one of those was in the United States.
Jeff German, who covered politics and corruption for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was found dead outside of his home in September after being stabbed multiple times. Former Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, who had been a frequent subject of German’s reporting, has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.
In 2015, Virginia reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed during their live TV broadcast for CBS affiliate WDBJ7. The suspect, a former reporter for the TV station, died by suicide during the law enforcement search for him.
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