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State Rep. Daisy Morales Condemns Gov. DeSantis’s Congressional Map, Disney District Dissolution Bill

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Rep. Tray McCurdy, D-Orlando and Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville sit on the Florida Seal in protest as debate stops on Senate Bill 2-C: Establishing the Congressional Districts of the State in the House of Representatives Thursday, April 21, 2022 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Rep. Daisy Morales, D-Orlando, joins the protest, holding a sign. The session was halted on the protest. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN) – State Representative Daisy Morales (D-Orlando) issued a strong statement Thursday after participating in a sit-in on the Florida House floor in protest against Florida governor Ron DeSantis‘s Congressional map and went on to slam his campaign to dissolve Disney’s special districts.

 

State Rep. Morales’s Statement on DeSantis’s Congressional Map

“Our democracy is being attacked. The governor eliminating two Black Congressional seats is a power grab and it’s wrong. Stripping seats from Black representation is the same as saying the Black voice–the Black vote–doesn’t matter. With this map passing, I’m deeply concerned because it means he’ll likely target the one and only Puerto Rican representing Florida in Congress next, Darren Soto, all in the name of catering to his party. We don’t want to disenfranchise the 1.2 million Puerto Ricans in Florida.”

Rep. Morales joined African American State Representatives Yvonne Haynes Hinson (D-Gainesville), Travaris McCurdy (D-Orlando) and Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville), along with several others, in protest against DeSantis’s map erasing two African American Democratic congressional districts.

Rep. Morales, now the most senior elected Puerto Rican in the Florida House, was the sole Hispanic that protested alongside her African American colleagues on the House floor. She held a sign that had a powerful rebuke: “Legislators: Work for the people, not for the party.”

She went live on Facebook sharing her reaction to the new Congressional map during the sit-in in Spanish and English.

 

Rep. Morales’s Statement on Governor DeSantis’s Bid to Strip Disney

Rep. Morales went on to condemn Governor DeSantis’s current bid to strip Disney of its self-governance status in her official statement.

“I also oppose the decision to strip Disney of its special districts. Disney provides jobs to thousands of people. If it’s successfully stripped, central Florida taxpayers would face a greater cost for fire, water, road improvement, and first responder services to the tune of nearly $1 billion.”

SB 4-C, the controversial bill passed by the legislature on Thursday, would eliminate the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney’s special district that functions as its own government, and several other similar districts by June 2023. The bill does, however, allow for the districts to be reestablished in the future. The bill is now on DeSantis’ desk to be signed into law.

Rep. Morales closed out her official statement with a promise.

“I will continue to fight, I will continue to hold the line with my colleagues until we get justice.

“Voting is a right, not a tool to be manipulated. Our sit-in at the Florida Capitol is what democracy looks like: civil disobedience in the name of standing up for what’s right. Democracy never sleeps. The fight isn’t over yet. Governing by revenge is a recipe for chaos.”

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

Orlando

State Rep. Morales Urges Gov. DeSantis to Assist Puerto Rico in the Wake of Hurricane Fiona

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

ORLANDO, Fla. – State Representative Daisy Morales (D-Orlando) has sent a letter to the Governor urging him to assist with and release much needed resources to aid Puerto Rico in the wake of the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Fiona.

The letter reads:

“Dear Governor DeSantis,

“With the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria right behind us, Hurricane Fiona, which has now dealt catastrophic damage to Puerto Rico according to Governor Pedro Pierluisi, is an opportunity for us to help our loved ones on the Island.

“With expected flooding, mudslides and blackouts, conditions are extremely dangerous.

“I’m asking the Executive Office of the Governor and the Division of Emergency Management to closely monitor the situation and begin preparations for relief efforts. I am also asking your office to facilitate discussions with city and county governments, and transportation authorities, to prepare for a potential influx of our fellow citizens from Puerto Rico, as was the case with Hurricane Maria. I am also asking your office to assist with the potable water residents of the island needs with the contamination of its existing water supply. Florida, and in particular Central Florida, will always stand with and support Puerto Rico.

“My district, District 48, has one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the state and I know that, like myself, many Floridians are concerned for the safety and well-being of friends and loved ones currently there.

“Puerto Rico is still rebuilding from Hurricane Maria and must now redouble its efforts in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. Florida must be committed to doing everything we can to help the families impacted by Hurricane Fiona and aid in the recovery process.

“Thank you for your consideration.”

 

 

Other governors have already stepped into action, some as early as Sunday. Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced that two members of Pennsylvania Task Force 1 (PATF-1) Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) are deploying to Puerto Rico to support response operations there. They will serve with a federal Incident Support Team and are prepared to remain deployed in Puerto Rico for up to two weeks.

New York governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement Sunday that “the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services is monitoring the storm closely and will be able to rapidly deploy assistance if requested by the federal government and Puerto Rico.”

Thus far, it appears that Florida governor Ron DeSantis has not yet taken action.

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Orlando

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ Brings the South to Your Mouth at ICON Park

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Brother Jimmy's BBQ opened its new location at ICON Park on International Drive in early August. Photo: J. Willie David III / Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – “Put some south in yo’ mouth.”– Brother Jimmy’s BBQ certainly delivers on its motto at ICON Park on International Drive.

The barbecue chain, launched in North Carolina in 1989, opened its new location at ICON Park in early August and opened its doors to the media Wednesday, providing a sample of rich ribs (both sauced and dry rub), pulled pork, mac and cheese, baked beans, cornbread, and tea (sweet and unsweetened).

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

Photo: J Willie David III / Florida National News.

 

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ cuisine is made fresh in-house, with the butcher chopping, seasoning, smoking and slicing fresh meat before your very eyes. Utensils await diners in tall receptacles on each table, next to a small container showcasing three barbecue sauces: Original, North Carolina, and Chipotle; and in true southern charm, diners can enjoy their drinks in mason jars.

 

 

The 7,200-plus square foot restaurant offers an open, inviting dining experience that lulls you to stay a while. The furniture there was taken directly from the restaurant’s New York location and shows some “personality” in the slight wear of the wood and unique giant metal pig figurines peppering several tables. The restaurant offers its own photo both (and a board close to the main entrance to post the pics for others to see), tons of TV screens to watch whichever game you wish to see, and the whole back half of the establishment is a mini-arcade with pinball, mini basketball, and yes, beer pong. Also, kids eat free at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ with the purchase of one entree.

Looking for some good barbecue in a great atmosphere? Learn more and check out the menu on the Brother Jimmy’s BBQ website.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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Orlando

Gov. DeSantis Announces Toll Relief Program

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Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Florida Turnpike Headquarters in Orlando, Florida Thursday, August 25, 2022. Photo: Hidekel Griffin/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new toll relief program at the Florida Turnpike Headquarters Thursday.

The SunPass Savings Program launches on September 1, 2022 and will run for six months and will benefit SunPass and other Florida transponder users. According to a press release from the governor’s office, the program “is estimated to provide $38 million in relief to SunPass commuters.” Eligible roadways include the Turnpike, the 528, 95 Express, I-4 Express, Palmetto Expressway, the Sawgrass Expressway, and many others. The complete map of included roadways can be found at www.sunpass.com.

With the savings program, drivers who have 40-79 transactions per month will receive a 20 percent discount, and drivers who rack up 80 or more transactions per month receive a 25 percent discount. Gov. DeSantis acknowledged other toll organizations and the fact that they’re independent of the Florida government and outside of his authority, but said that a deal can be made legislatively.

“This program will help frequent SunPass customers keep more money in their pockets during a time of growing inflation,” said Gov. DeSantis. “Florida families who depend on these FDOT facilities for a timely commute to work will benefit from these savings. We will, of course, seek to enact greater savings for commuters in the next legislative session.”

“The SunPass Savings program is a way for us to give back to our loyal customers and thank them for their continued support,” said FDOT Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “FDOT and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise are proud to offer this additional cost-saving benefit.”

The governor reiterated the upcoming gas tax holiday in October, but spent much of his commentary slamming President Joe Biden’s economic policy, including the most recent law canceling student loan debt for millions of Americans, which Biden announced Wednesday. DeSantis said President Biden making that a law was unconstitutional. When Florida National News asked Gov. DeSantis how it was unconstitutional, he pointed out that it needs to go through Congress. “Could the Congress pass a law that passes that on to the taxpayer? I believe they probably would have the Constitutional duty to do it–I’m not saying that’s a good idea,” he explained. “But for an executive action through fiat to sanction and to just say you’re dumping this debt on the taxpayers, that is not something that is consistent with the rule of law.”

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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