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State Reps. Eskamani, Smith, Morales Score A on Progress Florida 2022 Report Card on Key Votes



ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Progress Florida, in partnership with Florida Watch, released their People First Report Card in which they graded each Florida lawmaker “based on their voting record on issues that matter to everyday Floridians: health, the economy, public schools, housing affordability, clean energy and water, reproductive freedom, equality, safeguarding democracy, and more.”

Here’s how the Orange County Legislative Delegation fared based on their voting records.

Orange County State Legislative Delegation Members:

Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith | District 49: A – 100%

Representative Anna V. Eskamani | District 47: A – 100%

Representative Daisy Morales | District 48: A – 97%

Representative Travaris L. McCurdy | District 46: A- 97%

Representative Geraldine F. Thompson | District 44: A – 97%

Representative Joy Goff-Marcil | District 30: A – 97%

Senator Victor M. Torres, Jr. | District 15: A – 94%

Representative Kamia L. Brown | District 45: B – 88%

Senator Randolph Bracy | District 11: B – 83%

Senator Linda Stewart | District 13: B – 81%

Representative Keith Truenow | District 31: F – 36% not only shows each lawmaker’s grades, but upon clicking each lawmaker’s photo, it also lists the slate of bills that Florida Watch and Progress Florida prioritized as important (“Good for Floridians” or “Bad for Floridians”) and the lawmaker’s vote on each of those bills using three simple criteria:

  • Vote did not count for or against putting people first.
  • Voted to put people first.
  • Voted against putting people first.

The organizations highlight some of the most polarizing legislation, labeled to match their interpretation of the bills (i.e. “Don’t Say Gay”, “Fleecing Renters”, “Gerrymandered Congressional Representation”, etc.) and, along the right side of a lawmaker’s page, lists the key bills important to them overall, with an option to visit report cards from previous years.

Among the Orange County delegation, State Reps. Carlos G. Smith and Anna Eskamani tied for the top spot with 100 percent scores. Four state lawmakers occupied second place at 97 percent, including Reps. Daisy Morales, Travaris McCurdy, Geraldine Thompson, and Joy Goff-Marcil.

“This legislature will be remembered as one of the most extreme and divisive in Florida history,” said Josh Weierbach, Florida Watch Executive Director.

“While Gov. (Ron) DeSantis and his legislative allies were busy attacking reproductive freedom, the LGBTQ community, workers, and the freedom to vote, they failed to meaningfully address critical needs including housing affordability, access to health care, common sense gun violence reforms, and the climate crisis.”

“We encourage all Floridians to use the ‘People First’ Report Card as a resource to find out who in Tallahassee truly has their backs.”

Central Florida News

NPA: Cynthia Harris becomes 6th Candidate to enter Supervisor of Elections Race



Photo by Cynthia Harris

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Community advocate Cynthia Harris filed as a NPA candidate to run for the open Orange County Supervisor of Elections seat Monday, October 2, 2023, according to the Supervisor of Elections’ website.

Harris ran for election to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners to represent District 6. Harris lost in the primary election August 23, 2022.

Orange County Public Schools Board Member Karen Castor Dentel was the first candidate and Democrat to file. Ricardo Negron-Almodovar, a Democrat and Florida Senior Campaign Manager for All Voting is Local also filed as well as Democrat Michael Scott, former Orange County Democratic Chairman Wes Hodge and Republican Attorney Joseph Haynes Davis.

The six candidates seeking to replace retiring Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles.

The primary election happens August 20, 2024 and the general election happens November 5, 2024.

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US approves 1st vaccine for RSV after decades of attempts



WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. approved the first vaccine for RSV on Wednesday, shots to protect older adults against a respiratory virus that’s most notorious for attacking babies but endangers their grandparents, too.

The Food and Drug Administration decision makes GSK’s shot, called Arexvy, the first of several potential vaccines in the pipeline for RSV to be licensed anywhere.

The move sets the stage for adults 60 and older to get vaccinated this fall — but first, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must decide if every senior really needs RSV protection or only those considered at high risk from the respiratory syncytial virus. CDC’s advisers will debate that question in June.

After decades of failure in the quest for an RSV vaccine, doctors are anxious to finally have something to offer — especially after a virus surge that strained hospitals last fall.

“This is a great first step … to protect older persons from serious RSV disease,” said Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, who wasn’t involved with its development. Next, “we’re going to be working our way down the age ladder” for what’s expected to be a string of new protections.

The FDA is considering competitor Pfizer’s similar vaccine for older adults. Pfizer also is seeking approval to vaccinate pregnant women, so their babies are born with some of mom’s protection.

There isn’t a vaccine for kids yet but high-risk infants often get monthly doses of a protective drug during RSV season — and European regulators recently approved the first one-dose option. The FDA also is considering whether to approve Sanofi and AstraZeneca’s one-shot medicine.

“This is a very exciting time with multiple potential RSV solutions coming out after years of really nothing,” said Dr. Phil Dormitzer, chief of vaccine research and development for GSK, formerly known as GlaxoSmithKline.

RSV is a cold-like nuisance for most people but it can be life-threatening for the very young, the elderly and people with certain high-risk health problems. It can impede babies’ breathing by inflaming their tiny airways, or creep deep into seniors’ lungs to cause pneumonia.

In the U.S., about 58,000 children younger than 5 are hospitalized for RSV each year and several hundred die. Among older adults, as many as 177,000 are hospitalized with RSV and up to 14,000 die annually.

Why has it taken so long to come up with a vaccine? The field suffered a major setback in the 1960s when an experimental shot worsened infections in children. Scientists finally figured out a better way to develop these vaccines — although modern candidates still were first tested with adults.

GSK’s new vaccine for older adults trains the immune system to recognize a protein on RSV’s surface, and contains an ingredient called an adjuvant to further rev up that immune reaction.

In an international study of about 25,000 people 60 and older, one dose of the vaccine was nearly 83% effective at preventing RSV lung infections, and reduced the risk of severe infections by 94%.

To see how long protection lasts, GSK is tracking study participants for three years, comparing some who get just one vaccination during that time and others given a yearly booster.

Shot reactions were typical of vaccinations, such as muscle pain and fatigue.

There was a hint of a rare but serious risk — one case of Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can cause usually temporary paralysis, and two cases of a type of brain and spinal cord inflammation. The FDA said it was requiring the company to continue studying if there really is a link to the vaccine.

If the CDC ultimately recommends the vaccination for some or even all seniors, it will add another shot for the fall along with their yearly flu vaccine – and maybe another COVID-19 booster.

“We’ll have to educate the population that this virus that not everyone has heard about is actually an important threat to their health in the wintertime,” said Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University. ___

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Orlando Police kill armed suspect, 3 found dead with gunshot wounds



ORLANDO, Fla. – At approximately 2:25 a.m. Orlando Police officers responded to a home at the 600 block of Grand Avenue in reference to a domestic violence incident. Shortly after arrival police heard shots from inside the house. The suspect came out of the house and shot at officers who returned fire, the Orlando Police Department said in a statement.

The suspect was transported to the hospital and was confirmed deceased.

Upon entering the home, 3 individuals were found with gunshot wounds. 1 was a child who was transported by officers to a local hospital. All 3 individuals are confirmed to be deceased, Orlando police said.

The two officers involved were not injured and will be on paid administrative leave. As with all officer involved shootings, FDLE will conduct an independent review of the incident, followed by the State Attorney’s office. Additionally, the Orlando Police Department will conduct its own internal investigation, according to Orlando police.

The officers did have their body worn camera on during the incident and per policy we will make the body worn camera available to the public within 30 days, Orlando police added.

The identifies of the suspect, the victims and the officers were not immediately released by Orlando police.

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