State Senators Soto and Bullard File Fracking Ban Bill 166
ORLANDO, FL (FNN News) — Florida State Senator Darren Soto held a press conference Monday at the Orange County Administration Building in Orlando to announce the filing of Senate Bill (SB) 166 to ban hydraulic fracking in the state of Florida.
Joined by State Senator Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, State Representative Victor Manuel Torres Jr., D-Orlando, and Eric Rollings, chairman of the Orange Soil and Water Conservation District, spoke in support of Soto’s anti-fracking legislation, at the press conference.
Concerned by the health and environmental risks fracking poses to the state of Florida, State Senators Darren Soto (D-Orlando) and Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) on Monday filed legislation to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in the Sunshine State. The bill will ban any entities from engaging in hydraulic fracturing, performing well stimulation treatments, and disposing of related materials and byproducts.
“For over a year now we have been advocating to ban fracking in Florida to protect our quality of life, our environment, and our robust tourism industry,” said Sen. Soto. “I am proud to sponsor this fracking ban legislation again to continue the fight on behalf of all Floridians.”
Senator Bullard agreed: “In a day and time when water conservation is at the forefront of discussions both internationally and here at home, Floridians cannot afford to put our water at risk through unproven drilling practices. That’s why I’m proud to stand with Sen. Soto and support the ban on fracking.”
“The Soto/Bullard ‘Ban Fracking Bill’ offers the most significant protection for our water, our quality of life and Florida’s economic and environmental future. We need to stand behind this bill and make it law!” urged Eric Rollings, Chair of the Orange County Soil and Water Conservation District.
The upper and lower Floridian Aquifers span the State of Florida and supply the vast majority of its water supply. Any contamination to these bodies of water could put the entire source in jeopardy.
Sen. Soto urged residents across the state to call on their city and county officials to pass an ordinance that would ban fracking at the local level. He also called on them to reach out to their representatives and senators to pass SB 166.
Also, State Representative Evan Jenne, introduce HB 169, which would prohibit “well stimulation treatments,” including hydraulic fracturing, for the exploration and production of oil or natural gas.
The legislation has been filed for the 2016 legislative session which begins in January.
DeSantis plans to announce 2024 bid Wednesday on Twitter Spaces with Elon Musk, sources tell AP
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, long seen as Donald Trump’s leading rival for the Republican nomination, plans to launch his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday in an online conversation with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.
DeSantis, an outspoken cultural conservative, will outline his plans in an evening audio event streamed on Twitter Spaces, according to the two people. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the announcement publicly.
The 44-year-old two-term governor would be joining a crowded Republican contest to decide whether the party will move on from Trump in 2024. DeSantis has embraced Trump’s combative style and many of his policies, but casts himself as a younger and more electable version of the former president.
In choosing Twitter, DeSantis is taking a page out of the playbook that helped turn businessman-TV celebrity Trump into a political star.
The timing of DeSantis’ long-expected announcement has been shrouded, with various iterations of plans being leaked over the past few days. Some close to him suspected that he was providing conflicting information about the timing and location to root out leakers. Others believe he changed his initial preparations after news reports came out about them.
Musk, speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit event in London on Tuesday, seemed to confirm the Wednesday event, saying DeSantis would be making “quite an announcement” on Twitter. “The first time something like this is happening on social media,” he said, with live questions and answers.
The news of DeSantis’ impending announcement came as Trump was making a video appearance in a New York courtroom as part of his criminal case. A judge tentatively scheduled Trump’s trial to begin March 25, which falls in the heart of the presidential primary season. Trump pleaded not guilty last month to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records at his family company, the Trump Organization.
DeSantis was expected to meet with donors Wednesday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami before the Twitter Spaces event, which was scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT.
While it is common for campaigns to publicize their announcements in videos shared on social media, it is far more unusual — and perhaps unprecedented — to hold a campaign announcement in a live social media forum.
“Big if true …,” DeSantis’ wife, Casey, posted Tuesday on Twitter, linking to a Fox News story on the announcement and adding a smiley face.
Earlier Tuesday, the Florida governor gave no hints of his 2024 plans during a short Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee where he discussed state business with agency heads. The media was barred from covering a subsequent bill signing ceremony.
DeSantis has emerged as a national star in Republican politics as an unapologetic leader on controversial issues.
The governor sent dozens of immigrants from Texas — by way of Florida —to a small island off the Massachusetts coast to draw attention to the influx of Latin American immigrants trying to cross the Southern border. He signed and then expanded a Parental Rights in Education bill — known by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law — which bans instruction or classroom discussion of LGBTQ issues in Florida public schools for all grades.
More recently, he signed a law banning abortions at six weeks, which is before most women realize they’re pregnant. And he removed an elected prosecutor who vowed not to charge people under Florida’s new abortion restrictions or doctors who provide gender-affirming care.
Trump’s allies lashed out Tuesday at DeSantis’ plan.
“This is one of the most out-of-touch campaign launches in modern history. The only thing less relatable than a niche campaign launch on Twitter, is DeSantis’ after party at the uber elite Four Seasons resort in Miami,” said Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for Trump’s super PAC.
Trump himself frequently dismisses his rival as Ron “DeSanctimonious.”
In choosing to announce with Musk, DeSantis is linking his presidential announcement to one of the world’s richest men, who has emerged as a conservative cult hero of sorts.
Since buying Twitter last October, Musk has reinstated the accounts of prominent Republicans, including Trump and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had been removed. Popular conservative broadcasters have flocked to Twitter, with ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson and the podcast hosts of The Daily Wire announcing they will start streaming on the platform.
Musk himself has promoted far-right conspiracy theories on Twitter, including misleading claims questioning a Texas mall shooter’s background and a debunked rumor that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband had a relationship with an assailant who attacked him.
Earlier this month, Musk’s tweets likening billionaire philanthropist George Soros to a Jewish supervillain were met with criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, which said they would embolden antisemitic extremists. Musk said he would “be more thoughtful in the future.”
Twitter was once Trump’s most important megaphone — one he used to dominate his rivals in the 2016 primary and to command the news cycle for years. Trump was barred from the platform after a mob of his supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, with Twitter citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.” Although his access was reinstated shortly after Musk took over, he has yet to tweet.
About 1 in 5 U.S. adults say they use Twitter, the Pew Research Center found last year.
Democrats are somewhat more likely than Republicans to say they have Twitter accounts, according to a Fox News poll from December. Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to say Musk buying Twitter was a good thing and to have a favorable view of him.
DeSantis signs bills targeting drag shows, transgender kids and the use of bathrooms and pronouns
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed bills Wednesday that ban gender-affirming care for minors, target drag shows, restrict discussion of personal pronouns in schools and force people to use certain bathrooms.
DeSantis has made anti-LGBTQ+ legislation a large part of his agenda as he prepares to seek the Republican presidential nomination. He signed the bills in front of a cheering crowd at the evangelical Cambridge Christian School in Tampa. The ceremony had a campaign-like feel, with DeSantis tossing Sharpies to a crowd, as opposed to when he privately signed measures on abortion and gun rights.
Democrats opposed the bills, and LBTQ+ rallies were held at the Capitol during the session that ended two weeks ago. But Republicans have a super-majority in both chambers and easily approved the bills for DeSantis’ signature.
“It’s kind of sad that we even have some of these discussions,” DeSantis told the crowd, standing behind a lectern with a sign reading “Let Kids Be Kids.”
DeSantis presented a narrative that expert panels in the nation’s major medical associations have said is false, such as the idea that children are routinely being “mutilated.” While he said he is protecting parents’ rights, his opponents say he is denying the rights of parents with transgender kids.
“They have cloaked themselves in being the party of less government and parental rights, and what we’re seeing now is the total opposite,” said Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones, who is gay. “Every other parent has the right to raise their child the way that they want to as long as your child is not gay, trans, bisexual. That’s freedom for some parents, but not for all parents.”
The gender care law also bans the use of state money for gender-affirming care and places new restrictions on adults seeking treatment.
Three Florida parents have asked a federal court to issue a temporary restraining order immediately blocking the new law’s enforcement. Attorneys for the families, who have a pending challenge to the state Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine, will be in court on Friday to argue that their children should be able to receive medical care as the case continues. The families are represented by Southern Legal Counsel, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Human Rights Campaign.
Planned Parenthood immediately started canceling gender-affirming care appointments after the bill was signed as the organization assesses the law’s implications.
Transgender medical treatment for children and teenagers is increasingly under attack in many states and it has lately been subject to restrictions or outright bans. But it has been available in the United States for more than a decade and is endorsed by major medical associations as appropriate care for people diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Their guidelines generally prevent surgery for minors.
Treatment typically begins with an evaluation for the distress caused when gender identity doesn’t match a person’s assigned sex. With parental consent, persistent dysphoria can be treated with hormones, but typically not until age 16. The guidelines also say surgery should be reserved for people 18 and older.
But DeSantis spoke to applause at the bill-signing.
“We never did this through all of human history until like, what, two weeks ago? Now this is something? They’re having third-graders declare pronouns? We’re not doing the pronoun Olympics in Florida,” DeSantis said.
The gender-affirming care ban and the law targeting drag shows go into effect immediately. The bathroom restrictions and the law banning schools from forcing children to “provide his or her preferred personal title or pronouns” take effect July 1.
Jones said the governor’s choice of venue displayed the unpopularity of his campaign platform.
“If he’s so confident in his policies, don’t go hiding behind signing the bills at a Christian school or place where you’re more prone to get praise for your bigotry,” Jones said. “Do it out in the community. “
Republican Rep. Randy Fine, who sponsored the ban on gender-affirming care for minors, invoked his religion to defend the state’s actions.
“God does not make mistakes with our children,” Fine said.
Jones called Fine’s take on the Bible disingenuous.
“For anyone to use Scripture in the same breath as you are being discriminatory and hateful towards a community of people, it don’t work like that,” Jones said. “You can’t take a book that was built on love and turn it around and fit your narrative.”
Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Sweeping Legislation to Protect the Innocence of Florida’s Children
- Central Florida News3 days ago
State Attorney charged Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy in WaWa Gas Station Explosion
- South Florida News3 days ago
Miami Heat fans eyes NBA finals
- Central Florida News4 days ago
Wawa Pledges $1 Million To Second Harvest to Feed More Children and Families
- Sports5 days ago
Magic Gaming to Host First NBA 2K League Game at leAD Lake Nona on May 28
- Business5 days ago
Target removes some LGBTQ merchandise from stores ahead of June Pride month after threats to workers