The Buzz on Florida politics

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Latest Buzz on Florida politics

Despite the fact that Florida is the most vulnerable state in the nation to climate change, Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has shied away from discussing the issue or his plans to address it.

On Tuesday morning, environmental groups delivered DeSantis a petition with more than 3,400 signatures asking him to acknowledge the threat and become "the Governor who saved our state."

"This is a nonpartisan issue that affects all Floridians. The Governor-elect has no choice but to make climate action a top priority. We are running out of time," Florida Conservation Voters Executive Director Aliki Moncrief said in a statement.

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Governor-elect Ron DeSantis' transition team announced the appointment of state Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, to lead the Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Tuesday.

"Throughout his distinguished career, Halsey has been a champion for deregulation and, under his leadership, this agency will become the focal driver that will make Florida a premier destination for entrepreneurs and companies seeking to relocate," DeSantis wrote in a statement.

Beshears, 47, owns several businesses in North Florida, including commercial property management, bicycle equipment and a wholesale agriculture company, according to the transition team's release.

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It's a brisk Monday night in December and Andrew Gillum is standing on a small stage above a lively crowd gathered amid tiki torches on an outdoor second-floor terrace of a teachers' union headquarters overlooking Biscayne Boulevard.

The race for Florida governor was called for Republican Ron DeSantis nearly three weeks prior following a controversial recount, but the runner-up is still campaigning. In the wake of his narrow loss, Gillum continues to tour the state and country in promotion of the progressive causes that took him "within a rounding error" of becoming the governor-elect.

He is still attracting crowds. Still courting the press. And on this night, he is in Miami sounding like a man with unfinished business.

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TALLAHASSEE — Two officials at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles have resigned after state workers were sent to clean up damage from Hurricane Michael at the Georgia home of one of the officials, the department said Tuesday.

Kelley Scott, the department's director of administrative services, and William "Shane" Phillips, chief of office services, handed in their resignations following an investigation by the department's inspector general.

Scott failed to report a "possible ethics violation" relating to state workers taking department vehicles and equipment to her storm-damaged property in Colquitt, Georgia, in October, investigators concluded in a written report released to the Miami Herald. And Phillips was "not forthcoming with information" during the investigation into possible misuse of state resources, according to the report.

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TALLAHASSEE — Money set aside annually for the restoration of the Everglades and other waterways should also help end the use of septic tanks, a former House speaker suggested Monday as a panel considered potential environmental policies for Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis.

Former Speaker Steve Crisafulli said the incoming governor should tap the "Legacy Florida" funding to aid conversions from septic tanks to local sewer systems in coastal areas and near lagoons and estuaries.

"At the end of the day, I think that there is a conversation to be had about a dedicated funding source that could be used for those conversions," said Crisafulli, a Merritt Island Republican who served as speaker from 2014 to 2016.

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Florida officials say thousands of mailed ballots were not counted because they were delivered too late to state election offices.

The Department of State late last week informed a federal judge that 6,670 ballots were mailed ahead of the Nov. 6 election but were not counted because they were not received by Election Day. The tally prepared by state officials includes totals from 65 of Florida's 67 counties. The two counties yet to report their totals are Palm Beach, a Democratic stronghold in south Florida, and Polk in central Florida.

Three statewide Florida races, including the contest for governor, went to state-mandated recounts because the margins were so close.

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