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ST. PETERSBURG — Florida Sen. Darryl Rouson sought $1.7 million in the state budget two years ago for a daycare center associated with his church. He eventually got it $1 million.

In his request, the Democrat listed Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church and its nonprofit, Mt. Zion Human Services, as the recipients.

According to Senate records, Rouson didn’t disclose that his wife, Angela Rouson, held positions in both organizations.

Keep reading   5 min. read  

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that he has reappointed Noah Valenstein to keep his role as secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Valenstein was first appointed by former Gov. Rick Scott in 2017, for whom he served as environmental policy aide from 2012 to 2015.

“Noah has led (the Department of Environmental Protection) with distinction and has played an integral role in implementing my vision to protect and restore Florida’s environment,” DeSantis said in a statement Friday. “I’m confident his continued leadership will bolster our efforts to take decisive action on behalf of the people of Florida.”

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The painstaking negotiation to reach a deal to keep the government open failed to include one thing dear to northwest Florida: Aid for the victims of Hurricane Michael.

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Panama City, said he was stunned and disappointed that the package Congress approved Thursday and signed by President Donald Trump on Friday didn’t include the disaster relief for the Panhandle. Just three weeks ago, Senate Republicans voted for $12.7 billion in disaster aid for victims of 2018 natural disasters. Meanwhile, the House, led by Democrats, approved $14.2 billion for victims of hurricanes, wildfires and other disaster in its 2019 spending bill.

How, then, was disaster aid left off the table in the final deal? Dunn said he has no idea. He voted against the spending bill, but it easily passed both chambers.

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President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency at the southern border and said he plans to divert $8 billion to build a barrier and “the wall” between the United States and Mexico.

The legality of the maneuver is likely to be challenged immediately, and Trump indicated he expects as much. Congress can also vote on a “resolution of termination” that would effectively end the emergency status.

Response to Trump’s announcement from Florida’s Congressional delegation has been mixed, with Democrats overwhelmingly against it. Some Republicans have voiced concern about constitutional over reach — the most notable being Sen. Marco Rubio — while others have been quiet so far on the decision.

Keep reading   6 min. read  

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From PolitiFact Florida