Gov. Rick Scott Archives - Page 3 of 82 - Florida Politics

Joe Henderson: Florida’s resolve displayed again as Irma approaches

Floridians generally are a cocky bunch when it comes to hurricanes. A lot of people take the batteries-and-beer approach to these things: make sure you have plenty of both.

Fill up the propane tank on the grill, fill the cooler with ice, and ride it out.

Not this time.

In 45 years of living in this slice of paradise, I have never seen residents across the state prepare for a hurricane like people are doing for Irma.

Here in Tampa, water and canned goods began disappearing from shelves on Monday, about a week before Irma’s possible arrival. People saw the devastation last week in Houston and they’re taking no chances.

The hurricane seems certain to give a direct hit to a good portion of Florida; we just don’t know where yet. No matter where that is, though, people nearly everywhere in the state will be affected. Irma is roughly the size of Ohio and could stretch from the Gulf to the Atlantic.

So, we get ready the best we can and hope for the best.

Gov. Rick Scott showed last year during the buildup to Hurricane Matthew that he understands the vital role leadership plays in times like this, and he is doing it again. Give the man credit.

Along with the emergency management personnel, the governor’s performance can reassure residents that all systems are in place to prepare before the storm hits and react after it leaves. That’s all we ask.

The aftermath of Irma could leave Floridians struggling for months to have the basics like food and shelter. Times like that, though, tend to bring out the best in people.

Already, churches across the state are mobilizing to help members of their congregations and community. Disaster agencies like the Red Cross and many, many others have teams in place to quickly respond to needs.

Social media is playing a huge role in giving residents options and support. I’ve had offers from friends as far away as Ohio to go there if it gets too bad here.

There is one buddy there who disagrees with me on everything politically, often vocally. That didn’t stop him from offering the use of his large motorhome as a place to stay if my family and I need it.

We really do tend to come together when it matters most. We aren’t so divided that we can’t lend a hand and a hug to someone who needs both.

Watching the approach of this storm has been draining for everyone, wondering where and when it will strike. Whatever happens though, we’ll get through it. This hurricane might be a monster, but it takes more than that to beat Floridians.

That’s not being cocky. It’s just the truth.

Rick Scott: State offices closed Friday

Gov. Rick Scott directed state offices to be closed in all 67 Florida counties this Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma, his office announced Tuesday night.

Scott also asked state employees to volunteer in the state’s emergency shelter mobilization efforts.

“Our state workforce is filled with dedicated individuals who go above and beyond every day in service to the families who call Florida home,” he said in a statement.

“Ensuring the safety of these hardworking individuals and their families is a top priority, and I am directing all state offices to be closed this Friday so our state employees can fully focus on preparing for this storm and keeping their families safe,” Scott added. “I am also asking these talented individuals to consider donating their time and effort to become a certified American Red Cross Disaster Services volunteer to help Floridians in need.”

Furthermore, he said, “I have directed all state executive agencies to authorize the deployment of any American Red Cross certified employees willing to volunteer to help in or operate shelters in response to this unprecedented storm. Agency leaders have also been authorized to grant employee volunteers training time in order to become certified if they are not already.

“We must do all we can to prepare our families and communities for any potential impact from this major weather event, and I appreciate the many volunteers who are gearing up to help our state during this critical time.”

In partnership with the American Red Cross, salaried, non-essential state employees can receive expedited volunteer certifications for disaster services so that they may assist in or operate shelters in response to Hurricane Irma impacts and preparation.

Florida law allows Scott to grant full-time, salaried state employees up to 15 days of administrative leave for emergency volunteer efforts through the American Red Cross. All Floridians can register for American Red Cross certifications at VolunteerFlorida.org.

Hurricane Irma

Rick Scott seeks pre-landfall emergency status from feds

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday asked President Donald Trump to declare a pre-landfall emergency for Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma, the Governor’s Office announced.

“A pre-landfall declaration will provide important resources and assistance from the federal government and would free up funding sources for emergency protective measures such as shoring up beach dunes, building emergency berms and planning for potential evacuations,” a press release explained.

“Last evening, I spoke with President Trump regarding Florida’s preparedness actions and he offered the full resources of the federal government as we get ready for this major storm,” Scott said.

“This morning, I am requesting the president declare a pre-landfall emergency for the State of Florida to help preposition necessary resources and support emergency protective measures across the state,” he added. “Our state emergency management officials are working with our federal and local partners to prepare for any potential impacts from this dangerous storm, and it is crucial that we have access to every available resource to protect our families and communities.

“While we do not yet know the exact path of Irma, major impacts to Florida are potentially possible and we cannot wait to take aggressive preparedness actions,” Scott said. “I continue to urge all Floridians to remain vigilant, stay tuned into local weather alerts and have a disaster plan in place today. We will remain focused on making sure families and visitors have timely information on Hurricane Irma and we keep issuing important updates as we monitor the storm throughout the day.”

The governor’s request is here. His previous executive order is here.

Rick Scott on hurricane duty

No rest for Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday, as his daily agenda shows a schedule packed with planning items in advance of Hurricane Irma‘s track toward the state.

At 7:30 a.m., the governor had a weather briefing with Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan Koon. An hour later, he was set for a call with county sheriffs on hurricane planning.

At 9, there was a call with local chiefs of police, and another at 9:30 with county school superintendents.

Looking ahead, another call is set for 10:20 a.m. with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long.

At 10:30, the jobs governor will make an appearance at Naples’ Pyure Organic, an independent stevia sweetener compan, to “highlight its new facility and job growth.” That’s followed by another weather briefing at 11:15 a.m.

Then Scott high-tails it to Tampa to “announce new jobs at Cognizant Technology Solutions” at 2:15 p.m.

At 5:15, he’ll get yet another weather briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera also gets into the act today, with weather briefings at 7:30 and 11:15 a.m., and again at 5:15 p.m., his schedule shows.

Updated 10:30 a.m.: Scott’s schedule was revised to add a 7:55 a.m. call with South Florida Water Management District Chairman Dan O’Keefe, an 8:05 a.m. call with Army Corps of Engineers district commander Col. Jason Kirk, and an 8:20 a.m. call with the Navy’s southeast region commander, Rear Adm. Babette Bolivar.

Rick Scott declares state of emergency for Hurricane Irma

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a statewide state of emergency as Hurricane Irma appears more likely to affect Florida.

Scott issued an executive order on Monday afternoon.

Irma, now a Category 3 hurricane, “is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared,” Scott said in a statement.

“I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Irma and current forecast models have Florida in Irma’s path – potentially impacting millions of Floridians,” he said.

“Today, given these forecasts and the intensity of this storm, I have declared a state of emergency for every county in Florida to make certain that state, federal and local governments are able to work together and make sure resources are dispersed to local communities as we get prepared for this storm,” Scott added.

“While the exact path of Irma is not known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared,” the governor said. “This state of emergency allows our emergency management officials to act swiftly in the best interest of Floridians without the burden of bureaucracy or red tape.”

Residents were encouraged to visit FLGetAPlan.com as Irma makes its way toward land.

Rick Scott sets special election for House District 72

Gov. Rick Scott on Friday set the dates for the special elections to replace former state Rep. Alex Miller, the Sarasota Republican whose resignation became effective today.

The special primary election for House District 72 will be held on Dec. 5, and a special general election is set for next Feb. 13, Scott’s executive order says. 

Miller

That means the district, which includes Siesta Key and South Sarasota, will be unrepresented for more than half of the 2018 Legislative Session.

As of Friday afternoon, Miller’s information was removed from the House website, with “Representative–Special Election Pending” showing for HD 72.

Miller turned in her resignation from the House last week, citing family and business reasons.

“As a mother with two teenage boys who is the CEO of a rapidly growing business, I have come to the conclusion that I must spend more time at home than my service in the Legislature would allow,” she wrote in her letter.

Miller, who recently turned 44, is CEO of Mercedes Medical, a medical and laboratory supply company in Sarasota.

Less than an hour after her resignation became known, James Buchanan, son of Sarasota-area Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan, said he would run for the seat.

James Buchanan, also a Republican, had previously announced a run in House District 71, now held by term-limited state GOP Rep. Jim Boyd.

Rick Scott sets date for next Florida execution

Gov. Rick Scott set the execution of Michael Lambrix, who’s been on Death Row for 33 years, for 6 p.m. Oct. 5, the Governor’s Office announced Friday. 

The Florida Supreme Court last February delayed his execution after attorneys argued that the state should first determine how to apply a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the state’s death penalty system is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court found Florida’s death penalty system flawed because it allows judges, not juries, to decide death sentences.

Lambrix (Photo: Florida Dep’t of Corrections)

This March, the state’s high court said Lambrix was entitled to no further legal relief and lifted its stay of execution.

Attorney General Pam Bondi‘s office, also Friday, asked the court to dismiss Lambrix’s Thursday request for habeas corpus, calling it over long and an “untimely … abuse of process.”

“Lambrix’s latest habeas petition presents a misleading potpourri of previously presented and rejected claims,” Senior Assistant Attorney General Scott Browne wrote. “The petition … inappropriately seeks duplicative review of a decision of this Court that has been final for years.”

That was after Bondi wrote to Scott earlier Friday, saying that “the record is legally sufficient to set a new execution date.”

Lambrix was sentenced for the 1983 tire-iron and strangling slayings of two people he met at a bar, Aleisha Bryant and Clarence Moore Jr. Prosecutors said he killed them after inviting them home for dinner.

(Background material provided by The Associated Press, reprinted with permission.)

*                    *                    *

Updated 5 p.m. — In a docket entry, the state Supreme Court said that “because the governor has reset the execution … , we direct that all further proceedings in this case be expedited.”

Trial court proceedings, if any, were ordered completed, with orders entered by Sept. 11.

The court also set the following briefing schedule: Notice of appeal by Sept. 12; initial brief on the merits by Sept. 14; answer brief on the merits by Sept. 15; Reply brief on the merits by Sept. 18.

“Oral argument, if necessary, will be scheduled at a later date,” according to the docket.

Joe Negron: Army Corps will speed up Lake O work

Senate President Joe Negron on Friday said progress on a southern reservoir outlined in legislation passed this year, addressing South Florida’s water quality, is getting a kick-start.

“…The Army Corps of Engineers intends to expedite the federal approval process … The Corps has determined the best option for achieving southern storage is not to seek new federal authority, but to use existing authority to pursue a modification to the current (project),” Negron said in a Friday statement.

Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation this year pledging $800 million in bonds toward Negron’s signature project (SB 10), a $1.5 billion plan to restore Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades by building a reservoir south of the lake. The governor called Everglades restoration “a top priority.”

“This development is entirely consistent with the options and timeline outlined in Senate Bill 10 and achieves the Legislature’s goal of moving forward on southern storage as expeditiously as possible,” added Negron, a Stuart Republican.

“I appreciate the Corps’ shared interest in promptly achieving our goal of reducing harmful discharges into our communities, and I look forward to continuing an efficient state and federal partnership on this important effort.”

The project is designed to stop discharges of toxic algae-infused overflow into streams and estuaries to the east and west by storing 78 billion gallons of water in a reservoir to the south, with treatment and ultimate discharge into the Everglades and Florida Bay.

The law forbids use of eminent domain, relying on land the state already owns or can swap with private landowners.

Jimmy Patronis will decide on 2018 run in ‘next 30 days’

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has told his hometown television station he will decide “in the next 30 days” whether to run for a full term in 2018.

Patronis, a former state representative, stepped down from the Public Service Commission (PSC) when Gov. Rick Scott appointed him two months ago to serve the remainder of former CFO Jeff Atwater‘s second term. Atwater left early to become the CFO of Florida Atlantic University.

Patronis, in a Wednesday interview with Panama City’s WJHG Newschannel 7, said his “intention is to make a decision soon.”

“I would say I would make up my mind in the next 30 days,” the 45-year-old Republican told the station. His spokeswoman was not immediately available Thursday morning for further comment.

Patronis has opened a new political committee, Treasure Florida, and Scott is hosting a fundraiser for it Sept. 28 in Orlando.

“You know, it’s humbling. He’s a mentor. Gov. Scott has found a friend in me; I know I have found a larger-than-life friend in my world, from him,” he told WJHG.

Patronis was one of Scott’s earliest and most vocal backers when he ran for his first term as governor. Scott repaid that loyalty with appointments to the PSC—a $131,000 yearly position—and the volunteer Constitution Revision Commission, which convenes every 20 years to review and suggest changes to the state’s governing document.

Upon his June appointment, Patronis stepped down from both positions. He’s paid nearly $129,000 a year as CFO.

Scott has said he would do everything he could to help Patronis win, even if he has to compete with state Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican and former Senate President, for the GOP nomination. Lee, who is term-limited in the Senate next year, has said he is considering filing to run for CFO later this year.

Patronis will “have about a year and a half to be in office,” Scott said. “I know he’s considering whether he’s going to run or not. If he runs, I’m going to be a big supporter.”

Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring, a Broward County Democrat and former Yahoo executive, is currently the only declared candidate for CFO.

(Florida Politics correspondent Drew Wilson contributed to this post.)

Rick Scott: Flags at half-staff for Greg Evers

Gov. Rick Scott has ordered flags at half-staff to commemorate the passing of former state Sen. Greg Evers.

Evers, 62, a strawberry farmer and Republican who represented Senate District 2 from 2010-16, died last week in a one-car accident near his home in unincorporated Baker, Okaloosa County. He previously served in the House 2000-10.

“As a symbol of respect” for Evers, Scott on Monday ordered the U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-staff at the Santa Rosa County Courthouse in Milton, Milton City Hall, and at the Capitol in Tallahassee, from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday. Evers was born in Milton in 1955. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Lori, and their entire family during this terribly difficult time,” Scott said in a statement.

“A dedicated public servant, Senator Evers truly loved Florida and devoted his life to serving his community – not only on his family farm, but during 15 years representing the people of North Florida in the state House and Senate,” he added.

“He will be remembered and missed by all who knew him as the kind, hardworking farmer from Milton who tirelessly fought for Florida families.”

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