Takeaways from Tallahassee — Free speech whiplash

Blue Tally Takeaways (5)
Last year's social media bill is resurfacing at an interesting time.

Editor’s note: We have some bittersweet news for Florida Politics’ readers: Jason Delgado is leaving the FP family.

Jason has been an invaluable reporter for Florida Politics and a gregarious member of the Capitol Press Corps the last two years. He’s played his strengths, including as an Army veteran, and his coverage of the Florida National Guard — and the State Guard — has been second to none.

Jason might carry around a personal fan like Charlie Crist, and he may have unknowingly hijacked Jim Rosica’s seat in the House Press Gallery, but Jason has set himself apart in Tallahassee as a stand-up guy always prepared to give anybody their “fair shake.”

Some parting words from Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch: “Jason Delgado is not only a superb reporter with an extraordinarily bright future, he is a helluva good person who I am fortunate enough to call my friend.”

Expect to see Jason’s byline pop up in USA TODAY in the coming days — or just click through when his work inevitably shows up in Sunburn.



Between Elon Musk buying Twitter, President Joe Biden’s “Ministry of Truth” and Florida lawmakers reneging on their Disney+ carveout, online free speech has held the keys to the national narrative in recent weeks. But another social media storyline has been quietly inching forward.

A federal judge last week heard oral arguments in Florida’s appeal to reinstate a law preventing social media deplatforming and limiting their ability to regulate their platform.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association and NetChoice sued last year to take down the law. They won the first battle. And the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should declare the winner of the second battle, whether to remove the injunction as the case moves forward, in the coming months.

The legislation’s proponents say the law combats censorship, while opponents, like NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo, argue the law compels speech, violating the First Amendment.

But as Florida and Silicon Valley have litigated the case, the political battlelines have inverted under their feet again, following Musk’s decision to buy Twitter and take the company private. Szabo told Florida Politics that, in backing Musk and opposing Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board, Republicans went from saying government can regulate content to government can’t regulate content.

Elon Musk has changed the political discourse — not just online.

“I think in the past two weeks, we’ve seen such incredible whiplash from Democrats and Republicans that my neck hurts when it comes to the rights of private businesses to decide what’s best for their users and their advertisers,” Szabo said.

In Szabo’s opinion, the free market should dictate how a company polices its content, like with Musk buying Twitter and the rise of platforms such as YouTube-alternative Rumble. In another example, former President Donald Trump’s Twitter alternative, Truth Social, climbed to the top of Apple’s app chart last week despite initial rollout problems.

Last week, the state’s lawyers argued that key language in federal law, known as Section 230, doesn’t allow online companies to operate free of oversight. Additionally, they said social media has effectively become the public square.

“We are grateful for the time and attention from the engaged panel of judges and look forward to the Court’s ruling,” Attorney General Ashley Moody’s press secretary, Kylie Mason, said in a statement.

Although questions about social media usage and free speech may have been supplanted this week by the U.S. Supreme Court leak on abortion, expect issues around people’s online rights to continue their slow burn.

On Thursday, Missouri and Louisiana sued the Biden administration, accusing officials of colluding with and coercing companies like Meta and Twitter to combat social media “misinformation.” On Friday, a U.S. judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit over his Twitter ban. Plus, Texas will also argue its appeal against an injunction on its Big Tech bill on Monday in a case that parallels the Florida lawsuit.

Szabo said it can’t be a coincidence that the Biden administration launched its Disinformation Governance Board during the chittering around Musk buying Twitter.

“Whether it’s the Disinformation Governance Board, whether it is the use of antitrust as a weapon, whether it is states forcing private businesses to host speech, all of it is a violation of the First Amendment,” Szabo said. “All of it is exactly the type of government compelled speech that our founders protected us against and that all of us should oppose regardless of who’s in office.”


Coming up, the usual assortment of news, intel, and observations from the week that was in Florida’s capital city by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Jason Delgado, Christine Jordan Sexton, Tristan Wood and the staff of Florida Politics.

Take 5

The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

SCOTUS leak shifts Midterm focus to abortion — A leaked report suggesting the Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v. Wade drew strong reactions from Florida leaders this week. Democrats largely derided the move as an attack on women’s rights, and some feared the Legislature could soon move to further restrict abortions. DeSantis said he’d wait for a final decision before contemplating any action. But he argued the same point made by many Republicans: the leak was unprecedented and wrong. “You want to talk about an insurrection, that’s a judicial insurrection, to be taking that out and trying to kneecap a potential majority through extra-constitutional means,” DeSantis said.

AHCA requests spending data on ‘illegal alien’ health — The DeSantis administration is calling on Florida’s hospitals to compile information on how much money they are spending to treat immigrants who have entered the country illegally. The Agency for Health Care Administration this week asked all licensed hospitals to figure all costs and expenditures and “report any uncollected debt calculations related to the health care of illegal aliens.” DeSantis and Moody have sharply criticized the Biden administration’s border policy, and one of the Governor’s lines of attack has been what they call the untold cost of immigrants who are using government resources while living in the country illegally.

DeSantis signs $1.1 billion tax relief package — DeSantis has signed this year’s sweeping tax relief bill, which will save Floridians an estimated $1.1 billion. The tax package includes major first-time initiatives, like reducing the state and county gas tax in October and a new week-long “Tool Time” sales tax holiday on supplies for skilled trades. This coming fiscal year’s predicted $1.1 billion in savings for taxpayers overshadows the $196.3 million in relief estimated in the current fiscal year, which expires June 30. Speaking in Ocala on Friday, DeSantis told reporters he was signing the bill to combat “Bidenflation.”

Central Floridians sue over Reedy Creek bill — Some Orange County residents are suing Florida after lawmakers in April voted to strip Walt Disney World of its self-governance status. The federal lawsuit, filed Tuesday, asserts the bill is unconstitutional and will significantly “injure” nearby taxpayers, who may inherit upwards of $1 billion in debt. It also alleges the repeal is punitive and aims to punish Disney’s opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill. That legislation — signed in March — bans instruction on “sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.

Appellate court reinstates SB 90 for Midterms — An appellate court temporarily reinstated portions of a Florida election law deemed unconstitutional by a lower court. In March, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Walker found parts of a 2021 state law to be unconstitutional. The state of Florida last month appealed that ruling, which struck down parts of the law including a prohibition on engaging voters in line at polls. A three-judge panel with the 11th Circuit, though, argued it’s too close to the election to significantly change election law. That means there won’t be any changes to the 2021 law as passed before this year’s Primary and General Election.

Tornado relief

DeSantis and the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) on Wednesday announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) granted the state’s request for a disaster declaration following the Southwest Florida tornadoes in January.

The announcement follows the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to deny DEM’s appeal for Individual Assistance for disaster survivors. Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties will benefit from access to low-interest loans because of the SBA’s declaration.

Better late than never for tornado relief.

“In January, I assured Southwest Florida residents that the State of Florida would identify all available forms of assistance to help their recovery efforts following the tornadoes,” DeSantis said. “It’s a shame that after months of waiting for an appeal decision, the Biden administration decided to deny Individual Assistance again to these disaster survivors. However, despite the federal government’s lack of support, the state of Florida will not let impacted residents suffer because of White House politics.”

The newly available disaster loans include Business Physical Disaster Loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Home Disaster Loans.

“In the last four months, the state of Florida has continuously prioritized the needs of disaster survivors in Charlotte and Lee counties,” DEM Director Kevin Guthrie said. “We’ve worked to identify all available forms of assistance and this SBA Disaster Declaration is an additional tool that will supplement ongoing relief and recovery efforts in Southwest Florida.”

Calm before the storm

Hurricane season is right around the corner, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis wants Floridians to be ready and insured.

This week marks Hurricane Preparedness Week, the perfect time for residents to prep their disaster plans for when hurricane season begins on June 1. Saturday marks the final day of the week, an opportunity for Floridians to take advantage of sales on disaster supplies.

“The 2022 Hurricane Season is only one month away and I am urging Floridians to take advantage of the calm before the storm to prepare now!” Patronis said in a news release. “There is nothing more important than having a disaster plan in place to protect you, your family and your home.”

Jimmy Patronis says the time to prepare for hurricane season is now.

Patronis recommended Floridians secure adequate flood insurance coverage, consider additional living expense coverage and be ready before a storm approaches. Most flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect, he noted.

“Business owners should also work now to prepare to weather and recover from what is expected to be another busy storm season,” Patronis said. “As we’ve seen in the past, hurricanes can intensify and develop fast, and getting prepared now can help save lives.”

Floridians will get one more chance to make savings in their disaster purchases. Disaster preparedness week will run from May 28 to June 10, making it a two-week holiday this time. Light sources, radios, tarps, batteries, coolers, generators and even pet supplies will be tax free during that period.

For additional hurricane financial preparedness tips or resources, visit PrepareFL.com.


Patronis also announced this week that his office helped reunite Floridians with more than $30 million in long-forgotten cash.

The Division of Unclaimed Property, housed in the Department of Financial Services, serves as a lost and found for all manner of unclaimed assets, such as dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances and refunds.

Jimmy Patronis wants to give the gift that keeps on giving. Image via Colin Hackley.

The division maintains an online database where Floridians can check out how many of their (or their family’s, friends’ and neighbors’) dollars are collecting dust in a government office building. It’s like finding a $100 bill in a pair of jeans you haven’t worn since early 2020, without the shame of realizing they don’t fit anymore.

The Division of Unclaimed Property has kept busy since Patronis took office in 2017, returning more than $1.6 billion. Of that, $331 million has been returned to Floridians this fiscal year — you’d have to sift through 2.5 million pounds of $100-bill-containing-jeans to uncover that much cash.

“My Unclaimed Property Team is working every day to return every single cent of unclaimed property to the rightful owners. There is over $2.1 billion just waiting to be claimed and there is no better time than now to start your search,” Patronis said.

“It’s your money and it only takes a few seconds to visit our website and discover if there are any unclaimed treasures in your name. Search today for yourself, your friends, your loved ones, and even your business at FLTreasureHunt.gov.”

Instagram of the week

The Week in Appointments

Florida Gaming Control Commission — DeSantis made two appointments and three reappointments to the commission late Friday. The new members are John MacIver, who works as general counsel to Patronis and DFS, and John D’Aquila, an accountant and former executive at Comstock and Select Wines. The reappointments are former Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Julie Brown, former Office of Insurance Regulation Chief of Staff Michael Yaworsky and Charles Drago, the founder of Drago Professional Consultants and a former DBPR Secretary.

Enterprise Florida Board of Directors — The Governor appointed Anthony Barbar of Boynton Beach to the EFI board. Barbar is the CEO of Barbar and Associates and volunteers with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Boca Helping Hands and the Palm Beach Atlantic University Board of Trustees. He earned his bachelor’s degree in international business from Florida Atlantic University.

Florida Virtual School Board of Trustees Rafael “Tony” Arza and Kelly Garcia were named to the FVS board on Friday evening. Arza is a Miami resident who works as an educational consultant for Mountain Moving Strategies and serves on the Charter School Appeal Commission under the Florida Department of Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and a master’s and doctorate in theological studies from the John Paul II Institute.  Garcia, of Tampa, is a board member and the committee chair of Frameworks of Tampa Bay. She is a career educator and a member of Teneo Network. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America and her master’s degree from the University of Florida.

Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame Council — The Governor picked Bruce Grant for a spot on the council late Friday. Grant is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former employee of Enterprise Florida and the Executive Office of the Governor. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy of West Point, his master’s degree from the University of Puget Sound, and a doctorate from Florida State University.

Boating Advisory Council — Five new members are joining the council. Larry DeHays, of Fort Myers Beach, is a boat captain for Adventures in Paradise and Shell Point Retirement. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a current member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland. John Stephens, of Destin, is the owner of Luther’s Pontoon, WaveRunner, and Kayak Rentals. He is a member of the Okaloosa County Watersports Operators Coalition, Okaloosa County Waterway Rental Safety Committee, and serves on multiple committees for the City of Destin. Stephens earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of West Florida. James Suber, of Jacksonville, is the president of Suber Marine Services Inc. He is a current member of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Jacksonville Commodores League, and a board member for the Safe Harbor Maritime Academy. He earned his associate degree from Florida State College at Jacksonville. Christopher Wagoner, of Gainesville, is a retired police academy commander for Santa Fe College and a U.S. Army veteran. He earned an associate degree in criminal justice technology from Santa Fe College. James Zurbrick, of Steinhatchee, is the owner and operator of Jolly Rogers II Fisheries LLC and Tides Up Fisheries LLC. He is currently the Director of Southeastern Fisheries Association and a member of the Gulf of Mexico Shareholders Alliance, Seafood Harvesters of America, and Steinhatchee River Chamber of Commerce. He earned his associate degree from St. Petersburg College.

History Day

Florida has its list of winning students from this year’s Florida History Day. The top two individual students and groups from each category will go on to represent Florida at the National History Day contest next month.

The Florida Department of State and the Museum of Florida History put on the annual Florida History Day event, which promotes learning about history through opportunities for middle and high school students to conduct original research. The contest was held at Tallahassee Community College on May 2 with the top student entries from 28 of Florida’s counties participating.

Some of the winning topics were “Opera Diplomacy” and “The Voyages of Captain Cook,” says Laurel Lee’s office. Image via Colin Hackley.

“I want to congratulate this year’s Florida History Day winners, as well as all of the students who participated, and the teachers who supported them,” Secretary of State Laurel Lee said in a news release. “I had the opportunity to see some of the projects and I was incredibly impressed by the students’ thorough research, creativity, and hard work.”

At this year’s state competition, 782 middle and high school students presented award-winning research in a variety of media including documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances and websites. Judges recognized 28 individuals plus 24 groups for their reports on topics including women’s rights, international relations, the labor movement and Florida history.

I’m your buckaroo

The nation recently celebrated Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and the Florida Capitol made sure to join in on the action.

For this year’s annual celebration of working parents, Florida and the Department of Economic Opportunity opened the Capitol doors to more than 500 kids who’ve been watching you, Dad (and Mom), and learning four-letter words like FDLE.

Secretary Dane Eagle and his assistant stop by the Capitol. Image via DEO.

Children joined their parents and caregivers to tour more than two dozen exhibits from a wide variety of agencies, which DEO organizes every Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Participating alongside state agencies, like the Department of Transportation, were offices that work adjacent to state government, like Small Business Development Centers, the Florida Housing Coalition and Guardian ad Litem.

Kids interacted with hands-on activities and learned about the many possible future career options available to them in the Sunshine State.

“Each day, the DEO team works with Floridians, communities, and businesses to further the state’s economic development initiatives and establish a strong, diverse workforce to meet today’s needs and future opportunities,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “Our children are our future, and Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day offered our state organizations a chance to show Florida’s future workforce the many jobs and educational opportunities available to them in our great state.”

Certified CLG

The City of Lake Butler is officially a member of the Certified Local Government program, Lee announced this week.

“I am pleased to welcome Lake Butler as Florida’s 81st Certified Local Government,” Lee said. “The City will now partner with the Division of Historical Resources to preserve resources associated with its important agricultural past and role as the seat of Union County.”

Lake Butler celebrated its centennial last year. Image via the Department of State.

The National Park Service initiative, administered here by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, provides training and technical support to member communities to help them enhance their historic preservation efforts.

To make the grade, Lake Butler passed a local historic preservation ordinance and assembled a qualified historic preservation commission. The CLG program encourages decision making about historic preservation at the local level with input from citizens and local government.

There are more than 2,000 CLG members nationwide. With the addition of Lake Butler — the Union County seat — 81 of those are in the Sunshine State.

Lake Butler is named after Colonel Robert Butler, an American military officer and the first Surveyor General of the Florida Territory after it was ceded by Spain to the United States. The city’s presence in the cattle, lumber and sea island cotton industries provided a basis for early economic development of the community.

Despite growth as a result of the railroad, Lake Butler retained its unique rural character. The city remains an agricultural community with historic resources associated with Florida’s early timber and agricultural industries.

Share the road

This month marks Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month, a time for state officials to remind motorists to share the road.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and the Florida Highway Patronis are partnering with the Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Trucking Association and AAA — The Auto Group to spread the word.

Space means safety, says AAA – The Auto Club Group.

Along with the “share the road” campaign, FLHSMV is providing drivers with information on how to safely drive alongside large commercial vehicles.

“Temperatures are increasing and so are the number of commuters on Florida roadways — especially vulnerable road users. On average last year, there were nearly 290 crashes per week involving a motorcycle or bicycle in Florida,” FLHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes said in a news release. “Sharing the road is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you operate a large truck, passenger vehicle, motorcycle, or bicycle, learn your role on the road and always make an effort to look out for one another.”

Last June, DeSantis signed a law (SB 950) giving drivers more space to pass cyclists and pedestrians in no-passing zones, requiring more space between drivers and cyclists when drivers turn right in front of a cyclist and more. Cyclists riding in groups can only cross through intersections in groups of 10 or fewer, and cyclists may ride side-by-side in certain conditions.

“As warmer weather approaches, you will likely see more bicycles and motorcycles on the road taking advantage of Florida’s beautiful weather,” FDOT Secretary Jared Perdue said. “FDOT reminds you that sharing Florida’s roadways is everyone’s responsibility. It is essential that everyone on the road exercise caution and be mindful of all road-users.”

CareerSource Board

House Speaker Chris Sprowls has named Rep. Lauren Melo to the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors.

“I am honored to have been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for CareerSource Florida by Speaker Sprowls,” Melo said. “I look forward to creating workforce policies that will prepare Florida and Floridians to continue to prosper as we face new challenges in the global marketplace.”

Lauren Melo knows a thing or two about what CareerSource does. Image via Colin Hackley.

Melo, a freshman Republican from Naples, was a chief architect and sponsor of last year’s “REACH Act.” The Reimagining Education and Career Help Act, backed by Sprowls, aimed to reform, align and integrate Florida’s workforce, education and training programs into a unified system.

“Representative Melo’s experience in the private and public sectors — as state representative and business owner — make her uniquely qualified to craft meaningful and strategic policy for Florida’s employers, workers and job seekers,” Sprowls said. “I am proud to nominate her to represent the Florida House to stand up for Florida’s workforce and business community.”

As a member of the Board of Directors, Melo joins the Governor, Education Commissioner and private and public sector leaders appointed by the Florida Senate and the Governor.

This term, she served as Vice Chair of the Post-Secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee and member of the Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee.

In 1991, Melo started her own trucking company that grew to managing a fleet of 100 trucks. Currently, she owns a real estate brokerage in Naples.

Fine questions

Rep. Randy Fine will hold a town hall to discuss property insurance issues in the Melbourne City Council Chambers at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The event is being hosted by Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey and will also include Sen. Debbie Mayfield, Rep. Thad Altman, West Melbourne City Councilman John Dittmore and Brevard School Board Member Matt Susin.

Alfrey, Dittmore and Susin are licensed insurance agents and will be sharing their perspective on the current tumult in the property insurance market. Alfrey also owns a roofing company — roof claims litigation is often cited by insurers as a root cause of skyrocketing premiums.

Randy Fine is known for his protracted speeches, but he says now it’s his time to listen. Image via Colin Hackley.

“As the Legislature prepares to return to Tallahassee this month to tackle the crisis in property insurance, I want to give my constituents from around Brevard County the opportunity to share their perspective with me, Senator Mayfield, and Representative Altman as we figure out how to tackle this complex issue,” Fine said in a news release.

“I am grateful that local leaders like Mayor Alfrey, Councilman Dittmore, and School Board Member Susin are willing to share their unique perspective both as public servants and private businessmen.”

The Special Session on property insurance is scheduled for May 23-27.

Fine continued, “For me, this event will primarily be an opportunity to listen. This issue affects my family as much as it does yours — our own insurance has increased 66% in the past four years, and we have not even seen this year’s premium yet. We’ve also been on the other side of the issue, having had to spend years working a claim after our home was fatally damaged by a hurricane. Now we want to hear about your experiences and concerns.”

The council chambers are located at 900 East Strawbridge Ave. in Melbourne. Members of the public who sign up to speak will be allotted time based on the total number of people wishing to speak.

Park grantlets

Five Florida State Parks Friends groups are splitting a $25,000 grant program as part of Florida State Parks Foundation’s efforts to advocate for local state parks.

The Friends organizations for Collier-Seminole State Park, Fort Cooper, Islamorada Area State Parks, Silver Springs State Park and St. Joseph State Parks will each receive up to $5,000 as part of the small grants program. Last year marked the first time the Florida State Parks Foundation hosted the program.

Collier-Seminole State Park wants more accessible paths. Image via Florida State Parks.

“These small grants allow Friends groups at Florida State Parks to complete projects that enhance visitor experience, as well as support accessibility projects and park improvement efforts,” Florida State Parks Foundation President Tammy Gustafson said in a news release. “Since the launch of our small grants program, diverse projects have been funded that make a positive impact at state parks locally and ensure the continued award-winning experiences visitors know and love at Florida State Parks.”

Friends of Collier-Seminole State Park, in Collier County, received nearly $3,000 to construct an accessible path through a newly created butterfly garden with interpretive trails.

Friends of Fort Cooper, in Citrus County, received $5,000 to reconstruct and restore the state park’s fort wall, which will preserve a piece of Florida’s history.

Friends of the Islamorada Area State Parks, in the Florida Keys, received $5,000 to purchase a motorized wheelbarrow that will allow for movement of crushed rock onto narrow and remote areas of trails.

Friends of Silver Springs State Park, in Marion County, received $5,000 to purchase a used electric golf cart for volunteers.

Friends of St. Joseph State Parks, in Gulf County, also received $5,000 to purchase a golf cart for resident volunteers. The park’s previous equipment was lost in 2018 when the park suffered significant damage from Hurricane Michael.

Away team

Four Florida middle schoolers are in Washington D.C. this weekend to compete in the national MATHCOUNTS competition.

The MATHCOUNTS competition includes both a written exam and a live “bee” style contest where they’ll race against the clock to answer challenging questions.

Some example questions:

— How many six-digit positive integers containing six distinct nonzero digits are divisible by 99?

— Alana can make a tutu in 40 minutes. Spencer takes 50% longer. Working together, how many minutes does it take them to make 20 tutus?

Previous winners have earned a trip to the White House. Image via MATHCOUNTS.

Florida’s squad of mathletes includes Kevin Liu of Westglades Middle School in Parkland, Aaryan Vaishya of William Middle Magnet School in Tampa and Michael Wei and Anish Patel of Lincoln Middle School in Gainesville.

By their invitations alone, the four students are among the 224 most talented middle school mathematicians in the country. Top competitors will receive a share of $44,000 in college scholarship money.

“We’re so proud of Florida’s statewide MATHCOUNTS winners and wish them best of luck in Washington, D.C., at the national competition,” said Jamie Graham, a member of the Florida Engineering Society, which sponsors the Florida MATHCOUNTS competition.

By the way, the answers are 576 integers and 480 minutes.

Imagine Freedom

SalterMitchell PR recently won two public relations awards for its work running a local “Imagine Freedom” fundraising campaign.

Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Capital Chapter recognized Salter PR for its work on Survive the fundraising campaign, put together by the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC). The campaign, ran last fall, went toward increasing awareness of human and sex trafficking in the local community.

The campaign earnings more than doubled their fundraising goal.

SalterMitchell PR took home an Award of Distinction and Judge’s Award. Image via SalterMitchell PR.

Human trafficking isn’t just a problem in major cities. It happens everywhere, including Tallahassee. STAC assists survivors and strengthens communities throughout the Big Bend by educating the public on how to recognize, report and prevent human and sex trafficking.

The FPRA Capital Chapter Local Image Awards competition is conducted annually on a local level to recognize outstanding public relations programs. FPRA also hopes to encourage and promote the development of public relations professionalism in the greater Tallahassee area.

The Leon County Commission determined a need for all Tallahassee businesses to know how to identify human trafficking and how to take action to help survivors and hold traffickers accountable. STAC hosts training to help Leon County businesses know what to look for so they can see the signs of human trafficking.

Mayor deal

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is scheduled to deliver the keynote address Saturday’s Florida A&M University College of Law Hooding Ceremony.

FAMU Law has 134 graduates being recognized from the Fall 2021, Spring 2022 and Summer 2022 graduating classes. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando.

FAMU might be based in Tallahassee, but the law school is in Buddy Dyer’s neighborhood.

Dyer, who has served as Mayor of the City of Orlando since 2003, is also a member of FAMU Law’s Dean’s Advisory Council. As Mayor, he has made it a priority to ensure all residents are treated equally, are equally protected and have equitable access to opportunity.

FAMU President Larry Robinson and FAMU College of Law Dean Deidré A. Keller are scheduled to provide remarks and special recognitions. FAMU Senate President Ann Marie Cavazos is on the program to bring greetings from the Board of Trustees.

Professor of Law Patricia Broussard will be hooding the graduates. Associate Dean Markita Cooper will announce the student names, while Associate Dean Jonathan Fineman and Associate Dean Reginald Green will assist with the ceremony.

Valedictorian Shanice Cameron, who hails from the Bronx, will be the event’s student speaker.

The ceremony will be live-streamed on law.famu.edu and FAMU College of Law’s Facebook facebook.com/FAMULAW.

Capitol Directions

Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — Culture wars: All the economic benefits of real wars, but with fewer explosions.

Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — Renatha Francis won’t send unknown numbers to voicemail for the next couple of weeks.

Christina Pushaw — Question mark — We blocked her on Twitter; what did she say now?

TV stations — Up arrow — With DeSantis plunking down a $5.3M ad buy, the spigot is officially on.

NY Museum of Jewish Heritage — Down arrow — Banning DeSantis to promote inclusion … it’s the lost verse to Ironic nobody asked for.

Nikki Fried — Up arrow — Axios says you’re one of four “Democratic women to watch.” Don’t mom’s spaghetti it.

Ashley Moody — Up arrow — She gave the smack peddlers a $683M smackdown.

Dep’t of Ed. — Down arrow — The 2022-23 math curriculum: Shut up and dribble.

Chris Sprowls — Up arrow — DeSantis can thank the Speaker for his new resiliency office.

Demi Busatta Cabrera — Up arrow — The Statewide Office of Resilience didn’t carry itself to the Governor’s desk.

Lauren Book — Up arrow — Air hugs for saving us a few bucks on Huggies.

Bobby Payne — Up arrow — Tool batteries are stupid expensive, but at least we’ll save a few bucks in September.

Ileana Garcia — Down arrow — Somewhere, Todd Akin is looking up and smiling.

Ardian Zika — Double up arrow — A good man with one helluva backstory. He’ll be missed.

Hypocrisy — Up arrow — Don’t Say Refund.

Florida GOP — Up arrow — Leave that bottled water at home on Election Day.

Bail bond agents — Down arrow — It’s time to bite the bullet and subscribe to Uber One.

Intuit — Down arrow — One scam down. TrickBooks next, please.

Fred Karlinsky — Up arrow — He’s the new Chair of the Supreme Court JNC and he’s about to have a lot of names to vet.

Scott Rivkees — Down arrow — Quiet down before someone calls ‘The Hook.’

Gators — Down arrow — They have 80 teeth. Stop WOKE has 100 million.

Real gators — Down arrow — Well, at least they already sleep with one eye open.

Baristas — Up arrow — For Starbucks employees, they’re pretty good at Dunkin’ on the C-Suite.

Staff Reports


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