Takeaways from Tallahassee — Lights, camera, action!

Blue Tally Takeaways (5)
Film Florida is welcoming a new president.

The group that promotes film production in Florida has a new president.

Film Florida announced at its annual meeting this week that Sandy Lighterman, the film commissioner for Broward County, has been elected to take over the top spot for the statewide not-for-profit trade association. The organization also announced its board of directors for the coming year.

Lighterman represents the Greater Fort Lauderdale region’s commercial production industry and works to attract production business to Broward. She has been part of Film Florida leadership for 10 years.

Sandy Lighterman. Image via Film Florida.

Lighterman said it was “an honor” to serve as president of Film Florida.

“Florida is open for business,” she said. “I look forward to working side by side with industry professionals as we continue to seek opportunities to strengthen the film, television and digital media production industry. Our industry has a deep history in the state and remains an important piece in Florida’s economic growth and diversification and we look forward to competing for high-wage jobs in the film, television and digital media production industry.”

Before Lighterman began work in Broward County she spent nearly 14 years as the Miami-Dade County film and entertainment commissioner. She also worked for more than 25 years as a film and television producer.

Film Florida represents film, television and digital media in all aspects of the business including film commission, industry, labor, associations and education. It stresses the benefits of Florida as a major entertainment production destination, positive economic development driver and tourism generator.


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, Gray Rohrer, Christine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.

But first, the “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

— Take 5 —

See you in court: The DeSantis administration is taking the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to court alleging officials there are slowing down the efforts of some state universities to switch accreditors. The DeSantis administration alleges that accreditation boards have too much power over state universities and colleges and are thwarting the state’s governing policies. The lawsuit against the USDOE and its secretary, Miguel Cardona, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. “In America, you need to be accountable to somebody, and right now they’re accountable to nobody,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tampa this week. “We believe we have a great chance of succeeding in this lawsuit.”

Illegal and enjoined: U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a ruling this week finding that a Medicaid rule and state law prohibiting Medicaid from covering gender-affirming care violates two federal health care laws and the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. Hinkle’s ruling is the second in the last 30 days, coming after another earlier this month where Hinkle ruled three Florida minors could receive “puberty blockers” and other types of care despite the prohibition in state law and a pair of medical board rules. Wednesday’s ruling applies to the state’s $38 billion Medicaid program and the roughly 9,000 transgender enrollees in the program. Meanwhile, federal judge Gregory A. Presnell on Friday agreed to grant Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille a preliminary injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing the “Florida’s Protection of Children” law while the court considers the legality of the statute.

Nope: The Florida Supreme Court rejected Andrew Warren’s request to be reinstated as Hillsborough County State Attorney after DeSantis suspended him from office last August for not upholding the law. In a 6-1 ruling, the court determined Warren waited too long to petition the court for reinstatement. Warren first sued DeSantis in federal court, where Judge Hinkle ruled in January that while DeSantis had violated Warren’s First Amendment rights, he had no authority to reinstate him. Warren petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to reinstate him the following month and is awaiting a decision from a federal appeals court on the federal case. Warren, a Democrat, had signed a pledge not to prosecute abortion-related crimes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 ruling installing abortion rights.

Gaining steam: The effort to put abortion rights on the 2024 ballot has crossed a major milestone. Floridians Protecting Freedom, the committee sponsoring the proposed constitutional amendment, announced this week that it had gathered more than 240,000 signatures from voters. The amendment pushed by the group would supersede Florida’s abortion restrictions and guarantee the right to abortion up to the point of fetal viability. The announcement came just ahead of the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The petition drive must collect 891,589 valid signatures from Florida voters by Feb. 1 for the proposed constitutional amendment to appear on the General Election ballot next year.

Remember when: Governor and Presidential candidate DeSantis stood in front of a graffiti-covered wall in San Francisco this week and lamented in a one-minute campaign video the “once great” city of San Francisco. “We came in here and we saw people defecating on the street. We saw people using heroin. We saw people smoking crack cocaine,” DeSantis says in the video. The sightseeing occurred during a campaign swing through the Golden State. “You look around, the city is not vibrant anymore. It’s really collapsed because of leftist policies. These policies have caused people to flee this area.” DeSantis has regularly made contrasts between Florida and California a central theme of his presidential campaign, regularly feuding with California Gov. Gavin Newsom in a back-and-forth apparently beneficial to both politicians.

— Decoded —

Attorney General Ashley Moody has a translation guide for parents combing through their kids’ text messages.

The Zoomer-to-Boomer Rosetta Stone is part of the latest entry in “Idle Time: A Summer Safety Series” and is meant to aid parents in credibly accusing their children of attempting to buy crystal meth, cocaine or all-caps “XANAX.”

“Language is changing and emojis are becoming more popular — especially among youths. Online drug dealers use emoji codes to peddle dangerous substances to our kids through social media,” Moody said. “As Attorney General and as a mother, I am bringing clarity to the drug codes to help parents spot a request for an illicit purchase.”

Ashley Moody has a guide to help parents translate their kids’ text messages.

One could forgive parents for not seeing through the lexigraphy of modern drug culture, but it’s relatively simple — if the word, feeling or emotion represented by an emoji is within a couple of degrees of separation from the colloquial name for a drug, get suspicious. If the emoji is a straight-up pill … take one of your legally obtained alprazolam, if applicable, and then call your kid into the kitchen for a “talk.”

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has a disclaimer for its logographic guide: “Emojis, on their own, should not be indicative of illegal activity, but coupled with a change in behavior; change in appearance; or significant loss/increase in income, should be a reason to start an important conversation.”

Moody has more resources geared toward parents available at Dose of Reality Florida, a one-stop resource for Floridians to learn about the dangers of opioid misuse, how to receive support for addiction and where to drop off unused prescription drugs.

— Backin’ the US&R —

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Florida Division of Emergency Management Executive Director Kevin Guthrie marked the two-year anniversary of the Champlain Towers South building collapse by recognizing the Urban Search and Rescue teams that answered the call.

Guthrie, with the Gary Sinise Foundation, praised Florida’s eight US&R teams during a Serving Heroes event, which provides meals nationwide and at military outposts abroad.

Kevin Guthrie honored Florida’s US&R teams during an event this week.

“Florida’s USAR Teams play a critical role in the Division’s response to disasters and stand ready to answer the call when communities are in need,” Guthrie said. “I want to thank the Gary Sinise Foundation for taking the time to honor these men and women as we commemorate the two-year anniversary of the tragic Champlain Towers South Building Collapse.”

The Gary Sinise Foundation, established by Gary Sinise, the award-winning actor, humanitarian and “Forrest Gump” star who played Lt. Dan, caters to veterans, first responders, their families and those in need. To date, the foundation has served more than 967,000 meals.

Meanwhile, Patronis issued a statement praising US&R team members for working around the clock during the largest non-hurricane deployment of task force resources in state history.

“Two years later and I can still see the mound of rubble, hear the sounds of rescue dogs and equipment being used to remove debris, and feel the weight of the sun beating down on the rescue teams working against the clock to save as many lives as possible,” he said.

“It was truly hell on Earth. Yet, in all the chaos, I witnessed the hand of God working through the 400 brave men and women of Florida’s Urban Search & Rescue Teams as they battled fire, rain, and heat to give hope to the families and loved ones who had survived.”

Throughout the State’s response, all eight Florida US&R Teams mobilized to Surfside to support search and rescue efforts and assist with emergency triage and medicine. In support of USAR teams, the Division deployed personnel, equipment, and resources to aid in the search and rescue efforts and ensure added protection and safety while working on-site.

While 98 people tragically perished in what was one of the deadliest building collapses in U.S. history, US&R teams were able to rescue three survivors from the rubble, including 16-year-old Deven Gonzales.

— Instagram of the week —

— The week in appointments —

FAMU Board of Trustees — The Florida Board of Governors appointed Orlando-based business executive John Crossman to the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees. A longtime FAMU supporter, Crossman is the CEO of Crossman Career Builders, which provides resources and scholarships for college students and young professionals. He is also a member of the FAMU Foundation Board of Directors and a frequent guest speaker to FAMU School of Business and Industry students. He endowed the Crossman Scholarship, and another Crossman donation pays for a FAMU graduate to pursue a master’s degree in real estate at the University of Florida. Crossman founded Club REAL to introduce real estate concepts and investing to FAMU students. “Florida A&M University has been the greatest producer of innovative leaders in Florida over my lifetime,” Crossman said. “I am deeply honored to be in a position to serve and support that legacy.” He fills the seat left vacant following the death of Trustee Thomas W. Dortch Jr. earlier this year.

Florida Virtual School Board of Trustees— DeSantis appointed Nercy Radcliffe to the Florida Virtual School Board of Trustees. Radcliffe, of Miami, is the president and CEO of Providence Healthcare Services. She is the current Chair of the Elder Affairs Advisory Board of Miami-Dade County and represents Miami on the Homecare Association of Florida board. Radcliffe earned her associate degree in early childhood education from Miami Dade College, her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida International University, and her MBA from Liberty University.

Florida Commission on Community Service Lori Killinger has been reappointed to the Florida Commission on Community Service, the board that oversees Volunteer Florida. Killinger is an attorney and executive shareholder at the Lewis Longman & Walker law firm and chairs its Legislative, Lobbying and Governmental Affairs Practice Group. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Duke University. Volunteer Florida is an organization that plays a critical role in emergency management and coordinating volunteer services for communities in Florida. Killinger is one of 20 Volunteer Florida commissioners.

Children’s Trust of Alachua County — DeSantis named Gainesville resident Mary Chance to the Children’s Trust of Alachua County. Chance is the president and CEO of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations. She currently serves on the Florida Education Foundation Board and the statewide advisory council for the Florida Grade-Level Reading Campaign. Chance earned her bachelor’s degrees in English and business from Florida State University and her master’s degree in journalism and communication from the University of Florida.

Union County Housing Authority — DeSantis has appointed Donna Jackson, Doris Thomas, William Thomas, Charles Townsend and Susan Worthington to the Union County Housing Authority. Jackson is the office manager of New River Developers. Previously, she was the finance director of the New River Public Library Cooperative and the Union County Clerk of the Court. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Leo University. Doris Thomas is the former executive director and housing manager for the Union County Housing Authority and a public assistance specialist for the Florida Department of Children and Families. Thomas attended the University of Florida and Santa Fe College. William Thomas is a former sales manager at Elixson Wood Products. He previously served on the Lake Butler City Council. He received his associate degree from Santa Fe College. Townsend is a Deputy Sheriff in the Union County Sheriff’s Office. In 2019, he received the Distinguished Victim Services Award from Attorney General Ashley Moody. Townsend attended Florida Gateway College. Worthington is retired. She previously worked as a supervisor of accounts receivable in the medical field.

— Continue the Mission —

Continue the Mission, an initiative by Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis, the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to recruit veterans, military spouses and former law enforcement officers to serve as child and adult protective investigators and case managers, is celebrating its anniversary.

“As a mama, I know how important it is that we choose the most qualified individuals to ensure the safety and protection of Florida’s children,” DeSantis said. “We are proud of the tremendous response we have received to the Continue the Mission initiative from veterans, their spouses, and retired law enforcement officers who have chosen to utilize their unique skill sets and accomplishments to serve in a new way. These exemplary men and women are truly an asset in the child welfare space, and I look forward to this initiative’s ongoing success as recruitment and onboarding efforts continue across our state.”

Casey DeSantis this week recognized the anniversary of ‘Continue the Mission.’

Since its launch, DCF has participated in more than 100 career fairs, resulting in nearly 100 qualified candidates being hired for positions.

“Governor and First Lady DeSantis recognize the incredible sacrifices that Florida’s active military personnel, veterans and law enforcement officers make and they have been outstanding advocates for them and their families,” DCF Secretary Shevaun Harris said. “Through the Continue the Mission initiative, our Department has been able to activate a community of veterans and law enforcement officers who are both known for their dedication, loyalty, hard work, and resiliency under high-demand, high-pressure environments. These characteristics are particularly valuable in the work we do at the Department and allow us to better support strong and resilient families.”

DCF, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, other state partners, local veterans’ organizations and community groups are actively recruiting to fill flexible career opportunities in the child and family well-being system. Additionally, the program identifies candidates to serve as mentors for children in need, new case managers, and child protective investigators.

“Through this innovative initiative to recruit more Veterans as child protective investigators, the Governor and First Lady have found an avenue for those who are driven to continue to serve by helping protect our youth on the homefront,” Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director General James S. “Hammer” Hartsell said. “Their focus on ensuring Florida is the most veteran-friendly state in the ‎nation is unparalleled. I’m proud of our recruitment achievements and look forward to the number of Veterans involved in this great initiative continuing to grow.”

Hiring fairs have been held in Pensacola, Tallahassee, Walton Beach, Palatka and Jacksonville. Upcoming events are planned for Hollywood, Chiefland and Clearwater.

To get more information about Continue the Mission, including upcoming hiring fairs, please click here.

— Summertime water safety —

Drowning is preventable, yet it is the leading cause of unintentional death for children between one and four, according to the Florida Department of Health (DOH).

That’s the message Department of Children (DCF) and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris, Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) Director Taylor Hatch are delivering as summertime gets into full swing in the Sunshine State.

The three agency heads are working with the National Drowning Prevention Alliance and the Gunnar Martin Foundation to share five safety tips to prevent accidental drownings: take swim lessons and learn CPR; make sure pool barriers and gates meet legal requirements; ensure life jackets are properly fitted; check local conditions before heading out into the water; and, perhaps most importantly, don’t leave children unsupervised.

There’s no better time than now to brush up on water safety tips.

“Florida’s weather allows families to enjoy the pool, beaches and springs all year long and even more as we approach the beginning of summer, so it is vitally important to bring awareness to safe practices that all families should use,” Harris said. “We have seen an alarming increase in the number of drownings in our state, and sadly, these deaths are preventable. I want to encourage all parents and caregivers to ensure that water safety measures are in place near any and all bodies of water.”

Hatch said the water can lull people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We know some individuals with unique abilities are attracted to water due to its sensory impact and are more likely to be involved in water incidents. Therefore, it is incredibly important to ensure that we all take part in the promotion of water safety to minimize risk and encourage enjoyable experiences,” Hatch said.

Adam Katchmarchi, executive director of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, said: “Drowning is a multi-sector problem that needs collaboration, partnership and innovation. By partnering together and implementing simple solutions, such as practicing the five layers of protection when in, on or around the water, we can drastically reduce childhood drowning.”

— Welcome aboard —

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo appointed former state Sen. Garret Richter to the board governing the state-created resource for veterans.

Richter is a veteran of the U.S. Army and Air Force Reserves. He served in the Florida Legislature for 10 years, both in the House and the Senate, where he was President Pro Tem.

“I am looking forward to joining the team of dedicated men and women that are committed to saying thank you to our veterans with their actions, in addition to words,” said Richter. “This organization makes a positive impact on the men and women that commit themselves to our country and to the preservation of our freedoms.”

Garret Richter is joining the Veterans Florida board.

Veterans Florida provides career guidance for veterans and service members re-entering the civilian workforce, focusing on the job training, support for entrepreneurs, and aligning employers and veterans through the SkillBridge program.

Joe Marino, executive director of Veterans Florida, thanked Passidomo for naming Richter to the board, calling him a “valuable appointment.”

“As Veterans Florida nears its 10th year, Sen. Richter’s incredible experience will provide added leadership as we continue to expand and serve more veterans,” he said.

Richter replaces Tom Rice, who Marino called a steady voice of reason and passionate advocacy. Rice served on the Board since 2014.

Passidomo also reappointed two members to the Veterans Florida board: Angela Drzewiecki and Lynda Weatherman. Drzewiecki is a consultant with GrayRobinson. Weatherman is the president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.

— Come one, come all —

West Palm Beach Democratic Sen. Bobby Powell and Rep. Jervonte Edmonds are hosting a town hall on June 27 at Payne Chapel AME Church to discuss the 2023 Session.

The town hall announcement notes that the lawmakers will discuss housing, education, immigration and health care.

Though the announcement doesn’t explicitly list it as a topic of conversation, DeSantis’ $511 million in budgetary vetoes will most likely be a topic of conversation as well.

Expect Bobby Powell to talk about the Governor’s veto list as well.

Powell issued a statement last week after the veto list was released.

While Powell said he was appreciative that the bulk of local project funding he secured made it through the veto process, he said he was “very disappointed in the number of those projects both in my district and elsewhere he cut from the multibillion-dollar spending plan.”

The town hall meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 801 9th Street in West Palm Beach. For more information call Edmonds’ office at (561) 242-5530 or Powell’s office at (561) 650-6880.

— Lifesaving law —

Florida state colleges and universities are required to have a supply of emergency opioid antagonists in residence halls and Edmonds couldn’t be happier.

The new requirement was included in a bill Edmonds sponsored (HB 783) that DeSantis recently signed into law. The bill also creates the Statewide Council on Opioid Abatement Department of Children and Families.

Jervonte Edmonds is celebrating the signing of a bill that could help prevent opioid overdoses.

In addition to mandating colleges and universities have emergency opioid antagonists on hand, the bill also provides civil and criminal immunity to campus law enforcement officers who administer or attempt to administer emergency opioid antagonists.

“I thank my colleagues in the Florida House and Senate for their support in passing this important legislation,” Edmonds said. “Together, we are taking concrete steps toward preventing opioid overdose-related deaths among Floridians and ensuring a healthier future for our state.”

The new law takes effect on July 1.

— Congratulations —

Two Florida public power leaders are getting national recognition.

The American Public Power Association (APPA) this week announced awards for Cindy Clemmons of Lakeland Electric and Jamie Jones, an assistant city manager in Newberry.

Clemmons, Lakeland Electric’s manager of legislative and regulatory relations, received the Harold Kramer-John Preston Personal Service Award, which recognizes member utility employees who have made significant contributions toward APPA’s goals and enhanced its prestige.

“Cindy is a strong advocate for public power — locally, statewide and nationally — and is keenly aware of the value public power brings to the community it serves. She has great relationships with her local elected officials, along with state and federal legislators that serve the Lakeland community, enabling her to have a positive impact on the reputation of public power utilities. She also has a deep understanding of the issues facing public power and her local community and is dedicated in her tireless efforts to advocate on behalf of the customers and community Lakeland serves,” said Amy Zubaly, executive director of the Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) and a past recipient of the award. “I am honored to work with Cindy and appreciate her efforts for public power.”

Meanwhile, Jones, who has 30 years of experience in the field, is the assistant city manager for utilities and public works for the City of Newberry. He received the Larry Hobart Seven Hats Award. That award recognizes managers of small utilities who show leadership in planning and design, administration, public relations, field supervision, accounting, human resources and community involvement. Since taking his post, Jones has served as the project sponsor for a $42 million Florida Department of Transportation project that will require upgrades to all city utility services.

“As the Assistant City Manager for Utilities and Public Works, Jamie Jones does it all, and he does it with dignity and pride. Jamie understands the residents of Newberry and their needs, and he is willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done. And while Jamie is highly capable, he is also very humble. No job is too big or too small, and he always wants what is best for his community. We couldn’t think of a more deserving person in Florida for this award,” said Jacob Williams, general manager and CEO of the Florida Municipal Power Agency.

Amy Zubaly was named to APPA’s Board of Directors this week.

Zubaly also received some attention from APPA this week, earning an appointment to its Board of Directors.

Zubaly has been an active member of APPA for 23 years and currently serves on its Advisory, Legislative & Resolutions and Mutual Aid committees. She also is a member of the APPA’s PowerPAC.

APPA is the national trade association representing not-for-profit, community-owned utilities that power 2,000 towns and cities nationwide.

It represents public power before the federal government to protect the interests of the more than 49 million people that public power utilities serve and the 96,000 people they employ.

— Healthy opportunity —

Molina Healthcare of Florida is partnering with Farm Share on a drive-thru nutritious food giveaway event in Homestead today.

From 9 a.m. to noon (or until supplies run out), Molina employees will distribute fresh produce and pantry staples such as rice, beans, canned goods and cereals.

Farm Share and Molina are teaming up to feed Florida families. Stock image via Adobe.

There is enough for more than 1,000 families. Music and entertainment will also be provided at the event. The drive-thru will take place at 14125 SW 320th Street in Homestead.

In addition to Farm Share and Molina, the event is being sponsored in part by the MolinaCares Accord, which funds such measures through The Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) established in 2020 by Molina Healthcare.

For more information call Liza Ortega, manager of growth and community engagement, at Molina Healthcare of Florida at 561-365-0913 or email her at [email protected].

— Bug problems —

Fittingly, the thunderstorms and rain across Florida over the past few days coincided with National Mosquito Control Awareness Week.

According to the American Mosquito Control Association: “Mosquitoes kill hundreds of thousands of people each year around the world and with global travel, pathogens such as the Zika virus are transported to the United States each year. As our population grows and people inhabit new locations, interactions between humans, animals, and mosquitoes increase the risk of exotic disease transmission.”

This means there’s no better time than now to remind people to dump any standing water left in the wake of the heavy rains to prevent the proliferation of the annoying bugs that can transmit harmful and deadly diseases, such as Zika, West Nile virus, chikungunya and dengue fever.

Once the rain stops, go outside and get rid of any standing water. Image via Pixabay.

Indeed, mosquito control and state health officials in Orange, Polk, Sarasota, Manatee and Miami-Dade counties have issued health warnings for mosquito-borne illnesses.

Orange County issued an advisory after half the chickens in a coop designed to monitor mosquito-spread diseases tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and several horses have shown to be infected with the same disease in Polk County.

Meanwhile, Miami-Dade reported two cases of dengue transmitted by mosquitoes; Sarasota and Manatee issued warnings after finding local transmission of malaria; and, earlier this year, a mosquito species discovered in Florida in 2018 — the Culex lactator — was found to be spreading to other parts of the state, raising fears that it could spread disease after migrating from Central America.

“Like humans, mosquitoes live around the world but love to come to Florida,” said Sandra Fisher-Grainger, president of the Florida Mosquito Control Association and director of Hernando County Mosquito Control. “Our highly trained scientists and experts are always working to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne illness, and every resident and visitor can help to limit the risk.”

Other than dumping any standing water people can dress in long sleeves and long pants; use an EPA-approved insect repellent with DEET picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535; and avoid being outdoors during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Municipal employees control mosquitoes through several tools including airplanes, helicopters, traps, drones and more. The University of Florida and the Florida Department of Health have comprehensive guidance for residents and visitors.

— On the march —

The Florida Immigrant Coalition and grassroots community leaders are hosting a march Saturday to raise awareness for a Florida law they say is anti-immigrant and affects all Floridians regardless of immigration status.

The law (SB 1718), signed by DeSantis in early May, is described to “combat the dangerous effects of illegal immigration caused by the federal government’s reckless border policies.”

The march begins at Miami’s Freedom Tower.

It invalidates out-of-state driver’s licenses for undocumented migrants; prohibits local governments from working with nonprofits that provide migrants ID cards; requires hospitals that receive Medicaid funding to collect data on patients’ immigration status; requires certain employers to use the E-Verify system to determine workers’ legal status; upgrades penalties for employers who don’t ensure workers are in the country legally; criminalizes bringing undocumented immigrants into the state; and allocates $12 million for migrants to be relocated.

The final provision has been used already, including through the recent relocation of migrants from Texas to California.

The march opposing the law demands “justice for immigrants” and seeks to “highlight the destructive consequences of DeSantis’ agenda for Florida communities and the dire impact on our economy.”

“Florida will be suffering grave labor shortages in key industries like nursing, home health care, construction, agriculture, restaurants and hospitality,” a news release announcing the march reads.

The march begins at 11 a.m. at The Freedom Tower, located at 600 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition is a statewide alliance of more than 53 member organizations representing farmworkers, students, service providers, grassroots organizations, and legal advocates who work toward the fair treatment of all people.

— FAMU fellows —

Florida A&M University College of Law announced three new students named to the Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship Program: Pedro Juarbe, Rosalyn Monroe, and Lauryn Pruitt.

The fellowship program provides grants allowing students at participating law schools to work in unpaid public interest law positions during the summer.

FAMU announced three student recipients of the Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship.

Puerto Rican native Juarbe is a first-generation graduate student and is working a summer internship with the Office of the State Attorney in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit.

“I have always wanted to find a way to help my community and I believe I found the perfect way by working for public interest organizations,” said Juarbe.

Georgia native Pruitt currently works as a certified legal intern at 9th Circuit State Attorney’s Office, and said she plans on working in the public interest sector after law school.

“I am passionate about advocating for people whose voices have been historically silenced,” said Pruitt.

Monroe, meanwhile, is interning with the Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, which is not surprising given that before starting law school she worked as a domestic violence victims advocate.

“It was rewarding providing assistance and safety support resources to individuals navigating family trauma,” Monroe said of her early advocacy work. “Providing legal support to victims of violent crimes gives me the opportunity to be a safe source of support.”

The John Paul Stevens Fellowship Foundation expanded its partnership with FAMU and five other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with law schools — Howard University School of Law, North Carolina Central University School of Law, Southern University Law Center, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law — in 2021.

The trio of FAMU fellows are also part of a program known as Rattlers for Justice. A Rattler for Justice, according to FAMU’s website “is someone who strives to shake up the status quo to encourage positive growth; someone who seeks to rattle a few cages to ensure justice is served; or someone who serves as a catalyst for change while assisting others in need.”

FAMU Law Clinic Director Mark Dorosin said students in the Rattlers for Justice program are “perfect” candidates for the John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship because “they are using their legal skills to address institutional inequities while serving those too often excluded from or ignored by the legal system.”

— Capitol Directions —

Ron DeSantis — Down arrow — He probably thinks the assist is the most important stat in basketball.

Taryn Fenske, Stephanie K. — Up arrow — They had a helluva run.

Agriculture — Up arrow — Farmers were Disney before Disney was Disney to Ron DeSantis.

Andrew Warren — Up arrow — The court punted, but we hear anti-DeSantis punditry pays well.

Nikki Fried — Up arrow — She knows how to sell tickets.

Rick Roth — Up arrow — He’s right.

Brevard Co. — Up arrow — It’s of critical state concern.

Florida Clerks — Up arrow — Carolyn Timmann scored one more W before passing the torch.

Panties — Up arrow — Now with more fentanyl, apparently.

PBA — Crossways arrow — Teachers everywhere: You can’t get full credit for late work.

Mike Redondo — Up arrow — The Special Election hasn’t been called yet, but it’s pretty much decided.

Rocky Hanna — Up arrow — He took a hit for the greater good.

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch — Down arrow — FAFO.

Out-of-state’ers — Crossways arrow — Eh, we’ll hold off on raising tuition until after Dion drops out.

Christian Ziegler — Up arrow — His job keeps getting easier.

Florida Elections Commission — Down arrow — It costs a lot to make $200, huh?

John Couris — Up arrow — 10 more years! 10 more years!

Shannon Shepp — Down arrow — This year’s citrus harvest, brought to you by Matt Dymerski.

Tally crime — Down arrow — Ba-da-ba-ba-ba, not lovin’ it.

Henni Hamby — Up arrow — She’s a law enforcement innovator.

Chris Leary — Up arrow — Forget the red carpet, roll out the garnet one.

Women’s soccer — Up arrow — Name one team with a cooler name than “The Reckoning.”

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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