Rick Scott

Stoneman Douglas families pushing Congress to act on school safety

Parents who lost children in the 2018 Parkland high school shooting are pushing Congress to help prevent future school shootings with new legislation that would increase awareness about school-safety measures nationwide.

The “Luke and Alex School Safety Act,” introduced Thursday, is named after Alex Schachter and Luke Hoyer, two students who were killed on Feb. 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The House bill was filed by Florida U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Mario Diaz-Balart, Stephanie Murphy and John Rutherford, with the help of Alex’s dad, Max Schachter, and Tom and Gena Hoyer, Luke’s parents.

The bipartisan House proposal is a companion to a Senate bill introduced earlier this month by Florida Republican U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.

“This bipartisan and bicameral bill builds on the work of Parkland parents by requiring a dedicated home within the federal government for school security best practices and guidance that will help prevent gun violence and save lives in schools across the country,” Deutch, a Democrat representing CD 22, said in a press release.

Diaz-Balart, a Miami Republican, said the bill would “create a one-stop-shop for schools, families, and community officials to obtain valuable resources on school safety best practices.”

Here are more details about what the bill would do:

·       Create a federal clearinghouse with information from across the nation on school-safety recommendations, such as threat prevention, comprehensive school safety measures and incident response.

·       Recommendations made by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission would be among those included in the database.

·       Information would be stored within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

·       The U.S. Secretaries of Education, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services and the U.S. Attorney General would review all grant programs administered by their  agencies and identify any grant program that may be able to be used for school security improvements.

— By Ana Ceballos.

Panuccio joins law firm headed by Democrats’ go-to guy, David Boies

7NhpduSKQckOpSCj0LJAZ0WhYgbUdIBBrHq4BxwYJesse Panuccio, a Federalist Society sweetheart who was the third-highest official in the U.S. Department of Justice, is going to work for Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in Florida and D.C., the law firm announced last week.

Panuccio served as former Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s general counsel and headed the state Department of Economic Opportunity before going to work for President Donald Trump’s administration in the DOJ.

Now Panuccio, a Harvard Law School grad, now is joining a law firm headed by one of the Democrats’ most prominent attorneys, David Boies, who, among other things, represented former Vice President Al Gore in Florida’s protracted 2000 recount.

“We are very pleased to welcome Jesse to the firm and excited for our clients to benefit from his wealth of knowledge and expertise working in the highest levels of federal and state governments,” BSF Chairman David Boies said in a prepared statement Friday. “Jesse’s unique background in high-stakes litigation, appeals, and crisis management will complement our firm’s leading practice in these areas. He is an exceptional litigator and we are excited to add him to our teams in Washington and Florida.”

Panuccio will focus on “high-stakes litigation and appeals, regulatory counseling, enforcement defense and crisis management,” according to the press release.

“Having spent the majority of my career navigating high-stakes legal matters, I am delighted to be joining Boies Schiller Flexner, which is well known for its work on bet-the-company issues. I’m thrilled to join this team of all-star litigators and crisis managers, and I look forward to helping the firm grow its federal and Florida practices,” Panuccio said in the release.

Rick Scott: ‘The weather’s not bad, either’

Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott put on his Sunshine State cheerleader outfit to promote President Donald Trump’s “relocation” to Florida.

Scott, who served for two terms as Florida governor prior to his election to the U.S. Senate a year ago, chastised Orlando Sentinel guest columnist Bob Morris, who poked fun at Trump for his move.

Scott said he found it “interesting” that a Florida paper would publish a guest columnist who mocked “his own state just to make a political point.”

(We thought that’s what op-ed writers do, but nevermind.)

“The partisanship has driven everyone crazy. But I refuse to let our extreme, negative and partisan culture interfere with the truth,” Scott wrote in a letter to the editor.

More from Scott’s missive to the editor:

The truth is, Florida is the best state in the nation — to live, to work, and to raise a family. It’s ridiculous that someone would try to diminish the fact that our state has low taxes, as if that wouldn’t be motivation for a family to move here. Anyone who would argue otherwise has clearly never had to struggle to support a family.

I’m glad the president is choosing to make Florida home, just like I’m glad every time a family or business chooses Florida. So let’s stop making everything about politics and just take a minute to appreciate what a great state Florida truly is.

The weather’s not bad either.

Deutch, Scott join chorus demanding firing of former principal who questioned Holocaust

Casting doubt on whether the Holocaust took place not only cost a Boca Raton high school principal his leadership post, but created waves in Washington, D.C.

A day after Palm Beach County school administrators reassigned William Latson from his onetime job as principal of Spanish River Community High School for comments he allegedly made about the Holocaust, Florida Congressman Ted Deutch chimed in.

School officials said Latson made a “grave error in judgment in the verbiage” Latson used in April 2018 when responding to a mother’s inquiry about Holocaust education at the high school.

“I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee,” Latson wrote.

School officials said Latson was counseled after his comments were reported, and that “he also spent several days at the United States Holocaust Museum to increase his personal knowledge.”

Despite the efforts, “his leadership has become a major distraction for the school community,” and Latson was reassigned to a district position, officials said.

But in a press release issued Tuesday, Deutch took umbrage at the words used by both Latson and district officials.

Deutch, the founder of the Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, said he was “shocked” that the high school principal couldn’t say that the Holocaust “is a factual, historical event.”

“And I cannot believe the school district labeled this incident and the principal’s leadership a ‘distraction,’” Deutch said.

As a result, Deutch said he wants to make Holocaust education a bigger priority at the national level.

“My Task Force, together with Senator Jackie Rosen and her colleagues in the Senate, and Elan Carr, the Administration’s Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating anti-Semitism, will make Holocaust education a national priority,” Deutch said in the release.

“Holocaust denial feeds anti-Semitism, which leads too often to violence and death, here in America and around the world. Bold steps are required – by all of us – to ensure the history of the Holocaust and the Nazis’ efforts to eradicate the Jewish people are never questioned – anywhere,” he added.

On the other side of the aisle, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott also called for the firing of Latson, not just his reassignment.

“There is no excuse for what he expressed. There is no excuse for holocaust denial. There is no excuse for anti-Semitism of any kind,” Scott tweeted.

The Washington chatter may have prompted the Palm Beach County school district to schedule a press conference about the matter.

Palm Beach Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy said Tuesday afternoon he will address reporters at the Fulton-Holland Educational Services Center in Palm Springs at noon tomorrow.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Randy Fine, a Palm Bay Republican who is Jewish and who was one of the first legislators to demand that Latson be fired, continued to pile on.

— By Ana Ceballos.

 

 

Post-debate “oops” moment: De Blasio channels Che — in Miami

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It’s typically una cosa buena to show off your Spanish-speaking creds in Miami.

But not so much for New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, who sparked outrage after he reportedly quoted Marxist revolutionary and guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara earlier today.

“The eyes of the world are on Miami-Dade and on this airport,” De Blasio said at a rally in support of employees protesting poor working conditions at Miami International Airport. “Hasta la victoria siempre!”

The Spanish phrase — Until victory, always! — has long been associated with Guevara, from his purported “farewell letter” to Cuba.

De Blasio’s comments quickly drew condemnation, and Florida Democrats demanded that the presidential contender apologize.

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo (@TerrieRizzo) tweeted:

“Mayor Bill DeBlasio does not speak for Floridians or the Florida Democratic Party and he would be wise to apologize.”

State Sen. Annette Taddeo blasted De Blasio on Twitter, saying she was “utterly disgusted.”

State Sen. José Javier Rodrigues also slammed the presidential hopeful in a tweet followed by this post from Javier Estevez, a Miami Democrat running for the state House:

De Blasio’s gaffe gave a boost to Republicans, who’ve been busy painting Democrats — in Miami for two nights of debate that will wrap up this evening — as a bunch of socialists.

 

 

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About all that hype over Boeing’s move … much ado about not much?

Boeing’s relocation of its Space and Launch division headquarters from northern Virginia to the Space Coast will be more aspirational than material when completed later this year, as few actual jobs are tied to the move.

“We’re not sharing numbers now, but it will be a small number of senior divisional leaders and support staff,” replied Dan Beck, a spokesman for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, on Wednesday.

Transplanted workers, who will start moving this summer, will occupy a Boeing facility already in Titusville, Beck added.

Seattle-based Boeing, which for six decades has maintained a presence at Cape Canaveral, noted in a release that the move won’t impact company space operations in California, Texas, Alabama, Colorado and Louisiana.

Still, the move was heralded by Florida officials as a testament to the Sunshine State being a leader in innovation and job growth.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a release he expects the move will “bring increased investment to the Space Coast,” while state Rep. Randy Fine, a Republican from Brevard County, in the same release said, “Florida families will benefit from this great news.”

Frank DiBello, president and CEO of Space Florida, said the move “solidifies Florida’s position in becoming the global leader in space exploration.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott declared in a release that “it’s no surprise that Boeing chose our great state.”

And U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio described the announcement as Florida continuing “to be a leader in space exploration and development.”

State Rep. Tyler Sirois, a Merritt Island Republican, called the move “the latest example of Florida’s resurgent commercial aerospace industry.”

In its release, Boeing noted the timing comes as the company increases a partnership with U.S. Air Force partners at Cape Canaveral and with the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base.

“Expanding our Boeing presence on the Space Coast brings tremendous value for our commercial and government space programs,” said Jim Chilton, Space and Launch senior vice president, in a company release.

— By Jim Turner.

 

Rick Scott gets hung up

He’s back. Sort of.

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With no fanfare we’re aware of, the official portrait of Florida’s 45th governor, Rick Scott, appeared on the wall beside other recent chiefs of state in the hallway.

The portrait of Scott, who’s now a U.S. senator, shows the former governor seated on the desk in what used to be his office. The background features a Florida flag and a picture of his wife, Ann.

Here’s a little Florida history about the portraits, from the Museum of Florida History:

Beginning with Governor Francis Fleming in the 1890s, every chief executive of Florida has had an official portrait painted and hung in the state capitol building. Over the years, an interesting variety of artistic styles has accumulated. In the mid-1950s, the state legislature commissioned Tallahassee artist Clarabel Jett (1908–96) to create oil-enhanced photographs of all Florida governors whose portraits were not yet in the state collection. In 1986, the legislature transferred custody of the portrait collection to the Museum of Florida History.

All of the Governor’s portraits are represented at the Historic Capitol. The more recent governors’ portraits appear in the first-floor hallway of the new Capitol, beginning with Claude Kirk (1967-1971). In keeping with the tradition of official governors’ portraits, our current governor, Ron DeSantis, will not commission his portrait until the end of his term.

By Jim Turner.