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Senator Bill Nelson

U.S. Congressmen From Florida To Visit Puerto Rico

Dec 26, 2017

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Darren Soto are traveling to Puerto Rico Wednesday to get a firsthand look at on-going recovery from the Sept. 20 hit by deadly and powerful Hurricane Maria.

According to Nelson's office, the senator will return to Florida Wednesday night after meeting separately with Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello and the media. Nelson is also slated to meet with members of the Puerto Rican community in the Osceola County Commission Chamber in Kissimmee on Thursday.

SAN JUAN – Like many in Congress, Florida Senator Bill Nelson had been frustrated by not being able to see Puerto Rico’s hurricane destruction first hand. So Sunday he took a commercial flight to the U.S. island territory – and voiced some criticism of U.S. relief efforts.

Jack Parrish / NOAA

An important storm tracking jet, known as a hurricane hunter, is out of commission in the midst of a busy hurricane season.

Sen. Nelson Hears Concerns From Medicaid Enrollees

Jul 5, 2017
Carson Frame / WUSF 89.7 News

A group of Bay area residents shared their experiences with the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Monday. Their audience was Sen. Bill Nelson, who was in Tampa to push back against the Republican Senate health care bill.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

With a seemingly endless number of recent computer data breaches, the need for improved cybersecurity continues to grow. A statewide initiative based out of the University of South Florida is stepping up its efforts to fill that need.

Federal officials have confirmed the authenticity of a video that shows journalist Steven Sotloff being murdered by an ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) militant.

Senator Nelson Speaks Out Against E-Cigarettes

Jul 11, 2014
fr.wikipedia.org

Tobacco commercials were banned in 1971. However, nicotine has found its way back into the marketing game via e-cigarettes. Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says e-cigarette advertising should be banned and e-cigarette liquid containers need to be childproofed.

E-cigarettes contain a nicotine infused liquid that can be deadly when ingested.

USF Dept. of Anthropology

As is fitting for a case that dates back to the early 1900's, progress is slow in coming for researchers looking at the mysteries found on the grounds of the Dozier School for Boys - but it is being made.

After the Vote, Two Different Roads for Rubio, Nelson

Oct 21, 2013

Instead of aligning with liberal wing of his party and blasting away at shutdown catalyst Sen. Ted Cruz, Bill Nelson “broke bread” with Cruz, having dinner with the younger lawmaker. He also signed up to work on a compromise budget plan with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Nelson said he and his wife Grace took Cruz to dinner to get to know him better on a personal level and find areas of common ground. “It was a social dinner and it was something senators ought to do,” Nelson told MSNBC during an interview last week.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF

University of South Florida researchers are scheduled to begin exhuming human remains on the grounds of the Dozier School for Boys this weekend. Now comes word that they'll be getting some assistance from federal authorities.

The U.S. Department of Justice is giving the researchers, led by Dr. Erin Kimmerle, $423,528 in federal grant money to help conduct their search of unmarked graves in the now-closed reform school.

The funds come from a DOJ National Institute of Justice grant for universities and other non-profit organizations that use DNA technology to identify missing persons. The researchers have taken DNA samples from a number of living relatives of boys who died decades ago at Dozier, some under mysterious circumstances.

Katy Hennig / USF News

The excavation will soon begin to unearth the remains of boys believed to have died from alleged abuse at the Dozier School for Boys.

The Florida Cabinet today approved the request of USF researchers to exhume the bodies at the now-closed Florida Panhandle reform school to provide closure for the boys’ loved ones.

For months, University of South Florida researchers have been trying to dig up the bodies at the Marianna school, but their request has been denied several times, twice by the state, which is why 66-year-old Robert Straley, a former Dozier resident, says he was happily shocked when Governor Rick Scott and the rest of the Florida Cabinet approved the researchers’ request Tuesday.

Credit Michael Spooneybarger / Reuters/Landov

9:00 p.m. Update w/quotes from USF & other FL government officials

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and other top state officials are being asked to grant a request from researchers to exhume human remains at the former Dozier School for Boys.

Katy Hennig / USF News

On Monday, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner turned down a request from USF researchers to conduct exhumations on possible graveshafts at the former Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, leading Sen. Bill Nelson to "tweet" his disappointment with Detzner's boss, Gov. Rick Scott.

Nelson spoke out once again today, saying the buck stops with Scott.

"It clearly is, if not a direct attempt to sidestep, it is a lack of leadership," he said on a conference call from Washington, D.C.

"The people of Florida deserve the answers, the families deserve the answers - that's what leadership is all about and the Governor ought to step up and require this. He is the chief executive officer, he certainly can influence the Department of State.

Katy Hennig / USF News

The state has turned down a request by USF researchers to allow them to exhume bodies at the Boot Hill Cemetery at the former Arthur G. Dozier School in Marianna.

In a letter (see slideshow above) sent to anthropologists Erin Kimmerle and Christian Wells today, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said that by requesting permission to conduct exhumations, the "inquiry diverged from its original objectives."

He added that the state's Bureau of Archeological Research doesn't have the authority to allow the exhumation of human remains, "absent a danger to the grave site that actually threatened the loss or damage of those remains."

stpete.org

Monday was the first full day of cost-saving furloughs for nearly 15,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees. While weather seemed to be a factor in many flight delays, Florida Governor Rick Scott isn't taking any chances. 

This week, Scott published an open letter to President Barack Obama decrying the federal budget cuts that have led to fewer air traffic control workers on duty.

Here's the text of the letter, which is available on the governor's website:

Dalia Colon / WUSF

Saturday, April 20, marks the third anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. The accident killed 11 workers and released nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But efforts to restore the gulf are far from over.

A new report by the federal Oil Spill Commission gives Congress a D-plus for its handling of the ongoing cleanup.

A week ago, Bill Nelson said marriage should be between a man and a woman. Now, the Florida Senator has changed his position on gay marriage, saying to "discriminate against one class and not another is wrong for me."

Katy Hennig / USF News

While researchers from USF continue to wait for permission from a judge to begin exhumations at the closed Dozier School for Boys -- as well as wait for word on how that work will be funded -- the University has released a trio of videos from this past Wednesday's tour of the grounds by a contingent that included U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.

Sen. Nelson's staff photo

As USF researchers and government officials, including U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, get ready to tour the grounds of what was once the the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, the major obstacle of funding the researchers' work may soon be resolved.

A team led by USF Assistant Professor of Anthropology Erin Kimmerle is awaiting approval -- which may come any day -- to begin exhumations of graves found around the school, which was closed after decades of alleged abuse and the mysterious deaths of boys who lived there.

University of South Florida researchers announced earlier this week that they’ve found evidence of around 90 deaths and 50 gravesites at the defunct Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.  Now, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is asking the Justice Department join the school’s anthropologists in broadening a search to look for more graves -  as well as forensic evidence of possible crimes.

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