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Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida’s unemployment system problems date back to 2013 when the state changed the process, shrinking benefits and making it harder for people to apply for them. Those changes were made under former governor and now U.S. Senator, Rick Scott. Now, Governor Ron DeSantis says he’s clearing the way for DEO to do whatever they need to fix the problems.

A sign at Upper Tampa Bay Park reads closed after the City closed its parks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Carl Lisciandrello/WUSF Public Media

As Florida approached 8,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

DeSantis announced the 30-day executive order at a press conference, saying he made the decision after speaking with President Donald Trump.

The order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

MARIA TSYRULEVA/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Pointing to his “discretionary” powers in dealing with emergencies, Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking a circuit judge to toss out a lawsuit aimed at forcing statewide beach closures because of the novel coronavirus.

In the wake of the coronavirus, Florida’s troubled unemployment office has been crippled by a barrage of applications that topped 317,000 applications in just the last 10 days.

Those problems did not come without warnings.

During Tuesday's White House press briefing, President Trump said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is "a great governor" who "knows exactly what he's doing" in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence added to the DeSantis accolades, saying the Republican governor has "been taking decisive steps from early on."

But according to public health experts, thousands of heath care workers and a pending lawsuit, DeSantis' leadership has been woefully inadequate.

TALLAHASSEE — Striking another blow against Gov. Ron DeSantis, a federal appeals court has refused to reconsider a ruling that felons who have served their time but are unable to pay “legal financial obligations” must be allowed to vote.

CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has reiterated his call for Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue a statewide stay at home order.

Gov. Ron Desantis at a table with members of his staff.
The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday announced the creation of an Interstate 95 checkpoint on Florida's northern border to screen motorists traveling from the New York City area, in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Gun sales across the country are surging and in Florida, there have been several record-setting days in the past few weeks. Tallahassee-based Red Hills Arms is struggling to keep up with demand and its owners say as is the case with other gun stores, it's seeing a boom in first-time buyers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis
The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered Friday that anyone arriving in the state from Louisiana must self-quarantine like those arriving from New York already must because of the coronavirus pandemic.

DeSantis said he is expanding his quarantine order to include Louisiana after officials in the lightly hit Panhandle worried that people will flee New Orleans as the number of positive tests there climb.

The Florida Highway Patrol and sheriff's offices will set up checkpoints to screen cars arriving from Louisiana, DeSantis said.

 

Governor Ron DeSantis has resisted pressure to shut down the state. Critics say he’s being too timid in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

CATHY CARTER/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden criticized Governor Ron DeSantis’ response to the coronavirus outbreak in Florida.

In a statement Wednesday, Biden urged DeSantis to rely on “experts” to help him determine if Florida should go under a statewide stay-at-home order – something DeSantis has yet to implement.

In response to COVID-19 Governor Ron DeSantis has made all restaurants take-out or delivery only and closed all bars. He’s also limited gatherings on beaches to no more than 10 people and is asking people 65 and older to stay home.  But state elected officials believe more needs to be done to help stop the spread of the virus. Lawmakers spoke about what they think should be the next steps.

Florida's State Workers Worry As Telecommuting Lags

Mar 24, 2020
iStock

As Florida adjusts to an unprecedented public health emergency, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has lagged in implementing work-from-home policies for state workers.

man speaking on video.
City of St. Petersburg Facebook

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to avoid imposing a statewide lockdown because of the coronavirus, and leave it up to individual counties.

But St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is joining Tampa Mayor Jane Castor in saying a statewide, uniform order would better protect Floridians.

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to look into removing some of the requirements for collecting unemployment benefits as layoffs pile up in response to concerns about the coronavirus.

In a press conference on Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami will be among the first hospitals in the state to receive new commercial test kits for COVID-19.

GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

The World Health Organization has formally declared the coronavirus a pandemic. The move comes as higher education officials have directed universities prepare to suspend in-person classes and shift toward online learning. As fears of contagion spread, Governor Ron DeSantis is now limiting access to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Man at podium with men and women behind him
News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency as Florida battles an outbreak of the new coronavirus that has already killed two people. The governor also appealed for calm, even as he took that step Monday.

Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

After it appeared the House and Senate had agreed on spending $500 million to increase teacher salaries, the Senate on Sunday proposed increasing the amount to $600 million.

Man at podium, woman stands next to him as a number of people stand against the wall behind him
Julie Glenn / WGCU

A day after announcing the first two deaths on the East Coast attributed to the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Ron DeSantis directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management to activate to Level 2.

Saturday’s order ensures the state has all the necessary resources engaged to respond to the outbreak, according to DeSantis.

DeSantis Sides With Senate In Heated E-Verify Debate

Mar 6, 2020
Sen. Tom Lee listening
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Gov. Ron DeSantis is backing the Senate in a heated fight over E-Verify, a move that could tip the scale in a contentious immigration battle as the 2020 legislative session draws to a close.

List of ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Hillsborough County

After two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Hillsborough and Manatee counties, governmental agencies, universities, and private companies are stepping up their response.

No one in Florida has the illness caused by the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus, but state officials say they’re preparing in case that changes.

GOVERNOR'S PRESS OFFICE

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday joined a chorus of Republicans criticizing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for comments the Vermont senator made about Cuba during an appearance Sunday on the CBS news show “60 Minutes.”

BRENDAN RIVERS/ADAPT

Julia Nesheiwat, hired by Gov. Ron DeSantis in August as Florida's first chief resilience officer, is reportedly going back to the federal government.

Court: Florida Can't Implement Amendment 4, Bar Felons From Vote Over Fines, Fees

Feb 19, 2020
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

A U.S. appeals court opinion unanimously upheld a Florida-based federal judge’s preliminary injunction ruling that the state cannot restrict ex-felons from voting based on financial ability to pay fines and fees.

Environmental advocates from around Florida are calling on the state’s chief science officer to walk back his praise for a proposal making its way through the Legislature that’s aimed at improving water quality.

State leaders have agreed to acquire more than 5,000 acres of land in Sarasota County for conservation.

Environmentalists have long had their eyes on Orange Hammock Ranch in North Port because of its proximity to other preserved lands in the Myakka River watershed.

The Florida Senate released an initial $92.83 billion budget proposal Thursday that would provide across-the-board pay raises for state employees, increase money for teacher salaries and help fund water-quality projects.

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