Government & Law

Nelson secures federal funding for Floridians

1200px-Bill_Nelson
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

 

Washington, DC – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) announced that the $1.3 trillion spending package Congress unveiled last night includes funding for several projects and programs important to Floridians including: increased spending  to fight the opioid epidemic, additional funding for citrus greening research and significant funding for democracy programs in both Venezuela and Cuba, as well as provisions Nelson co-sponsored to address gun violence. 

Funding for the following Florida projects and programs sought by Nelson have been included in the federal spending package: 

·         $3.3 billion to fight the opioid epidemic and mental health crises. An estimated 2.6 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder. In Florida alone, more than 5,200 people have died from an opioid-related event in 2016 – a 35 percent increase from 2015. Nelson requested additional funding for treatment, prevention and research. 

·         $67.47 million in total funding for citrus greening research and the Citrus Health Research Program. As citrus greening has hurt growers across Florida, Nelson has advocated for increased funding to study and address the problem to help the state’s citrus industry. 

·         $895 million for Kennedy Space Center to modernize launch facilities, more than doubling what the center received last year.  Nelson requested the increased funding to bolster work on launch and processing infrastructure needed for NASA’s initiative to explore deep space. 

·         $121 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to purchase a reliable backup for its aging hurricane hunter jet.  Nelson has been pushing for a replacement since 2015. The funding comes in the wake of several incidents over the last two years when the jet NOAA uses to gather hurricane measurements was grounded during hurricane season. 

·         $76.5 million in total funding to protect and restore the Everglades. U.S. Army Corps budget was also increased, allowing additional funding for Everglades restoration. 

·         $82 million to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike. U.S. Army Corps budget was also increased, allowing for additional funding for dike repairs. 

·         $279.6 million, a 14-percent increase, in funding to support Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The four historically black colleges and universities in Florida—Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville – prepare over 16,000 students for careers in STEM, aviation, law, nursing and other fields. 

·         $250 million in federal funding for positive train control grants.  Positive train control technology will help prevent deadly crashes on our railroads. It’s critically important for those railroads that carry passengers, like Sunrail and Tri-Rail.  Nelson, the ranking member on the Senate Commerce Committee, pressed for the funding to help passenger railroads meet a federal deadline to install the lifesaving technology.  

·         $100 million for research and development program for automated vehicles. The SunTrax facility at Florida Polytechnic University is a qualified proving ground and will have the opportunity to benefit from the program. 

·         Restored and increased funds to $35 million for democracy programs in Venezuela and Cuba. Nelson requested Congress “redouble, not eliminate support for democracy and human rights” in Venezuela. The democracy programs support civil society organizations and promote human rights. 

·         Included $60 million for the Nonprofits Security Grant Program. The program helps certain non-profits harden their facilities against attack, such as organization like the Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) in Orlando and Miami and elsewhere. Nelson requested this funding after JCCs across Florida received a series of telephone bomb threats. 

·         Increased funding for the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program to $5 million. Nelson requested $5 million in funding to provide long-term support and services for Holocaust survivors. 

 

The spending package included several provisions Nelson co-sponsored to address gun violence in Florida and across the country, including: 

·         Fix NICS Act. Nelson cosponsored this bipartisan bill, which requires federal agencies and states to develop implementation plans to upload to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) all information prohibiting a person from purchasing a firearm, rewards states who comply with these plans through federal grant preferences, and reauthorizes and improves programs that help states share information on criminal records with NICS, among other things. 

·         STOP School Violence Act. Nelson co-sponsored this bipartisan bill that would allow schools to access federal funds to invest in programs, training and technology to keep students safe. 

·         CDC Gun Violence Research. The spending package included language to clarify that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can conduct research on gun violence.


Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson’s Statement on the Passage of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018

 

1200px-Frederica_Wilson_official_House_portrait
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

 

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson issued the following statement on the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018:

“Although I am extremely disappointed that a DACA fix was not included, I am pleased that Congress has finally passed the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018 that President Trump signed today. After numerous temporary funding measures and unnecessarily stringent budget caps, this bill, although imperfect, funds several items that are critical to Florida and to the nation.
  

“In addition to rejecting the Trump administration’s cruel anti-immigrant agenda, the omnibus invests heavily in key priorities like child care, education, transportation and infrastructure, national security, affordable housing, public safety, election protection, medical and health care research, our nation’s veterans, and many other line items. These investments are certain to help boost job creation for America’s workers, economic growth, and support badly needed by those living in disadvantaged communities.

 

“Wins for Florida and District 24 include:

 

  • A 14 percent increase in funding for historically black colleges and universities, including Florida A&M, Florida Memorial University, Bethune-Cookman and Edward Waters College in Jacksonville
  • Additional funding for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund spending target established by WRRDA 2014, which will benefit PortMiami

  • $250 million in federal funding for positive train control grants to prevent deadly crashes on Florida railroads
  • $416 million for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants

  • Restored proposed administration cuts to Everglades restoration projects

  • $610 million increase for Head Start, a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program and a $300 million increase in grants to Title I schools

  • $3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grants

  • $22 billion for public housing vouchers for needy populations, including the elderly, disabled, and persons living with HIV/AIDS

 

“I also was very pleased that I was able to insert in the legislation $10 million for support of a “multi-partner trust fund or other multi-lateral efforts to assist communities in Haiti affected by cholera resulting from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.”


There’s Still Time to Stop HB 7055 and Save Public Education

9CE698EB-7BAC-4D53-BF88-2C6845A026E2

There are still two weeks left in the 2018 Legislative Session in Florida. Education bill, HB 7055, is still making its way through the process. The Senate Education Committee has proposed tremendous changes but it is still a very bad bill for public education.

The bill is scheduled to go before the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow, February 27. Contact the committee members and tell them to vote no on HB 7055.

2018 Florida Senate Committee on Appropriations

Members
Chair:
Senator Rob Bradley (R)
Vice Chair:
Senator Anitere Flores (R)

* Senator Dennis Baxley (R)
* Senator Aaron Bean (R)
* Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
* Senator Lauren Book (D)
* Senator Randolph Bracy (D)
* Senator Jeff Brandes (R)
* Senator Oscar Braynon II (D)
* Senator George B. Gainer (R)
* Senator Bill Galvano (R)
* Senator Audrey Gibson (D)
* Senator Denise Grimsley (R)
* Senator Bill Montford (D)
* Senator Kathleen Passidomo (R)
* Senator Bobby Powell (D)
* Senator David Simmons (R)
* Senator Wilton Simpson (R)
* Senator Kelli Stargel (R)
* Senator Linda Stewart (D)

You may also call your representative using the Florida AFL-CIO hotline: 855-235-2469.

Let your voice be heard. This bill still has to be heard by the entire a Senate and agreed upon by the House before it can become law. Although Republicans control all branches of Florida’s government, we owe it to those who came before us and to our future to say something and do something. 

8E687A6C-99AB-45DE-9993-EF984D82C5D4
 

Photo:  Bradenton Herald

 

 


Village of Palmetto Bay Recognizes Alpha Phi Alpha for Community Service

ipl_apa
From left to right, Village of Palmetto Bay Commissioner Larissa Siegel Lara, Village Clerk Missy Arocha, Iota Pi Lambda Chapter Vice-President Leslie Elus; Mayor Eugene Flinn; and Commissioner David Singer present proclamation to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
 
The Iota Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. was honored by the Village of Palmetto Bay Commission for the organization's years of service to Miami-Dade County. Mayor Eugene Flinn highlighted the fraternity's national programs and the chapter's local initiatives hosted throughout the county. The Village Commission joined the Mayor to applaud and support the chapter's continued civic and philanthropic activities.
 
 

CALL TO ACTION! - The Shameless Assault on Public Education in Florida Continues with Dirty HB 7055

Bileca-2

Florida's Republican leaders are at it again. If you are not following the shenanigans in Tallahassee during this Legislative Session, please take a moment to listen to comments by Rep. Shevrin Jones (Dist. 101) and Rep. Kionne McGhee (Dist. 117) regarding the very bad education bill — HB 7055. These are just a few points of which we should be aware. Recognize this for what it is. The continued dismantling of public education, redirecting public dollars to private entities, destruction of public schools in predominantly black neighborhoods, and assault on the middle-class and poor in Florida. Please commit to helping concerned parents and citizens put a stop to this madness.   

 

HB-7055-Graphic

CALL TO ACTION from the Florida AFL-CIO (adapted). HB 7055 will go before the Florida House on Wednesday, February 7 for questions and Thursday, February 8 for vote and debate.  HB 7055 is a massive last minute education bill full of poorly vetted policies aimed at defunding public education in our state and busting up teachers unions. 

Call 855.235.2469 and enter your zip code NOW to be connected with your local Florida Representative. Leave them with the message that they need to stand up for our public schools, our students, and our teachers by voting NO on HB 7055.

Hidden in this legislation is the same public union-busting language that House leadership rammed through the process last week. HB 7055 specifically strips our state’s educators and staff from having a voice on the job.

HB 7055 also sets up a system that tells children who have been bullied to simply leave their public school and go somewhere else. Rather than focusing on programs that directly combat the problem of bullying in Florida schools, House leaders are using this issue as another means to please their donors and expand the unaccountable for-profit charter school industry in our state.

At over 200 pages, this bill is so big that it also includes provisions to divert hundreds of millions of tax dollars to private, for-profit schools, reduces accountability for student performance, and hurts programs for struggling students.

Call 855.235.2469 NOW and leave your local representative with a message to vote NO on HB 7055. This bill would spell disaster for the future of public education in our state. We need the Florida House to say NO to this massive scheme to bully our students, our schools, and our teachers.

Still Not Convinced? - WATCH THIS

 #SayNOtoHB7055   #SaveOurSchools #Dirty7055

 


Thank You Desmond Meade and the FRRC! Almost 2 Million Floridians Are One Step Closer to Having their Rights Restored!

27024151_1522734531108544_5261633881366123047_o

Congratulations to Desmond Meade and the team of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition for leading the movement that has gotten 1.68 million disenfranchised Floridians one step closer to having their voting rights restored. Shout out to all of the grassroots organizations and dedicated individuals who made a seemingly unreachable goal a reality. Now the amendment needs at least 60% approval from the voters. Start now encouraging your family and friends to vote YES on  Amendment 4 on the November 2018 ballot. 

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 6pm until 10 pm, South Florida will celebrate the Second Chances Voting Restoration Amendment making the November 2018 ballot. RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/148648512464863/.

  

#SayYEStoSecondChances   #Redemption

 


Obamacare the Hot Topic at Pumps, Pearls & Politics Forum Nov. 5

2F4AF42D-001B-4BB3-9F24-B07F8DA2DF10

Miami, FL – October 30, 2017 – The Fifth Annual Pumps, Pearls & Politics presented by the Connection Committee of the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority switches its signature event to a community conversation format with the hot topic of Obamacare taking center stage.

In an increasingly polarized political environment, health care reform has been caught in the cross fire of the partisan struggle, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction. Special guest, health-care attorney and author Daniel E. Dawes, will present the truth on the secret backstory of the Affordable Care Act, shedding light on the creation and implementation of the greatest and most sweeping equalizer in the history of American health care. His eye-opening and authoritative narrative written from an insider’s perspective, 150 Years of ObamaCare, debunks contemporary understandings of health care reform. It also provides a comprehensive and unprecedented review of the health equity movement and the little-known leadership efforts that were crucial to passing public policies and laws reforming mental health, minority health, and universal health.

If You Go:
What: Pumps, Pearls & Politics 2017: The Truth About the Affordable Care Act
When: Sunday, November 5, 2017, 4:00 PM
Where: Allen Chapel AME Church, 1201 NW 111 Street, Miami, Florida 33167
Admission: FREE (Register at http://pumpspearlspolitics2017.eventbrite.com.)

For more information email Natasha Hines, Connection Chair at pumpspearlspolitics@gmail.com.


Florida to Launch Online Voter Registration October 1

AB65B729-8FFB-4AB3-B6D7-CBE5557C70CC

The Florida Department of State is scheduled to launch its new online voter registration website on Sunday, October 1, 2017. According to state officials, RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov, offers Florida residents another way to register to vote or update an existing registration. The website is touted as convenient, secure and easy-to-use. The website will go live as directed by the Florida Legislature in Section 97.0525 Florida Statutes.

In 2015, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill directing the department to implement online voter registration on October 1, 2017. Florida joins 35 other states and the District of Columbia that have online voter registration available to their residents.

Any Florida resident who is eligible to vote or is already registered to vote in Florida can use RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov to submit an application, update an existing registration or prefill an application form to print and deliver to a Supervisor of Elections office.

Contrary to current voter registration procedure, users will need a Florida driver license or state identification (ID) card and the last four digits of their social security number to register online. Currently, only one of the three is required to register to vote. Once an individual’s identity is verified and the application is deemed complete, a voter information card is issued by the local Supervisor of Elections office.

Investigations confirming Russian attempts to hack America’s elections have heightened concerns regarding potential manipulation of registration and voting data.
RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov proclaims multiple safeguards in place to verify and protect a person’s identity and personal information, including a state-of-the-art firewall, data encryption, captcha boxes, session time-out after inactivity and the use of multi-screens. The website requires information that only the person seeking to register or change an existing registration should know, such as the issue date of their Florida driver license or state ID card, their Florida driver license or state ID card number and the last four digits of their social security number. All of this information is verified in real-time in order for a person to complete the application process online. If the information cannot be verified, a person is not able to move forward with submitting the application electronically. Additionally, there is no retention of data within the RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov website because it is securely transmitted to an internal system.

RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is offered in English and Spanish, is accessible for persons with disabilities and is mobile-friendly.

If you choose to use this new system, feel free to share your experience at vbyers@bloggingblackmiami.com. What’s most important is that you get out and vote. 

 

6F3B12AF-2D91-4D58-91B2-4F8D87410C1D

@vanessawbyers

 

 


URGENT AND IMPORTANT: Town Hall Meetings on the 2017-2018 Miami-Dade County Public Schools Budget

 

Come out and get informed on the Miami-Dade County Public Schools budget for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. This is all the more important as Florida Governor Rick Scott has called a Special Legislative Session for June 7 - 9. 

Public education can be saved through an informed, engaged and proactive citizenry. Don’t miss your opportunity to ask questions; get informed and network with other concerned citizens.

Attachment - English Town Hall Flyer

Attachment - Creole Town Hall Flyer

Attachment - Spanish Town Hall Flyer

 

 

 


Have Your Say in Shaping the Future of Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County Evaluation and Appraisal Report

 

The County is updating the Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP) to guide growth for the next 20 years. This comprehensive assessment only occurs every seven years. Your input is needed. Your vision can make a positive impact on the future of the County. 

Visit the EAR2018 website to learn more about the process, take the EAR survey and find a public workshop in your area: www.miamidade.gov/planning/ear-2018.asp.

 

Public Town Hall Workshops will be starting on June 6, 2017.

Survey: Take the EAR2018 survey!

EAR2018@miamidade.gov

http://www.miamidade.gov/planning/ear-2018.asp

 

Attend one of the meetings listed below: 

Date and Time 

Location 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 

6:00 pm to 8:30 pm 

Kendall Village Center – Civic Pavilion 

8625 SW 124 Avenue, Miami, FL 33183 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 

6:00 pm to 8:30 pm 

Ruben Dario Middle School 

350 NW 97 Avenue, Miami, FL 33172 

Thursday, June 8, 2017 

6:00 pm to 8:30 pm 

African Heritage Cultural Arts Center 

6161 NW 22 Avenue, Miami, FL 33142 

Saturday, June 10, 2017 

10:00 am to noon 

Norman and Jean Reach Park 

7895 NW 176 Street, Miami, FL 33015 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017 

6:30 pm to 9:00 pm 

Highland Oaks Park 

20300 NE 24 Avenue, Miami, FL 33180 

Saturday, June 17, 2017 

10:00 am to noon 

South Dade Regional Library 

10750 SW 211 Street, Cutler Bay, FL 33189 

 

REMEMBER: You're either at the table or you're on the menu!