Florida State University — located in the shadow of the Capitol during a period when Republicans have questioned whether or not conservatives on college campuses get a chance to speak out — has been named one of the nation’s top colleges for free expression.
That’s according to the 2022-2023 College Free Speech Rankings, published by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), which conducts the nation’s largest annual survey on student free expression.
FSU was ranked 15th overall — which made it the highest-rated Florida university on the list.
“Universities are incredible places of intellectual debate where both students and faculty have the freedom to pursue unfettered academic scholarship and scientific inquiry,” FSU President Richard McCullough said. “We are pleased FIRE continues to recognize Florida State University as one of the nation’s top colleges and best in Florida for free expression.”
FIRE surveyed nearly 45,000 students enrolled in four-year degree programs at about 200 schools nationwide. The rankings are based on a composite of several scores, including those that look at student perceptions of the speech climate on their campus. Some of the topics include tolerance for both liberal and conservative speakers.
This is the third annual list compiled by FIRE. Last year, FSU was ranked fifth overall, but the organization altered its methodology for the latest rankings, including adding the tolerance criteria.
At one point FIRE was critical of the free speech policies at FSU and other schools in the state, saying they were too restrictive. FIRE, however, gave FSU a “green light” on its free speech policies after the university revised them in early 2020.
“Providing an environment that fosters the respectful exchange of ideas and civil discourse is a top priority for Florida State University, and we are delighted that our efforts to protect every individual’s right to free speech and expression continue to be recognized by FIRE,” said Amy Hecht, vice president for Student Affairs.
FIRE is currently representing a University of South Florida professor as well as a student and student group in a federal lawsuit challenging Florida’s Individual Freedom Act, also known as the “Stop WOKE” act by its supporters. The group contends that the new law endorses censorship on college campuses and violates free speech rights.
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, Renzo Downey, Christine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.
But first …
The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:
Ron DeSantis sends migrants to Martha’s Vineyard — Gov. Ron DeSantis has confirmed Florida on Wednesday flew from Texas two planes of immigrants who crossed the southern border to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The act, which occurred on the eve of National Hispanic Heritage Month, seized national headlines and national scrutiny over possible human trafficking violations. Democrats like California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried are calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the matter. Charlie Crist is also requesting records. Speaking in Niceville on Thursday, DeSantis called the current border situation “indefensible.” “The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all of a sudden go berserk, and they’re so upset that this is happening,” DeSantis said. “It just shows you, their virtue signaling is a fraud.”
Ethics Commission finds probable cause Broward Sheriff lied — Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony must go before an administrative judge or agree to a state Commission on Ethics penalty for using his office corruptly when he failed to disclose on official documents that he was arrested for killing an 18-year-old as a juvenile. If the ethics panel recommends it, DeSantis could ultimately suspend Tony over the transgression. “The Commission rejected the recommendation of its advocate and found probable cause to believe Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony misused his public position when he provided false information or did not disclose information,” the Wednesday release said.
BOG votes for RayRod as Chancellor — The Board of Governors (BOG) voted unanimously to begin negotiations with Sen. Ray Rodrigues to be the next Chancellor of Florida’s State University System. The hiring decision came at the same meeting where governors honored outgoing Chancellor Marshall Criser. Rodrigues, an Estero Republican who has served in the Legislature for the last 10 years, expressed gratitude and praised Florida’s higher education system as the best in the country. A national search conducted by the BOG resulted in a recommendation of Rodrigues over candidates from all over the world.
AHCA fines abortion clinic over wait period law — Florida health officials are fining an Orlando abortion clinic $193,000 for violating a state law requiring a 24-hour waiting period before abortions are performed, according to a case assigned to an administrative judge Tuesday. The Agency for Health Care Administration filed the complaint against the Center of Orlando for Women this summer. State regulators used patient records to determine the clinic performed 193 abortions that violated the state’s 24-hour waiting period rule between late April and early May of this year, the complaint reads. State law allows for a fine of $1,000 per violation of the waiting period law.
Providers unprepared for Medicaid minimum wage — Home- and community-based providers responsible for assisting the poor and elderly enrolled in Florida’s Medicaid managed long-term care programs are worried about meeting a new $15-per-hour minimum wage requirement for direct care workers that takes effect Oct. 1. Lawmakers earmarked an additional $135.9 million for Medicaid managed care long-term care plans to cover the increased salary costs. The money will begin to go out to the managed care plans the state relies on to administer that Medicaid program in the next two weeks. But the home- and community-based providers that contract with the managed care plans say the money won’t flow from the health plans to them quickly enough for them to cover the increased salary costs.
DeSantis is making $30 million available to develop the workforce in Florida’s Space Coast.
The Governor announced a multi-agency initiative Friday to support industries in the area. The Department of Economic Opportunity, the Department of Education (DOE), CareerSource Florida, Enterprise Florida and Space Florida have partnered to provide workforce education opportunities to the region’s aviation and aerospace, defense, manufacturing, and cybersecurity and information technology industries.
“I set a goal to make Florida the best state in the nation for workforce education by 2030 — and we are doing that by making investments that expand opportunity and meet industry needs,” DeSantis said in a news release. “Currently there are over 91,000 manufacturing and aerospace technology-related jobs on the space coast and this $30 million investment will build more opportunities for Floridians.”
The multi-pronged approach contains $11.5 million through the Job Growth Grant Fund, $9 million through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, $6.4 million through DOE’s Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant Program and $3 million through DOE’s Cyber/IT Pathways Grant Program.
“Governor DeSantis continues to build on our success to develop a robust space economy across Florida,” Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez said. “Today’s announcement regarding our innovative funding partnership with our state colleges and workforce boards will position Florida as a leader in the aerospace industry. As Chair of Space Florida’s Board of Directors, I look forward to meeting the needs of future growth of space exploration and aviation technology in Florida.”
The importance of truckers has received more attention amid supply chain woes and the spike in freight coming into Florida’s ports.
Without truckers, many of the products consumers rely on — from gas to groceries — wouldn’t make it more than a mile inland from the coast. The transportation aspect of the profession, of course, is a major focus of “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.”
But Attorney General Ashley Moody wants to make sure Floridians know that truckers do more than fill store shelves — they help her catch the bad guys.
Moody this week highlighted the Highway Heroes program, which is a joint effort between her office and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The campaign, launched in October 2020, trains truck drivers to spot and report human trafficking.
So far, it’s been a success, equipping thousands of road warriors with knowledge of the telltale signs of heinous crimes.
“This week, we say thank you to all of Florida’s professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment in undertaking one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs,” Moody said. “Additionally, we show our gratitude to the more than 6,400 drivers who have gone the extra mile to receive expert training through our Highway Heroes program about how to effectively spot and report signs of human trafficking. Our state is a safer place because of these Highway Heroes.”
FLHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes added, “Florida’s commercial drivers serve as the backbone to our economy and are increasingly serving as heroes to our most vulnerable. Thousands of Florida’s licensed truck drivers answered the call to help end human trafficking across our state by becoming a certified Highway Hero, and we thank them for their commitment to keeping our roadways and communities safe.”
Anyone who suspects cases of human trafficking, whether they drive a big rig or not, should contact local law enforcement and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888.
C’est la mort
Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die? Instead of saying all of your goodbyes, help them realize there’s a financial product meant especially for them: life insurance.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is doing his part this Life Insurance Awareness Month, highlighting the benefits that getting a policy can have upon your inevitable death. Or, if you prefer a cheerier framing, the peace of mind it can offer you while you’re alive.
“Securing your family’s financial well-being is essential in today’s economy and life insurance is an important part of building a strong financial plan. Last year, people bought a record $3.3 trillion in life insurance coverage,” Patronis said in a news release.
“However, around 102 million Americans still live day-to-day without this basic security blanket. As your Chief Financial Officer, I am encouraging every Floridian to take advantage of obtaining a life insurance policy to safeguard your family’s financial future.”
According to the proclamation, U.S. life insurance policies paid out $90 billion in benefits in 2020 and the number of policies issued hit a 40-year high in 2021.
Still, about a third of Americans know they are underinsured and 40% lack any coverage whatsoever. Buying life insurance is also one of the few good decisions middle-aged men are more likely to make than their women counterparts, with 53% of men holding a policy compared to 46% of women.
There are, of course, many types of life insurance, such as “term life insurance” for those who want their families to miss them more than their income, and “whole life insurance” for those who like to make bad investments.
A qualified financial planner can help decide which is better for your situation and the LIFE Foundation — the nonprofit behind Life Insurance Awareness Month — can probably connect you with one.
Swap to swamp
Caroline Stonecipher, Deputy Director of Communications for Fried, is returning to D.C. and the office of Michigan U.S. Sen. Gary Peters.
Stonecipher joined the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in August 2021 after service as a press secretary for the Michigan Democrat. Wednesday marked her last day in the department.
Stonecipher oversaw Fried’s non-campaign interactions with the media throughout the height of Fried’s campaign for Governor, a time when campaigns and policy are largely intertwined. Fried declined a re-election bid to run for Governor and lost that race last month, meaning she won’t be returning to public office in Tallahassee. It also means Stonecipher’s year-long tenure was coming to an end.
Stonecipher has also served as press secretary for former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama and as deputy press secretary for former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
As the only Democrat elected to the Florida Cabinet, Fried has framed herself as a foil to DeSantis.
During her time in Tallahassee, Stonecipher helped coordinate events such as a news conference on expired COVID-19 tests and a news conference on COVID-19 data in schools. Fried has also harped on the environment and food security during her term as Agriculture Commissioner, which ends in January.
FDACS supports and promotes Florida agriculture, protects the environment, safeguards consumers and ensures the safety and wholesomeness of food. The department also oversees gun licensing.
Instagram of the Week
The Week in Appointments
Barbers’ Board — DeSantis appointed Jorge Rivera and reupped his appointment of Edwin Stewart to the Barbers’ Board. Rivera, of Orlando, is the owner and a barber at Classic Man Cuts and is also the owner of CMC Grooming Products. He is a member of the American Barber Association and earned his barber certification from Artistic School of Nails & Cosmetology. Stewart, of Pensacola, is a barber at the Navy Exchange at Sherman Field. He previously served in the Florida Army National Guard and has been a barber for over 50 years. Stewart earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Faulkner University.
Board of Cosmetology — The Governor appointed Trena Giddens and reappointed Marisol Marin to the Board of Cosmetology. Giddens, of Quincy, is the owner and a stylist at Awaken 514. She has been a licensed cosmetologist for the past 34 years and is a member of the Lively College Advisory Board. Giddens earned a technical certificate from Lively Vocational-Technical School. Marin, of Miami, is a contracts compliance specialist at Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She previously served as a cosmetology instructor for Robert Morgan Technical College. Marin earned her bachelor’s degree from Barry University.
Boating Advisory Council — DeSantis named Hunter Bland, Christopher Castelli and Robert Hilliard to the Boating Advisory Council. Bland, of Williston, is a National Boating Safety Advocate and professional bass angler. He was previously a biological scientist and fisheries technician for Florida Fish and Wildlife. Bland earned his bachelor’s degree in forest resources and conservation at the University of Florida. Castelli, of Green Cove Springs, works for GEICO Insurance and is a previous marine patrol deputy with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. He serves on the International Association of Marine Investigators Board of Directors and earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Western Carolina University. Hilliard, of Clearwater, is a retired project engineer and manager at Lockheed Martin. He is an avid boater and sportsman with experience in operating kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, sailboats and powerboats. Hilliard earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from UF.
The 2023 legislative agenda for the Ethics Commission has been set and eliminating loopholes in the state’s Code of Ethics regarding conflict of interest is a priority.
Members voted unanimously at their Sept. 9 meeting to make changes to the conflict of interest voting law to require public officials to declare their conflict of interest before an item is discussed. Currently public officials can participate in the discussion, and make arguments meant to persuade other commission members, without disclosing the conflict.
The Ethics Commission also agreed to support legislation that would require enhanced financial disclosure for local elected officials and protect those who file complaints with the Ethics Commission from being retaliated against.
Moreover the Ethics Commission members also agreed that the law should be changed to require public officials to abstain from voting on measures that could benefit the public official’s employer or relative. The current law requires public officials to abstain from voting on issues that benefit them personally.
The 2023 agenda isn’t all proactive. Members agreed to oppose any proposed legislation that would weaken the conflict of interest provisions in law prohibiting public officials from representing clients before their own public boards. The Commission also is on the record opposing any attempt to water down the gift and expenditure prohibitions that preclude certain public officials who are ill or who have ill children from accepting donations from lobbyists representing clients associated with the illness.
The 2023 Session begins March 7.
The Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) Council has a new slate of officers for the 2022-2024 cycle.
Paul Anderson, president and CEO of Port Tampa Bay, was elected Chair; Alex King, Executive Director of Port Panama City, was elected Vice Chair; and Clark Merritt, Port of Pensacola Port Director, was elected Secretary.
FSTED is charged with carrying out the state’s economic development mission and advocates for seaport capital improvement projects. Members include the directors of Florida’s 15 seaports as well as representatives from the Department of Transportation and Department of Economic Opportunity.
“It is an honor to serve as chair of the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council. I look forward to building on the organization’s proven track record of supporting the state’s seaports and ensuring they have the resources needed to remain competitive in international trade, while supporting local jobs and economies,” Anderson said. “Florida’s population is booming and our seaports need resources to keep up with the state’s rapid population growth in order to best serve our communities.”
King has served as the Executive Director for the Panama City Port since June 2021. He worked at the port for 10 years in different capacities before taking the helm.
Merritt has served as the Director of the Port of Pensacola since June 2021. He previously served as the port’s deputy director. He was an ensign in the U.S. Navy and served on active duty with tours in tactical aviation squadrons, including combat operations during the first Gulf War, and as a maintenance officer for the Blue Angles before retiring from the Navy.
Speaker-DD on the DL
Miami Rep. Daniel Perez is implying lawmakers might go further with Florida’s abortion ban.
The member of House Republican leadership, who is expected to become House Speaker in 2024, sat down with WPTV recently to outline what to expect for the 2023 Legislative Session. Among the topics he discussed with WPTV’s Forrest Saunders is adding on to the state’s 15-week abortion ban.
“We have to make sure that every single unborn child has the ability to live the life that you and I are living,” the Speaker-designate-designate said. “While we’re in election season, we haven’t had the opportunity to begin to file a bill. So, there hasn’t been any bill that has been shown to us or given to us by the Governor’s Office, as of yet — at least not for me personally. But, I’m sure shortly after the election in November, that’ll be one of the hotter topics.”
Perez also believes additional election laws are coming. Florida lawmakers have passed major election bills three times in the last four years, and the issue is back in the forefront after state election police arrested 20 felons on voter fraud charges despite local election officials approving them to vote.
“I think we still need to continue to work on it and make sure that someone who is going to the ballot box, or filling out a ballot and sending it in, that it is accurate,” Perez said. “It is who they are and that the Supervisor of Elections in each county is doing their job the way that they were sworn to do so.”
Additionally, Perez talked about taking another look at property insurance to get more competition in the Sunshine State.
“Our goal is to make sure that more companies want to move it to Florida in order for the cost to eventually stabilize or decrease,” Perez said.
Legacy College Fair
Jacksonville is the location for the fourth Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Legacy College Fair, and Rep. Tracie Davis will help host the event.
Joining the Jacksonville Democrat is The Center One Foundation, Councilman Garrett Dennis, and Action News’ Tenikka Hughe to host the event.
“Being a second-generation alumna from a Historically Black College, I’m extremely excited to host a fair that specifically highlight HBCUs as a viable choice for students,” Davis said in a prepared release. “HBCUs teach students to embrace their culture and creativity while also being a safe-haven for some or a place of hope for others. More importantly, we must remember to cherish and support our HBCUs, so they may continue to do what they have always done-foster, lead, cultivate, and generate the leaders of the future.”
The Legacy College Fair provides students interested in attending HBCUs with opportunities to receive scholarships and to participate in college readiness workshops. Representatives from 100 Black Men, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Educators Rock, Continental Society Inc., and Iota Phi Theta will also be at the fair.
In addition to learning about HBCUs, the Legacy College Fair students and residents can also register to vote.
While there is no charge to attend the Legacy College Fair, students are encouraged to register in advance if they are interested in qualifying for school admission and scholarship.
HBCU Legacy College Fair will be held at the Jessie Ball Dupont Center in Jacksonville on Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
September is suicide awareness month, and on Sept. 17, the Florida Medical Association is joining medical societies across the country for National Physician Suicide Awareness Day.
That day, advocates aim to get health care systems to prioritize physicians’ well-being and to address the underlying issues that play a role in discouraging physicians from seeking treatment.
More than half (55%) of physicians participating in a 2021 survey conducted by the Physician Foundation said they knew of a physician who had either considered, attempted or died by suicide.
“Physician well-being is at the heart of the Florida Medical Association’s (FMA) mission to help physicians practice medicine,” FMA President Joshua D. Lenchus said. “Yet, far too many physicians endure mental health distress in isolation because of lingering stigmas and structural obstacles that prevent them from seeking help — often with devastating consequences.
“Physicians have one of the highest rates of death by suicide among any profession, and one death is too many. As a National Physician Suicide Awareness Day supporting organization, the FMA is committed to normalizing discussions about mental health in medicine and providing physicians with actionable resources to help them cope during moments of crisis.”
The FMA represents more than 25,000 physicians. The organization advocates for physicians and their patients. It is estimated that one million Americans lose their physician to suicide each year.
To learn six steps that can abate the problem of physician suicide, visit NPSADay.org.
The Florida State Parks Foundation and the Jelks Family Foundation have teamed up to purchase educational kits that can teach students about science.
Eighteen parks across the state, from Bahia Honda State Park in Monroe County to Blackwater River State Park in Okaloosa County, received the kits. The kits include child-size binoculars, a water monitoring kit, microscopes, tree height gauges and soil quality digital tests.
“As we look to train the next generation of scientists, teachers and environmental stewards, it is important we create engaging experiences that build a connection for students between the natural environment and their education,” said Tammy Gustafson, president of the Florida State Parks Foundation. “These kits ensure the tools to make this happen are placed in the hands of students, which puts them on a path of active environmental learning.”
Park rangers, volunteer educators, scientists and land resource managers will teach the school children about conservation and stewardship of public lands. The Florida State Parks Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a nonprofit corporation with the mission to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.
The educational kits also were sent to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Walton County, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park in Wakulla County, Little Talbot Island State Park In Duval County, Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park in Gilchrist County, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park in Flagler County, Silver Springs State Park and Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway in Marion County, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Citrus County, Oscar Scherer State Park in Sarasota County, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Hernando County, Honeymoon Island State Park in Pinellas County, Sebastian Inlet State Park in Brevard County, Koreshan State Park in Lee County, Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County, and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and Oleta River State Park in Miami-Dade County.
Shipping Up to Boston
DeSantis is drawing complaints from at least one bipartisan coalition for the Martha’s Vineyard flights.
The American Business Immigration Coalition Action and Florida-based business leaders condemned the move, which impacted children and asylum seekers.
“As a bipartisan business coalition, we find Gov. Desantis’ recent anti-immigrant actions to be morally repulsive,” said ABIC Action Florida State Director Samuel Vilchez Santiago. “He is effectively trafficking asylum-seeking children across the country.”
“As a Venezuelan American, I’ve seen how, on the campaign trail, Gov. Desantis panders to communities like mine that have been traumatized by political persecution and violence,” he continued. “Yet, on the official side, his administration continuously throws our communities under the bus in his quest for power. This is a new low and a betrayal to our communities.”
MBF Healthcare Partners Chairman and ABIC Action Co-Chair Mike Fernandez also made an economic case against diverting asylum-seekers from Florida.
“There are also 500,000 immigrant entrepreneurs in the state who add $7 billion in revenue to our state’s economy every year,” Fernandez said. “We don’t need politicians creating a crisis that will stunt our economic recovery simply to score political points right before an election off the backs of vulnerable asylum seekers.”
Voter reg time
Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Early is joining thousands of other elections officials across the country on Sept. 20 to celebrate National Voter Registration Day.
The nonpartisan event will focus on registering voters and raising awareness of state specific registration policies, deadlines and voting information. Florida residents who want to vote must register by Oct. 11. Leon County residents can register online at RegistertoVoteFlorida.gov, mail a voter registration form or visit the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office on Apalachee Parkway.
“Registering to vote is the first step in casting your ballot,” Earley said. “I encourage every eligible Leon County resident to register to vote or confirm your registration as we approach the November 8 General Election.”
Meanwhile, voters who already are registered can confirm their current voter registration information by visiting LeonVotes.gov and clicking the “Your Voter Info” button. Leon County voters also can contact Early’s office at [email protected] or call (850) 606-8683 during business hours if they have any questions about voting.
“Over the last decade, National Voter Registration Day has stood as a testament to the broad-based, bipartisan support for voter registration as the cornerstone of our shared democracy,” said Brian Miller, executive director of the collaborative National Voter Registration Day effort. “As we mark the 10th anniversary of our work to get every eligible American #VoteReady for their next trip to the polls, we’ll continue to depend upon the same grassroots, community based energy that’s made this civic holiday successful year after year.”
More than 4.7 million people have registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day since the civic holiday launched in 2012.
The holiday has been endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State, the National Association of State Election Directors, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the National Association of Election Officials.
Money & job security
Florida State University has been awarded a $4.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support students who want to pursue careers in cybersecurity.
“We are excited to receive the renewal from the National Science Foundation,” said Xiuwen Liu, chair of the FSU Department of Computer Science. “With the support from the deans, over the years, we have invested a lot of resources to develop, implement and maintain a technically strong cybersecurity program to be able to educate very capable cyber professionals. This award allows us to continue to help address the workforce shortage in cybersecurity, an issue of national security.”
The money will be used to provide scholarships, tuition waivers and professional development funding to support 32 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in FSU’s cyber security degree program, Liu said.
This is the second round of grant funding the Department of Computer Science has received from the National Science Foundation’s “CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program.” FSU received the first round of grant funding in 2016.
The CyberCorps Scholarship Service Program is designed to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industrial control system security professionals, and security managers to meet the cybersecurity needs fior federal, state, and local governments as well as tribal governments.
The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation. In return for their scholarships, recipients must agree to work for the government for a period of time equal to the length of the scholarship.
“As cyber threats continue to evolve in complexity, so must our approaches to cybersecurity education and our workforce,” NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said. “These new CyberCorps Scholarship for Service projects engage diverse student populations and provide innovative and high-quality educational experiences that will ensure our nation is prepared to meet future cyber threats with a well-trained workforce.”
Ryan Petty, newsman
Ryan Petty, whose child was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is joining Bearing Arms, an online publication that covers 2nd Amendment issues.
“(I’m) pleased to announce that I have joined the team @BearingArmsCom as a contributor. Big thanks to (Bearing Arms editor) @CamEdwards for giving me a shot (pun intended),” Petty tweeted.
DeSantis appointed Petty to the Board of Education in 2020. He previously served on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, appointed by then-Gov. Rick Scott in the aftermath of the shooting to recommend changes to state law to improve security at K-12 schools and prevent another massacre.
In his first article for the site, Petty warned that the move by an international body to create a new merchant code for firearms purchases will allow activists to target investors and banks, pressuring them to not do business with firearms retailers.
“Activists shareholders have been pressuring corporate executives to follow their ESG goals for years and are now armed with a distinct merchant code for firearms retailers, they have the means to single out these retailers and to pressure the financial industry to radically alter the terms of their relationship or to stop doing business with them altogether,” Petty wrote. “Expect these pressure campaigns to begin in short order.”
Florida — Down arrow — Can we dump these New Jersey antisemites on Martha’s Vineyard, too?
Florida — Up arrow — A question for the economists out there: If 3% unemployment is full employment, what’s 2.7%?
Joe Biden — Up arrow — DeSantis loves spending daddy’s money.
Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — Happy birthday, take an up arrow.
Ron DeSantis — Crossways arrow — Next birthday, how about you head to the Cape? They give visitors the royal treatment.
Martha’s Vineyard — Up arrow — If the migrant flights are part of a public image campaign for the 1%, they’re working.
Nikki Fried — Down arrow — Hopefully, her day in court goes better than her day on the ballot.
Karla Hernandez — Down arrow — Only one other running mate has had such a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease. She can take the crown if she says she can see Cuba from her house.
Chris Kise — Up arrow — Save America PAC, AKA the former Solicitor General’s vacation home fund.
RayRod — Up arrow — Chancellor sounds way cooler than Senator. We’d go for the swap, too.
Chris Sprowls — Up arrow — Oooh, does he get a badge?
Shevrin Jones — Up arrow — The DNC is figuring out what the rest of us have known for years: The state Senate isn’t his final stop.
Jonathan Martin — Crossways arrow — We want to like him, but he runs a county party so steeped in kooky conspiracies it should sell dietary supplements.
Truckers — Up arrow — Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy.
Gregory Tony — Down arrow — The Commission on Ethics needs to chill. It’s not like he killed someone … oh, wait.
Larry Robinson — Down arrow — Student-athletes usually have a cushier college experience than mainstream students, so … yeah, this is bad.
Kim Rivers — Up arrow — Benzinga says the biggest medical marijuana company in the U.S. has the best retail expansion strategy … we’d say ‘duh,’ but ‘congrats’ will do.
Scott Ross — Up arrow — CCC is on the rise, and so is he.
Tallahassee Democrat — Down arrow — Yesterday’s news, today!
FSU academics — Up arrow — Top 20 in the ranking that matters. And hopefully that other one, too, come Sunday at 2 p.m.
FSU free speech — Up arrow — We’re not sure how they’re No. 15 in ‘Free Expression,’ but hopefully we’re allowed to question it without consequence.