Omicron detected in Florida and Texas because it takes root in 25 U.S. states

Genview Diagnosis Medical Assistants Crystal Leyva (L) and Keitia Perez conduct COVID-19 sampling tests on laboratory technicians at the Foxconn Assembly on August 13, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Brandon Bell | Getty Images

Several southern US states, including Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Florida, have confirmed cases of the Omicron-Covid-19 variant as the heavily mutated strain takes root in half of all US states.

25 U.S. states have discovered cases of the new strain, a number that health officials expect to increase in the coming weeks, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a Covid briefing at White House on Friday. The Omicron cases come as the nation grapples with a wave of delta infections that drove Covid cases to over 100,000 a day, up 16% last week and 23% since before Thanksgiving, the data said from John Hopkins University.

Scientists are still trying to answer questions about the portability, severity, and impact of Omicron on the vaccine’s effectiveness. Meanwhile, government, commercial, and academic laboratories in the United States are stepping up genome sequencing efforts to find more cases of the variant.


Georgia public health officials reported three cases of the variant from Thursdaywho all live in the greater Atlanta area.

The first two cases were announced in a press release on Sunday. One patient developed mild symptoms after traveling from South Africa and tested positive for Covid. The state health department also said it was informed on Dec. 3 of the second patient, who tested positive in New Jersey and is currently recovering there.

The department did not provide any information about the symptoms or the severity of their infections.

The third case was confirmed on Thursday in an unvaccinated person with no recent international travel history. The patient suffers from mild Covid symptoms and isolates himself at home.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is conducting contact tracing to identify close contacts among infected patients, according to a press release Thursday.

State Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey said vaccination was “key” to preventing the spread of Covid and the occurrence of variants like Omicron, the press release said. She also stressed that Delta is still driving the majority of infections in the US

“It’s also important to remember that even while Omicron is being developed, we are still in the midst of a pandemic currently fueled by the Delta variant,” Toomey said.

Delta still accounts for more than 99% of all genetically sequenced cases in the US, said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walenksy during a press conference at the White House on Tuesday.

Georgia posted a seven-day moving average of 1,334 positive tests for the virus on Thursday, after that number dropped below 1,000 for most of November. according to the CDC. The positive tests have risen steadily since Thanksgiving, but are still well below the 7,000 to 9,000 seven-day averages seen in August.


Public health officials in Louisiana reported 37 cases of the Omicron variant on Thursday. However, only three cases have been confirmed and 34 are still “likely,” said the state health department in a press release.

The first likely case was reported and identified on December 3 in a metropolitan New Orleans resident who had recently traveled within the United States

Another 16 likely cases were reported on Wednesday, while 20 became known on Thursday alone.

At least 28 probable cases and 2 confirmed cases are among residents of the greater New Orleans area. Three likely cases are in patients in the Baton Rouge area. Two likely cases are in patients from northwest Louisiana.

There is also a confirmed case in a resident of Northshore, a neighborhood in Louisiana.

The country’s health department did not provide any further information on the severity of the infections. The department only found that another patient from the Acadiana area had recently traveled internationally but did not need to be hospitalized after testing positive.

“These new cases of Omicron should serve as a reminder of the ongoing threat from COVID, especially as we gather for the holidays,” said state health officer Dr. Joseph Kanter, in the press release, urged the citizens of Louisiana to get vaccinated and reinforced.

Louisiana recorded 439 new cases Thursday. according to the CDC, still below its high in October when the 7-day average hit 530.


The Texas State Health Department on Monday confirmed its first case of Omicron in a resident of Harris County, where Houston is located. The department determined that the patient was an adult woman but did not provide any further information about her symptoms or when she tested positive.

Harris County Public Health and the Texas Department of State Health Services are currently investigating the case.

“It is normal for viruses to mutate, and given the rapid spread of omicron in southern Africa, we are not surprised it showed up here,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, the officer for the state health department.

Texas posted a 7-day moving average of 2,554 cases on Thursday. according to the CDC. That number is well below the previous months, with the 7-day moving average hitting up to 9,000 in October and 19,000 in September.


Two cases of the Omicron variant had been reported in Florida as of Thursday, a state health department spokesman told CNBC.

The department was notified of the first patient by the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, the spokesman said, noting that they cannot provide details on the case.

The hospital recorded in a declaration to the WFLA that the patient has mild symptoms and has recently traveled internationally.

“Our vendors were able to quickly identify, test, confirm, and add this data to our evolving understanding of this variety,” said the hospital’s statement, according to WFLA.

The second case from St. Lucie County was reported to the CDC by the state health department, the spokesman added. They did not provide any further details on the case.

When asked about reports of the new Omicron cases at a news conference Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would not impose bans in the state.

“In Florida we won’t let them lock you up, we won’t let them restrict you, we won’t let them impose mandates, we won’t let them close schools, we will protect your freedom” Making decisions, “DeSantis told reporters.

“And I have no problem if someone is worried, if they are afraid of Omicron and want to lock themselves up or isolate themselves, that is absolutely their choice in a free society, but you don’t force fauciism on the whole country or the whole state, it’s wrong, “he continued.

As of Thursday, Florida had a seven-day moving average of 1,873 tests positive for the virus. according to the CDC. That number has risen in the past few weeks, most recently reaching 1,800 new cases per day on October 28th.

Lady in Execution-Fashion Killing of NYC Mother Extradited From Florida – NBC New York

The woman arrested in Florida in Execution style shooting a Brooklyn woman was extradited to New York City that summer to face criminal charges.

Police on Thursday charged Georgia-year-old Claudia Banton, 42, with murder and criminal gun possession reportedly shot Delia Johnson in the back of the head while chatting with people on a flight of stairs in August. The motive for the killing is currently unclear.

Banton, also known by the names Claudia Williams and Kiesha Brown, was picked up by police in Jacksonville, Florida earlier this month – more than three months after the Crown Heights murder that was caught on camera.

A surveillance video of the shooting previously released by police showed a woman in black leggings stepping out of a double-parked white limousine and casually shot Johnson in the head while talking to a group of people.

The shooter walked calmly back to the car with her handbag on her shoulder and drove away, informed the police. Johnson was pronounced dead in a hospital.

Information on a lawyer for Banton was not immediately available.


You can run, but the long arm of the law will find you.

The woman responsible for the murder of a. on August 4th is responsible #Brooklyn Woman was arrested by our partners in Jacksonville, Florida.

– Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) November 8, 2021

The brother of the 42-year-old victim said the Daily News At the time, he thought the shooter followed Johnson from a neighborhood funeral that both of them attended.

“She was at a funeral earlier that evening to pay tribute to an old friend in the neighborhood and then this happened,” Mathis Johnson, 47, told the newspaper. “It was terrible. This lady executed my sister.”

Family members said Johnson was an entrepreneur and had a 17-year-old daughter. Her mother, Delia Barry, said after her death: “I am in so much pain, I am numb … I try my best to hold myself up, but the carnage, that was it.”

Right here’s The right way to Save Cash, Even By means of Unsure Financial Occasions – NBC 6 South Florida

How can you save money and get your finances in order during COVID-19?

Brokers International’s Mark Williams says it will take effort to start a savings plan during the pandemic, especially when many people have lost their jobs and unemployment benefits expire on September 6th.

But it can be done.

“Regardless of your job, no matter how your income comes in, is trying to create some kind of safety net,” Williams said.

And everything can start with a few cents.

“Five cents, 10 cents, 15 cents, and while it doesn’t sound like much, it’s about the mindset,” he said.

The mindset that you can build a nest egg even in the worst of times.

“For every 25 I’ve seen, I give five as a treat. Now I’ve made a game of saving because what you are going to find is the thrill of watching your savings account grow and it gets more exciting than the added pleasure you end up spending, “he said.

On Friday, President Joe Biden talked about the latest economic report from the Labor Statistics Office.

“On the way to Labor Day weekend, we have more evidence of how our economy is progressing after last year’s economic disaster,” said Biden.

The economy created 235,000 new jobs in August and the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%, its lowest level in 18 months, it was reported on Friday.

Whether you’re changing jobs or adjusting to a new budget, experts suggest setting aside an amount of money that can be automatically transferred to a savings account, take advantage of the tax-free days to shop, and save on your income tax refund if you have one and don’t forget the store apps because it all adds up in the end.

Florida Choose Weighs Resolution To Reinstate Federal Unemployment Cash Suspended By Gov. DeSantis In June – CBS Miami

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami / NSF) – A Leon County district judge rushed into a lawsuit on Wednesday over whether Governor Ron DeSantis’s government violated state law by withdrawing unemployment benefits from tens of thousands of unemployed Floridians in June Federal deleted.

Judge Layne Smith heard testimony from plaintiffs who said the decision to end the $ 300 a week in federal benefits resulted in them having difficulty paying housing and other expenses. As part of the COVID-19 aid, the federal government provided the money in addition to the state’s maximum unemployment benefits of $ 275 per week.

CONTINUE READING: Poll: Majority of Floridians Disapprove of Governor DeSantis’ Response to COVID-19

The lawsuit alleges that payments should have continued through September 6, as approved by Congress, and that the unemployed should receive retroactive payments through June 26. The money comes from a federal funding law commonly known as the CARES law.

Plaintiffs attorneys say the DeSantis government has violated a state law directing the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to work with the US Department of Labor and take action “by adopting appropriate rules, administrative methods, and standards that are necessary for the state ”. all advantages according to the federal regulations on re-employment (unemployment) assistance. “

“The governor and the DEO (the Department of Economic Opportunity) have no discretion as to whether or not to accept the money,” said Marie Mattox, plaintiff’s attorney.

However, Daniel Nordby, an attorney for the DeSantis administration, denies the state needs to provide the additional services.

“Florida law quite simply does not require participation in the CARES Act programs that were passed by Congress,” Nordby said. “Neither federal nor Florida law requires participation.”

Smith, who is contemplating plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction, said repeatedly that he would not address the political issues surrounding the suspension of federal payments. He said he needed to focus on the details of state and federal laws.

“The bottom line is it’s a legal construction case,” said Smith.

Plaintiffs, who testified on Wednesday, described economic troubles during the pandemic, made worse by the state cutting $ 300 a week in federal payments.

For example, Harriett Rubin, a 68-year-old Broward County resident who has been unemployed since the pandemic began, said she put a tax lien on her home because she couldn’t pay property taxes.

“To worry about your apartment or whether your air conditioning is on and working, and can I bring some food into the house. That little bit of money helps, ”said Rubin.

Will Currie, chief financial officer of the Department of Economic Opportunity, testified that in the spring of 2020, the state began providing the additional federal benefits – known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation or FPUC benefits – to provide assistance as the pandemic was major economic Caused problems and an increase in unemployment.

But the state decided to stop the services that summer as vacancies remained unfilled. Many companies have argued in recent months that they cannot find enough workers.

“The idea was to add the weekly benefit that was believed to be

Incentivizing people not to return to work, ”Currie said.

But Mattox said the people who need the extra money aren’t “free riders” who don’t want to be hired.

“DeSantis decided to cut those benefits because he said it was keeping people from going back to work,” Mattox said. “Research just doesn’t confirm that.”

MORE NEWS: Governor Ron DeSantis continues to double his stance on masks in schools

(© 2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite, or redistribute this material. The Florida News Service of Jim Saunders and Tom Urban contributed to this report.)

Norwegian Cruise can require Florida passengers to be vaccinated, decide guidelines

Norwegian Dawn from Norwegian Cruise Line

Paul Marotta | Getty Images

Norwegian Cruise Line said Sunday that a federal judge ruled to temporarily suspend enforcement of a law in Florida that prohibits companies from requiring customers to provide proof of vaccination.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams issued the injunction that allowed Norwegian to request vaccine documents from customers while the case is on trial. The Norwegian Gem is scheduled to leave Miami on August 15th. It’s the cruise line’s first trip out of the state since the pandemic shut down the cruise industry more than a year ago.

Infection numbers in Florida have increased 51% in the last seven days, according to Johns Hopkins University. The state reported 134,506 new Covid cases from July 30 to August 5, more than any other 7-day period tracked by the JHU, and the positivity of new cases is 18.9%.

“It’s scary what’s happening in Florida,” said Derek Shaffer, an attorney for Norwegian Cruise Line, during a trial Friday to seek the injunction. “All of Florida is a hot spot … All we do is protect our employees and passengers.”

Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio said the company is trying to keep passengers and crew members safe.

“The health and safety of our guests, our crew and the communities we visit is our top priority today, tomorrow and forever,” Del Rio said in a statement on Sunday. “It’s not a tagline or a tagline, we mean business, and our commitment to these principles is demonstrated by the effort our company has put into providing the safest cruise experience possible from Florida.”

On Friday, Florida attorney Pete Patterson said the law protects customers’ civil liberties and prevents companies from discriminating against unvaccinated people.

“You can’t discriminate against customers for refusing to give you information,” Patterson said.

Had the cruise line not received the injunction and continued to request proof of vaccination for the upcoming trip, it could have been prosecuted under Florida law and fined up to $ 5,000 per passenger.

In his argument, Shaffer said that “no cruise line in Norwegian ‘s position can afford” to withstand a fine of this magnitude. Shaffer claimed Florida lawmakers wanted “political points” in the vaccination debate.

If the law stays in place, the cruise operator could be forced to cancel upcoming cruises or “sail in a way that’s worse for our passengers and crew,” Shaffer said.

The company that operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, filed suit against Florida surgeon general challenged the law in July.

Norwegian attorney said the company had waited to file the lawsuit pending a federal appeals court ruling on another Florida case against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The court sided with Florida, which claimed the CDC’s cruise ship regulations were too burdensome and cost millions of dollars in tax revenue.

The cruise operator plans that all guests and crew members on its trips are fully vaccinated and must have Covid-19 tests before embarkation.

On Friday, Norwegian announced that its second quarter loss rose to $ 717.8 million, or $ 1.94 per share, on revenue from $ 4.37 million. The company expects further losses until the shipping company can resume its regular trips.

Drones, cash pitched to bolster pink tide efforts in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Florida. – Drones could be used to monitor the red tide, and money should be set aside to offset the local cost of removing fish killed by poisonous algal blooms, state wildlife officials said Wednesday as they attempt to prevent future outbreaks to manage something.

Members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said more proactive action was needed as red tide outbreaks will continue to hamper the state, particularly the Gulf Coast, which is grappling with an outbreak in the Tampa Bay area.

Commission chairman Rodney Barreto suggested that a state Red Tide task force consider using drones to monitor waters for outbreaks and assist with cleanup operations. He noted that the sheriff’s office helicopters were being used to coordinate the cleanup of recent outbreaks.

“Let’s go on the offensive. Drone technology is where it is today, ”said Barreto. “I mean it’s amazing. Right? Much cheaper. In any case, much more efficient than sending up a helicopter. “


The current eruption, which has been changing daily since December due to wind and tides in the waters from Pasco County to Sarasota County, has had different effects on the Gulf Coast areas.

The key to tackling the red tide is efforts to improve water quality and reduce nutrients from human sources, such as:

In addition, Gil McRae, director of the Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, said one way to prepare for widespread fish deaths is to provide a source of funding to local governments, who are typically responsible for cleaning up the litter .

“We heard about this last event – and unfortunately we knew it beforehand – when we have large fish deaths, the burden tends to be on the level of the government that manages the waste. And that’s always, in Florida at least, always the local government, ”McRae said. “So since the local government has this waste management infrastructure, they really are the only ones that can handle these tons of waste.”


As a result of the current outbreak, more than 600 tons of dead fish washed up along the Tampa Bay coast.

The state distributed emergency funds this year to offset some of the costs of cleaning up fish deaths. Local officials in the Tampa Bay area have asked the state to issue a declaration of emergency that would free up more money and resources.

As of 2019, the state has pumped $ 14.5 million into the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for its Center for Red Tide Research, which has a partnership with the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota

Barreto said another concern the task force could address is public notifications, especially for beach goers.

“When we flew yesterday, you could literally see the red tide. And you can see the people on the beach, ”said Barreto, who took a helicopter tour of the waters off Sarasota on Tuesday.

McRae said beach conditions are updated daily by the commission on their website and on signs posted by lifeguards from Collier County to Pinellas County.


Meanwhile, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has spent the last three days promoting new “best management practices” in agriculture, which she said will help address issues that have exacerbated the red tide outbreak.

Changes in agriculture will focus on supporting practices such as cover crops, which are expected to slow down erosion and increase water availability. The changes are also intended to include the recording of nutrients used by farmers and government employees during face-to-face visits, and to replace voluntary self-assessment of the implementation of best management practices.

While at Mote Marine on Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis said he was “happy with the progress” in the state’s efforts to contain the red tide over the past three years following major water quality problems in areas of southeast and southwest Florida.

“What they are doing here (at Mote) in dealing with the red tide may have application to other types of algal blooms, such as the blue-green algae we struggle with in Lake Okeechobee,” DeSantis said. “Well, I think that was a really good investment. And I think it will pay off. Of course, red tide occurs naturally. We can’t tell people that there won’t be any. But if you have successful mitigation strategies and technologies in place, you’re really making it where it won’t have the impact it had in 2018. “

Teaching type of Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton makes its solution to Nigeria sidelines

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (WTXL) – Luke Loucks’ career in the State of Florida was marked by setting the school record for the most games played as Garnet and Gold (136). And helped lead the FSU to its first ACC championship in 2012. All along the way, Loucks was soaking up information from one of the best coaches ever.

When he left the state of Florida, the coaching was out of sight from Luke. But when his time as a professional overseas player came to an end, he remembered all the times Leonard Hamilton tried to give him a chance. Loucks is now on the sidelines of the Nigerian men’s basketball team, ready to implement one of the most important lessons he learned during his time under coach Hamilton.

“I always go back and we talk about it all the time with the Warriors and even with Team Nigeria, exactly the defensive intensity he asked you to do. I learned that from day one when I played for coach (Leonard) Hamilton, ”says Loucks. “And it’s something I will always have wherever I train. No matter what kind of athlete I have, when you get on the pitch you will be on your guard. And that’s why it’s always so difficult for me to play Florida State. “

Following the cash: Florida is funding crimson tide cleanup

After a day he said he said between the mayor of St. Petersburg and the governor’s office we found out what was really going on.

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – More than once in the past few days, the Mayor of St. Petersburg has said to wash politics out of the red tide crisis in his city.

Thursday he tweeted“Now nearly 800 tons. We will ignore the governor’s policies and continue to work with other state and county officials to get these fish out of the water.”

Almost 800 tons now.

We will ignore politics from the governor’s office and continue to work with other state and district officials to get these fish out of the water.

– Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) July 15, 2021

Almost 24 hours earlier, Kriseman had asked Governor Ron DeSantis to send resources to help with the cleanup. He specifically asked for more shrimp boats to collect the rotting marine life.

CONNECTED: St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman urges Governor DeSantis to obtain resources for the red tide

Kriseman said he wasn’t sure how much longer the city and city contractors could spend cleaning up. He said the city needed help.

“We ask the governor, Pinellas County, St. Petersburg, we need your help.”

But on Wednesday afternoon, the governor’s office painted a very different picture.

DeSantis assistant communications director Jared Williams emailed 10 Tampa Bay saying Mayor Kriseman was “either unaware of what is actually going on in his own garden or he is deliberately lying and taking advantage of the red tide as an attempt to get cheap political points ”. . “

Just got the following reply from Jared Williams, Assistant Director of Communications for @GovRonDeSantis as answer to @Kriseman‘s plea for dealing with government funds #red tide.

– Liz Crawford WTSP (@LizCrawfordWTSP) July 14, 2021

Williams also sent a detailed description of everything the state has been doing to support the current red tide crisis in Tampa Bay. These claims included:

  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of executing grant agreements for Counties Pinellas and Hillsborough
  • Pinellas receives $ 902,500 to help clean up the Red Tide
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials participate in weekly Red Tide coordination calls and initiate a Red Tide response with the City of St. Petersburg.

Kriseman countered the governor’s office reaction, and said, “I don’t care how our town gets help. Whether the governor calls an emergency or his DEP does something … I just need more boats.”

10 Tampa Bay wanted to verify some of the claims made by politicians.

Pinellas County’s public works director, Kelli Hammer Levy, says the county is currently receiving $ 902,500 from the Florida DEP, but they don’t have it yet.

“Between June 11 and July 10, we spent approximately $ 902,500 between the county and the city to get refunded by then,” said Hammer Levy.

She said she was also in regular contact with the DEP to change the agreement and get more funding.

“In fact, I phoned DEP’s interim secretary, Shawn Hamilton, 15 minutes ago. He has confirmed that they will be providing the county with additional resources to aid in the cleanup,” said Hammer Levy.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the city of St. Petersburg says it was left in the dark.

Benjamin Kirby, St. Petersburg City Communications Director, directed an exchange between a city lobbyist and an FWC employee at 10 Tampa Bay.

The lobbyist asks for help and says, I’m not sure what role FWC is playing in this, but could you alert your team? I am also alerting the governor’s office. Is DEP involved in such incidents?

The FWC representative replied on July 9th: Maybe you and I can contact the grassroots on Monday so I can pass on all of the information Gil shares today? I know DEP is involved in terms of water quality, but we are at the forefront when it comes to fish deaths. I will keep you up-to-date.

Kirby says this will be the last the city has heard from anyone with the state.

On Thursday, Williams said Governor DeSantis’s office had held several conversations with members of the St. Petersburg City Council, affected stakeholders and members of the region’s legislative delegation, but failed to provide specific names.

Williams 10 referred Tampa Bay to the DEP and FWC for details on who the DEP, FWC and the City of St. Petersburg will hold talks with.

Pinellas County’s Hammer Levy says she speaks to someone with FWC at least once a day, and during a meeting earlier this week, officials said this current bloom was unprecedented.

“The fact that this flower extends into Tampa Bay is really very unusual,” she said. The last time they saw anything like this was fifty years ago, when sewage was still being discharged into the bay.

CONNECTED: “Ignore politics”: Kriseman reacts to DeSantis during red tide

Realtors behind big-money push for Florida inexpensive housing modification

click to enlarge

Brokerage groups have invested another $ 8 million to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot that would ensure money for affordable housing programs, a newly filed financial report shows.

Florida Realtors group raised $ 5 million to the Floridians for Housing Political Committee in June, while the National Association of Realtors raised another $ 3 million. Florida Realtors had previously contributed $ 5 million, bringing the total amount raised by the committee to $ 13 million.

The committee also paid $ 2.5 million to SGS, Inc., a Gainesville company, in June. While the financial report filed with the state electoral department contains little information about spending, most of the funds raised by the committee this year will likely go towards collecting petition signatures.

To get to the vote, supporters of the proposed change must submit 891,589 valid petition signatures by February 1. As a preliminary step, the committee is required to file 222,898 signatures to trigger a pivotal review of the proposed ballot wording by the Florida Supreme Court.

On Wednesday afternoon, the election department’s website showed that 106 valid signatures had been counted for the initiative.

The proposed constitutional amendment comes after years of frustration in the real estate industry and, among other things, legislative decisions to use money from a government trust fund for affordable housing called the Sadowski Trust Fund for other purposes.

If 60 percent of voters approve, the proposed electoral measure in the Florida Constitution would establish the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund. It would require the trust funds to receive at least 25 percent of the revenue from deed taxes – which are levied on real estate transactions – and would detail how the money could be used to create affordable housing.

The housing proposal would likely be one of the most high-profile initiatives in the November 2022 vote, coming after Republican lawmakers took a series of steps to make constitutional amendments harder to pass.

These steps included the passage of a law that year that Set a contribution limit of $ 3,000 to political committees that collect petition signatures for election initiatives. The limit would make it much more difficult – critics say impossible – to collect the required signatures on the petition.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis halves the money for a fund for affordable housing

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis halves the money for a fund for affordable housing

By Alex Galbraith and NSF


The law (SB 1890) was due to go into effect July 1, after millions of dollars were paid to the Affordable Housing Initiative. But U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor blocked the law last week, saying it violated the First Amendment.

Political committees are required to submit updated financial reports to the Elections Department on Monday. Another proposed constitutional amendment that could raise large sums of money is an initiative to legalize sports betting across Florida.

DraftKings and FanDuel, two major online sports betting platforms, support the proposal that taxes on sports betting must flow into education. The Florida Education Champions political body, which leads the initiative, hadn’t released a financial report by Wednesday afternoon.

Stay up to date with the latest news and views from Central Florida with our weekly edition Newsletter, and think about it Support this free publication. Our small but fine team works tirelessly to bring you the news from Central Florida, and every little bit helps.

Demolition of collapsed condominium tower in Florida to start Sunday night time

In this handout image dated July 2, 2021, search and rescue workers are working on the site of a collapsed Florida condominium complex in Surfside, Miami, USA.


The demolition of the partially collapsed residential tower in Surfside, Florida will begin search operations on Sunday evening once the site is safe, according to Miami-Dade County’s Mayoress Daniella Levine Cava.

The demolition will take place between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., Levine Cava said during a press conference on Sunday evening. According to the Miami-Dade police, residents in the protection zone should stay indoors with immediate effect.

The on-site protection order will be lifted two hours after the demolition is complete, Levine Cava said. Residents should close all windows, doors and air intakes, she said.

“The demolition is limited to the immediate vicinity of the building,” said the mayor. “However, there is dust and other particles that are an inevitable by-product of all types of demolition, and as a precautionary measure, we ask residents in the immediate vicinity to stay indoors during the demolition.”

Search and rescue operations on the building were temporarily suspended on Saturday afternoon in preparation for demolition, which included drilling the building’s remaining pillars. Levine Cava said Sunday the search would resume immediately after the building is shut down and the site is believed to be safe.

“The controlled demolition of the building is critical to expanding our search area, as you know in the pile, and allowing us to search the area closest to the building, the one for the teams given the great risk to ours Teams was inaccessible. ” First responders because of the instability of the building, “said Levine Cava.

No one has been rescued since the first hours after the Champlain Towers South collapsed 11 days ago. The death toll rose to 24 by Saturday, 121 are still missing. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference early Saturday that the state will pay for all costs of the demolition.

The demolition is carried out through a technique called “energetic felling,” which relies on gravity to demolish the building with small designations and limit the collapse to the area of ​​the building, according to Levine Cava.

The officials initially thought it could take weeks to demolish. Plans to demolish the remaining structure were accelerated, however, amid concerns that the effects of the weather from Tropical Storm Elsa could hit Florida early next week and further threaten the unstable structure with heavy rains and winds.

The cause of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South, built in the 1980s, is still unknown. But an engineering office submitted a 2018 report Warning of cracks and major structural damage under the building’s pool deck.