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Government & Political News 

Federal, State, County & Municipal News

November 2018 Martin County Meetings

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BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
November 13 & 20, 2018 at 9:00 am
Location: Commission Chambers
These meetings will be televised live on MCTV Channel 20 (Comcast), Channel 99 (U-verse), and online at www.martin.fl.us.

TREASURE COAST TRI-COUNTY COMMISSION MEETING
November 26, 2018 at 9:00 am
Location: Indian River State College Main Campus, Brown Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Room Y-102, 3209 Virginia Avenue, Fort Pierce, FL 34981
This is a joint meeting with the Martin County Board of County Commissioners, the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners, and the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING ADVISORY COMMITTEE & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT CITIZEN ADVISORY TASK FORCE – joint meeting
November 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm
Location: Growth Management Department Conference Room (1st floor)

JOINT CITIZEN’S ADVISORY COMMITTEE/BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE/TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE of the Metropolitan Planning Organization
November 26, 2018 at 1:30 pm
Location: Workshop Meeting Room (4th floor)

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
November 26, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers
This meeting will be televised live on MCTV Channel 20 (Comcast), Channel 99 (U-verse), and online at www.martin.fl.us.

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY LICENSING BOARD
November 14, 2018 at 4:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers

COUNTY HEALTH CARE REVIEW BOARD
November 21, 2018 at 11:00 am
Location: Growth Management Department Conference Room (1st floor)

HOBE SOUND NEIGHBORHOOD ADVISORY COMMITTEE
November 28, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Location: Hobe Sound Community Center, 8980 SE Olympus Street, Hobe Sound

JENSEN BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD ADVISORY COMMITTEE
November 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Location: Jensen Beach Community Center, 1912 NE Jensen Beach Boulevard, Jensen Beach

LOCAL PLANNING AGENCY
November 15, 2018 at 7:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers
This meeting will be televised live on MCTV Channel 20 (Comcast), Channel 99 (U-verse), and online at www.martin.fl.us.

PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD
November 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm
Location: Growth Management Department Conference Room (1st floor)

PUBLIC ART SITE SELECTION COMMITTEE
November 26, 2018 at 4:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers

RIO NEIGHBORHOOD ADVISORY COMMITTEE
November 29, 2018 at 6:00 pm
Location: Vince Bocchino Community Center, 2369 NE Dixie Highway, Jensen Beach

TOURIST DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL
November 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers

All Board of County Commission Offices and Libraries will be closed Monday, November 12 in observance of the Veterans Day holiday & Thursday and Friday, November 22 and 23 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Gov. Scott Announces Nearly $30 Million in Awards for Florida Job Growth Grant Fund Projects

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TALLAHASSEE – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced eight awards for $28.6 million in funding from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, established by Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature last year, provides funding for improving public infrastructure and enhancing workforce training in Florida. Since this July, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has received more than 90 proposals requesting more than $531 million in funding. Today’s announcement reflects a total of more than $113 million in funding awarded to 41 communities across the state since the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund was established. In total, through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, more than $39 million has been awarded to 15 rural communities.

Governor Scott said, “The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund supports job growth through projects that allow communities to meet the changing infrastructure and workforce needs for their regions, encouraging business to invest and expand in Florida, which means more opportunities for Florida families. More than $113 million has already been awarded to promote strong economic development in 41 communities across our state, and we are excited to continue to grow Florida’s economy – which has already created more than 1.6 million jobs since December 2010.”

The eight awarded projects include:

Columbia County ($10,200,000) for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant which will serve the North Florida Mega Industrial Park, nearby correctional facilities, Florida Gateway Airport, Florida Gateway College and other areas east of Lake City.
Hardee County Industrial Development Authority ($2,360,000) to provide water and sewer infrastructure for the development of an additional 20 lots of land within Hardee County Commerce Park, which will make the area more attractive for manufacturing companies looking for new locations.
Indian River State College ($1,530,000) to address the workforce gap in the marine and aeronautical manufacturing sectors by implementing successful training models and providing students with on-the-job training that aligns with the current supply and demand of jobs.
Jackson County ($5,880,000) to redevelop the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys campus into a regional distribution and manufacturing center, including a state center of excellence for Autism Spectrum Disorder transition training.
Melbourne Airport Authority ($4,000,000) to design and construct an enclosure structure at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport to serve as a noise barrier for aircraft engine testing, attract new clients within the aviation industry and meet the needs of current airport tenants.
Pasco County Sheriff’s Office ($1,800,000) to develop the Florida Forensic Institute for Research, Security and Tactics, a state-of-the-art law enforcement training center complex that will offer cutting-edge training to transform public safety through research, education and innovation.
School District of Indian River ($532,000) to expand the School District of Indian River County’s Technical Center for Career and Adult Education’s program offerings to include welding technologies, building construction technologies, commercial and culinary arts.
South Florida State College ($2,296,895) to support the development of jobs in three areas: (1) an expansion of an advanced manufacturing curriculum where students will pursue courses designed for mechanists and industrial maintenance; (2) the creation of a construction institute aimed at providing programs in basic building trades and residential construction; and (3) a program for veterans and transitioning military personnel to be trained as electronic warfare technicians to fill a need for Florida’s defense-based industries.

These proposals were reviewed by DEO, Enterprise Florida (EFI) and chosen by Governor Scott based on their strong return on investment to the state and to meet the demand for a robust workforce or infrastructure needs. Return on investment was calculated to determine the best projects for the state and economic development in the regions.

Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of DEO, said, “The Florida Job Growth Grant continues to make Florida a top competitor for attracting businesses to our state. We are proud to support regional projects that strengthen our skilled workforce and provide necessary infrastructure to support Florida businesses, families and communities.”

Peter Antonacci, CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. said, “By investing in these projects, Florida has committed to developing a stronger workforce and expansive infrastructure that will help create new jobs for Floridians and provide more opportunity for communities to succeed. Enterprise Florida’s Board of Directors will continue to make sure Florida remains the number one destination for business.”

For more information about the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, visit www.FloridaJobs.org/JobGrowth.

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POTUS ENACTS OPIOIDS PACKAGE WITH RUBIO PROVISION TO ELIMINATE PATIENT BROKERING

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Miami, FL – Today, President Trump signed into law the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, which includes several provisions championed by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to prevent and treat opioid addiction, including the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act. This provision will help stop payments to middlemen referring patients to illicit sober homes and treatment centers—increasingly a problem in South Florida. The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act passed the Senate, 98-1, on October 3.

“President Trump’s signing of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act today is an important step in combatting the opioid crisis plaguing communities in my home state of Florida and across our country,” Rubio said. “This opioids bill will help many Americans struggling with addiction, and I’m proud of the provisions I secured, including measures to ensure necessary care for newborn babies suffering from opioid withdrawal, and eliminate patient brokering within disreputable treatment clinics and sober homes. I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their help in securing these important provisions, and I thank President Trump for signing this bill into law.”

In May, Rubio toured a Pompano Beach sober home and discussed challenges South Florida faces with the opioid crisis, which motivated many of the critical provisions he secured in the opioids package. Rubio also met with members of the Palm Beach County heroin and sober homes task forces to identify meaningful opportunities to end this crisis, including Palm Beach County State Attorney, Dave Aronberg, who raised the issue of patient brokering, which led to the creation of Rubio’s Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act.

Rubio-championed provisions:

· The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act, which Rubio introduced with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to help stop payments to middlemen referring patients to illicit sober homes and treatment centers;

· Legislation to improve the quality of care provided to newborn babies suffering from opioid withdrawal by providing states additional funding to research babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS);

· The Hospice Safe Drug Disposal Act, legislation to allow hospice providers to safely dispose of unused opioids so they do not end up in the wrong hands;

· The Sober Home Fraud Detection Act, legislation to help states, law enforcement, private insurers and patients identify potentially illicit sober homes to help ensure those who need care are able to find reputable legitimate facilities;

· The Synthetics Abuse and Labeling of Toxic Substances (SALTS) Act, which will make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute those that sell and distribute synthetic drugs that are substantially similar to other illegal drugs by closing a loophole that enabled wrongdoers to avoid prosecution by simply labeling the deadly drug as “not intended for human consumption”;

· The Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, legislation to interdict international shipments of fentanyl, synthetic opioids, and other narcotics through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The bill requires advanced information on where the shipment is coming from, where it is going, and its contents, and instructs the USPS and Customs and Border Protection to develop technology to identify fentanyl and illicit opioids entering the United States by mail.

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RUBIO STATEMENT ON THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1983 BEIRUT MARINE BARRACKS BOMBING

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Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today issued a statement to mark the 35th anniversary of the Beirut Marine Barracks bombing:

“Our grateful nation today remembers the 241 Americans whom Iran-backed Hizballah terrorists murdered in the Beirut Marine Barracks bombing on October 23, 1983. I join the President, the Congress, and the American people in honoring the ultimate sacrifice that these U.S. service members made 35 years ago.

“As Beirut Marine families continue to seek justice in U.S. courts against those responsible for this heinous attack, I urge the Administration, through the Solicitor General, to tell the U.S. Supreme Court that it opposes the Iranian terrorist regime’s request to overturn a federal appeals court decision preventing $1.7 billion in frozen assets from returning to the Central Bank of Iran.

“Congress recently passed my new bipartisan Hizballah sanctions legislation, which is now headed to the White House to become law. I will never cease efforts to counter Hizballah terrorists and their sponsors in the Iranian regime who are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans.”

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RUBIO REQUESTS FEMA TO ADDRESS DEBRIS REMOVAL GUIDELINES AFTER HURRICANE MICHAEL

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Miami, FL – After the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report highlighting serious deficiencies in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) debris removal guidance after Hurricane Irma, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today encouraged Administrator Brock Long to implement recommendations outlined in the report in order to help Florida repair and rebuild from the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael, and future storms.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Administrator Long:

I write to express concern regarding findings from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) observations released on September 27, 2018, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) debris monitoring efforts for Hurricane Irma and to encourage FEMA to expeditiously implement the recommendations set forth. I believe prompt attention is even more critical given that Florida has now sustained another major disaster and many Florida communities with limited resources will need to be protected from potential waste, fraud and abuse in the debris removal process.

While I recognize the difficult task FEMA was presented last year responding to three major hurricanes, this report highlighted serious deficiencies in FEMA’s debris removal guidance that must be addressed. According to the report, the majority of Florida municipalities the OIG visited relied on contractors to perform debris monitoring. The OIG found this may have resulted from FEMA’s elimination of debris monitor responsibilities from its Public Assistance (PA) guidance. This omission led to a system where sub-recipients employed new, temporary hires or contractors for debris monitoring. However, FEMA only provided training for these individuals upon request. Thus, in many instances, there was no direct oversight by FEMA over debris operations, leading to an increased risk of fraud, waste, and abuse to Florida’s communities.

More specifically, it is also my understanding that Florida debris removal sites visited by the OIG did not contain weight scales, and the monitors at these sites did not measure tree stumps as requested. This resulted in higher removal costs as debris haulers could persuade untrained monitors to estimate their debris loads at higher levels, even when the loads appeared to be much smaller in size.

The OIG report highlighted serious concerns with federal oversight of the debris removal process, but also provided important recommendations that must be promptly implemented, such as developing and updating Public Assistance removal guidance, which will allow for increased oversight capabilities and quality control methods for verifying debris amounts collected. While FEMA concurs with the recommendations, the agency also indicated that its estimated completion date is August 30, 2019. I encourage FEMA to address these recommendations expeditiously given their importance to the State of Florida in helping our communities repair and rebuild from the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael.

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Do You Have a Plan for Your Digital Assets?

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Article by: ProActive Legal Care Law Office

Out2News.comOver the last several years, the Internet and many other digital products have gone from being something only a small number of people were even aware of to an essential part of everyday life for most people. Today, people keep photos, journals, financial documents, and just about everything else you can imagine online. Just like real physical items, digital assets can be extremely valuable both financially and emotionally. With this in mind, it is important to ensure your estate planning includes what you want to happen to all your digital assets.

Choosing Successors

Part of estate planning is choosing who you want to get what from your estate. Many people leave most of their assets to their children, but giving to charity and other things is also quite common. With digital assets, you may want to do the same thing. Social media accounts often contain a lot of pictures, videos, and special moments that people will want to cherish. Leaving the rights and responsibilities of these accounts to your loved ones may be a very touching decision. If you make money online through a blog or other asset, you may want to leave it to a partner or someone else who can benefit from it. Go through all your digital assets and choose who you want each of them to go to.

Providing Access

One of the most common rules of the digital world is that you shouldn’t write down your password or share it with others. When planning out what will happen with your digital assets, however, that is not really practical. Make a full list of all your accounts, usernames, and passwords so that they can be distributed according to your wishes. There are services online that can securely store this type of information, but that can come with certain risks. Many people will write or print the information and then keep it in a safety deposit box at their local bank.

Use the Tools Provided

Many sites and services online have tools and systems set up specifically to help address issues that can come up after you pass away. For example, Facebook can “memorialize” an account once they are given proof of the death of the individual. This will make it so friends can view posts and write remembrances on their wall. You can also set up email auto-responders to let people know what happened. Look into these types of tools for all digital assets and make sure to write out how you want them handled when you’re gone.

Let People Know

Planning for your digital assets won’t do any good if you don’t let your loved ones know that this has been done. Many people will include instructions on where you kept your digital asset information right in their Will or other estate planning vehicle. You can also tell loved ones what to do should you pass away. To make a legal plan for your digital assets, please contact ProActive Legal Care to go over all your options.

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What is Crisis Medicard Planning?

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THE LAW OFFICES OF TRAVIS R. WALKER, P.A. SPONSORS THE STUART AIR SHOW FOR THE FIRST TIME

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The Stuart Air Show attracts spectators from the Treasure Coast and beyond and we are excited to be a part of an event which brings so much good to our beautiful area.

STUART-If you live in the Treasure Coast and surrounding areas and haven’t been to the Stuart Air Show yet, you have no idea what you’re missing and The Law Offices of Travis R.

Walker, P.A. is joining in on the fun this year! We are proud to be a sponsor of the Stuart Air Show for the first time this year and will be participating with a booth at the show, attendance at the Dirty Flight Suit Party, and attendance by members of the firm on both days!

The Stuart Air Show’s mission is to promote a safe, family entertainment event while providing financial support to tis benefiting non-profit organizations. Year-round the Stuart Air Show gives back to our community in so many ways including financial support to the United Way of Martin County, Stuart Police Department, Special Olympics, Civic Air Patrol, St. Lucie and Martin County High School Scholarships and so much more. We found it so important to support an event that not only benefits our local non-profits but also benefits the local economy. The Stuart Air Show is attended by 40,000 people each year and is run by volunteers!!

The show aims to celebrate aviation by honoring its past and inspiring its future and does that by offering an up-close experience on the ground and spectacular show from the air of aviation spanning decades. At the show you can see the United States Marine Corp Harrier demonstrate it’s impressive capabilities in a 10 minute show, watch the Phillips 66 Aerostars perform who have been performing together for over a decade, see the Round Canopy Parachuting Team conduct a memorial ground service to honor Allied Paratroopers and all Veterans, watch Matt Younkin who has perfected the world’s only night aerobatic display in the Beech 18, a Fireworks show and more.

The entertainment is not only in the air but also on the ground. This is where you can stop by our booth to pick up some TRW Swag, visit the Kids Zone, see the Memphis Belle, the OV1 Mohawk, the C130J, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, enjoy craft beers from local breweries and food from around the Treasure Coast, carnival rides and more. Not only can you tour some of these world-famous planes on the ground, but you can also sign up to ride in some! We’ve heard from members around the community that these flight experiences are unlike anything else you’ll ever experience and can truly take you back in time.

We hope you can join us at the Stuart Air Show November 2nd- 4th at the Witham Air Field in Stuart. Tickets can be purchased online at the Stuart Air Show website. This website will also provide you with more information about the performers, planes, and exhibitors. The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker P.A. is excited to see what this year’s show brings and thankful to the volunteers who help to make it happen!!

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RUBIO LEADS COLLEAGUES IN URGING FEDERAL COMMISSION TO CREATE CENTRAL AUTHORITY FOR SCHOOL SAFETY

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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) led his Senate and House colleagues in urging Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and members of the Federal Commission on School Safety, to include in their final recommendation the creation of a central authority to help school districts seeking to improve safety features within new and existing schools. The letter urges DeVos “to ensure tight coordination and collaboration of effort among all federal agencies that are working on different aspects of school safety in order to eliminate duplication, redundancy, and waste of valuable resources.” The Commission, led by Secretary DeVos, also includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.

Rubio worked closely with Max Schachter – father of Parkland shooting victim, Alex Schachter, and CEO and founder of Safe Schools for Alex – who also testified before the Federal Commission on School Safety on the importance of ensuring our children are safe at school.

Joining Rubio was Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), as well as U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Rod Blum (R-IA), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Steve Knight (R-CA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Keith Rothfus (R-PA).

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary DeVos:

Thank you for your continued leadership on the Federal Commission on School Safety. We applaud the work and coordination between Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Justice to tackle this incredibly important issue and for bringing in expert witnesses to help you craft much needed recommendations.

There is an immense need to make a central point of information available to states and local education agencies on ways to improve school safety. Our nation’s educators are trained to teach and are not always equipped to identify weaknesses in school safety. They are also not the experts on what are the best, most cost effective ways to harden schools. However, the federal government has the capability to compile best practices and resources for educators that would like assistance on how to improve school safety without detracting from school elements that are conducive to learning. This is why we must explore the feasibility of creating a central clearing house or repository to make sure all our efforts are being coordinated.

School safety is a top priority for this country. As a result, we are exposing the drastic inefficiencies of a patchwork of federal agencies performing important, but separate work in pursuing the same goal. Each agency is working independently and the lack of coordination and overall direction is hindering progress necessary to keep our children safe and prevent these tragedies from happening in the future. A central authority is needed to ensure tight coordination and collaboration of effort among all federal agencies that are working on different aspects of school safety in order to eliminate duplication, redundancy, and waste of valuable resources.

We urge you to include, as a recommendation in your final report, that a central clearing house be created and a central authority be identified. School safety deserves the considerable resources of the federal government to work in unison to keep America’s children safe at school. Schools, districts, and states that are working to keep schools safe need to see a united effort by the federal government to support them.

We look forward to working with you on this issue and ensuring that our efforts are being properly focused on keeping our children, teachers and families across this nation safe.

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RUBIO LEADS COLLEAGUES IN URGING FEDERAL COMMISSION TO CREATE CENTRAL AUTHORITY FOR SCHOOL SAFETY

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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) led his Senate and House colleagues in urging Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and members of the Federal Commission on School Safety, to include in their final recommendation the creation of a central authority to help school districts seeking to improve safety features within new and existing schools. The letter urges DeVos “to ensure tight coordination and collaboration of effort among all federal agencies that are working on different aspects of school safety in order to eliminate duplication, redundancy, and waste of valuable resources.” The Commission, led by Secretary DeVos, also includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.

Rubio worked closely with Max Schachter – father of Parkland shooting victim, Alex Schachter, and CEO and founder of Safe Schools for Alex – who also testified before the Federal Commission on School Safety on the importance of ensuring our children are safe at school.

Joining Rubio was Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), as well as U.S. Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Rod Blum (R-IA), Barbara Comstock (R-VA), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Steve Knight (R-CA), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Keith Rothfus (R-PA).

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary DeVos:

Thank you for your continued leadership on the Federal Commission on School Safety. We applaud the work and coordination between Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Justice to tackle this incredibly important issue and for bringing in expert witnesses to help you craft much needed recommendations.

There is an immense need to make a central point of information available to states and local education agencies on ways to improve school safety. Our nation’s educators are trained to teach and are not always equipped to identify weaknesses in school safety. They are also not the experts on what are the best, most cost effective ways to harden schools. However, the federal government has the capability to compile best practices and resources for educators that would like assistance on how to improve school safety without detracting from school elements that are conducive to learning. This is why we must explore the feasibility of creating a central clearing house or repository to make sure all our efforts are being coordinated.

School safety is a top priority for this country. As a result, we are exposing the drastic inefficiencies of a patchwork of federal agencies performing important, but separate work in pursuing the same goal. Each agency is working independently and the lack of coordination and overall direction is hindering progress necessary to keep our children safe and prevent these tragedies from happening in the future. A central authority is needed to ensure tight coordination and collaboration of effort among all federal agencies that are working on different aspects of school safety in order to eliminate duplication, redundancy, and waste of valuable resources.

We urge you to include, as a recommendation in your final report, that a central clearing house be created and a central authority be identified. School safety deserves the considerable resources of the federal government to work in unison to keep America’s children safe at school. Schools, districts, and states that are working to keep schools safe need to see a united effort by the federal government to support them.

We look forward to working with you on this issue and ensuring that our efforts are being properly focused on keeping our children, teachers and families across this nation safe.

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RUBIO, WARNER URGE PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU TO RECONSIDER HUAWEI INCLUSION IN CANADA’S 5G NETWORK

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Warner (D-VA) urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reconsider Huawei’s inclusion in any aspect of Canada’s 5G development, introduction, and maintenance. The letter follows comments made by Head-Designee of the Canadian Center for Cyber Security Scott Jones regarding Huawei. The entry of Chinese state-directed telecommunications companies like Huawei into the Canadian market could seriously jeopardize the relationship between U.S. and Canadian carriers, depriving North American operators of the scale needed to rapidly build out 5G networks.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

We write with grave concerns about the possibility that Canada might include Huawei Technologies or any other Chinese state-directed telecommunications company in its fifth-generation (5G) telecommunications network infrastructure. As you are aware, Huawei is not a normal private-sector company. There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party—and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a “national champion,” is no exception.

Based on what we know about Chinese state-directed telecommunications companies, it was troubling to learn that on September 20, 2018, the new Head-Designee of the Canadian Center for Cyber Security Scott Jones told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that banning Huawei is not needed, in response to a question about why Canada has not come out against Huawei as other Five Eyes allies have. Specifically, he claimed that Canada has “a very advanced relationship with our telecommunications providers, something that is different from most other countries,” adding, “We have a program that is very deep in terms of working on increasing that broader resilience piece especially as we are looking at the next-generation telecommunications networks.”

In contrast to Mr. Scott’s comments, however, three former senior Canadian national security officials warned earlier this year against the inclusion of Huawei in Canada’s 5G network. One of them—Mr. Ward Elcock, former Deputy Minister of National Defence—told the Globe and Mail on March 18, 2018, “I have a pretty good idea of how signal-intelligence agencies work and the rules under which they work and their various operations,” concluding that, “I would not want to see Huawei equipment being incorporated into a 5G network in Canada.”

While Canada has strong telecommunications security safeguards in place, we have serious concerns that such safeguards are inadequate given what the United States and other allies know about Huawei. Indeed, we are concerned about the impact that any decision to include Huawei in Canada’s 5G networks will have on both Canadian national security and “Five Eyes” joint intelligence cooperation among the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. As you know, Australia effectively banned Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese state-directed companies from its nation’s 5G networks by excluding firms that “are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” and therefore pose unacceptable risks to national security. Moreover, the United Kingdom’s Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board’s 2018 annual report to Britain’s national security adviser found that “identification of shortcomings in Huawei’s engineering processes have exposed new risks in the UK telecommunications networks and long-term challenges to mitigation and management.”

Further, the strong alignment between the United States and Canada in spectrum management has meant that American and Canadian carriers in many cases share complementary spectrum holdings, jointly benefiting from economies of scale for equipment designed for regionally harmonized frequencies. The entry of suppliers such as Huawei into the Canadian market could seriously jeopardize this dynamic, depriving both Canadian and American operators of the scale needed to rapidly build out 5G networks.

Given the strong statements by former Canadian national security officials as well as similar concerns out of the U.S., Australia, and the United Kingdom, we hope that you will reconsider Huawei’s inclusion in any aspect of Canada’s 5G development, introduction, and maintenance. Should you have any questions about the threat that Chinese state-directed telecommunications firms pose to your networks, we urge your government to seek additional information from the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

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RUBIO, SHAHEEN, CRAPO HIZBALLAH SANCTIONS BILL HEADS TO PRESIDENT’S DESK

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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate passed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, authored by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY). The bill now heads to the President to be signed into law.

The bill strengthens and expands the scope of economic and financial sanctions imposed by the original Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act (Public Law 104-102), which Rubio and Shaheen co-authored with Royce and Engel in 2015.

“Iranian-backed Hizballah terrorists are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, and continue to pose grave threats to the United States and our allies, including the democratic state of Israel,” Rubio said. “This legislation will strengthen international efforts to combat the financing and expansion of Hizballah’s terrorist and missile threats, as well as its narcotics trafficking and other transnational criminal activities, and build upon the successes of our 2015 law that targets Hizballah, its proxies and its enablers. I thank my colleagues in the Senate and House for their support of this important bill, and I look forward to seeing the president sign it into law soon.”

“Hizballah has American blood on its hands and remains an ever-present threat to our national security and that of our allies, especially Israel,” said Shaheen. “This bipartisan legislation helps further close the space in which Hizballah operates and ensures that our government is comprehensively targeting Hizballah’s networks of support and holding its backers accountable. I look forward to the President signing this legislation into law so that these enhanced measures can go into effect as soon as possible.”

“Hizballah, its agents and Iranian financial backers are experts in the art of concealing their nefarious dealings,” said Crapo. “This legislation, spearheaded by Senators Rubio, Shaheen and our House colleagues, builds on the legislation passed in 2015, imposes additional sanctions on Hizballah, and targets those foreign nations, government agencies and foreign companies or individuals who would support its terrorist activities by knowingly providing arms, recruitment services and combat or financial support to its terrorist activities. It is long overdue, and constant vigilance must be maintained if we are ever to see an end to the evil this terrorist group brings.”

“I’m pleased the Senate has approved and the President is expected to sign bipartisan legislation to provide the administration with important new tools to combat the terrorist group Hezbollah,” said Brown. “Congress must continue to press efforts to disrupt Hezbollah’s financing while strongly supporting our allies, including Israel, through closer security cooperation. This bill makes clear we must confront this threat by deploying a broad range of tools — sanctions, law enforcement, financial, regulatory and others — to combat Hezbollah, its affiliates and supporters throughout the region.”

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RUBIO, NELSON URGE VA SECRETARY TO MOBILIZE SERVICES FOR VETERANS IMPACTED BY HURRICANE MICHAEL

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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) urged Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert Wilkie to authorize increased outreach efforts and benefits assistance for Florida veterans impacted by Hurricane Michael. The letter also thanks the Secretary for actions the VA has already taken, including activation of the Pharmacy Disaster Relief Plan, which ensures that veterans have access to an emergency supply of medication after the storm. Yesterday, Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach as a powerful category 4 storm.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary Wilkie:

As Florida’s panhandle begins the response and recovery process following major Hurricane Michael, we respectfully request you to direct your department to do everything in its power to ensure our affected veterans are taken care of in the aftermath of this catastrophic storm. Florida is home to more than 1.5 million veterans, many of whom are over the age of 65 and rely on VA programs and facilities in their day-to-day lives. Recognizing the magnitude of this storm, we urge you to authorize increased outreach efforts and benefits assistance, to the maximum extent possible, for impacted veterans.

Having these programs and facilities available will be vital to ensuring the health and safety of our veterans, and we support the VA’s discretion in continuing operations at various medical centers and outpatient clinics. We also write to express gratitude for measures the VA has already implemented to provide increased flexibility for veterans impacted by the storm, such as the Pharmacy Disaster Relief Plan.

As you begin to assess the damage sustained to Veterans Health System facilities in the Florida panhandle, we also urge the department to deploy VA Mobile Facilities to assist veterans in areas where clinics remained closed. We stand ready to assist the department, and look forward to working together to provide veterans affected by Hurricane Michael with needed relief to recover from this disaster.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

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RUBIO, NELSON, FLORIDA COLLEAGUES URGE POTUS TO APPROVE GOVERNOR SCOTT’S REQUEST FOR A MAJOR DISASTER DECLARATION IN RESPONSE TO HURRICANE MICHAEL

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Washington, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Florida Representatives urged President Donald Trump to approve Florida Governor Rick Scott’s request for a major disaster declaration in response to Hurricane Michael. While the full extent of the damage is yet unknown, quick approval of the declaration is needed so that Florida can have access to all federal resources needed to commence its recovery and rebuilding process. To date, the State of Florida has spent approximately $40 million on response costs. This catastrophic storm made landfall as a strong category 4 hurricane, and reports have shown widespread damage.

Joining Senators Rubio and Nelson were U.S. Representatives Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL) Kathy Castor (D-FL), Lois Frankel (D-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Val Demings (D-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Bill Posey (R-FL).

Today, the Governor requested that the President declare a Major Disaster for the State of Florida in response to Hurricane Michael, beginning on October 7, 2018. Specifically, it requests Individual Assistance and Public Assistance, including direct Federal assistance for 14 counties (Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla Counties), and Hazard Mitigation statewide. The State requested a 100 percent Federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B) for the first 60 days, with a 90 percent Federal cost share afterwards. In addition, it contains a request for Public Assistance, including: Transitional Sheltering Assistance (Category B); and 90 percent Federal cost share for permanent work (Categories C-G).

Timeline of Rubio Actions related to Hurricane Michael:

· This morning, ahead of Hurricane Michael’s Landfall, Rubio urged Attorney General Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig to assist communities affected by the storm.

· On October 9, 2018, Rubio joined Senator Nelson and Florida Representatives in urging President Trump to approve Florida Governor Rick Scott’s request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Michael.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Mr. President:

As Hurricane Michael, a devastating category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, made landfall today near Mexico Beach, Florida, we write in full support of Florida’s request for a major disaster declaration. With Hurricane Michael causing catastrophic damage across North Florida, it is critical that assistance is immediately provided to impacted communities.

Thank you for your prompt signing of the pre-landfall disaster declaration on October 9, 2018, which was vital to the state’s preparation efforts. Today, recognizing the magnitude of this storm, the State of Florida requested a major disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is paramount in the protection and recovery of affected Floridians in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Federal government resources will be vital after this unprecedented storm, and coordination between the federal government and state and local officials is essential. In particular, federal resources will be desperately needed for emergency officials and volunteers to assist those in northwest Florida and along the western coast of the state who are isolated and in need of aid. The size of this storm warrants a major disaster declaration as sustained winds and storm surge have been reported as causing record damage.

Thus, we urge you to promptly approve the Governor’s request for a major disaster declaration, so the State of Florida will have access to all federal resources needed to commence its recovery and rebuilding process.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

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SENATE SENDS WRDA TO PRESIDENT WITH KEY RUBIO PROVISIONS

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Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today passed the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021), also known as WRDA, which includes key provisions secured by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) authorizing critical U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects related to Everglades restoration, beach renourishment, flood control, navigation, and environmental protection. The bill now heads to the President to be signed into law.

“The most significant challenge facing Florida is the need to improve our water quality,” Rubio said. “I applaud Senate passage of this water infrastructure bill, which includes key authorization projects that will address Florida’s growing water challenges. Most significantly, I’ve ensured that this bill will authorize the new EAA Storage Reservoir to help reduce harmful discharges to Florida’s coasts and enhance the promise of Everglades restoration. I thank my colleagues for working together to get this bill passed, and I look forward to seeing the president sign it into law soon.”

Rubio supported provisions included in the 2018 WRDA bill:

· Authorization of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir to be built south of Lake Okeechobee (Section 1308).

· Authorization for St. Lucie County’s Coastal Risk Management Project for beach renourishment of severely eroded shoreline (Subsection 1401(3)).

· Authorization for St. John’s County’s Coastal Storm Risk Management Project in South Ponte Vedra, Vilano and Summer Haven Beaches (Subsection 1401(3)).

· Modified authorization for the Kissimmee River Restoration Project to credit the South Florida Water Management District for in-kind work the Army Corps previously approved (Section 1309).

· Deauthorization of the L-212 Levee, as requested by the St. Johns River Water Management District (Section 1310).

· Language directing the Army Corps to expedite completion of the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule to coincide with completion of the Herbert Hoover Dike rehabilitation (Section 1106).

· Language directing the Army Corps to provide technical assistance when requested and paid for by a non-Federal interest (Section 1152).

· Reauthorization and extension of the non-Federal implementation pilot program to identify cost-saving project delivery alternatives for non-Federal interests to carry out the design and construction of projects for flood risk management, hurricane and storm damage reduction, ecosystem restoration, and coastal harbor and channel and inland harbor navigation (Section 1137).

· Language establishing a process to deauthorize inactive federal projects that are no longer viable for construction (Section 1301); and to extend the period for automatic deauthorization of studies and projects in the 2014 WRDA bill to ensure that complex projects, including several in Florida, that should be implemented in multiple phases over a period of several years, are excluded from a deauthorization (Section 1330).

· Language providing enhanced flexibility for addressing in-kind work in project partnership agreements, which would allow the South Florida Water Management District to secure deserved financial credit for state work on Everglades restoration projects (Section 1147).

Background on Rubio’s Everglades Efforts

· Ahead of the vote on the Kendall Parkway Project, Rubio urged Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to demonstrate a clear commitment to protecting Everglades restoration ahead of the vote on the Comprehensive Development Master Plan (CDMP). He also released a video outlining his conditions for supporting the project.

· Last month, Rubio teamed up with Senator Bill Nelson (FL) and U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) to write language authorizing the EAA Storage Reservoir, to be built south of Lake Okeechobee, which was included in the WRDA.

· In August, Rubio announced his objections to the Kendall Parkway Project until Everglades protection was guaranteed. He also urged Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to help deliver relief to Florida communities plagued with algal blooms by bringing WRDA for a vote in the Senate as soon as possible.

· In July, Rubio called the delays in the Army Corp’s new Everglades restoration schedule “unacceptable.”

· Following his June request, Rubio welcomed an announcement by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that it had approved the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Post-Authorization Change Report (PACR), allowing Congress to consider authorizing construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges to coastal communities.

· In June, the Senate passed a Rubio measure that reasserts the original intention for Everglades restoration efforts to redirect Lake Okeechobee discharges towards the Central Everglades. Rubio also secured key funding that enhances water quality and seagrass monitoring to assess the impact of discharges, and protected the Interior Department’s Everglades restoration budget from unjustified cuts.

· In May, Rubio secured a provision expediting design work on critical reservoirs to collect and clean Lake Okeechobee discharges and local runoff before release into the St. Lucie River and ultimately into the Indian River Lagoon. Rubio also secured funding in the Senate FY19 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill for critical Everglades restoration projects administered by the Army Corps.

· In March, Rubio urged the Army Corps to support Florida water projects and led the South Florida delegation in urging to expedite its review of CEPP’s Post-Authorization Change Report (PACR) submitted by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Rubio also urged the Army Corps to work with SFWMD to study, design, and construct a new flood and storm damage reduction project that addresses seepage and flood risks along the boundary of the eastern Everglades in Miami-Dade County.

· In February, Rubio urged the Army Corps of Engineers to use supplemental disaster funding to complete work on the Herbert Hoover Dike. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rubio was able to secure Lake Okeechobee relief funding in the disaster supplemental. Rubio raised inclusion of the EAA Storage Reservoir as his top priority for the 2018 WRDA bill to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

· In January, Rubio requested assistance from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to expedite critical Everglades restoration work. Rubio also outlined his support for the Strazzulla Marsh-Snail Farm land exchange to the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.

· South Florida leaders have commended Rubio’s leadership and work to restore the Everglades and improve the quality of Florida’s waterways.

· In 2016, Rubio’s efforts ultimately convinced former Senate Environment & Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe to support CEPP. Following the Senate’s passage of WRDA in September 2016, and Rubio urging key House and Senate committee leaders of both parties to retain important Florida projects in the final version of the bill, CEPP authorization was ultimately signed into law as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (Public Law 114-322).

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RUBIO, NELSON, FLORIDA COLLEAGUES URGE POTUS TO APPROVE EMERGENCY DECLARATION AHEAD OF HURRICANE MICHAEL

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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Florida Representatives urged President Trump to approve Florida Governor Rick Scott’s request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Michael. Yesterday, Governor Scott formally requested President Trump issue a federal declaration for 35 counties. If approved, the declaration would provide the resources needed to prepare and respond to the powerful hurricane. Hurricane Michael is projected to make landfall Wednesday in the Florida panhandle as a category 3 storm.

Joining Senators Rubio and Nelson were U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Val Demings (D-FL) and Al Lawson (D-FL).

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Mr. President:

We write in full support of Florida’s request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration in anticipation of Hurricane Michael. Based on the current forecast, this hurricane has the potential to severely impact communities across northern Florida and down the coast. We urge you to immediately approve this request to ensure that all federal resources are made available.

Since 2016, Florida has been hit by Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew, Irma, and Nate. While Floridians are still in the process of recovering from previous storms, federal resources are crucial to ensuring a successful response to Hurricane Michael. Preparation has been shown to be key in reducing the potential for loss of life and destruction of property. As such, we strongly urge you to consider all of the circumstances referenced in our Governor’s request, and approve this pre-landfall emergency declaration that will provide the assistance necessary to ensure the safety of Floridians.

Thank you for your attention and we look forward to working with you to ensure Florida recovers from this potentially dangerous storm.

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HOPE SCHOLARSHIP GIVES FLORIDA STUDENTS ACCESS TO BRIGHTER FUTURE

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Orlando, Fla. – The Ron DeSantis for Governor Campaign today applauded the launch of the Hope Scholarship that will offer Florida students a brighter future in the Sunshine State.

“I’m proud to see the Hope Scholarship go into effect, which will give more Florida students access to a great education,” said DeSantis. “The Hope Scholarship offers students who are victims of bullying access to a safe and successful learning environment. I support initiatives like the Hope Scholarship and other school choice programs because they empower families to make the best educational decisions for their children.”

“My opponent, Andrew Gillum, wants to take away choice scholarships from more than 150,000 mostly poor, minority and disabled students who depend on them. That’s not right,” continued DeSantis.

“As Governor, I’ll make sure we support these programs and give every student the chance to live their dreams,” concluded DeSantis.

The Hope Scholarship gives parents of eligible students the opportunity to find a safer learning environment among private schools participating in the program. It also allows parents to transfer their child to another K-12 public school with available capacity within the school district, or to receive funding to transport the student to a public school in another school district.

Under the legislation passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Scott, those purchasing motor vehicles can now designate up to $105 in sales tax on those purchases to Step Up for Students, which will administer the scholarship.

 

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Martin County Board of County Commissioners Passes 2019 Budget

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On Tuesday, September 25, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) approved the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, totaling $435 million. Health, safety and services improving the quality of life and welfare of the public continue to be a priority for the board. The budget also fully funds requests from constitutional officers including the Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller, Property Appraiser, Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections and Tax Collector, as well as the county’s medical examiner and certain aspects of the judicial system.

Developing the county budget is an open and interactive process, consisting of budget workshops and public hearings and is developed with direction and support from the BOCC. “I’m proud to be part of the hard work and public process involved in developing the county budget and look forward to continuing to provide the quality of service that residents have come to expect, along with the opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy all that makes Martin County a place we are proud to call home,” said Taryn Kryzda, Martin County Administrator.

The budget is meticulously managed by the Office of Management and Budget in partnership with county departments and leadership. Because of these efforts, Martin County’s budget has been recognized at a national level by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) with the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the twentieth consecutive year.

An electronic copy of the 2019 tentative budget can be found at http://bit.ly/MCFY19Budget along with a budget presentation outlining the process timeline and highlighting ad valorem impacts and capital improvement plan for deferred maintenance. The final budget will be available on the county’s website in the coming days. The Fiscal Year 2019 budget takes effect at the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.

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REPUBLICANS CAN HONOR LABOR DAY BY PUTTING AMERICAN WORKERS FIRST

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RPOF HOSTS RED WAVE VICTORY CALL

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Florida Grassroots Network Engages Two-Million Voter Contacts and Looks Ahead to Crushing the Elusive ‘Blue Wave’

TALLAHASSEE, FL- On the heels of a successful primary election, the Republican Party of Florida hosted the Red Wave Victory call with recently victorious Republican statewide candidates— Governor Rick Scott, Congressman Ron DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Judge Ashley Moody and Representative Matt Caldwell.

“Tuesday was a hugely successful night for the Republican Party of Florida,” said RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia on the conference call to hundreds of Party leaders. “We not only reached the two-millionth mark on voter engagement this election cycle; we elected a group of impressive and effective conservatives that will continue driving growth for our state. We are excited for this election and we thank you for being the heart and soul of this party. We cannot take anything for granted…take this election very, very seriously. It is pedal to the metal time from now to election day because there is no ‘blue wave’, it is a little blue ripple that will hit up against a big red wall on November 6. You guys are that wall!”

Florida’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Gov. Rick Scott said: “I am proud to be on this call today with Congressman DeSantis, Ashley Moody, CFO Jimmy Patronis and Matt Caldwell. We are going to work together to continue the legacy of what we’ve worked hard and created over the last 8 years— adding jobs, growing the economy and making Florida the best place for businesses and families to succeed…we’ve done really well, but we have to keep this up! And it’s up to all of us to come together and work together, and if we do that, we will have a great victory in November!”

“I look at Florida and think how lucky we are to live here…we are clearly going in the right direction with so many good things. And given the fact that Gov. Scott is leaving the state in much better shape than he found it in, I can come in and build off that legacy and do some great things in respect to the economy, education, the environment, the courts and illegal immigration. We have the starkest choice you can imagine in the Governor’s race. We need to work hard and put our vision out there as Republicans, and then contrast that with the really dangerous ideas Andrew Gillum espouses…I’m gonna work my butt off, I’m gonna outwork Gillum and I’m going to work as hard as I can for the people of this great state,” Gubernatorial nominee Cong. Ron DeSantis asserted.

“It’s such an honor to be on this ballot with Gov. Scott, Congressman DeSantis, CFO Patronis and Matt Caldwell,” added Attorney General nominee Ashley Moody. “I have a respect for and an understanding of the brilliant balance of our structure of government and the confines of power to which we give elected officials. This is a very, very important race. And during this campaign, I have traveled nearly 85,000 miles to get this message out—that is around the world three times, plus 10,000 miles. So, there can be no doubt that I am passionate about being the Attorney General, and I’m doing everything in my power to get there and I’m very grateful for all who have helped and will help as we move forward to November 6.”

“Thank you to the grassroots of our Party that has tuned in to be part of this conversation today. This is not about me, this is not about any of us, this is about you and how we need to be held accountable for the jobs we are applying for to have governance over your state. We have to hold strong to the Governor’s office and continue the path that we’ve started under the leadership of Governor Scott. And as we look to be good stewards of your dollars, we will fight every day to ensure that your taxes and your dollars are being spent wisely, but more importantly that we can return it back and let you spend your own money, which should be our charge,” CFO Jimmy Patronis chimed in.

“In the fall, super voting Republicans will vote for this ticket, and super voting Democrats will vote for the other ticket; a ticket that is overwhelmingly composed of socialists— people who absolutely have a completely different view of the world and a completely different set of goals than what we’ve been able to accomplish in the last eight years. For Florida to be successful, it is going to be about getting those voters who came out two years ago to vote for President Trump, to show up and vote. It is going to require lots of effort to engage this grassroots network and I’m excited to get out there and work with those folks to accomplish the opportunity to keep this state heading in the right direction,” said Commissioner of Agriculture nominee Matt Caldwell.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES URGE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO SANCTION HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS IN CHINA’S XINJIANG REGION

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair and cochair of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), led a bipartisan group of Senate and House members to urge Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to swiftly impose sanctions against those individuals and entities complicit in and directing human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Rubio recently discussed the Xinjiang issue on Tucker Carlson Tonight and wrote an op-ed on China’s campaign against Uyghur and other Muslim minorities. Last month, Rubio chaired a CECC hearing on the serious and deteriorating human rights situation faced by Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. In February, following reports detailing Chinese authorities’ data-banking efforts, Rubio raised concerns with Thermo Fisher Scientific, an American company supplying DNA sequencing equipment to Xinjiang police.

Joining Rubio and Smith were U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Angus King (I-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), James Lankford (R-OK), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and U.S. Representatives James McGovern (D-MA), James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Eliot Engel (D-NY).

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Secretaries Pompeo and Mnuchin:

We write to you as Commissioners of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and Members of Congress concerned about the ongoing human rights crisis in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where Muslim ethnic minorities are being subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, egregious restrictions on religious practice and culture, and a digitized surveillance system so pervasive that every aspect of daily life is monitored. Given the gravity of the situation, and the severity and scope of the rights abuses being perpetrated, we urge you to apply Global Magnitsky sanctions, and consider additional measures, against senior Chinese Government and Communist Party officials who oversee these repressive policies, including XUAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo.

The Chinese government is creating a high-tech police state in the XUAR that is both a gross violation of privacy and international human rights. Recently, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) convened a hearing on this issue in which a panel of expert witnesses—including Ambassador Kelley E. Currie, U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations)—testified to the grave and deteriorating situation on the ground in the XUAR. Ambassador Currie rightly characterized the scope of China’s campaign in Xinjiang as “truly breathtaking.” The detention of as many as a million or more Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in “political reeducation” centers or camps requires a tough, targeted, and global response. The complete written testimony of the senior U.S. Government official is included for your reference. No Chinese official or business complicit in what is happening in the XUAR should profit from access to the United States or the U.S. financial system.

There have been recent reports of deaths in custody, including suicides, in Xinjiang, and the Chinese government shows no sign of halting these rights violations. There is also evidence of an accelerated campaign to build additional detention facilities. Among those detained are dozens of family members of U.S.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) Uyghur Service journalists, as well as family members of prominent Uyghur rights activist Rebiya Kadeer. We welcome both Vice President Mike Pence’s remarks regarding Chinese human rights abuses in Xinjiang at the State Department’s recent Ministerial to Advance International Religious Freedom, as well as the State Department’s statements condemning the detention of the families of Radio Free Asia Uyghur Service journalists. We are hopeful that the State Department will seek additional opportunities to condemn these abuses while also undertaking robust diplomatic engagement with likeminded governments to further elevate this human rights crisis in international forums and multilateral institutions.

We therefore urge the Departments of State and Treasury to swiftly act to sanction those individuals and entities complicit in and directing human rights violations in the XUAR. Specifically, we urge you to sanction Chen Quanguo, XUAR Communist Party Secretary and Politburo Member, and other XUAR officials complicit in human rights abuses, under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (P.L. 114-328, Subtitle F). We also urge consideration of sanctions under Executive Order 13818—which expands the actors and entities subject to sanction under the law—against entities assisting XUAR officials in mass detentions and surveillance of ethnic minorities, including Chinese companies like Hikvision and Dahua Technology that have profited greatly from the surge in security spending, reportedly winning upwards of $1.2 billion in government contracts for large scale surveillance projects.

We believe that targeted sanctions will have an impact. At a time when the Chinese government is seeking to expand its influence through the Belt and Road Initiative, the last thing China’s leaders want is international condemnation of their poor and abusive treatment of ethnic and religious minorities.

We have enclosed a list of additional names for your consideration. The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China has been monitoring developments in the XUAR closely and stands ready to provide additional information or support as needed. We look forward to working with you on this important issue.

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RUBIO, COLLEAGUES URGE TRUMP TO HOLD NICARAGUAN NATIONALS ACCOUNTABLE UNDER GLOBAL MAGNITSKY ACT

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Miami, FL –U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined a bicameral bipartisan group of colleagues in urging President Trump to hold Nicaraguan nationals Sonia Castro, Laureano Ortega Murillo, Carlos Ortega Murillo and Gustavo Porras accountable under the Global Magnitsky Act.

Joining Rubio were Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Paul Cook (R-CA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Michael Conaway (R-TX), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL).

Dear Mr. President:

We appreciate your continued commitment to implementing the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (“the Global Magnitsky Act”). As violence and unrest, continue to escalate in Nicaragua, we ask you to determine whether Nicaraguan nationals Sonia Castro, Laureano Ortega Murillo, Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo and Gustavo Porras meet the criteria to be held accountable under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

Daniel Ortega and his wife, Rosario Murillo, have doubled down on his intention to remain in power and increased the violent oppression against the Nicaraguan people. Since protests began in mid-April, nearly 400 people have been murdered and over 2,000 people have been injured at the hands of the Nicaraguan Government, the Nicaraguan National Police, or militias controlled by Ortega. On June 5, 2018, many of the undersigned Members of Congress sent you a letter urging immediate action to determine whether Francisco Lopez and Francisco Diaz met the criteria to be sanctioned in accordance with the Global Magnitsky Act, and we appreciate your Administration’s designation of both individuals on July 5, 2018. However, there are additional individuals who must be held responsible for human rights violations and corruption in Nicaragua.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has received extensive information regarding the denial of medical care and obstruction of humanitarian aid to protestors. Recent reports indicate that protesters have been denied needed life-saving medical care in public hospitals, at the direction of Sonia Castro, Nicaragua’s Minister of Health. According to Confidencial, Alvaro Conrado, a 15-year-old was shot delivering water to student protestors, and denied medical care at Cruz-Azul, a hospital owned by the instittito Nicaragiiense de Seguridad Social (INSS). Alvaro was taken to Hospital Bautista, where he passed away. His parents believe he would still be alive had he been treated at Cruz-Azul.

On July 27, 2018, eight public hospital doctors at Oscar Danilo Rosales Arguello said they had been fired after rejecting orders to refuse treatment to wounded protesters. Some reports state that when medical students from the same hospital were conducting a peaceful sit-in, Castro let in armed mobs and threatened the students. Videos show Castro expelling the students from the hospital to be beaten by the police and the pro-Sandinista youth groups. Additionally, civilians and journalists recount that public ambulances have been used to carry weapons and members of paramilitaries.

Among Ortega’s staunch supporters is Laureano Ortega Murillo, his son and possible successor. He has continuously blamed protesters for the violence and unrest, going as far as calling them terrorists. On his Twitter account, he has made light of the attacks against students and universities and has repeatedly stated, “Even if it hurts you […] Ortega is staying.” He has also called Nicaraguan news outlet La Prensa a “traitorous pamphlet.” In addition to his ongoing criticism of independent media, Laureano Ortega Murillo only allowed pro-government media to be in attendance during his meetings with Wang Jing, the Chinese billionaire and President of HKND, the corporation behind the widely corrupt and failed project to develop the proposed inter-oceanic canal in Nicaragua.

Laureano Ortega Murillo’s lavish lifestyle belies his claims of working pro bono. On May 21, 2017, La Prensa published an article about a party thrown by the Latin American Biotechnology Institute, Mechnikov S.A., a cooperation formed by the Russian and Nicaraguan governments with $24.5 million in funds from INSS and the Russian government. This party, thrown in honor of Laureano Ortega Murillo, cost over $50,000. When asked why they chose Laureano, staff explained that the Director of Mechnikov S.A. had a personal relationship with Laureano after spending time together in Russia. This month, the Ortega-controlled National Assembly passed a budget reform that will benefit several organizations tied to the Ortega-Murillo family. One benefactor is PRONicaragua, the country’s official investment promotion agency led by Laureano Ortega Murillo. According to La Prensa, in addition to being the representative of the government’s financial investments, Laureano Ortega Murillo has used public funds for his personal benefit.

Similarly, another one of Ortega’s sons, Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo, has been scrutinized for his expedient rise to power and consolidation of ownership over the majority of Nicaragua’s media and severely limiting the existence of independent media. In 2010, when Canal 8 was struggling financially, the Ortega Murillo family purchased the channel with money allegedly donated to Nicaragua from Venezuela. According to reports from La Prensa, Juan Carlos took control as director of the channel as well as other channels and radio stations, all of which serve to disseminate the party line of the government and promote a false image of stability and peace in Nicaragua. According to investigative journalists, the entire media budget of Nicaragua is centralized in its media outlets, and subsidized by the Nicaraguan people.

This is hardly the first time that Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo has misused government funds for his personal benefits. In 2015, he reportedly spent around $400,000 to convince filmmakers to make the failed movie “Drunk Wedding” in Nicaragua. These funds allegedly paid for seventy plane tickets, rooms at a resort, and other perks. Film producers also agreed to find a job for the aspiring Juan Carlos in the production. This is another clear example of the Ortega Murillo family’s disregard for the suffering of the Nicaraguan people and continued exploitation of the country’s resources for their own benefit.

Finally, we would like to bring to your attention another of Ortega’s devotees, President of the National Assembly Gustavo Porras. Porras served as the private doctor for the Ortega Murillo family and has held many government positions. According to reports, Porras helped set up Ortega’s cabinet, including the selection of the president of the INSS, which has been running on a deficit due to corruption and mismanagement. Porras has also mobilized the Frente Nacional de los Trabajadores, which he controls, to a pro-government march on Mother’s Day to counter the peaceful march in support of the mothers of the victims from the earlier protests. Protesters encountered violence from “the repressive police and shock forces,” leaving 15 dead and nearly 200 injured in the cities of Managua, EstelI and Masaya. Porras has also set up a sham commission to investigate the deaths of protesters. Human rights organizations have expressed concerns over this commission’s obvious inability to conduct a credible investigation

as Porras is known as a steadfast apologist of the Ortega government.

As the people of Nicaragua continue to face unspeakable abuses, the U.S. must continue to support their fight for freedom, democracy and human rights by holding human rights abusers and corrupt officials accountable through all available and lawful means. Additional Global Magnitsky designations would send a powerful message to the Nicaraguan people that the U.S. stands with them as they demand democracy and basic rights. It also demonstrates that we oppose Ortega’s continued tyranny, and that we remain firmly committed to protecting U.S. interests in ensuring regional security and preventing another regional and humanitarian migration crisis.

Therefore, we ask that you consider directing the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury, working with other relevant Executive Branch agencies, to promptly investigate Sonia Castro, Laureano Ortega Murillo, Juan Carlos Ortega Murillo, and Gustavo Porras and, if merited, impose sanctions against them as authorized under the Global Magnitsky Act. We believe Global Magnitsky sanctions complement critical democracy and government efforts and play an important role in U.S. policy toward Nicaragua and stand ready to work with you to support the robust implementation of this important U.S. foreign policy tool.

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RUBIO SURVEYS ALGAL BLOOM, RED TIDE DAMAGE WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS IN CAPTIVA

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Captiva, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today surveyed area damage from blue-green algae and red tide and held a roundtable discussion with local officials in Captiva to discuss water quality issues and the local economic impacts of these algal outbreaks.

“Today, I saw firsthand the impacts that toxic algae and red tide are having on communities in Southwest Florida,” Rubio said. “We are making progress, but we must continue to ensure the right resources are available for the communities affected by these blooms and work to solve our underlying water quality and infrastructure challenges.”

Yesterday, he introduced the South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act, legislation that would direct the Interagency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) to assess the causes and consequences of HABs in Lake Okeechobee and around Florida’s south and southwestern coast to determine the federal resources available to solve these challenges. He also recently secured $1 million of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funds for areas affected by harmful algal blooms.

An extended timeline of Rubio’s efforts to fight the South Florida algal blooms can be found here.

Photo courtesy of Senator Rubio’s office.

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RUBIO INTRODUCES MEASURE TO ADDRESS GROWING INSTABILITY IN VENEZUELA AND NICARAGUA

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced an amendment to the FY2019 Defense-LHHS Minibus appropriations bill that would address the growing instability in Venezuela and Nicaragua by requiring the Secretary of Defense, with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State, to report to Congress on the implications that the ongoing crises in both countries have for U.S. national security and regional stability.

“As the crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua continue to worsen, the United States must evaluate the national security threats posed by instability in both nations,” Rubio said. “This proposal will help hold accountable the Maduro and Ortega regimes, and enhance our security partnership with strategic regional allies.”

Specifically, the unclassified report would include:

· How the political, economic and humanitarian crises in Venezuela and Nicaragua affect U.S. national security and the stability of the Western Hemisphere;

· What policy options the U.S. should consider to mitigate this threat;

· How the U.S. can enhance its security partnerships with Colombia, Costa Rica and other strategic regional allies;

· What additional financial or other support SOUTHCOM may require, and how the Defense Department is postured to address the worsening instability in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

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AMID OPIOID CRISIS, RUBIO HIGHLIGHTS GROWING RELIANCE ON CENTRAL AMERICA TO TRAFFICK FENTANYL INTO U.S.

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RUBIO, COONS URGE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE MURDERS OF RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) today urged Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres to support a full and impartial investigation into the murders of Russian journalists Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko, and Alexander Rastorguyev, who were investigating the activities of Wagner, a Russian mercenary group, in the Central African Republic.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. Secretary-General:

We write with great concern regarding three Russian journalists—Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko, and Alexander Rastorguyev—who were killed in an ambush by unknown assailants in the Central African Republic on July 31. They were reportedly in the country investigating the activities of Wagner, a private Russian mercenary group that has been deployed in Syria and Ukraine and that is reported to be linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a catering magnate close to Vladimir Putin.

The journalists were working on a documentary about Wagner for the Investigations Management Center, an independent media project supported by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled opponent of Putin. While the circumstances of the ambush are still unclear, Russian state media have been quick to blame the killings on a “robbery.”

The murders of journalists come amid increased Russian involvement in the Central African Republic. With UN approval, the Russian Federation has delivered arms and ammunition and provided instructors for the CAR military. According to a recent report by the UN Panel of Experts on the Central African Republic to the UN Security Council, Russian arms shipments have “led to waves of rearmament” by various factions in the country. Earlier this year, Russia’s Wagner group was deployed to the Central African Republic to provide a security detail for President Faustin-Archange Touadéra.

According to the editor-in-chief of the Investigations Management Center, Andrei Konyakhin, the journalists coordinated their movements with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and the UN Mission recommended their driver (who witnessed and survived the ambush).

We respectfully ask you to engage the relevant UN mechanisms to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the murder of Orkhan Dzhemal, Kirill Radchenko, and Alexander Rastorguyev, and to ensure full cooperation by the governments of the Central African Republic and the Russian Federation.

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The Tortured Coast:Episode 5

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HELPING OUR CHILDREN BEGINS THE DAY THEY ARE BORN BY GIVING PARENTS THE OPTION OF PAID LEAVE

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Rubio: “If we are serious in this country about helping our children, it begins from the day they are born by allowing their parents to be involved in the early days of their lives, especially. And that should not be a bankruptcy-inducing event.”

Washington, D.C. – On CBS This Morning, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today unveiled his Economic Security for New Parents Act, legislation that would offer working parents an option for paid family leave. Later today, Rubio will hold a press conference with U.S. Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO) to introduce their bicameral legislation. A one pager of the bill is available here.

Yesterday, Rubio and Wagner penned an op-ed outlining their plan. Last month, Rubio’s office released a video highlighting his efforts to help working American families by expanding the Child Tax Credit and offering a conservative solution for paid family leave.

A rough transcript of the interview is below:

CBS HOST NORAH O’DONNELL: Senator Marco Rubio will introduce a bill today to help parents to get Paid Family Leave, it’s called the Economic Security for New Parents Act. The measure will give parents two months of paid leave by pulling from their future social security benefit. Workers would then delay taking social security for three to six months when they retire. The bill would be the first new option for families since the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. That law gives employees unpaid leave for twelve weeks to care for a family member. Senator Marco Rubio is with us for an interview from Capitol Hill. For an interview you’ll see first only here on CBS this morning. Senator, how many people would this affect?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO: Well, it depends on how many people want to take the option. Let me start by explaining the why, why are we doing this. There’s nothing we can do for our children that is better than allowing their parents to spend more time and be more involved in their lives, especially from the early days. I think it’s wrong that we’ve all seen this, people that work somewhere and they have a child and within two weeks of the cesarean section or three weeks of giving birth have to hurry up to work because they can’t afford to miss one paycheck. In fact it’s startling how many parents, particularly first-time mothers and people who just had a child in their family go on public assistance because they lose their job or they can’t draw a paycheck any longer. So what we’re doing is giving people an option. No one is required to do this but everyone will have the option of saying I’m going to take some of my benefits. These are your benefits, not anybody else’s and take a portion of that now. People can do that now with their 401(k)s. You should be able to do that with Social Security.

O’DONNELL: Senator, I was fascinated to learn that it’s estimated that just over 1 in 10 workers received paid family leave from their employers. That’s not a lot, and certainly people need paid family leave. Why though, do you want it to come from social security?

RUBIO: Well, I prefer it come from the private sector, but as you just said, only 1 out of 10 have it. I hope that number will grow over the years, and by the way, the irony is, the more money you make the likelier you are to have it, and the less money you make, the less likely you are to have it. So if you’re making $300,000 a year at an investment bank, you probably have paid family leave, but if you’re making $45,000 a year working for a small business, who probably can’t afford to provide it, you do not have it. As far as coming up from there, if somebody has a better idea, we’re open to it. If they have a better idea that doesn’t raise taxes, we’re all open for it. But I can tell you that this is a real problem. If we are serious in this country about helping our children, it begins from the day they are born by allowing their parents to be involved in the early days of their lives, especially. And that should not be a bankruptcy-inducing event. This is one option that we think is pretty creative, to allow people to take their money and instead of waiting thirty years to get some of it take some of it earlier when they really need it.

CBS HOST ALEX WAGNER: Senator, isn’t this really asking working class Americans to choose between retirement security and caring for a new child?

RUBIO: No. Ultimately right now they don’t even have a choice at all of how they’re going to pay for their bills at the front end. Many people right now, if you have a child, your job is required to give you twelve weeks of paid leave but they don’t have to pay you. So you’re basically without any pay for four to eight weeks, most people can’t afford that. We have many people going on public assistance. So this is just an option, no one is forced to do this. Some people will decide they don’t want to do it, that it doesn’t make sense for them, but it’s an option that’ll be available for people. As it stands today, if we do nothing, you’ll continue to see as you said 9 out of 10 workers will basically not draw any income during that period of time. And it’s a real economic strain right now.

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RUBIO MEETS WITH SUPREME COURT NOMINEE JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today released the following statement after meeting with Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh:

“Even before meeting with Judge Kavanaugh, it was evident that he is a qualified, mainstream jurist who possesses the right temperament and experience to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Of course, some of those characteristics apply to many in the federal judicial system today, including those who believe it is appropriate for judges to craft new policies and rights.

“During my conversation with Judge Kavanaugh, he articulated an unwavering commitment to original intent, judicial restraint, and the understanding that the Supreme Court should be a ‘trier of law’ appellate court and not a ‘trier of fact’ trial court.

“His answers reflected what the American people voted for when they elected the president and a Republican-controlled Senate less than two years ago. I intend to support his nomination because of his stated commitment to interpreting and defending the Constitution as written.”

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VIDEO: WARNING AGAINST THREAT CHINA’S ZTE POSES, RUBIO VOTES NO ON NDAA

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Rubio: “I have never opposed an NDAA, and I have supported every single one of them, despite the fact that they didn’t have everything I wanted or everything I liked—until today… We have yet to realize what a significant threat China poses to this country and in every realm and sphere. And until we do, we are going to continue to be in danger of surrendering and forfeiting our way of life and our place in the world, and if we do that, the world will be worse off for it and we will have no one to blame but ourselves for failing to act.”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) championed and secured important provisions for Florida and the nation in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA); however, he voted against the NDAA Conference Report earlier today because the bipartisan provision reinstating crippling penalties against ZTE was stripped out of the NDAA FY 2019 Conference Report last month. Rubio previously said he was “shocked that some of my colleagues decided to let ZTE continue to do business” and that Congress “can’t continue to let this happen.”

The NDAA includes the following key Florida-specific provisions for which Rubio advocated:

· $200 million in military construction for Florida including:

o Littoral Combat Ship facilities for Naval Station Mayport

o Air Traffic Control Tower for Naval Air Station Whiting Field

o F-35 facilities for Eglin Air Force Base

o A Main Gate for Patrick Air Force Base

o KC-135 Flight Simulators for MacDill Air Force Base

· Authorizes continued development of the B-21 bomber, work being done in Melbourne, Florida.

· Supports for the Gulf Range Complex that extends from Eglin AFB over the Gulf of Mexico, the largest military range in the continental United States.

· Additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters

· Increased funding for the Navy’s major shipbuilding programs

· A 2.6% military pay raise for our troops

A rough and partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:

We are halfway through my eighth year in the United States Senate and in my time here, I have never once spoken against, voted against, or opposed in any way any of the National Defense Authorization Acts that have come before the Senate. And the reason being that despite whatever flaws one might find on most occasions in any piece of legislation, the defense of our country is the fundamental obligation of our federal government. It comes before everything else….And so I have never opposed an NDAA, and I have supported every single one of them, despite the fact that they didn’t have everything I wanted or everything I liked—until today.

There is a lot of good in this legislation, and it makes it difficult to be an opponent of it. For Florida it’s authorized over $200 million dollars for Military construction in the state. Littoral Combat Ship facilities at Naval Station Mayport, Air Traffic Control Towers at Whiting Field, F-35 facilities that are important at Eglin Air Force Base, KC-135 flight simulators at MacDill Air Force Base, it authorizes the Secretary of the Air Force to build a cyberspace test facility at Eglin. It authorizes the conveyance of land to the Air Force Enlisted Village, which is a nonprofit corporation, consisting of approximately 80 acres next to Eglin for independent living and apartments. It authorizes the continued development of the B-21 bomber, work that’s being done in Melbourne, Florida. It fully supports the Gulf Range complex, a true treasure for our country and it’s the largest military range in the continental United States.

As for the country, it also has all sorts of other very important things. An over 2.6% military pay raise, it increases the active duty workforce by an increase in the active duty force of 15,600 personnel bringing the total to over 1.3 million. It tries to address the pilot shortage. It authorizes $10.7 billion dollars to buy 77 more F-35 joint strike fighters, $193 million in research and development funding for new software and improvements to be incorporated in future years in that program. It authorizes new missile defense, including $175 million intended to integrate the THAAD and Patriot systems in South Korea. It authorizes $23.7 billion for Navy shipbuilding, an increase of close to $2 billion dollars over what the President requested. We could go on and on, it does many important things in rebuilding our military strength in this country.

But it failed on one important front, and that is what I believe to be a very significant and serious threat to our National Security and the future of this country, one that we are only beginning to wake up to.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the United States is engaged in a geopolitical competition with a near peer adversary. Since 1991 there’s been no other nation on Earth that could project power anywhere close to what the United States could do, until now. Unlike our country, China is a nation with an ancient history, one that leaves them with a long-standing sense of victimhood, but also one that leaves them to believe that they have a preordained destiny to once again be the most powerful nation on Earth.

This is what they mean when they constantly use a phrase, you’ll see they use, it’s called historical determinism. In summary what they are saying is they are predestined to be the world’s most powerful country and therefore they believe they are predestined to surpass the United States, and by mean surpass I mean surpass us geo-politically, economically and militarily. This is not a new ambition, by the way. But for two decades they have followed a strategy called hiding their power and biding their time. But all of that changed last year, in October at their party congress, their President for life, Xi, he laid out a vision for china and he did it in very clear nationalist terms. Here is what he said, backed by the invincible force of more than 1.3 billion people we have an infinitely vast stage of our era a historical heritage of unmatched depth and incomparable resolve.

We have arrived at a new era where China is now in a leading position in terms of technological strength, defense capabilities and composite national strength and with a military which can fight and win. And you see evidence of these beliefs. You see is it in their impressive and massive military buildup and quantum leaps in technological advances. You see how they’re working to destroy the current world order that was built by America and our allies and now seek to replace it with one that they build and one that will be led by them. That’s how they offer loans, not just to get their companies more business, but to give them leverage and footholds in countries and they do so with no questions asked about democracy or human rights.

The problem is those two measures will do nothing to constrain the threat that ZTE poses to the United States and our national security. Nothing. A fine when you’re backed by the Chinese government, a multibillion-dollar fine is nothing. And you can put all the business people you want on their board. It is not the business people we should be concerned about. It is the technical people in these companies. The ones that can get ZTE routers embedded in American telecommunications, create backdoor access to our universities, so they can steal our research, communications systems so they can intercept our communications in military affairs and economic affairs, conduct cyber espionage, commercial espionage and potentially denial of our command-and-control in the military one day, if left unaddressed.

Think about embedding these Trojan horses inside of our telecommunications systems and networks in America, any company that poses that threat should not be allowed to operate, much less remain in business, and ZTE is one such company. Even if ZTE tells the Chinese government, we don’t want to do this, they have no choice, or they will cease to exist or their leaders will be in jail and somebody new will replace them that will do it. And so this is why this is so critical. And why in the bill that was passed by the Senate we reimposed these penalties, and it was taken out in conference and the threat posed by China and by its telecommunications companies are so severe and significant that it regrettably brings me to the point where I cannot support a bill I have always supported in my time here. We need to wake up to the threat that china poses to this country because we are running out of time to do so.

ZTE is a big danger. They are small compared to Huawei which is a company even bigger than ZTE, that poses an even greater systemic risk. And if we can’t even take on ZTE because they lobby and because of American companies coming here, how are we ever going to take on Huawei or any other dangers they pose to us?

It’s time we open our eyes. We are engaged in in a geopolitical competition not with some poor agrarian country trying to catch up, but with a global superpower who is quickly nipping at our heels and doing so unfairly, with the intent of replacing us in the world as the most powerful country militarily, economically, geopolitically and technologically.

The history of America is short in comparison to the great empires of history and the great countries of history. 240-some odd years in the scope of history is but a blink of an eye and history is full of examples of nations that became complacent, and lost their standing and their way of life. And I’m not claiming that ZTE alone will be that, but it is a part of a broader problem, and that is that we have yet to realize what a significant threat Chinese poses to this country and in every realm and sphere. And until we do, we are going to continue to be in danger of surrendering and forfeiting our way of life and our place in the world, and if we do that, the world will be worse off for it and we will have no one to blame but ourselves for failing to act.

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RUBIO DISCUSSES CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES OF THE 21st CENTURY WITH YOUNG CONSERVATIVES

PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS RUBIO, COONS AMERICAN DREAM ACCOUNTS ACT INTO LAW

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed President Trump’s signing of the American Dream Accounts Act, legislation Rubio led with Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) that will help to increase the number of low-income and at-risk students able to access and complete college or technical education. The American Dream Accounts Act was included as part of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.

“The American Dream is what makes our country exceptional, and I commend the President for signing the American Dream Accounts Act into law so we can take the important step of creating stronger pathways for children to achieve academic success and, ultimately, their American Dream,” Rubio said. “It is crucial we continue to do everything we can to expand economic mobility and lessen the opportunity gap in America. I thank my colleagues in both the Senate and the House who joined me in advancing this bipartisan effort.”

“I’m thrilled that my bipartisan American Dream Accounts Act was signed into law,” Coons said. “I have worked on this bill with Senator Rubio for many years. If we want to ensure that American workers can compete in the global economy, we must ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to access technical training and higher education. This legislation will bridge the opportunity gap by streamlining resources that allow young people to prepare for, save for, and achieve their educational dreams. I look forward to working with the administration to fully realize the possibilities of American Dream Accounts for students across the country.”

Background:

The American Dream Accounts Act authorizes the Department of Education to award three-year competitive grants to local partnerships that:

· Create American Dream Accounts (ADAs), personal online accounts for low-income students that monitor higher education readiness and include a college savings account. ADAs would follow students from school to school and through college. Parents would grant vested stakeholders (including counselors, teachers, coaches, mentors, and others) access to the account to update student information, monitor progress, and provide college preparatory support.

· Open college savings accounts for students. Every ADA would include a college savings account for each student. Grantees that can provide these accounts with seed money would be prioritized. Funds from the grant could not be used to seed the college savings accounts.

· Support college readiness by securely monitoring students’ progress online. Academic and behavioral information, including grades and course selections, progress reports, and attendance and disciplinary records would be available for review in an ADA, which would also provide opportunities to learn about financial literacy, prepare for college enrollment, and identify skills and career interests.

· Collect data about effective ways to assist high-risk students in planning for college through a comprehensive monitoring and reporting system.

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Rubio Discusses Threat “Deep Fake” Technology Poses to U.S. National Security

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Representative Harrell Appointed to Commission on the Status of Women

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Speaker Richard Corcoran appointed Representative Harrell to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women

Stuart-Representative Gayle Harrell (R—District 83) was recently appointed by Florida Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran (R—District 37) to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission is a non-partisan body with a focus on raising aware-
ness and celebrating the contributions and successes of all Floridians, along with providing a collaborative platform for those seeking information on issues that affect women, girls and their
families in our state. The Commission’s goal is to improve the wellbeing of Florida women and girls, and to be a resource for lawmakers, businesses, and residents so they have a better under-standing of these important issues.
Commissioners are volunteers and come from very diverse backgrounds and professions, and represent every geographic area of the state.

There are 22 members that serve on the Commission. The Governor, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and the Attorney General each appoint four members and the Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture
each appoint three members to a term of four years.Representative Harrell is delighted to be one of the four appointees by Speaker Corcoran and is excited to begin her work for the Commission. Representative Harrell stated,
“I am extremely honored by my appointment from Speaker Corocoran and am excited to work with my fellow commissioners on advancing the role of women in Florida.”

Representative Harrell looks forward to addressing issues that impact women, such as discrimination, poverty. Pay equity and other social and economic issues.

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New Bills Passed For Veterans

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Our nation’s veterans have earned the very best care our country has to offer. Sadly, as a veteran who gets my healthcare through the VA, I’ve seen firsthand how still too often the government fails our veterans. We can and must do better.

This was my first week as a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. In this new role, I’ll have an even louder voice to advocate for veterans in our community and around the country.

Improving care for our veterans starts with reforming the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and increasing oversight. Building on our passage of the VA MISSION Act last week, the House passed more than a dozen bills this week to continue the momentum toward improving care.

Here are a few of the highlights:

H.R. 1972 – VA Billing Accountability Act: This bipartisan bill will help relieve the financial burdens of veterans caused by delays at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill sets forth specific and immediate billing requirements so our nation’s veterans are not receiving unbilled co-payments for VA care from years past.

H.R. 3642 – Military SAVE Act: This bill will help empower survivors of military sexual assault by allowing them to seek specialized care outside of the VA health care system.

H.R. 3832 – Veterans Opioid Abuse Prevention Act: This bill is an important step in the fight against our nation’s opioid epidemic. Specifically, the bill directs the VA to connect VA health providers to a national network of state-based prescription drug monitoring programs that help identify abuse patterns in patients.

H.R. 4245 – Veterans’ Electronic Health Record Modernization Oversight Act of 2017: This is an important step in our efforts to strengthen oversight of the VA and improve care. The bill directs the VA to provide Congress with its key planning and implementation documents for the electronic health records replacement project, in addition to copies of the contracts, to indicate the effort’s progress and how the money is being spent.

H.R. 4451 – Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act of 2018: This bipartisan legislation will help prevent homelessness among veterans by closing gaps in coverage. The bill clarifies that veterans participating in federal, state, and community housing assistance programs are also eligible for HVRP assistance. This legislation also reauthorizes the HVRP program for five years, along with programs that are designed for female homeless veterans and homeless veterans with children.

H.R. 4830 – SIT-REP Act: This bill improves educational protections for veterans by giving the Secretary of the VA the ability to disapprove any course of education unless the educational institutions providing the course permit individuals to attend or participate in courses pending payment by the VA and accept a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) as a promise of payment.

H.R. 4958 – Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018: This bill provides a cost-of-living increase for wartime disability compensation; compensation for dependents; clothing allowance; dependency and indemnity compensation to surviving spouses; and, dependency and indemnity compensation to children paid to our wounded warriors and their families for injuries they suffered while serving our nation in uniform.

H.R. 5044 – Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act: This bill will make it easier for surviving spouses of veterans to maintain the veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned status of their small business after their veteran spouse passes away.

H.R. 5215 – Veterans Affairs Purchase Card Misuse Mitigation Act: This bill will prevent misuse of purchase card spending by requiring the VA Secretary to revoke the purchase card from any employee who is found to have knowingly misused their card or approval authority. This safeguard would prevent further misuse of government funds while existing penalties, ranging from suspension to demotion to removal, are considered for the wrongdoer.

H.R. 5418 – Veterans Affairs Medical-Surgical Purchasing Stabilization Act: This bill directs the VA to correct the problems with their medical-surgical formulary using input from medical professionals with relevant expertise rather than administrative staff. This legislation would also prevent VA from outsourcing the creation of the formulary.

H.R. 4334 – Improving Oversight of Women Veterans’ Care Act of 2017: This bill will help improve access to women’s specific healthcare needs at the VA by requiring VA to submit an annual report on veteran access to gender-specific care under community care contracts and quarterly reports on environment of care standards for women veterans.

Out2martincounty.com

Mast Publishes Open Letter to Brightline

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) published the below open letter to Brightline, which originally ran in TCPalm, reacting to Brightline President Patrick Goddard’s assertion that Treasure Coast residents are “narrow-minded”:

Dear Mr. Goddard,

In your testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, you called us on the Treasure Coast “narrow-minded.” While I found much of your testimony troubling, I particularly resented this condescending assertion.

In response, I say this:

It is not narrow-minded to care about our economy.

On the Treasure Coast, paradise is literally our business. Both the tourism industry and property values rely on our towns being a serene place to live or visit. High-speed trains flying through at-grade crossings in the middle of our towns will undoubtedly damage this character and charm.

I love our community businesses, like the Square Grouper in Jupiter, where we can pull up on a boat. But as a result of the 32 daily passenger trains you plan to run, the railroad draw bridge will be blocking our waterways for hours every day.

It is not narrow-minded to care about the safety of our children.

One of my favorite pastimes is getting tacos at the Taco Shack in Stuart and letting my boys play at Kiwanis Park. But your trains will add extra danger, traffic and noise directly next to this park.

I love the Hobe Sound Christmas Parade. My children have the most fun, but undoubtedly, like my fellow parents on the Treasure Coast, Brianna and I will be keeping a little closer watch with trains traveling up to 110 miles per hour along the route.

It is not narrow-minded to care about your misuse of taxpayer dollars.

Every citizen deserves to have their tax dollars spent wisely. But despite your company’s dishonest claim that it is “not publicly funded at all,” you admitted to the committee that “there has been public funding granted.”

How can we trust anything you say?

Every citizen deserves to have the option to not be charged to maintain the crossing equipment for a new train they do not want and will not benefit from.

But even you admit taxpayers will end up on the hook for these costs, despite your insistence the railway is private property, so you do not need our permission to expand.

It is not narrow-minded to protect the community we love.

Hands down my favorite place to ride my Harley is up Indian River Drive, often to a Friday Fest in Fort Pierce. Brightline will be there, as well. I know many in our community have similar experiences and memories they do not want ruined by Brightline.

You say anyone who opposes your intrusion on our community is “narrow-minded.” This entitled attitude is one of the reasons we don’t want your train and its 32 additional routes running through our slice of heaven on the Treasure Coast in the first place.

Regardless of our differences of opinion on the many other issues surrounding your train, please know nobody in our community is narrow-minded. We care deeply about the Treasure Coast, and we just wish you did, too.

Out2martincounty.com

Making Health Care Affordable

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The rising costs of healthcare have prevented families from seeking the care that they need and a new maze of bureaucracy has led to less choice for American families. I am committed to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act to give every American access to quality, affordable healthcare.

We need a healthcare system that puts patients first through common-sense, market-based reforms. This means more choices for families, not more mandates. Florida families should have the freedom and flexibility to choose the care that will be best for their unique situation. At the same time, you should never have to worry about being turned away or having your coverage taken away for any reason, including age, income, or medical conditions.

We also need to eliminate red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy to speed up the development of life-saving cures. Right now there are 10,000 known diseases, but we have treatments for only 500 of them. I support efforts that remove barriers to research collaboration to ensure we are getting the most out of our investments. By streamlining the process, we can save more lives and lower costs at the same time.

During the process of reforming our healthcare system, I am especially sensitive to any changes that will impact healthcare programs for our nation’s seniors. The Medicare Part D program has proven to be a highly successful partnership between the government and private insurance companies. I am working to ensure that Medicare is protected for future generations and Medicare recipients have more choices when it comes to their care.

In short, our healthcare system is too bureaucratic and too expensive. It didn’t work before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and it has only gotten more expensive since then. I’m committed to opening up the system to new innovations that can provide families with the freedom and flexibility to pick a plan that meets their needs without breaking the bank.

Out2martincounty.com

TAX RELIEF FOR WORKING FAMILIES
HINGES ON CHILD TAX CREDIT EXPANSION

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today released the following analysis showing an enhanced child tax credit remains the best way to provide meaningful tax relief for working American families.

The Tax Reform Framework released by the Trump Administration and Senate and House leadership last week sets up tax reform so that the amount of tax relief working families receive will be largely dependent upon how much the Child Tax Credit is increased. The Framework proposes doubling the standard deduction and eliminating the personal exemption in order to make the tax code simpler. This needed change would make filing easier for millions of Americans, but it necessitates increasing the Child Tax Credit significantly in order to ensure meaningful tax relief for working families.

The first chart displays the tax change relative to current law that families of various sizes and income levels would see without an increased Child Tax Credit, compared to a Child Tax Credit worth $2,000 that is also refundable against payroll taxes, as proposed by Rubio and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and supported by Special Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. It shows Rubio’s proposal would cut taxes for all working and middle-class American families. It also shows that not increasing the Child Tax Credit risks raising taxes on some of these families under the proposed Framework.

 

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The second chart compares the tax relief that families of various income levels with two children, or about the average family size, would receive under a tax reform bill that increases the Child Tax Credit by only $500 on a non-refundable basis relative to the Rubio’s proposal. It shows that making the Child Tax Credit refundable against payroll tax liability is essential to meaningfully cutting taxes for America’s working class families, as the majority of American workers pay more in payroll taxes than they do income taxes.

 

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Martin County Opposes Brightline, Despite Florida Support

Out2News.comOver the past several decades, many counties in South Florida have authorized expansions of urban development boundaries, towering building heights, increased density and construction of new roads to support surging growth. We acknowledge why the urbanized areas would be enthusiastic about a purported fast passenger train as a public transportation option to alleviate resulting traffic congestion and gridlock.

However, during the expansive growth era of South Florida, Martin County consistently has held the line on our urban services boundary; protected comprehensive planning policies; and otherwise managed our growth to maintain a slice of Florida in which people love to live, work and vacation.

Through the rail expansion process, Martin County’s goal has been to ensure that our safety needs and the unique environment we have protected for decades were properly addressed. We have exposed the use of taxpayer money to fund what All Aboard Florida (aka Brightline) calls a “self-financed” project. In return, we have been targeted as simple NIMBYs with no legitimate concerns.

To be clear, Martin County is unique. Within the Treasure Coast we have three coastal state parks along which All Aboard Florida proposes to run its 110 mph passenger and 70 mph freight trains. The train traffic through eastern Martin County will increase from the current 10-14 times a day to up to 52 times a day. These fast trains also will run through smaller, pedestrian-friendly communities and small business districts, not industrialized areas or areas sectioned off long ago for Tri-Rail use.

http://out2martincounty.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/02/17-Apr-Brightline-resize-1.jpg Also of great concern are the impacts from increased crossings over the 100-year-old St. Lucie River Railroad Bridge. It spans approximately 1,275 feet across the St. Lucie River, rising about 8-10 feet from the river. Only one train can cross at a time. The additional 38 times a train travels across the bridge means 38 additional bridge closures which would cause vehicular backups into downtown Stuart and delays for boaters. The closures will increase impacts to the marine industry, the health of the estuary and potentially the structural integrity of the antiquated bridge. Although All Aboard Florida will replace smaller bridges to accommodate the new intensity of its operations, it is not replacing or enhancing our bridge.

Furthermore, national rail safety expert George Gavalla found that no other passenger rail system in the U.S. combines 110 mph fast trains and 70 mph freight trains running on the same rail line through densely-populated urban and coastal recreation areas. Gavalla observed that risk factors leading to deadly railroad accidents and derailments rise dramatically with significant increases in train speeds and as with All Aboard Florida, the quadrupling of the number of trains in operation.

To make matters more confounding, the railroad owner is requiring the counties to pay for safety upgrades that will enable All Aboard Florida’s higher speeds and increased traffic. These costs to taxpayers will rise from less than $200,000 currently in Martin County to more than $13 million in 2030 and exceeding $31 million by 2040.

But all is not lost. Martin County has urged All Aboard Florida and the regulators to consider alternative routes to reduce and minimize the impacts to the eastern portions of Martin County. Such alternatives would avoid the bridge and dramatically reduce the future costs to the taxpayers.

We give kudos to local governments for efforts to curb consequences of sprawl and dense growth. In Martin County, we continue our principled fight to advocate for the safety of our citizens and our visitors, and to protect the unique environment we call home.

Taryn Kryzda is the county administrator for Martin County.

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HONOR FLIGHTOut2martincounty.com

85 WWII Veterans at the US Marine Memorial. Such a wonderful day!

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OUT2MARTINCOUNTY.COM THE GENESIS בְּרֵאשִׁית, Γένεσις,

OF LOCAL ONLINE NEWS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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