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Government & Political News 

Federal, State, County & Municipal News

January 2019 Martin County Meetings

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BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
January 29, 2019 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.

AIRPORT NOISE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
January 24, 2019 at 10:00 am
Location: Airport Maintenance Building, 1895 SE Flying Fortress Lane, Stuart

BOARD OF ZONING ADJUSTMENT
January 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
January 28, 2019 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
January 23, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers

 

PUBLIC ART SITE SELECTION COMMITTEE
January 28, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Location: Commission Chambers

RIO NEIGHBORHOOD ADVISORY COMMITTEE
January 31, 2019 at 6:00 pm
Location: Vince Bocchino Community Center, 2369 NE Dixie Highway, Jensen Beach

All Board of County Commission Offices and Libraries will be closed on Tuesday, January 1 in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday
AND on Monday, January 21 in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday.

 

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RUBIO STATEMENT ON POTUS PROPOSAL TO END GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today issued the following statement after President Donald Trump announced his proposal to pair his $5.7 billion border security request with protections for DACA recipients and legislation to extend the legal status of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders:

“The way to end this shutdown is for both sides to make mutual concessions in order to reach an agreement. The President has made a very reasonable offer to extend DACA and TPS protections in exchange for the border security measures he supports. I hope that instead of choosing the road of endless obstruction, Democrats will decide to work with him to reach an agreement and end the shutdown.”

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AHEAD OF THE MARCH FOR LIFE, RUBIO PROTECTS SANCTITY OF LIFE

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) and co-sponsored six pieces of legislation which commit to protecting the sanctity of life.

“There is no human right more fundamental and more sacred than the right to life. Every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws from the beginning of life to the end. Every year, scores of men and women of all ages visit our nation’s capital to peacefully march for the rights of people who cannot speak for themselves, countless babies who have yet to be, or will never be born. Sadly, since the Supreme Court’s erroneous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, the lives of roughly 60 million babies have been terminated, denying them the right to life. I pray, and stand with those gathering in Washington this week, that the right to life for every human will one day be respected.”

Rubio Sponsored Legislation

· Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA)

Legislation that would make it a federal crime to knowingly transport a minor, without parental involvement, to another state for an abortion.

Rubio Co-sponsored Legislation

· Born Alive Survivors Protection Act

Legislation which extends legal protection to an infant born alive after a failed attempt at induced abortion.

· Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act

Legislation which amends the Public Health Service Act to permit the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) to provide federal family planning grants only to entities that certify that, during the period of the grant, they will not perform abortions or provide funds to entities that perform abortions.

· No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2019

Legislation which makes permanent the prohibition on the use of federal funds for abortion or health coverage that includes abortion.

· Protect Funding for Women’s Health Care Act

Legislation which prohibits Federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

· Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

This bill amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime for any person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more.

· Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Act of 2019

This bill amends the Foreign Assistance Act to ensure no funds are made available to nonprofits, foreign NGOs that perform abortions, counsel for abortion, or lobby for pro-abortion policies or expanded access to abortion in foreign countries.

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RUBIO NAMES PORT ST. JOE’S INDIAN PASS RAW BAR AS SENATE SMALL BUSINESS OF THE WEEK

Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, named Indian Pass Raw Bar as the Small Business of the Week for the week of January 14-18, 2019. Indian Pass Raw Bar is located in Port St. Joe, Florida.

Rubio released the following video message to congratulate Indian Pass Raw Bar as the Small Business of the Week. A high-quality version of the video for download is available here.

“As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship this Congress, each week I’m going to be highlighting a small business in my home state of Florida that exemplifies the hard work and the dedication that embodies the American entrepreneurial spirit. So this week, it is my pleasure to honor Indian Pass Raw Bar of Port St. Joe in Gulf County, Florida, as the Senate Small Business of the Week.

“Indian Pass Raw Bar traces its roots in the Florida Panhandle to a general store, the Indian Pass Trading Post, which was founded in 1903. When Hurricane Kate struck the Florida panhandle in 1986 and destroyed the Indian Pass Trading Post, the McNeil family converted the general store into the oyster bar it is today. In October 2018, when category five Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle, it also severely damaged the Indian Pass Raw Bar.

“In the aftermath of the storm, the Indian Pass Raw Bar helped bring their fellow citizens together by offering emergency supplies to help their customers and to give back to the community they love. And just as they did after Hurricane Kate, the McNeil family recovered and are rebuilding their business. When they reopen this spring, they will welcome visitors to the Gulf Coast of Florida for their 90th year of serving this community. The McNeil family and all of the employees at Indian Pass Raw Bar are a great example of American ambition and ingenuity, and I wish them continued success in all their future endeavors.”

Indian Pass Raw Bar traces its roots in the Florida Panhandle to a general store, the Indian Pass Trading Post, which was founded in 1903. The McNeil family has shown resilience after being impacted by multiple hurricanes, recovering each time and always maintaining a positive outlook. Today, Indian Pass Raw Bar serves world famous oysters and will celebrate their 90th anniversary later this year. It has become a renowned location for all to enjoy and has been praised by magazines Southern Living and Garden & Gun.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator Rubio continues the tradition of honoring America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship oversees proposed legislation on matters relating to the Small Business Administration and investigates all problems relating to America’s small businesses.

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Rubio Works to Ensure U.S. Coast Guard Personnel Get Paid During Gov’t Shutdown

“I hate this government shutdown. I hope it comes to an end soon, but the one part that I hate seeing is that, of all our military branches the only people that are not getting paid is our Coast Guard. And that’s why I’ve signed on and am working hard to pass this bill that will make sure that our Coast Guard personnel, many of whom are deployed abroad in dangerous situations—but are everyday out there keeping us safe—making sure that our Coast Guard personnel are getting paid like every other member of the military, and I hope we can pass that really soon.”

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RUBIO INTRODUCES DATA PRIVACY BILL TO PROTECT CONSUMERS WHILE PROMOTING INNOVATION

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced the American Data Dissemination (ADD) Act, legislation that would provide a national consumer data privacy law that protects both consumers and the innovative capabilities of the internet economy. By using the Privacy Act of 1974 as its framework, the bill provides overdue transparency and accountability from the tech industry while ensuring that small businesses and start-ups are still able to innovate and compete in the digital marketplace. A one-pager of the bill is available here.

“There has been a growing consensus that Congress must take action to address consumer data privacy,” Rubio said. “However, I believe that any efforts to address consumer privacy must also balance the need to protect the innovative capabilities of the digital economy that have enabled new entrants and small businesses to succeed in the marketplace. That is why I am introducing the American Data Dissemination Act, which will protect small businesses and startups while ensuring that consumers are provided with overdue rights and protections. It is critical that we do not create a regulatory environment that entrenches big tech corporations. Congress must act, but it is even more important that Congress act responsibly to create a transparent, digital environment that maximizes consumer welfare over corporate welfare.”

Specifically, the ADD Act would do the following:

· Not later than 180 days after enactment of the ADD Act, the FTC is required to submit detailed recommendations for privacy requirements that Congress can impose on covered providers. These requirements would be substantially similar to the requirements applicable to agencies under the Privacy Act of 1974.

· Not earlier than one year after the date on which the Commission has submitted detailed recommendations (18 months after enactment), the FTC will publish and submit to the appropriate committees of Congress proposed regulations to impose privacy requirements on covered providers that are substantially similar to the requirements applicable to agencies under the Privacy Act of 1974.

· To ensure Congress acts in a timely manner, if the Congress fails to enact a law based on the recommendations provided by the date that is two years after enactment of this bill, the FTC would promulgate a final rule, not later than 27 months after the date of enactment to impose privacy requirements based on the narrow, congressionally mandated course of action created through this bill.

Earlier today, Rubio penned an op-ed addressing the need for Congress to address consumer data privacy.

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RUBIO INTRODUCES THE CHILD INTERSTATE ABORTION NOTIFICATION ACT

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA). If enacted, CIANA would make it a federal crime for physicians to knowingly perform an abortion on an out of state minor without parental consent, notification, or judicial authorization. The bill also sets criminal penalties for those who violate, as well as provides exceptions when the life of a minor is endangered. CIANA would also prohibit an individual who has committed incest from knowingly bringing that minor across states lines for the purpose of an abortion.

“With the rights of parents and the safety of women at risk,” Rubio said, “Congress must take action to prevent underage abortions by giving states the federal backing necessary to enforce their parental involvement laws. Under current law, minors are subject to the exploitation and safety risks that often come from an overzealous interstate abortion industry.”

Joining Senator Rubio in introducing this legislation are Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Josh Hawley (R-MO), James Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

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RUBIO WELCOMES PARDON FOR ‘GROVELAND FOUR’

Orlando, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today released the following statement after the state of Florida Clemency Board pardoned “the Groveland Four” by a unanimous vote Friday.

Rubio previously spoke on the Senate floor to urge state officials to pardon “the Groveland Four.”

“After 70 years, it was past due for Florida to pardon the Groveland Four. While there is nothing we can do to right the terrible wrongs committed against them, I am pleased to see that the state of Florida is giving these men back their good names and seeking the forgiveness of their families for this grave injustice. I thank the members of the Florida Cabinet for addressing this in their first week in office.”

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RUBIO: WILL WE SHAPE SOCIETAL TRENDS, OR BE HELPLESSLY SHAPED BY THEM?

Will we shape societal trends, or be helplessly shaped by them?

By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

“The days are long, but the years are short.” It’s a common phrase among parents, but also an apt one for this moment on the political Right. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day anger of the news cycle and miss the robust debate happening in the Republican Party about how to apply timeless principles to the new challenges of today.

As I wrote last month in an essay for the Atlantic , there was once a path to a stable and prosperous life in America that has since closed off. The truth is that for too long, government and business leaders alike have stood back and endorsed supposedly unstoppable global forces that have made life harder for working Americans, their families and their communities.

I know from the people I represent, including those within my own community back home, that this reflects the lived reality for many Americans. But it has invited criticism from some conservatives. This criticism takes the form of two other running debates about the future of conservatism; namely, Tucker Carlson’s monologue about the pathologies of modern working America, and Oren Cass’s book, The Once and Future Worker. What we have in common is an assessment that more should be done for American workers than the last few decades have offered.

There are two main lines of critique of this view. One is that the problem we describe is real, but there is no solution. The other is that because there is no solution, there must be no problem.

In either case, the core question is about whether, and if so, how the American people should structure our society to fulfill the promises of American life. Because of the role government currently plays, conservatives have an obligation to participate in the debate over how government should structure our society in order to reinvigorate the nongovernmental pillars of society which give people purpose and security — work, family, community, and country.

The negative reaction to Carlson’s monologue in conservative circles simply denies government’s role in structuring the economy to support these institutions at all. National Review ran pieces with headlines like “What’s Broken, and What We’re Not Going to Fix” and “Government Can’t Heal Us, Tucker Carlson.” But the choice not to do anything about a known problem is as much a choice as anything else.

The American economy has shed millions of manufacturing jobs and made unemployed or underemployed the men who used to work them. This did not happen by some iron law of history, but by the public policy choices that made economy do it. These choices were not necessarily made with bad intentions, and they have yielded benefits like cheaper consumer goods. Yet that does not change the fact they were political decisions. We built the society we have, and now we have to reckon with it. That’s politics in its most fundamental definition.

Some conservative policy elites consider themselves above politics. They would rather parade their ideological purity, as if the 2016 election hadn’t happened, than play a constructive role in the necessary reckoning that comes next. It’s why so many conservatives in Washington D.C. and in other enclaves can only evaluate President Trump and other Republicans today by our adherence to tax cuts and free trade, rather than grapple with the hard daily realities faced by the Americans we represent.

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RUBIO, WARNER INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO COMBAT TECHNOLOGY THREATS FROM CHINA

New Office of Critical Technologies & Security would serve as centralized coordinator on state-directed technology transfers and supply chain threats that challenge U.S. national security

Miami, FL — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark R. Warner (D-VA), members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today introduced bipartisan legislation to help combat tech-specific threats to national security posed by foreign actors like China and ensure U.S. technological supremacy by improving interagency coordination across the U.S. government. To do this, the bill creates an Office of Critical Technologies & Security at the White House responsible for coordinating across agencies and developing a long-term, whole-of-government strategy to protect against state-sponsored technology theft and risks to critical supply chains.

“China continues to conduct a coordinated assault on U.S. intellectual property, U.S. businesses, and our government networks and information with the full backing of the Chinese Communist Party,” Rubio said. “The United States needs a more coordinated approach to directly counter this critical threat and ensure we better protect U.S. technology. We must continue to do everything possible to prevent foreign theft of our technology, and interference in our networks and critical infrastructure. By establishing the Office of Critical Technologies and Security, this bill will help protect the United States by streamlining efforts across the government. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to enact this legislation and guard against these national security threats.”

“It is clear that China is determined to use every tool in its arsenal to surpass the United States technologically and dominate us economically. We need a whole-of-government technology strategy to protect U.S. competitiveness in emerging and dual-use technologies and address the Chinese threat by combating technology transfer from the United States,” said Warner. “We look forward to working with the Executive Branch and others to coordinate and respond to this threat.”

On October 12, 2018, Senators Rubio and Warner sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging his country to reconsider Huawei’s inclusion in any aspect of Canada’s 5G development, introduction, and maintenance. In September, Rubio introduced bipartisan legislation to enforce full compliance by ZTE with all probationary conditions of a U.S. Commerce Department’s deal struck with the company last year that ended U.S. imposed sanctions.

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FIGHT FOR FLORIDA CONTINUES IN NEW CONGRESS

By U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

For the past two weeks, Americans have watched petty partisan bickering in Washington, D.C. result in a partial government shutdown. And while that may go on for some time, I am optimistic this new Congress can deliver important victories for Floridians and our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.

I do not blame you if you are skeptical, but beneath the doom and gloom headlines we were able to accomplish a lot during the previous Congress. Now it is time to build on that success. I will introduce more than a dozen bills aimed at making Florida safe, sustainable and thrive, and getting our neighbors in Puerto Rico back on their feet.

One of those bills will allow federal assistance to states that implement red flag laws, which typically enable a family member or local law enforcement to seek a temporary court order to restrict someone’s access to firearms. Those type of state laws could prevent the next school shooter from buying a gun, and we are already seeing the benefits of Florida’s red flag law. My Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act of 2019 will provide resources for Florida to carry out its law while encouraging other states to do the same. It is a commonsense step to build on our successes from last year, which include the STOP School Violence Act and Fix NICs Act.

I will also introduce legislation to improve our public housing and hospitals, and ensure our homeless veterans get the help they deserve. Protecting families and veterans in our community from unsafe and unsanitary living conditions should be a bipartisan priority. My SAFE Hospitals Act will modernize a decades old federal funding formula to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent fairly and our hospitals finally receive equitable federal funding to provide for our state’s most vulnerable.

For the past two years, Floridians faced the twin threats of red tide and blue-green algal blooms. My South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act requires a concrete plan to reduce, mitigate and control harmful algal blooms, with appropriate federal resources to enhance the state’s efforts. I will continues to fight for the construction of the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee as part of the Central Everglades Planning Project and push for funding and executive action to address the state’s underlying water quality and infrastructure challenges. We made tremendous progress last year towards restoring the Everglades, but more must be done to corral the Army Corps’ bureaucracy if we are to complete the mission at a responsible pace.

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RUBIO LEADS SAFE HOUSING AGENDA, INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO IMPROVE SAFETY STANDARDS IN LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) introduced the Safe Temperature Act, and re-introduced the Liberty City Rising Act. The Safe Temperature Act would give the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the ability to require properties receiving federal assistance to safely maintain temperatures between 71 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

This legislation was drafted in response to Liberty Square tenants who lacked access to air conditioning and were living in extremely hot temperatures. Residents will not be required to purchase heating or cooling units, but will be required to pay a surcharge for electric usage.

Following a visit to Liberty Square in 2018, Rubio introduced the Liberty City Rising Act, legislation that would improve safety standards for public housing complexes located in high-crime areas, such as Miami’s Liberty City and Overtown.

“During my visit to Liberty City last year, I heard firsthand from a community that has been fraught with violence and dangerous living conditions for far too long,” Rubio said. “I will work to pass the Liberty City Rising Act and the Safe Temperature Act as a means to ensure that communities, like Liberty Square, are held to higher safety standards so that these families can raise their children in safe and sanitary living conditions.”

“In a city like Miami, where the cost of living is well above the national average, public housing is often also the most affordable for low-income families and individuals. the Safe Temperature and Liberty City Rising acts are important steps toward ensuring that federally assisted developments like Liberty Square are safe and healthy environments in which tenants, especially children and the elderly, can live comfortably,” said Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson. “No one should be forced to live in discomfort or in danger simply because they are poor. I am excited to partner with Senator Rubio to advance these measures and work to ensure that public housing facilities in District 24 are in livable condition.”

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Senator Rubio Originally Introduced this Bill in September of 2018 with Senator Bill Nelson

“We must do all we can to ensure a level playing field for Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers,” Rubio said. “Absent any effective agreement with the Mexican government covering seasonal and perishable produce imports, I’m proud to support this bill to increase opportunities for Florida growers to successfully seek relief from the illegal dumping of Mexican winter produce into our domestic markets.”

“Our beleaguered growers continue to be harmed by Mexico’s unfair subsidies and illegal seasonal dumping,” Buchanan said. “This legislation will level the playing field for a vital industry to Florida’s economy.”

“Mexico’s dumping into our nation’s agriculture market is problematic, and below-cost produce has put Florida’s farmers at a disadvantage,” Lawson said. “This issue is crippling Florida’s agriculture industry, and the Defending Domestic Produce Production Act will work to protect Florida’s farmers.”

Background:

In August 2017, ahead of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations in Mexico City, Rubio and Nelson urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to propose measures that would protect Florida agriculture from unfair trade practices.
In September 2017, Rubio also laid out Florida’s priorities for NAFTA renegotiations and urged Ambassador Lighthizer to work to construct a new trade deal with our North American partners that modernizes and builds on the successes of the previous agreement while also securing critical changes for Florida.
In April 2018, as NAFTA renegotiations continued, Rubio and Nelson urged the Senate Finance Committee to support Florida farmers.
In July 2018, as Secretary of State Pompeo prepared for his first trip to Mexico, Rubio asked him to impress the importance of fair trade in seasonal produce on his Mexican counterparts.
In August 2018, as the U.S. worked to finalize a NAFTA deal with Mexico, the senators renewed their calls with Ambassador Lighthizer, to protect Florida growers in a final agreement.

· In October 2018, Rubio hosted a roundtable with members of the Miami-Dade County Farm Bureau to discuss Mexico’s unfair agricultural trade practices.

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AHEAD OF ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF PARKLAND TRAGEDY, RUBIO RE-INTRODUCES “RED FLAG” BILL

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Angus King (I-ME), and Susan Collins (R-ME) today re-introduced the bipartisan Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act, which will dedicate Department of Justice funds to incentivize states to give law enforcement the authority to prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others the ability to purchase or possess firearms, while still providing due process protections.

Senator Rubio first introduced this bill in March of 2018 following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“A gun violence restraining order is one of the most effective policies we can put in place to prevent another tragedy like Parkland,” Senator Rubio said. “We can help keep our schools and communities safe by empowering law enforcement or family members to use the judicial system to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. This idea has already proven successful in states like Florida, and it is my hope that this bill will get other states to do the same thing.”

“Our schools and many other public places are too often the targets of gun violence. We have a duty to do more to prevent this kind of violence. This bipartisan bill gives law enforcement and concerned family members a way to petition state and tribal courts to keep guns away from people who have exhibited serious, documented signs of danger and violence to themselves or others,” said Senator Reed. “Red and blue states alike have been out front on this issue, adopting so-called ‘Red Flag’ laws. Our bipartisan initiative builds on these state solutions that already exist in states like Florida and Rhode Island, and provides incentives to effectively run and improve these important state efforts. It doesn’t force states to act, but encourages states that do. We must come together and do more to prevent gun violence, and passing this bipartisan bill would be a major step in the right direction.”

“Too many families, in too many communities across America, have felt the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence,” said Senator King. “Far too often, we learn after the fact that many tragic mass shootings were committed by individuals who displayed warning signs of emotional or mental distress, and were still able to purchase a gun. These horrific losses could have possibly been prevented — but they weren’t, and that’s simply unacceptable. This isn’t about infringing upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun-owners – it’s about using due process to pursue a proactive approach to save lives by intervening early with those who have shown significant danger to harm themselves or others.”

“Gun violence is a problem that affects far too many communities across the country,” said Senator Collins. “Family members and law enforcement officers are often in the best position to identify when someone poses an immediate threat to themselves or others, but in many cases they are unable to intervene before it is too late. Our bipartisan legislation would provide a way for them to temporarily prevent dangerous individuals from possessing firearms. Several states already have ‘red flag’ laws, which enhance gun safety while retaining important due process protections and preserving the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

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RUBIO URGES OMB TO REVERSE DHS GUIDANCE ON THE NFIP DURING GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Miami, FL – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement following a decision by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue new guidance that prevents the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from writing or renewing National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies during the current government shutdown.

“Last week, I was proud to work with my colleagues to secure a six month extension of the NFIP to ensure that Floridians were able to maintain access to a program so vital to our state. However, I have been informed that DHS has now issued new guidance that prevents FEMA from writing or renewing policies during the current government shutdown. I strongly disagree with this guidance as it incorrectly interprets congressional intent demonstrated last week with Congress passing legislation to keep the program operating until June 2019. I am asking OMB to reverse DHS actions and ensure Floridians can continue to obtain and maintain flood insurance.”

Timeline of Rubio’s Efforts on the National Flood Insurance Program

December 21, 2018 – Rubio Welcomes Passage of Bill To Extend National Flood Insurance Program
November 28, 2018 –Rubio Comments on NFIP Reauthorization
November 15, 2018 – Rubio Introduces Bill to Reauthorize National Flood Insurance Program for Six Months
July 31, 2018 – Rubio Comments on Senate Reauthorization of National Flood Insurance Program
July 25, 2018 – Rubio on National Flood Insurance Program: We Should Not Hold Floridians Hostage
July 18, 2018 – Rubio Video Statement: We need to extend NFIP now or it will be a disaster for Florida
July 18, 2018 – Rubio in Tampa Bay Times: Congress Needs Long-Term Solution for Flood Insurance Program
June 21, 2018 – Rubio Secures Funding for FEMA Pre-disaster Mitigation and Flood Hazard Mapping and Risk Analysis Programs in Appropriations Bill
June 13, 2017 – Rubio, Menendez, Colleagues Lead Bipartisan Flood Insurance Reform Bill
June 13, 2017 – Rubio in Wall Street Journal: A bipartisan plan for Flood Insurance
February 28, 2017 – Rubio Meets with Florida Legislative Leaders to Discuss Federal-State Issues, Including The National Flood Insurance Program

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Week In Review

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RUBIO PRAISES OBAMACARE RULING BY TEXAS FEDERAL JUDGE

Miami – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement praising the ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

“The ruling against Obamacare, on behalf of Florida and others, serves as a stark reminder of the millions of Americans who are suffering under the law. Americans should have the ability to buy a health plan that meets their needs, rather than what Washington tells them.

This ruling is a first, not a final step, in a long legal process and will not impact next year’s coverage. Ultimately, congress must take action. We should look at opportunities that gives families flexibility in obtaining healthcare while also allowing states the ability to innovate.”

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RUBIO, NELSON, DUNN URGE COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT FUNDING TO REBUILD TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE

Miami– U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Neal Dunn (R-FL) urged Senators Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), as well as U.S. Representatives Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-PA) and Nita Lowey (D-NY), the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, to support funding to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base.

A list of Rubio’s efforts fighting for Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Michael can be found here.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Chairman Shelby, Chairman Frelinghuysen, Ranking Member Leahy, and Ranking Member Lowey:

On December 7, 1941, Tyndall Field, received the first of 2,000 troops as an Army Air Forces Gunnery School. These World War II schoolhouses provided the necessary training of fighter and bomber pilots allowing the development of diverse skills for various aircraft and differing positions within bombers. Since then, the base transitioned into the Air Force where many different fighter aircraft have called the base home, from the F-86 Sabre and the F-104 Starfighter to most recently the F-22 Raptor. Basing advanced fighter aircraft is what Tyndall Air Force Base has carried out in the name of national security since before the United States formally entered World War II.

In October, Hurricane Michael caused catastrophic damage to the Florida panhandle including damage to 95 percent of the buildings at Tyndall AFB. Before the storm, Tyndall was home to two F-22 Raptor squadrons, one operational and one training. The base is also home to the First Air Force, the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. Following the storm, Vice President Mike Pence assessed the damage to the base and reassured Florida’s panhandle community of the base’s importance to the nation. “We will rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base,” Vice President Pence said.

The challenge of rebuilding Tyndall Air Force Base provides us with the opportunity to move beyond the status-quo by creating an advanced fifth-generation fighter installation using modern planning and construction. The Air Force is recommending that Congress use supplemental funding to rebuild the base in preparation to receive the F-35 fighter at the Florida installation. The Air Force has done a preliminary evaluation to confirm Tyndall AFB can accommodate up to three F-35 squadrons. The move would provide benefits across the service’s fifth generation fighter operations. Basing F-35s at Tyndall in the wake of hurricane damage allows the Air Force to use recovery funds to re-build the base in a tailored way to accommodate the unique needs of the F-35.

“We have recommended that the best path forward to increase readiness and use money wisely is to consolidate the operational F-22s formerly at Tyndall in Alaska, Hawaii and Virginia, and make the decision now to put the next three squadrons of F-35s beyond those for which we have already made decisions at Tyndall,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. If this decision is approved and supplemental funds to rebuild the base are appropriated, F-35s could be based at Tyndall beginning in 2023.

Until Hurricane Michael, Tyndall AFB was home to the largest basing of F-22 Raptors in the world where 55 of these advanced platforms are assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing. As Hurricane Michael approached the Florida panhandle, 31 percent of F-22 aircraft at Tyndall Air Force Base were designated Non-Mission Capable (NMC) and were sheltered in place. The operational F-22s formerly at Tyndall can be accommodated at other operational bases, increasing squadron size from 21 to 24 assigned aircraft. This will provide the Air Force with the opportunity to focus on readiness across our fleet of fighter aircraft. The consolidation will drive efficiencies which will increase the F-22’s readiness rate and address key recommendations from a recent Government Accountability Office report that identified small unit size as one of the challenges with F-22 readiness.

Tyndall’s direct access to the Joint Gulf Range Complex allows pilots to train and test in 180,000 square miles of DoD controlled airspace over the Gulf of Mexico. Florida’s training area also contains multiple live-fire bombing ranges, including Pinecastle Range, Avon Park Air Force Range, and the Eglin Bombing Range. As the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-35 requires an environment that allows for joint maritime, air, and land training exercises. Only Florida has an environment to maximize the potential of this platform. “The F-35 is a game-changer with its unprecedented combination of lethality, survivability, and adaptability,” Goldfein said. “Bringing this new mission to Tyndall ensures that the U.S. Air Force is ready to dominate in any conflict.”

We urge you to support the amount requested by the Air Force to fulfill immediate requirements to the sum of $2 billion. Half of this urgent need would allow Tyndall to salvage what buildings can be saved, make repairs, and begin the planning and design necessary to follow the military construction requirements to ensure Congress can adequately justify the funding. The other half of this amount would cover costs relating to personnel reassignments as the recovery progress continues, and the cost of sending the F-22 Raptors to other locations to ensure the Air Force mission is not impacted. This funding is needed now.

We should prove to those in uniform who lost everything after the storm hit, that you are not forgotten. I have seen you already start to rebuild your homes and businesses. Now we must begin to rebuild, not only for Florida, but for the good of our nation. We are confident close coordination between Congress and the Department of Defense will enable us to accomplish the priority of ensuring sustained American military dominance through the rebuilding of these vital Florida military installations. We look forward to working with you to accomplish this.

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Governor-elect Ron DeSantis Announces Ken Lawson as Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity & Recommends Jamal Sowell for Enterprise Florida President & CEO

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Tallahassee – Governor-elect Ron DeSantis today announced Ken Lawson will serve as Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). Governor-elect DeSantis also announced he will recommend that the Enterprise Florida, Inc.’s (EFI) Board of Directors appoint Jamal Sowell as its next president and chief executive officer (CEO) for the DeSantis-Nuñez Administration.

“Ken Lawson had demonstrated his leadership ability since serving his country in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Judge Advocate General,” said Governor-elect DeSantis. “Since that time, he has brought his commitment to service home to Florida, where he has served as Secretary of DBPR and President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA. I have no doubt Ken will continue this tradition of outstanding leadership at the Department of Economic Opportunity and help the state continue to be an economic powerhouse, bringing new businesses to Florida and creating jobs for Floridians.”

Regarding Lawson’s appointment to DEO, Governor Rick Scott said, “Ken Lawson has been a valuable member of my administration since the beginning of my first term as Governor. Under Ken’s leadership as head of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and more recently as CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, Florida was able to create more than 1.6 million private-sector jobs while setting remarkable visitation records. I applaud Governor-elect DeSantis for choosing Ken to lead the Department of Economic Opportunity. I am confident that Ken will continue to faithfully serve our state by working every day to create jobs, so each family can succeed in Florida.”

Regarding Jamal Sowell, Governor-elect DeSantis said,

“A native Floridian, Jamal Sowell is a person of integrity who has served his country and, now, has successfully helped to lead and grow the Port of Tampa Bay – one of the largest economic engines in the region,” said Governor-elect DeSantis. “I am proud to recommend Jamal to serve as the next president and CEO of Enterprise Florida. I know he will bring his acumen to the department and will keep our state competitive and ensure our workforce has opportunities.”

Steve Swindal, Chairman of Port Tampa Bay Board of Commissioners lauded the recommendation of Jamal Sowell to EFI stating, “Jamal has served with great distinction at the Tampa Port Authority. He is a bright and talented individual who will serve the DeSantis-Nuñez Administration, and the people of Florida, well. Our organization wishes him all the best in his new role.”

Ken Lawson, Executive Director of Department of Economic Opportunity

As VISIT FLORIDA’s president and CEO, Lawson led Florida’s official destination marketing organization in partnership with its Board of Directors and the statewide tourism industry.

During Lawson’s career, he has served in numerous leadership positions for several private-sector companies and government agencies, where he balanced the needs of the private sector while protecting public resources. Prior to joining VISIT FLORIDA, he served as secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation for six years, where he led a team of 1,600 employees who successfully regulated more than 1 million businesses and professions across Florida.

A native Floridian, Lawson received his bachelor’s and law degrees from Florida State University. He began his legal career in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Judge Advocate General and later served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida. In 2001, he was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Enforcement for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he was responsible for the oversight of several federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. efforts combating terrorist financing.

Lawson also served as Assistant Chief Counsel for Field Operations with the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration. In the private sector, Lawson served as the vice president for Compliance for nFinanSe Inc., a Tampa financial services company, and consulted for Booz Allen Hamilton, for whom he served as chief of party for the Financial Crimes Prevention Project in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Jamal Sowell, President & CEO of Enterprise Florida

Sowell most recently served as Port Tampa Bay’s chief of staff, where he was responsible for coordinating the operations of the president and CEO’s office, interfacing regularly with Hillsborough County, the City of Tampa and the State of Florida on critical issues facing the port. Sowell also served as the primary liaison to the governor and state executive branch in his capacity as chief of staff.

Prior to joining Port Tampa Bay, Jamal was special assistant to the University of Florida (UF) President and assistant corporate secretary to the UF Board of Trustees. A sixth-generation Floridian, Sowell was the UF student body president and member of the UF Board of Trustees. He was awarded as UF Outstanding Male Leader, UF Hall of Fame, UF Outstanding Young Alumni Award and is currently on the UF Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Sowell also served in the U.S. Marine Corps enlisting as a Private First Class in the Reserve, and was eventually commissioned, going into active duty, completing his time as a Captain. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan.

Sowell has a Masters of Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with coursework in 19th Century American Literature at Amherst College. He has a law degree from Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law, where he was a Pat Tillman Scholar. During his time in Indiana, Governor Mike Pence appointed Sowell to a state board regulating health facility administrators.

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RUBIO, MAST REQUEST IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION BY TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO PREVENT DELAY OF EAA STORAGE RESERVOIR PROJECT

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, raised urgent concerns with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R. D. James, over an Army Corps of Engineers proposal that would disregard clear congressional intent and delay the review of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Post Authorization Change Report (PACR) by more than a year. Specifically, Rubio and Mast requested that Secretary James directly intervene to prevent the Corps bureaucracy from unnecessarily delaying the design and construction of the vital Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir project.

Rubio led the effort to authorize the EAA, which passed the Senate on October 10 by a vote of 99-1.

A list of Rubio’s efforts fighting for Florida’s Everglades can be found here.

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary James:

We strongly urge your attention to our concerns regarding an unacceptable proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to significantly extend the Section 203 review process and potentially seek a second, modified authorization for the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) Post Authorization Change Report (PACR).

As you are aware, the concept for feasibility studies conducted by non-federal interests was created under Sec. 203 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-662). The CEPP PACR Feasibility Study and Draft Environmental Impact Statement, as prepared by the South Florida Water Management District, is the first and only such study to be determined feasible by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and authorized by Congress. Management of this first review will set critical precedents for future Sec. 203 projects. It is critical that the procedures established now are efficient and respect the intent of Congress both with respect to the overall purpose of Sec. 203 feasibility studies, and the specific authorization for the design and construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir project within CEPP (Sec. 1308, P.L. 115-270).

On July 11, 2018, you submitted a letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee determining that this project was “feasible from an engineering and construction viewpoint,” but also noting “significant technical, policy and legal concerns,” which could “be addressed through an evaluation/validation effort in the next project phase, subject to authorization by Congress.” In deference to your judgment, Congress authorized this project and directed that construction should commence “only after the Secretary prepares a report that addresses concerns, recommendations, and conditions identified by the Secretary,” allowing 90 days for completion of that report, which is due to the Committees of jurisdiction no later than January 18, 2019.

The law is clear that upon quick and efficient completion of your report, in coordination with the non-federal interest, no further Congressional authorization is required or warranted to begin construction of this vital Everglades restoration project. Instead, following submission of the report to Congress, the Corps should immediately proceed to working with the South Florida Water Management District to enter into a Project Partnership Agreement and begin the preconstruction engineering and design phase of the EAA Storage Reservoir Project, subject to the availability of appropriations. The concerns and recommendations highlighted in your report may meaningfully be addressed by the Corps, in cooperation with the South Florida Water Management District, during the preconstruction engineering and design phase, as has been typical procedure for all other Everglades restoration projects to date. It is wholly inappropriate for the Corps to abuse the reporting requirement included in the CEPP PACR authorization

for the purpose of relitigating the feasibility study for a congressionally-authorized project, especially when such efforts will undoubtedly compel the Corps to seek a second, modified project authorization.

Congress created the concept of Sec. 203 feasibility studies over 30 years ago to allow non-federal interests to expedite authorization and subsequently, construction, of critical water resources projects, while also reducing federal costs and the demands on an overburdened Corps. For Sec. 203 feasibility studies to serve as a meaningful option for non-federal interests in the future as Congress intended, the Corps cannot be allowed to waste valuable time and scarce taxpayer resources duplicating feasibility study efforts for projects that Congress has already authorized. We respectfully request your direct intervention to restrain the Corps bureaucracy from further devaluing the Sec. 203 process and unnecessarily delaying the design and construction of a vital Everglades restoration project.

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Alberto Moscoso leaves Florida Division of Emergency Management to Join Florida Public Affairs, Communications Firm McNicholas & Associates

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TALLAHASSEE- McNicholas & Associates today is pleased to announce Alberto Moscoso as its new statewide Director of Communications.

Moscoso served as Communications Director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM), where he provided rapid response and crisis communications for Governor Rick Scott and the Division during Hurricanes Michael and Irma.

“At a time when Florida residents needed fast, reliable and accurate information, Alberto helped lead the communications and messaging used by the Governor and emergency managers which saved lives and property,” said Tom McNicholas, President of McNicholas & Associates. “His unparalleled experience working with the public and private sectors during times of crisis and his experience leading men and women in the armed forces is going to make our team even stronger.”

During disaster response operations, Moscoso served as the State Emergency Response Team’s Public Information Officer, where he helped develop, implement and manage the state’s messaging strategy during and after dozens of emergency events, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, winter storms, wildfires, mass shootings, mass migrations, space launches and public health emergencies. Not least among these were Hurricanes Irma and Michael – among the most significant storm impacts to ever affect Florida. Prior to his time at the DEM, he served as Press Secretary for the Florida Department of Corrections. In that role, he provided strategic public relations, crisis communications and relationship development with media and community partners.

Moscoso was a combat aviator in the United States Army National Guard and served in Afghanistan. He graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s Degree and Master of Arts in International Affairs.

Alberto lives in Tallahassee with his wife Rachel. He will work in the Tallahassee office alongside McNicholas & Associates Public Affairs Director Ryan Smith.

About McNicholas & Associates

McNicholas & Associates is a national public affairs and public relations firm with offices in Palm Beach Gardens and Tallahassee, Florida. Since 1999, the firm has managed a variety of public- and private-sector projects with a diverse cross section of clients from image and public education campaigns to professional sports teams, government agencies, and corporate and community interests.

For more information, visit www.mcnicholas.biz

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RUBIO, MENENDEZ, COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS LEGISLATION TO SUPPORT DISPLACED VENEZUELANS

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues, today joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in introducing the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status and Asylum Assistance Act of 2018. The bipartisan legislation seeks to grant Temporary Protected Status for eligible Venezuelans fleeing the dire conditions in their homeland and to provide support for migration systems in the countries surrounding Venezuela.

Established by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief from deportation and access to a work permit for foreign nationals from certain countries who are unable to safely return to their home country due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions.

“As Venezuelans continue to face serious threats to their safety and livelihood at the hands of Maduro’s narcoterrorist tyranny, it is clear in-country conditions warrant granting temporary protected status to Venezuelan nationals residing in the U.S.,” Rubio said. “Granting this protection will provide a temporary solution to many Venezuelans who fear returning to their homeland due to the ongoing crisis and extraordinarily difficult conditions.”

“The extraordinary depth of Venezuela’s political, economic, and humanitarian crisis has forced millions of Venezuelans to flee their country, creating upheaval that is now being felt throughout the region,” Menendez said. “Providing Temporary Protected Status for eligible individuals and supporting migration systems in the region to assist Venezuelans who are prevented from returning safely to their country is the humanitarian and morally responsible thing to do.”

“When I traveled to Venezuela earlier this year, I found a country on the edge, facing overlapping economic, humanitarian, and political crises. The Venezuelan government under President Maduro has taken a series of repressive and undemocratic actions, including the cowardly jailing of National Assembly member Juan Requesens, that threatens its own people and has isolated it from the world,” Durbin said. “Venezuela faces a crisis, and the United States has a responsibility to respond in a manner that lives up to our American values. It is within our power to help keep innocent men, women, and children out of harm’s way by passing the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act of 2018.”

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AMERICA NEEDS TO RESTORE THE DIGNITY OF WORK

There was once a path to a stable and prosperous life in America that has since closed off. It was a well-traveled path for many Americans: Graduate high school and get a job, typically with a local manufacturer or one of the service industries associated with it, and earn enough to support a family. The idea was not only that it was possible to achieve this kind of success, but that anyone could achieve it—the American dream. That dream defines my family’s history, and its disappearance calls me to action today.

In 1956, my parents left behind a life of poverty in Cuba when they departed Havana with my 7-year-old brother for New York, and then for Miami soon after. My father started off taking whatever day jobs he could find before eventually becoming a bartender for most of his career, working various other jobs during the gaps. Once my younger sister and I were old enough, my mother started working again as a maid.

Between their two salaries and my dad’s tips, they made a good living, and I had a privileged childhood. My parents made enough to own a house, raise four children, and even allow my mother to spend most of her time at home when I was young. I was able to play football, go to college, and earn a law degree, because of the solid foundation built on the sacrifices my parents made for me and my siblings.

At some moments in our history, this sort of upward mobility has proved elusive. But when the United States has enjoyed booming new industries that offer good-paying jobs to large numbers of people, effective institutions of training and assimilation, and a strong communal spirit of aid and shared purpose, such opportunities have been broadly shared.

Today, though, outside of a few concentrated pockets of high growth in digital technology, American industrial innovation has slowed and workers in once-populous industrial regions have lost stable employment. For increasing numbers of Americans, enrolling at a four-year college is more likely to lead to debt and ambiguity than to a clear and productive career. Local organizations that once provided workers with a sense of representation and community, such as unions, have seen their memberships and budgets decline into near-oblivion.

To feel the absence of the American dream, and to desire to re-create an America in which it exists, is to experience nostalgia, but of a particular kind. It is not necessarily a desire for the old things, for low-tech assembly lines, male-only colleges, or debilitating labor disputes. It is a desire for an old promise, that no matter what America looks like or how it has changed, a stable and prosperous life should be attainable for the many. It’s an undying spirit that defines and unites us as Americans.

I’m proud that my mother and father could provide, through their hard work and commitment to our family, the opportunity for me and my siblings to flourish. They came to America in a time of prosperity, when working-class immigrants could assimilate and thrive alongside Americans whose families had been here for generations.

When I was born, in the early 1970s, the median income for families like mine, with a few kids and parents with only high-school degrees, was nearly two and a half times the poverty line. Today it’s less than one parent’s paycheck away from the poverty line. Simply put, if my family faced the exact same circumstances today, we would not be middle class; we would be falling behind. And if hardworking Americans don’t have stable jobs that pay enough to buy a home and raise a family, our nation is in very serious trouble.

Many policy makers in Washington and commentators in New York realize that the 21st-century economy is causing deep disruptions to Americans’ work lives, and that something new must be done to help them succeed. The debate over the “future of work,” though, is too often concerned with what workers need to do in order to become more useful to businesses, placing the responsibility of adjusting to automation and outsourcing by pursuing job retraining on workers themselves. In the process, the discussion absolves government and business of any responsibility for creating an economy that exists to benefit working Americans.

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RUBIO STATEMENT ON SENATE FARM BILL VOTE

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement after voting against the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill):

“The farm bill released late last night fails to do what is necessary to protect farmers, working families, and taxpayers. The conference committee had an opportunity to take the best provisions from both the Senate and House farm bills, but instead it appears to have combined the worst elements into legislation that I simply cannot support. When I voted for the Senate Farm Bill it was to advance the legislative process, with the goal being a five-year farm bill that would give Florida farmers much-needed confidence following the devastation of Hurricane Irma and the prospects of an uncertain trade future. The conferees failed to meet that standard.”

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RUBIO URGES FEMA TO EXPEDITE HOUSING RESOURCES IN FLORIDA COUNTIES AFFECTED BY HURRICANE MICHAEL

Washington D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long to accelerate the implementation of approved housing resources desperately needed in areas affected by Hurricane Michael. Direct Housing Assistance was approved in Bay, Calhoun, Jackson, Gadsden and Gulf counties on October 29, 2018. However, many survivors remain homeless and in need of already approved federal resources to address their housing needs. Specifically, Bay County, one of the hardest hit areas, has yet to receive much needed housing resources.

A full list of Rubio’s efforts for Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael can be found here.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Administrator Long:

Thank you for providing personnel and resources to the Hurricane Michael Recovery Assistance Center my office organized in Panama City last week. The ability for survivors to receive on-site assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was extremely helpful. However, I write to express concern regarding FEMA’s implementation of desperately needed housing resources in areas affected by Hurricane Michael. While FEMA approved the State of Florida’s request for Direct Housing Assistance on October 29, 2018, reports have indicated that these resources have not been implemented with necessary urgency as countless families are still waiting for housing resources that were approved six weeks ago.

While I recognize the difficult task FEMA faces with the level of destruction caused by Hurricane Michael, a delay of this length constitutes a failure to address the housing needs of affected survivors. According to reports, Bay County District Schools is currently facing the highest number of homeless students the district has ever seen. This type of devastation requires the federal government to act in a thorough and efficient manner to ensure that available resources are both approved and delivered. To date, families in Northwest Florida have not seen an appropriate response to their housing needs and FEMA must immediately act to address this concern.

More specifically, it is my understanding that counties, such as Bay, are having issues receiving updated information from FEMA as to the cause for delay in direct housing resources being executed. It has been conveyed that Bay County has approximately 1,400 Floridians approved for direct housing, but to date, has only received 29 trailers in total. Additionally, it is my understanding that FEMA has not adequately considered group sites for trailers, as around 70 percent of impacted survivors are renters. This lack of communication is unacceptable and must be immediately rectified. Affected Florida counties are working tirelessly to explore housing solutions for survivors and the federal government must provide an equivalent response in the fulfillment of these resources.

The level of devastation caused to families in Northwest Florida is unprecedented. I urge FEMA to address the housing needs of survivors by accelerating the implementation of approved resources and communicate with these communities on these efforts, so that we can effectively assist those most in need.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

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RUBIO URGES GOOGLE CEO TO ABANDON PLANS FOR CENSORED SEARCH ENGINE IN CHINA

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) urged Google CEO Sundar Pichai to abandon plans for Dragonfly, a censored version of its search engine in China. In the letter, Rubio states that if Google moves forward with their plans to build a censored search engine, the company will become “bedfellows with the Chinese people’s oppressors, rather than with those who are oppressed.”

In August, Rubio led a bipartisan group of Senators who raised concerns to Google CEO Pichai about the company’s Dragonfly plans in China.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Mr. Pichai:

In an August 2018 letter, I led a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators in expressing our alarm about Google’s reported plans to launch Dragonfly, a censored version of its search engine in China that would prohibit websites and search terms deemed objectionable by the Chinese Government and Communist Party. Such plans, we warned, risk making Google complicit in human rights abuses in China, including the government’s onerous censorship regime and authoritarian surveillance state that targets its own citizens with the aims of crushing dissent, free expression and any perceived threat to the Chinese Communist Party.

As the Congressional-Executive Commission on China recently heard harrowing testimony from a young Uyghur woman who survived the so-called “political reeducation” camps in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region—where the Chinese government has forcibly interned a million or more Uyghur and other ethnic minority Muslims in what, I believe, amounts to crimes against humanity—news reports emerged that Google, under your leadership, excluded the company’s security and privacy teams in key meetings about the then-nascent Dragonfly project and sidelined “a privacy review of the plan that sought to address potential human rights abuses.” Indeed, it appears that Google leadership has evaded for months critical and legitimate questions about the implications of its Dragonfly search engine plans for human rights and human lives in China, even despite the growth of withering criticism from your own employees who worry that Google will compromise core values to do business in that country. While the lure of China’s 1.4-billio
on-person market is strong, I hope that your commitment to Google’s stated values and founding ideals is even stronger.

In your response to the August 2018 Senate letter, you wrote: “We are committed to promoting access to information, freedom of expression, and user privacy, as well respecting the laws of jurisdictions in which we operate. We seek to strike a balance in each context.” But what if a balance is, quite simply, impossible?

The specter of history looms large. In 2007, the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), then-Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the only Holocaust survivor to serve in the U.S. Congress, convened a hearing on human rights in China with testimony from Yahoo’s CEO and general counsel. The hearing came after the Chinese government jailed journalist Shi Tao for ten years based on information on his pro-democracy efforts that Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) Limited had turned over to Chinese authorities. At one point in the hearing, Yahoo’s general counsel stated: “I cannot ask our local employees to resist lawful demands and put their own freedom at risk, even if, in my personal view, the local laws are overbroad.” His sentiments seemingly echo your own—that the laws of jurisdiction, no matter how “overbroad” or, frankly, evil they may be, nearly always prevail in such situations. Accordingly, if Google moves forward with the Dragonfly project as reported, you will most assuredly find yourselves similarly
compromised—bedfellows with the Chinese people’s oppressors, rather than with those who are oppressed.

Eleven years ago, the late Congressman Lantos voiced scathing criticism in response to the moral equivalency voiced by Yahoo’s executives, lamenting: “While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies.” We urge Google not to follow this same worn path bereft of any moral compass in pursuit of the bottom line. The stakes are simply too high.

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RUBIO WELCOMES AIR FORCE RECOMMENDATION TO REBUILD TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE

Miami, FL. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed the Air Force’s recommendation that Congress use supplemental funding for rebuilding the base to prepare to receive the F-35 fighter at the north Florida installation.

Earlier today Rubio wrote an op-ed in the Panama City News-Herald urging the Department of Defense to fully rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base.

“After working closely with the U.S. Air Force to ensure Tyndall Air Force Base is fully rebuilt, the Air Force is asking Congress for the funds necessary to rebuild and receive the F-35 fighter jet. This announcement is great news not only for national security, but also for the people of Florida,” Rubio said. “I thank Secretary Wilson for her efforts, and I will continue working with my colleagues to get a disaster supplemental before the end of the year so that Tyndall and the communities in the Panhandle are fully restored in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. While Tyndall has a long road to full recovery, I am proud of what the base leadership, Air Force personnel and their families have been able to accomplish in the weeks since the storm destroyed most of the base. I remain committed to seeing that Tyndall is fully rebuilt.”

More Information On The Announcement

· Tyndall’s access to 130,000 square miles of airspace over the Gulf of Mexico provides a capability unmatched anywhere else in the world and will allow the F-35s to utilized to its maximum potential.

· The F-35s could be based at Tyndall beginning in 2023.

· Basing already announced in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Utah, Vermon, and Wisconsin will not be affected by this decision.

· Before the storm, Tyndall was home to the 325th Fighter Wing–comprised of two F-22 Raptor squadrons. One was operational and one was training. The base also hosts First Air Force, the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, and the Air Force Civil Engineer Center.

· More than 2,000 personnel have since returned to the base and the Air Force intends to keep the testing, air operations center, and civil engineer missions at Tyndall. The recommendation announced today only affects the operational fighter flying mission at the base.

· The move would provide benefits across the service’s fifth generation fighter operations. Basing F-35s at Tyndall in the wake of hurricane damage allows the Air Force to use recovery funds to re-build the base in a tailored way to accommodate the unique needs of the F-35.

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RUBIO, BROWN INTRODUCE BILL TO PROTECT SMALL BUSINESSES’ RIGHT TO NOTICE

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced (S.3717) the Small Business Fair Lending Act, legislation that seeks to protect small businesses by closing a loophole used by nefarious lenders, and allowing the ability for them to be heard in a court of law. The bill codifies the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 1985 ban on confessions of judgement, and extends it to include small business borrowers. Confessions of judgment require a borrower to give up his or her rights in court before obtaining a loan, and allows the lender to seize the borrower’s assets, without warning, in order to satisfy the debt. Although many states have banned this practice for small business loans and for individuals, borrowers remain exposed due to the current FTC loophole. The Small Business Lending Fairness Act provides small businesses with the same protections consumers already have. Last month, Bloomberg published an in-depth investigative report on this unscrupulous lending tactic, which has allowed creditors to destroy the lives of tens of thousands of borrowers without notice or opportunity for defense.

“With this new bill, we are taking another step toward protecting America’s small businesses—the foundation of our economy—by preserving the right of a business to be heard in a court of law before a potential credit default,” Rubio said. “I remain committed to protecting our small businesses, and I hope my colleagues will join me in this effort by passing this bill.”

“When we let financial predators harm hardworking Americans through scams like confessions of judgment, we undermine the dignity of work that makes this country great,” said Brown. “This bipartisan bill ensures that consumers and small business owners benefit from protections that prevent predatory lenders from stripping away their hard earned money under cover of night.”

The Small Business Lending Fairness Act:

· Codifies the FTC’s 1985 ban on confessions of judgment in law in consumer loan contracts, and

· Expands the ban to provide these protections to business borrowers as well.

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RUBIO BILL TO SPUR SMALL BUSINESS INVESTMENT HEADS TO PRESIDENT’S DESK

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today hailed the Senate passage of the Spurring Business in Communities Act, legislation that he introduced with U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) to allow more Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) to form and invest in Florida, Washington state, and other under-licensed states. The House passed the legislation on May 8, 2018, and it now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

“This bill will help to keep and encourage more investment in Florida’s economy, instead of being shoe-horned into Wall Street and Silicon Valley,” said Rubio. “I’ll continue to fight for Florida’s economy, and I look forward to the president signing this important bill into law.”

“Small businesses are the engines of our Made in Wisconsin economy and if we increase the amount of startup funding in states like Wisconsin, we can create new jobs and grow our economy,” said Baldwin. “Wisconsin has lagged in business start-up activity and I have worked to change that. This legislation will help carry on Wisconsin’s proud history of entrepreneurship and innovation by providing more support to our small business start-ups, and I’m looking forward to the President signing this bill into law.”

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RUBIO, KENNEDY INTRODUCE BILL TO PROTECT SMALL BUSINESSES FROM SECURITY BREACHES

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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Small Business Credit Protection Act, legislation that would require credit bureaus to inform small businesses, within 30 days, of a nonpublic personal data breach. The bill would also prohibit credit bureaus from charging small businesses for a credit report within 180 days following a breach. In response to the Equifax data breach, Congress amended the Fair Credit Reporting Act to enhance some federal credit protections for “consumers.” However, business credit is excluded from the statutory definition of “consumers” and thus, while small business’ nonpublic information was subject to the breach, the changes did not apply to those using business credit.

A one pager of the bill is available here.

“The federal government must uphold the trust Americans need to fully participate in our economy. By ensuring that small businesses receive the protections they need in cases of a security breach, the Small Business Credit Protection Act will do just that,” Rubio said. “I urge my colleagues to join me in passing this bill so that we can continue to protect America’s small businesses – the cornerstone of our economy.”

“Credit bureaus need to be held responsible for their gross negligence and data mismanagement,” said Kennedy, a member of the Banking Committee. “We’ve already taken important steps to protect consumers, but small businesses’ credit data were also compromised, and they deserve protection as well. It’s been just over a year since the Equifax breach, but consumers and mom and pop small businesses are counting on us to keep the pedal to the floor and guard their data privacy.”

“We truly appreciate Senator Rubio’s efforts to protect private information for small businesses,” said Patrick La Pine, President/CEO of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions & Affiliates. “Much like consumer data, small businesses are vulnerable to increasing threats of stolen data and this proactive approach is good for the marketplace and the consumers who use it. On behalf of our members, the Florida Credit Union Association thanks Sen. Rubio and looks forward to working with him on this common sense approach.”

Following the Equifax breach, Rubio urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton to require companies to promptly disclose significant hacks of material impact that make Americans vulnerable to identity theft.

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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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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,

Out2martincounty.com

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,

Out2martincounty.com

HONOR FLIGHTOut2martincounty.com85 WWII Veterans at the US Marine Memorial. Such a wonderful day!

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