Even as the temperature in Tallahassee seems to have dropped below freezing (it has – the current temperature is 32 degrees), Florida’s legislative session has heated up with controversy over a few Republican-introduced bills that state Democrats deem as “anti-Gay” or anti-Transgender.
In reading the bills, it is fair to say that anyone calling these bills anti-Gay or anti-Transgender is just politicizing these pieces of legislation to push their own personal preferences agenda.
Anyone advocating from the genital mutilation of children is sick.
Enter State Rep. Carlos G. Smith (D).
Rep. Smith is all bunched up over Republican Rep. Anthony Sabatini’s bill to prevent doctors from mutilating children’s genitalia.
Because a 6-year-old can honestly and intelligently tell his or her parents that they need to have a sex change operation because they know they are really of the opposite sex, right? That was a little sarcasm.
Smith is an openly gay man and from all accounts, has been happy with his original physical “set up.”
But while growing up, what if his parents would have thought he was really a girl and had his little member chopped off when he was a just a young whippersnapper?
I think Carlos would be just a little ticked off about that.
Even though it is cold as the Arctic Circle in South Florida (feels that way) don’t get your hopes up that this cold front is going to kill off all those darn lizards.
If the weather stays cold for several days, well, then we are in business. Otherwise, we can only hope that Larry the Lizard and his un-welcomed amigos decide to play in the street
Nurses do it with love & care.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) will be educating the public about the role CRNAs take in providing safe and effective anesthesia care for every patient during the 21st annual National CRNA Week celebration taking place January 19-25, 2020. The Florida Association of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (FANA) is especially grateful to Governor Ron DeSantis for issuing a proclamation recognizing CRNA week in Florida.
Also, there are a whole bunch of bills being discussed this week. Here is a rundown of some of those bills.
PARENTAL CONSENT DEBATED: The Senate Rules Committee will take up a bill (SB 404), filed by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, that would require parental consent before minors could have abortions. The state has a requirement that parents be notified before minors have abortions, but a consent requirement would be more restrictive. (8:30 a.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
UNION MEMBERSHIP DISCUSSED: The House Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee will consider a proposal (HB 1), filed by Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, that would revise requirements related to members of public-employee unions. For example, workers would have to sign membership authorization forms if they join unions, and the bill would revise requirements for deduction of dues. (8:30 a.m., Morris Hall, House Office Building, the Capitol.)
SALES TAX COLLECTIONS AT ISSUE: Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, Rep. Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, and officials from business groups will appear at a news conference about bills (SB 126 and HB 159) that seek to ensure sales taxes are collected on goods purchased on the internet. (9 a.m., fourth floor, the Capitol.)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES ON AGENDA: The House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 1087), filed by Rep. Juan Alfonso Fernandez-Barquin, R-Miami, that would revamp domestic-violence services, including eliminating a requirement that the Department of Children and Families contract with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (9:30 a.m., 12 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
SENATE DEMOCRATS HUDDLE: The Senate Democratic caucus will meet before a floor session. (10 a.m., 200 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
SUNSCREEN BAN BILL TEED UP: The Senate will hold a floor session and take up a bill (SB 172), filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, that would block local regulation of over-the-counter drugs and cosmetics. The bill focuses on a decision by Key West to ban the sale of types of sunscreen containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. Those chemicals have drawn concerns about damaging coral reefs, though Bradley argues that Key West and other communities looking at similar sunscreen rules were “fooled by junk science.” He also has contended that sunscreen needs to be available to help prevent skin cancer. (10:30 a.m., Senate chamber, the Capitol.)
WRONGFUL INCARCERATION DISCUSSED: Rep. Kimberly Daniels, D-Jacksonville, will host a news conference about a bill (HB 6507) that would compensate Clifford Williams for being wrongfully incarcerated for 43 years in a murder and attempted-murder case. Also slated to take part in the news conference are House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, Rep. Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, Rep. Bobby DuBose, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach. (11:30 a.m., Room 333, the Capitol.)
AIRPORT REQUIREMENTS ON AGENDA: The House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 915), filed by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Miami Springs, that would place new requirements on commercial airports. The proposal includes requiring audits by the state auditor general of “large-hub” commercial airports. (12:30 p.m., 404 House Office Building, the Capitol.)
FLU AND STREP TARGETED: Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-Merritt Island, and Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, will hold a news conference to discuss a bill (HB 389) that would allow pharmacists to test and treat patients for influenza and streptococcus. (1 p.m., fourth floor, the Capitol.)
WATER QUALITY DISCUSSED: The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a proposal (SB 712), filed by Chairwoman Debbie Mayfield, R-Rockledge, that would take a series of steps to address water quality in the state. (1:30 p.m., 110 Senate Office Building, the Capitol.)
AMMUNITION BACKGROUND CHECKS PROPOSED: Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, and Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, will take part in a news conference about legislation (SB 460 and HB 289) that would require background checks for purchasing ammunition. They will be joined by Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime died in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. (1:30 p.m., fourth floor, the Capitol.)
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“David Hogg states gun owners only support white supremacy,” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – March for our Lives Florida activist David Hogg continues to push the political envelope as his once shining star continues to fade almost two years after the Parkland school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead. Hogg, who had once garner significant bipartisan support for his efforts to bring attention to gun violence after the school shooting, began pushing a progressive gun-control, gun ban agenda over the course of the past 20 months or so. Hogg’s latest tweet about guns highlights how progressive the college student has gone. Hogg posted a video on Twitter of a group of white individuals openly caring firearms in Richmond, Virginia, posing the question,” How many of these people do you think would support the Black Panthers’ right to carry?”
“Florida Democrats support child genital mutilation,” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Just about every single American will agree that children need to be protected at all costs from anything or anyone that would pose a threat to their well-being. Unfortunately, there are some Americans who appear to support an un-Godly and extreme ideology that parents and doctors should be allowed to perform surgical procedures on children that would forever change their sexual identities, or enhance or block the course in which the body naturally develops. According to a story written by Giancarlo Sopo for The Blaze, Florida State Rep. Anthony Sabatini’s “The Vulnerable Child Protection Act”(HB 1365) is coming under fire from one of Florida’s most controversial and perceived extremist state legislators, Rep. Carlos G. Smith (D).
“Rick Scott guilts Europeans for visiting Cuba,” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – In another bold to move to put pressure on the regime in Communist Cuba, Florida Senator Rick Scott penned an open letter to European and Canadian citizens, asking them to reconsider traveling to Cuba and to “understand the full implications” of their respective trips to the island nation. Sen. Scott spelled it out for the would-be travelers, reminding them that their “every move is watched” and that every dollar spent will go to the regime, and not the Cuban people. Scott also pointed out that by visiting Cuba they would be supporting a “reprehensible Apartheid system” that has committed human rights atrocities for over five decades.
“Brodeur Qualifies for 2020 Ballot,” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – This week started off well for the Jason Brodeur for Florida Senate campaign as it was announced that he had submitted for than the required number of petitions to the Supervisor of Elections Offices that are needed to qualify for the November 2020 ballot. In a statement, Brodeur commented that he was ecstatic to be “able to qualify for the ballot by petition, with nearly 10 months to go until election day.” Moreover, Brodeur noted that his campaign is “building a strong grassroots organization with broad support from all corners of the district.”
“Florida targets space force,” by The News Service of Florida – Tallahassee Florida’s aerospace agency has launched a new front in its effort to make the Sunshine State more enticing as a potential player in the nation’s up-and-coming Space Force. The Space Florida Board of Directors on Thursday approved $200,000 for Satellite Beach-based GTOPS, Inc., a veteran-owned business that provides facilities-support services, to further showcase how military bases and businesses in the state are capable of training and equipping President Donald Trump’s new military branch. “If you can’t make the articulate arguments for what capabilities you’ve got to support missions, you’ll never get those mission assignments,” Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello said after Thursday’s meeting in Tallahassee.
“Gov. Ron DeSantis appoints Stoneman Douglas victim’s dad Ryan Petty to state Board of Education,” by the Sun-Sentinel’s Anthony Man – Gov.Ron DeSantis on Tuesday appointed Ryan Petty, father of one of the 17 people killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, to a seat on Florida’s State Board of Education. Petty has become a prominent school safety advocate in the 23 months since his daughter, Alaina, was killed in the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at the high school in Parkland. He is a member of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, which was formed to analyze what went wrong leading up to and during the massacre, and to recommend improvements. He is also the founder of the WalkUp Foundation, which works to prevent school violence. Petty was among the family members of Stoneman Douglas victims who advocated for the removal of Scott Israel as Broward sheriff over his performance in connection with the shooting, and was part of the coalition of family members who successfully pressed the Florida Senate to uphold DeSantis’ suspension of Israel.
Petty had hoped to influence education policy on the local level when he unsuccessfully sought a seat on the Broward School Board in 2018. Now, pending confirmation by the Florida Senate, he will serve a four-year term on the statewide board that sets education policy.
“Florida cabinet updates clemency rules following Amendment 4 opinion,” by Orlando Sentinel’s Dara Kam – Tallahassee — Amid a federal-court challenge to a state law requiring felons to pay “legal financial obligations” to be eligible to vote, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet unanimously signed off on a proposal Tuesday that would make it easier for felons who owe restitution to get their rights restored. The revised rule, approved by DeSantis and the Cabinet acting as the Board of Executive Clemency, is the latest move in a drawn-out legal and political battle over the restoration of rights in Florida, with critics accusing the state of refusing to let go of a process designed to keep black people from voting. The revamped clemency rule will allow felons who have waited at least seven years after they have completed their time behind bars and have fulfilled other requirements but owe restitution to victims to request a hearing from the clemency board. Under the current rules, restitution must be paid in full before felons can apply to have their rights restored. The current process will remain the same for felons who are eligible for clemency without a hearing. Felons who have not been convicted of murder, sex offenses or other violent crimes — such as those resulting in death — and who have completed their sentences, paid restitution and have not committed any crimes for five years may apply to have their rights restored without a hearing.
“Tobacco, vaping regulations move forward in Florida Senate,” by The Orlando Sentinel’s Gray Rohrer – Tallahassee – Florida lawmakers are moving forward with new regulations on vaping and tobacco products over the objections of vape shop owners, amid a national debate over how to address the health issues raised by vaping products. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed SB 810 on Tuesday, which would set the minimum age to buy tobacco at 21 and define vaping products as tobacco products in state law, requiring independent vape shops to get tobacco licenses and be regulated as tobacco retailers. “We have a crisis in our state and in our nation,” said state Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, sponsor of the bill. But vape store owners and advocates for lighter regulation of the vaping industry have pointed to a Centers for Disease Control report released Jan. 17 tying the lung diseases and deaths to the use of marijuana in vaping devices. “Lung related issues [are] from black-market THC cartridges, it’s already been said by the CDC,” said Jonathan Risteen, owner of Gentleman’s Draw, a vape shop in Edgewater. “It is not nicotine vaping that is causing these lung injuries. It is scientifically proven and backed up by the CDC at this point in time.”
“Florida lawmakers don’t want you to know where they live. Why is that?” by The Miami Herald’s Lawrence Mower – A Florida Senate committee on Tuesday advanced along party lines a bill that would make secret basic details about state lawmakers and their spouses. Senate Bill 832 would give lawmakers and Cabinet members the same level of secrecy granted to police officers and judges, making their home addresses, telephone numbers and dates of birth private. Under the bill, the personal information and places of employment of their spouses and children would be exempt. So, too, would be information that lawmakers don’t disclose when they run for office, such as the names and locations of the schools their children attend.
“Bill aims to curb green iguanas in Florida,” by Tampa Bay Times’ Samantha J. Gross – Tallahassee — On a cold January day where Floridians pondered whether the state’s invasive and pervasive green iguanas would freeze and fall from the sky, a bill was introduced that aims to stop the “chicken of the trees” from proliferating. The bill, which got its first hearing Tuesday, adds green iguanas to the list of species that cannot be kept as pets or sold in pet shops across the state. In addition to green iguanas, the bill also applies to black and white tegus, another nonnative lizard variety largely found in Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties. Iguana population and damage booms. Florida’s not sure what to do about it The Senate Environment and Natural Resources committee voted 4-0 on the bill, which still has two committee stops before it goes to a floor vote.
“Taxpayers are spending millions to host Super Bowl 54. What are they getting in return?” by Miami Herald’s Rob Wile – If you want to know how Miami-area residents may benefit from hosting Super Bowl 54, a mega-event for which area residents are paying millions yet which few are likely to attend, look no further than Captain Fish & Chicken in Miami Gardens. There, owner Sam Saleh says he is already seeing a surge in orders from local residents for game-day take-out orders, including one for 300 wings. It’s the kind of foot traffic the restaurant usually sees only on Christmas Eve and New Year’s. Or one could look to Max Diaz, a local bartender who says he expects to earn at least $500 a night for staffing the week-long party at Miami Beach’s Cameo nightclub.
“Chief Justice Roberts admonishes both sides at Senate impeachment trial, after marathon session erupts into shouting match” by Fox News’s Gregg Re – A marathon, 12-hour first day in the Senate impeachment trial against President Trump erupted into a shouting match well after midnight Wednesday morning, as Trump’s legal team unloaded on Democratic impeachment manager Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. — in an exchange that prompted a bleary-eyed Chief Justice John Roberts to sternly admonish both sides for misconduct in the chamber. Nadler began the historic spat by speaking in support of the eighth amendment of the day, which was proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., just as the clock struck midnight. The proposal would have amended the trial rules offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to immediately subpoena former National Security Advisor John Bolton. McConnell’s rules, which were eventually adopted in a 53-47 party-line vote at 1:40 a.m. ET Wednesday and largely mirror those from the Bill Clinton impeachment trial in 1999, permit new witnesses and documents to be considered only later on in the proceedings, after opening arguments are made. But Nadler, who was overheard apparently planning to impeach Trump back in 2018, said it would be a “treacherous vote” and a “cover-up” for Republicans to reject the Bolton subpoena amendment, claiming that “only guilty people try to hide evidence.” Bolton has reportedly described Trump’s conduct as akin to a “drug deal,” and he has indicated he would be willing to testify and provide relevant information.
“Ocasio-Cortez Declares Democratic Party as a ‘center-conservative party’” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized the Democratic Party for not being progressive on Monday, declaring her own party is a “center or center-conservative party.” “We don’t have a left party in the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview at MLK Now 2020. “The Democratic Party is not a left party. The Democratic Party is a center or center-conservative party.” The freshman congresswoman cited Congress, including the speaker Nancy Pelosi inability to bring progressive issues such as “Medicare For All” for a floor vote. “We can’t even get a floor vote on Medicare-for-all — not even a floor voted that gets voted down,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We can’t even get a vote on it. So this is not a left party.” In an interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ocasio-Cortez said there are “left members inside the Democratic party” such as her “squad” members of Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar “who are working to try to make that shift happen.”
“Clinton on Sanders: ‘Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done’” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized her former Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in an upcoming documentary, saying “nobody likes him” and he is a career politician who “got nothing done.” “He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it,” Clinton said in an excerpt from the documentary, “Hillary,” the new four-part Hulu documentary series on her life. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Clinton was asked if that statement still stands. “Yes, it does,” Clinton responded. Clinton accused Sanders of fostering an environment that breeds sexism in the wake of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) alleging Sanders told her a woman could not win a presidential election during a private conversation in 2018. “It’s not only him, it’s the culture around him. It’s his leadership team. It’s his prominent supporters. It’s his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women,” Clinton said. “And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it.”
“Puerto Rico Under Fire for Unused Hurricane Maria aid” by Hispolitica’s Javier Manjarres – In a turn of events, Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez fired two officials after Hurricane Maria aid was found unused amid the aftermath of the recent Hurricane the island experienced. The officials fired were Fernando Gil, the Housing Secretary, and Glorimar Andujar, the Department of Family Secretary. In the rubble, there were pallets of bedding, medical supplies and food that were found wrapped in plastic. They were unused and found in a warehouse, stored for more than two years while island residents suffered through the most recent earthquake that has devastated everyone. A video went viral showing the supplies that were not distributed to those in need and instead were left in a warehouse on the southern coastal city of Ponce. In a statement, Governor Vazquez commented that “there are thousands of people who made sacrifices to bring aid to the south and it’s unforgivable that resources have been kept in a warehouse.” The two recent firings come at a time when several officials have been fired for unethical actions such as Carlos Acevedo, the director of Puerto Rico’s Office of Emergency Management. This has also damaged Puerto Rico’s credibility in Washington, and the Trump administration has not released a statement after it was slammed for not delivering the necessary amount of aid for the island. At the end of the week, President Trump declared that Puerto Rico had experienced a major disaster, announcing that federal funds would be allocated for repairs, for temporary housing and low-cost loans. In a statement, the White House noted that this effort would “help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”
“Murkowski says she called Trump to reassure she doesn’t ‘hate’ him” by Fox News’s Charles Creitz and Brie Stimson – Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she called President Trump last fall to reassure him she doesn’t “hate” him, according to a report. Murkowski said she decided to phone the president shortly after reading about remarks he made about her at a November event. “He was just kind of off the cuff and he said, ‘I don’t know, I think Lisa Murkowski hates me. I kind of like her,’” Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News Saturday. She said she told Trump during the call that while she sometimes disagrees with him, “I don’t hate you. I don’t hate anybody, but I don’t hate you,” the Daily News reported. The president was gracious to her, she said. “He was so sweet, he says: ‘Oh, that’s so nice,’” she told the Daily News. On the call, Murkowski said she also discussed issues important to Alaska for several minutes. She told the paper that policy disagreements are a fact of legislating, but that it’s important to keep positive professional relationships.
“Veteran NJ cop fatally shoots himself while first responders attempt to free him from car wreck: reports” by Fox News’s Paulina Dedaj – A veteran New Jersey police officer fatally shot himself in the head over the weekend as first responders attempted to free the off-duty cop from a car wreck, marking the latest in a growing number of police suicides. Roselle Park Police officer Edward Nortrup, 39, was driving in Matawan Sunday afternoon when he reportedly lost control of his vehicle, crashing into two parked cars before partially rolling over in front of the Matawan Municipal Community Center, NJ.com reported. Nortrup was trapped but alive in the car when first responders got to him. “As first responders left the vehicle to get equipment to help with the extraction, the driver located a firearm and fatally shot himself,” a spokesman for Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office told the New York Post in an email. Police Chief Daniel McCaffery confirmed Nortrup’s manner of death, saying in a separate statement that he “removed a gun in his possession and fired one shot, tragically taking his own life.” It was not immediately clear from either report if the firearm used was his service weapon. Nortrup was a 13-year-veteran with the department, most recently working in the Detective Bureau. “Patrolman Nortrup was a co-worker, friend, and a brother,” the department said in a statement on Monday. “Always willing to help others, Patrolman Nortrup was a well-respected member of the law-enforcement community, and will be sorely missed.” He was also the married father of a 15-month-old girl.
“Senate passes impeachment trial rules to punt on witnesses in early Wednesday morning vote” by CNN’s Jeremy Herb, Phil Mattingly and Manu Raju – The Senate early Wednesday morning approved rules for the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on a party-line vote that delays the question of whether the Senate should subpoena witnesses and documents until later in the trial. The rules resolution from Senate Majority Mitch McConnell was approved 53-47 after Republicans defeated a series of amendments from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the opening day of the bitterly fought impeachment trial. Schumer proposed 11 amendments seeking to subpoena a trove of documents from the Trump administration and witnesses like acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, but the amendments were thwarted almost entirely by the same party-line vote, 53-47. As the debate continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning, tempers increasingly began to flare. Chief Justice John Roberts admonished both the House managers and the President’s lawyers after a particularly heated back and forth with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow. Roberts said he was admonishing the two sides “in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world’s greatest deliberative body.” Schumer’s amendments are part of an effort from Democrats in both the House and Senate to attack the resolution laying out the rules of the trial, which puts off a decision about seeking witnesses and documents until after opening statements are given and senators have a chance to ask questions of the House impeachment managers and the President’s legal team.
“CNN poll: Bernie Sanders surges to join Biden atop Democratic presidential pack” by CNN’s Jennifer Agiesta – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has improved his standing in the national Democratic race for president, joining former Vice President Joe Biden in a two-person top tier above the rest of the field, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. The poll marks the first time Biden has not held a solo lead in CNN’s national polling on the race. Overall, 27% of registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents back Sanders, while 24% favor Biden. The margin between the two is within the poll’s margin of sampling error, meaning there is no clear leader in this poll. Both, however, are significantly ahead of the rest of the field, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 14% and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 11%. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg lands at 5% in the poll, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and businessman Andrew Yang each hold 4% support. Businessman Tom Steyer has 2%. No other candidate reaches 1% support. Sanders has gained 7 points since the last CNN poll on the race in December. Since that survey, the Vermont senator has also made gains in early-state polling, including CNN’s survey with the Des Moines Register in Iowa, where the first caucuses of the cycle will be held in less than two weeks. Sanders has made gains nearly across the board, clearly pulling away from Warren among liberals (33% back Sanders, while 19% support Warren in the new poll), a group where the two had been running closely through much of the fall. Sanders has also pulled about even with Biden among voters of color (30% for Sanders, 27% for Biden).
“This year, at least six states are trying to restrict transgender kids from getting gender reassignment treatments” by CNN’s Scottie Andrew – State lawmakers can’t stop fighting about the rights of their transgender citizens: Their access to bathrooms. The sports they can play in school. Whether businesses can turn them away because of their gender identity. But they’ve never weighed restrictions to transgender healthcare that are this extreme. Since the start of the 2020 legislative session, at least six states have proposed to restrict transgender minors’ access to gender reassignment treatments, including surgery and hormone therapy. Some bills would make it illegal for physicians to administer the treatments. Others would classify the act as child abuse. The number of states contemplating whether to restrict transgender youths’ access to healthcare is “unusual,” said Ryan Thoreson, a Yale Law School lecturer and an LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. No states have enacted a blanket ban on gender reassignment treatment for transgender minors. But the sheer volume of proposals this legislative session is concerning, he said. “There are alarming signals that things like this could pass in conservative states,” Thoreson told CNN.
“Harvey Weinstein’s sex assault trial is set to begin today, more than two years after allegations against him broke open the #MeToo movement” by CNN’s Eric Levenson – Opening statements in Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault and rape trial are set to begin Wednesday in New York as the movie mogul faces the possibility of life behind bars. State prosecutors say Weinstein, 67, raped a woman in a New York hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performed oral sex on another woman in 2006 at his Manhattan apartment. He is charged with five felony counts: first-degree rape, third-degree rape, first-degree criminal sexual act, and two counts of predatory sexual assault. Several other women who say he assaulted them will also testify in the trial. “The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra is expected to testify toward the predatory sexual assault charges as prosecutors seek to prove Weinstein committed serious crimes against multiple victims. In addition, three other “prior bad acts” witnesses are expected to accuse Weinstein of assault, as prosecutors argue he had a pattern of sexual abuse. But Weinstein’s team of attorneys deny that there was any non-consensual sexual activity. Their opening statements are expected to take aim at the testimony of the women who form the crux of the case against him. In a preview of their arguments on Tuesday, his defense attorneys said they had “dozens and dozens and dozens” of emails between the accusers and Weinstein that they say show “loving words” toward him. The opening statements arrive more than two years after The New York Times and The New Yorker published stories quoting women who accused Weinstein of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment. The outpouring of allegations that followed sparked the #MeToo movement that seeks to bring attention to and stop sexual violence.
“Supreme Court Considers Religious Schools Case” by NPR’s The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a major case that could dramatically alter the line separating church and state. At issue is a Montana state constitutional amendment that bars direct and indirect taxpayer aid to religious institutions. Conservative religious groups and advocates of school choice are challenging the “no-aid” provision. They have long sought to invalidate state constitutional amendments that prohibit taxpayer funding from going to religious schools. Given that Montana is one of 38 states with a “no-aid” provision, the court’s eventual decision could have far-reaching consequences. The case began in 2015 when the Montana legislature passed a bill providing a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for individuals who donate to organizations that provide scholarship money to students in private schools. An organization called Big Sky began raising money to fund these scholarships, using the tax credit as an incentive. Of the 13 schools that got scholarship money from Big Sky, 12 were religious schools. Indeed, 70 percent of all private schools in Montana are religiously affiliated. Ultimately, the Montana Supreme Court struck down the entire tax credit program for all private schools, religious and non-religious alike. It said the tax credit conflicted with the state constitution, which bars all state aid for religious education, whether direct or indirect, like a tax subsidy. School choice advocates are now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to revive the scholarship aid program in its entirety. They are backed by the Trump administration, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos who as a private citizen and as a Cabinet member has advocated for what she recently called “faith-based education.”
Nancy Pelosi @SpeakerPelosi– The Trump Admin is engaged in an all-out campaign to destroy protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The longer this GOP lawsuit continues, the longer it will drive up costs & endanger life-saving pre-existing condition protections.
Rick Scott @SenRickScott -The @SenateDemsvare arguing about process because the case brought by House Dems is weak & lacking substance. There will be a time and place to vote on whether to allow witnesses. Right now it’s clear that @RepAdamSchiffv& his gang are too scared to start their oral arguments.
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP – My colleagues in the House are patriots fighting for justice. @senatemajldr must allow a fair trial. The American people deserve to know the truth, that @POTUS violated the #RuleOfLaw by withholding critical military aid for his own private & personal gain. #NoOneIsAboveTheLaw
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets –If federal prosecutors re-victimize innocent victims – as Epstein’s horrific plea deal undoubtedly did – they must be held accountable. Epstein’s victims deserve to know that no one will suffer the way they have again.
Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch – Today, I had the honor of joining @SpeakerPelosi & my colleagues in visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau as we prepare to commemorate 75 years since its liberation. In these gates, more than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, perished, subjected to torture, starvation, & mass execution
Ron DeSantis @GovRonDeSantis – My administration remains committed to supporting Florida’s growing aerospace industry and maintaining an economic climate that allows companies like Made In Space to prosper.
AG Ashley Moody @AGAshleyMoody The U.S. House must take up S. 3201 urgently b/f the DEA’s temporary order expires on Feb. 6.—Fentanyl is deadly. State AGs UNANIMOUSLY urged Congress to extend fentanyl as Schedule I last year! This vital legislation is crucial to combating the opioid epidemic and saving lives.
Debbie Mayfield @debbie_mayfield The High Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act has passed the @FLSenate Infrastructure & Security Committee favorably! Thank you Chairman @TomLeeFL for hearing this important legislation today.
Rep. Anna V. Eskamani R @AnnaForFlorida Yesterday was such a busy day in the Florida Capitol & it was fabulous to meet so many incredible advocacy groups & consituents! From Junior League to AAUW, Dignity Florida to our Physician Associates. Thank you for stopping by!!
“Dozens arrested as ATV and dirt bike riders take to South Florida streets,” by the Sun-Sentinel’s Andrew Boryga – An ATV rider does a wheelie while riding in Miami during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend in 2018. Year after year, riders of similar vehicles descend on South Florida with the stated aim of advocating for civil rights and gun violence. However, the weekend tends to end with scores of arrests and gun confiscations as it did this year.
Some call it “Bikes up, Guns down.” Others say “Wheels up, Guns down.”
Both monikers, which refer to hundreds of brash riders of off-road vehicles and bikes on South Florida streets during the Martin Luther King Jr. day weekend ― supposedly in support of civil rights and reducing gun violence — failed to live up to their name yet again this year in South Florida.
According to figures from the Miami-Dade Police Department, between Saturday, Jan. 18 and Monday at 8 p.m. there were at least two guns recovered from riders of ATVs, dirt bikes and other vehicles that popped wheelies and zipped in and out of roads across the county.
The reckless riding resulted in 34 impounded vehicles, 28 arrests and 41 traffic citations in Miami-Dade.
Before the weekend, South Florida police agencies warned that they would be out in full force to round up careless riders that tend to wreak havoc on South Florida streets during the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and break multiple traffic laws along the way.
A few days ago, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said his agency would be sending a “clear and strong message” to those who decide to violate the laws on the roads over the weekend.
Other police agencies across South Florida made similar announcements, as they tend to make year after year during this time.