Demolition Man DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is tearing it up in his first term as governor, pushing both a conservative and a “green” agenda, a move that has caused many many Democratic Party heads to explode.
To pour a little salt in the wounds of some of his more “Progressive” detractors, DeSantis is pushing to make civics a big part of the K-12 curriculum.
Even better, he wants kids to have to take a test on the issue similar to the Citizenship exam that immigrants vying to become Americans must take.
DeSantis, who was sporting his trademark black Lucchese cowboy boots, made his “major announcement at the Omni Middle School in Boca Raton. DeSantis’ travel aide Rob was also wearing a pair of brown boots. Is this a trend? Will we soon see Shane Strum and Helen Ferre wearing cowboy boots in the weeks and months to come?
Mazel Tov! (I’m not Jewish)
We normally don’t tweet dumb, non-political crap like birthdays or if someone buys a horse or pony, but I need to congratulate Rep. Dane Eagle and his wife on the news that they are expecting their first child. Let me tell you, that kid will own you! My two beautiful daughters (crossing fingers for the boy) have me wrapped around their sweet and sticky marmalade dripping fingers.
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“DeSantis says no Coronavirus cases in Florida” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Boca Raton – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) gave reporters an update on the Coronavirus outbreak in China, saying that his Health department was “working closely with the CDC” and monitoring the status of the virus that has already killed 80 people in China. DeSantis said aid that even though the number of people infected with the virus in China was concerning, everyone suspected of having the virus in Florida has tested negative. There are no cases of Coronavirus in the state of Florida.
“DeSantis to administer “civics” test similar to citizenship test” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Many, if not most of us can remember being taught basic civics while attending grade school or middle school, right? Well over the years, civics was dropped from the education curriculum, a move that all-but can be seen negatively playing out in society whenever some reporter decides to stick his camera in someone’s face and ask them some basic political or civic questions. These responses by everyday Americans are very funny, but at the same time, it is sad to see how the lack of civics in the classroom has made many Americans sound as dumb as rocks. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking to change all that. During a press conference in Boca Raton, Florida, Gov. DeSantis announced that he was going to prioritize civics, stating that he was sticking to his “commitment to American civics” so that children have the opportunity to understand “what makes the country unique. “It’s a lost art,” said DeSantis, adding that he was “working hard to make civics more of a priority.” DeSantis also said that a “similar” test to the citizenship test would be administered to kids. “We are going to be administering a test similar to the citizenship test that naturalized Americans have to take,” said DeSantis State Rep. Mike Caruso (R) was also on hand at the press conference where he told The Floridian that DeSantis’ civics initiative was “great” because it was “important that our youth understands how government works and how its comprised.”
“Romney Says “Increasingly Likely” That Bolton Will Testify” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Utah Senator Mitt Romney (R) has had a strained relationship with the President. At first, many criticized him for cozying up with the President, possibly vying for the Secretary of State position. However, upon not joining President Trump’s cabinet, Senator Romney has been a critic of the President and his decisions made in office. As the impeachment trial continues in the Senate, one name that has been thrown around that will possibly testify is former advisor John Bolton. When asked to share his thoughts on whether or not Bolton would be testifying, Senator Romney commented to reporters on Capitol Hill that it’s “increasingly” important for the Senate to hear what the former national security advisor has to say, so he asserted that it’s “increasingly likely” that Bolton will be called to testify. In speaking to reporters, Romney commented that “it’s… apparent that it would be important to hear from John Bolton.”
He added, “I, of course, will make a final decision on witnesses after we’ve heard from not only the prosecution but also the defense. But I think at this stage it’s pretty fair to say that John Bolton has a relevant testimony.” As well, Romney signaled “that other Republicans will join those of us who think we should hear from John Bolton.”
“Buchanan Combats Anti-Semitism With House Bill” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) is answering the call for greater action to combat anti-Semitism, and to honor the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation, he’s started the week by passing the ’Never Again’ Holocaust Education Bill. The bill would provide federal grants that would provide resources for teachers, so they can train students to learn important lessons of the Holocaust. A 2018 Jewish Telegraphic Agency survey reported that 22 percent of U.S. millennials have not heard of the Holocaust. And, if they haven’t heard of it, they’re unsure of the horrible atrocities that were committed. In a statement, Rep. Buchanan commented that “as we honor the liberation of Auschwitz today, it’s vital to recognize that anti-Semitism is not only alive but growing in the U.S. and Europe.” He added that “this cannot be allowed to continue and must be met with strong action.” Rep. Buchanan is a member of bipartisan Congressional taskforce whose aim is to combat anti-Semitism, which experienced a rise in 2018. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 1,879 recorded attacks against Jewish institutions and Jewish people. It marked the third-highest year on record since the ADL began recording information in the 1970s.
“Family of Florida dad Anthony Todt found decomposed with stab wounds in home as new details emerge” by Fox News’ Stephen Sorace – The wife and three kids of Anthony Todt were all wrapped in blankets and decomposing, with three stabbed in the abdomen, when deputies discovered the bodies inside their Florida home earlier this month, according to documents unsealed Friday. Deputies with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office noticed a “strong foul odor” when they entered the home in Celebration, located near Orlando on the outskirts of Disney World, to execute a federal warrant for Todt’s arrest, an arrest affidavit said. The 44-year-old Todt could “barely stand and appeared to be shaking” as he tried to walk down the stairs from the second floor, a deputy said in a written report. When asked if anyone else was in the house, Todt said his wife, Meghan, was sleeping upstairs and his kids might be at a sleepover. Deputies called out Meghan’s name, but no one responded, the report said, adding that the odor grew stronger as they reached the second floor, where they found the four bodies and the body of a dog with “very visible decomposition” in a bedroom. “While standing outside of the master bedroom, I could see a person laying on the floor who was wrapped in blankets,” one deputy reported. “Sticking out of the blankets was a foot that was black and blue in color.” Meghan Todt, 42, was found lying on a bed with two stab wounds to her abdomen, according to the arrest affidavit. Their two sons, 13-year-old Alek and 11-year-old Tyler, were on the floor beside the bed. Each had one stab wound to the abdomen.
“Hunters put the squeeze on 80 snakes in Florida’s Python Bowl” by CNN’s Theresa Waldrop – Once again, we have a winner in the annual contest of your dreams — your very, very bad dreams, that is. More than 750 people from 20 states turned up for Florida’s 2020 Python Bowl, catching 80 of the giant invasive snakes, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a release. The grand prize winner in the 10-day contest is Mike Kimmel, who caught eight Burmese pythons, the commission said Saturday. His prize was a Tracker 570 Off Road all-terrain vehicle. One contestant, Tom Rahill, caught both the longest, a beast of 12 feet, 7.3 inches, and the heaviest, a 62-pounder. He won $4,000 for his efforts. Florida holds the contest every year in an effort to put the squeeze on the nonvenomous constrictor. Conservationists say the reptiles, estimated to number in the tens of thousands in the Everglades, pose a threat to native wildlife. Raccoon populations, for example, dropped more than 99% from 1997 to 2012 in the areas where the pythons have been the longest, according to the US Geological Survey. The Burmese python is one of the most worrisome invasive species in the state and can be found across more than 1,000 square miles in South Florida, according to the USGS.
If you missed your chance to show off your snake-wrangling skills in the contest, relax. It’s legal to hunt pythons any time on private lands with the landowner’s permission, the FWC said, and the commission will even teach you how to do it.
“Florida bills would strip local governments from creating certain laws” by First Coast News’s Jessica Clark – Several bills in the Florida legislature would block local governments from creating their own laws for certain issues. The bills would give that power to the state. A group of city leaders from across the state are urging state leaders to vote against these bills. St. Augustine Beach City Commissioner Dylan Rumrell told First Coast News that while some issues need state-level control, other topics are inherently local and should be governed at the local level. One example, he said, is the plastic bag ban. “I think it was a progressive thing for St. Augustine Beach to do,” he said. In 2019, St. Augustine Beach City Commissioners passed a local law that banned businesses from using plastic bags, plastic straws and polystyrene foam (commonly referred to as Styrofoam). Rumrell remembers the demand was clear. “Our community wants that,” he said. “It was a unanimous vote.” The commission passed that ordinance, even though there was a state law on the books which says cities cannot ban plastic bags. Other Florida cities have created their own progressive local laws. Key West passed a law that outlaws certain kinds of sunscreens with chemicals detrimental to coral reefs. St. Augustine city leaders want to create ways to regulate short-term rentals in the city’s tight-knit neighborhoods. However, this year, legislators are considering several bills that would basically tell Florida cities they can’t make local laws which do things such as: ban the sale certain sunscreens, continue to ban businesses from using plastic bags, set local minimum wages and worker protection rules.
“‘Shame on you.’ Florida LGBTQ advocates rally against bills that would ban medical treatments for transgender youths” by Sun Sentinel’s Skyler Swisher – LGBTQ advocates rallied Monday at the Florida Capitol against a proposed ban on medical treatments for transgender children, calling the push misguided and harmful. State Rep. Shevrin Jones, a Broward County Democrat, took aim at legislation introduced by two of Florida’s most conservative state legislators. The bills would make it a felony offense for doctors to treat children with hormones and sex reassignment surgery. “Shame on you,” Jones said. Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the Hills, and Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, are behind the legislation. Supporters argue that the treatments are being given to children when they are too young to understand the consequences. State legislators in Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota have filed similar bills. Nathan Bruemmer, who led an LGBTQ youth center and now advocates for Equality Florida, said the bills are based on a misunderstanding of the needs of transgender youth. Advocates say the treatments yield mental health benefits. “Supportive health care, supportive families save lives,” Bruemmer said. “This transgender medical ban for our youth does exactly the opposite.” An NBC News report on that bill and others put a national spotlight on Florida. Bills also have been filed that would stop cities and counties from regulating conditions of employment and regulating home-based businesses and occupational licensing.
“Florida Senate eyes changes in employee health insurance” by News4Jax – Changes could be in store for the state-employee health insurance program. Again. A Senate committee Monday introduced legislation that would make changes to prescription drug benefits, require the state to competitively bid the insurance program to managed-care plans in nine regions and strike a 2017 law that required four different benefit plans to be offered to employees. The bill (SPB 7046) did not draw debate before members of the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee voted unanimously to move forward with it. The proposal would amend a 2019 law that authorized the introduction of a prescription-drug formulary to make clear that pharmacy benefit managers working on behalf of the state cannot “substitute their judgment over the judgment of the prescriber regarding whether a prescription drug is medically necessary” for treatment of a patient. The proposal also lays the groundwork for Florida to competitively bid by Jan. 1, 2023 the insurance program in nine regions. Also, the measure would delete from current law a requirement for the state to begin offering employees access to a variety of health insurance options that ranged in cost and value. The plan options were named after metals, from a high-end platinum plan to a lower-end bronze plan. The tier plan was pushed by House Republican leaders in 2017. But an actuarial analysis showed that the introduction of high-deductible plans — along with pre-tax health-savings account contributions — could entice about 29,000 employees to enroll in the state program after turning down coverage in the past. As a result, the Legislature delayed the tier offering.
“Florida lawmakers look at pre-kindergarten changes” by News4Jax’s Ana Ceballos – A proposal that would revamp Florida’s voluntary pre-kindergarten program was approved by a Senate panel on Monday as Democrats expressed concern about “high-stakes” testing for the state’s youngest learners. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, emerged after Gov. Ron DeSantis said last year the education quality offered to kids in Florida’s voluntary prekindergarten program was “not good enough.” His disappointment stemmed from a report released by the Florida Department of Education showing 42 percent of children who participated in the program were not prepared to enter kindergarten. The governor called the failure rate “simply not defendable” and called on state leaders to come up with a new plan. Harrell on Monday pitched the Senate Education Committee a proposal (SB 1688) that would bring major changes to how providers are measured and reprimanded if they fall short. The proposal was unanimously approved by the committee and would require the education commissioner to develop a standardized test for pre-K students. The new assessment would be taken by kids three times a school year from pre-K through third grade, and the test results would be used to judge the effectiveness of pre-K providers. Currently, pre-K providers are assessed on results of tests students take within 30 days of entering kindergarten. Harrell is also proposing setting up a metric to grade providers on an A-to-F scale. Providers who earn high marks, the bill says, would get more funding. But the impact the assessment would have on children garnered pushback from Democrats and parents during Monday’s hearing.
“Common Core Curriculum being replaced in Florida schools” by News 13’s Madalyn Bierster – What students learn in class is constantly evolving and changing, but new standards are rarely introduced. Governor Desantis is working to change that and more specifically replace common core. The new standards, which the Governor is calling the ‘B.E.S.T.’ standards will be implemented as early as next year. The common core curriculum was introduced to Bay District Schools back in 2010, now it is being replaced with Florida’s ‘B.E.S.T.’ standards, or Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking. Classrooms will see several changes, like removing ‘confusing’ math and deducting points for working a problem the wrong way. “I think what this does is clarifies the fact that it doesn’t matter how the child solves the problem, it’s whether or not the child answers correctly,” said Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Denise Kelley. The district thinks it will simplify the way parents are able to help their students with their math homework. “Parents were not understanding the way math was taught, the processes for math, so it made it difficult for parents to help students at home. After reading the press release that was sent out, these new standards should make it easier based on the requirements and the expectations for the standards, for parents to be able to help their students,” said Kelley. These ‘B.E.S.T.’ standards also implements teaching students financial literacy and providing civics education, as early as elementary school. “They’ll be required to take the Florida civic literacy test for the very first time. Students won’t have to pass it for graduation. But if they pass it, it can be used to receive credit in meeting their civic literacy post-secondary assessment in college. So that will actually start in 2021,” said Kelley
“Collins Expected to Run for Georgia Senate Seat” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Rep. Doug Collins(R-GA) is expected to announce in the next few days that he is running for Senate against Sen. Kelly Loeffler, setting up a fierce Republican showdown. The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee had sought the Senate seat vacated in the wake of the retirement of Sen. Johnny Isakson, who stepped down in December due to health problems. However, Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Loeffler, a wealthy finance executive and Republican mega-donor to the seat in early December. She was sworn in on Jan. 6, just a week before Trump’s impeachment trial began. Collins, who was President Trump’s preferred pick for the appointment, said this month he was still considering running for the seat in 2020. Trump privately lobbied Kemp on three different occasions to fill the open Senate seat with Collins, who they felt would be a reliable ally in the Senate. First reported in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Collins has started to line up campaign staff and call politicians and supporters to inform them of his decision to enter the race. A recent AJC poll shows Collins with a slight advantage of Loeffler, with 34 percent of Georgia voters surveyed saying they have a favorable opinion to Loeffler’s 22 percent.
“McBath fundraising off ‘regularly attacked with falsehoods’ of Son’s Murder” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) tweeted out Wednesday a link to fundraise for her reelection campaign in response to comment from a local GOP official who said her son had been killed in a “drug deal gone bad.” “A local GOP official said my son was killed in a “drug deal gone bad.” He later said Jordan was murdered by one of his “thug friends,” McBath wrote on twitter with a screen shot of Georgia Republican Paul Maner Facebook post. “Paul — let me be clear: This is pathetic. I am regularly attacked with falsehoods, so please – help me fight back.” “THIS is what the lunatics like Lucy McBath for Congress Rep. Lucy McBath are all about,” Maner tweeted. “If her son hadn’t been involved with a drug deal gone bad, her son might still be alive today. Her solution, to disarm everyone who is a law abiding citizen.”mManer Facebook post shows a link to a video from the group Secure America’s Borders, which shows Virginia State Police calling on houses before a Second Amendment Rally in Richmond. McBath responded on Twitter, writing over several tweets that she can’t “respond to these attacks alone, & we must respond to those who spread lies about me & my family,” while tweeting out a link from ActBlue requesting donations to her campaign. The freshman congresswoman also retweeted fellow Democrats tweets including, Georgia Senate candidate Jon Ossoff, and founder of Moms Demand, Shannon Watts that all tweeted links to contribute to her campaign.
“Four factors really driving U.S. health care change in 2020” by Philadelphia Inquirer’s Howard Peterson – If you listen only to the national political debate on healthcare you would believe that we are headed inevitably toward some form of universal, nationally controlled system of care. However, the federal government has not and will not lead the essential changes required in the industry. The political environment and politicians’ dependencies on historical campaign funding from healthcare industry donors will cause congressional behavior to continue, as it has, making small incremental change. This behavior every year simply reinforces the existing system. Dramatic, fundamental change by government action will not be forthcoming for three reasons. First, there is no feasible funding plan for “Medicare for All.” Second, 150 million U.S. citizens are not going to accept having their current healthcare insurances and providers changed. Third, the fundamental solutions for healthcare are reducing cost and inappropriate utilization. Adding money to the healthcare system to cover uninsured persons is irrational when we have plenty of money already in the system to cover everyone today. So, if you step back and examine healthcare industry trends the following four factors will be principal drivers of change in 2020…
“Trump meets Israeli political rivals Netanyahu, Gantz” by Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Debra J. Saunders – President Donald Trump greeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival, Blue and White party lead Benny Gantz, in separate meetings at the White House on Monday. Trump also announced on International Holocaust Remembrance Day that he will unveil his “deal of the century” Middle East peace plan on Tuesday morning. Trump has courted Jewish-American voters, especially by fulfilling his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there, even telling the American Israeli Council Summit in December that “You have to vote for me, you have no choice.” Republican Jewish Coalition President Matt Brooks cited that promise — which past U.S. presidents have made but none have fulfilled — in anticipation of the peace plan’s release. Trump “promised to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel, move the American embassy to Jerusalem, recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, dismantle ISIS, and confront Iran, and he has delivered. He will do the same with his peace plan,” Brooks said in a statement. But Trump’s critics said the plan was designed to distract from the impeachment trial going on in the Senate.
“Trump team turns Senate trial into extended Obama-Biden attack” by POLITICO’s KYLE CHENEY and ANDREW DESIDERIO – President Donald Trump turned the Senate floor Monday into an alternate-reality impeachment of his political rivals: Joe Biden and Barack Obama. While senators debated the Trump impeachment behind closed doors — a process now defined by whether they’ll agree to allow new witnesses to testify — his lawyers shed any pretense of persuading a band of centrist Republicans to side with the president and instead acted out a virtual prosecution of Trump’s top political nemeses. For about two hours on Monday, Trump’s attorneys Pam Bondi and Eric Herschmann argued that it was Biden and Obama who should be investigated for corruption or abuse of power, laying out a case thick with political innuendo that has been sharply refuted by sworn witnesses during the House’s impeachment inquiry late last year. Bondi said the focus on Biden, in particular, was made necessary by the House’s charges against Trump, which relied on contentions that Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate Biden was “baseless” and meant to inflict political damage. “We would prefer not to be discussing this, but the House managers have placed this squarely at issue so we must address it,” Bondi said. And while she and Herschmann laid out their case in public, a much trickier and more consequential maneuver was playing out in the Senate’s private offices, where Republicans were wrestling with rising pressure to concede to the House’s demand to call new witnesses against Trump. There, during the Senate GOP caucus lunches and in other private off-the-floor conversations, senators grappled with new and damning revelations from former national security adviser John Bolton directly linking Trump to the withholding of aid to Ukraine — and whether they should now seek his testimony.
“J Street’s political action committee to raise $1 million to oust Trump” by Times of Israel’s RON KAMPEAS – For the first time, J Street’s affiliated political action committee will raise money for a presidential candidate, arguing that any of the Democrats running is preferable to US President Donald Trump. Ben Shnider, J Street’s vice president for political affairs, said the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group’s affiliated PAC would raise $1 million for whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee. In addition, the PAC also plans to raise $5 million this election cycle for 2020 congressional candidates that J Street endorses, matching its total from the 2018 races. “We feel an incredible sense of urgency about doing everything we can to remove Trump from office and replace him with somebody who shares our values and who is ready to lead on the international stage,” Shnider told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency last week in an interview that was embargoed until Monday. Shnider specifically cited the “unsustainability of the status quo” in the Middle East. J Street sees the Trump administration as advancing policies that would kill the two-state solution, particularly in reports that the president plans to give Israel the green light to annex portions of the West Bank.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump – On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember the millions of precious souls who perished as a result of the horrific crimes perpetrated
Chuck Schumer @SenSchumer – The @NYTimes report about the Bolton book strengthens the case for witnesses & documents even more. Every few days something comes out, and Americans are saying they want witnesses & documents. If President Trump did nothing wrong, why is he so afraid of witnesses & documents?
Rick Scott @SenRickScott -Today, the @CDCgov recommended that Americans avoid traveling to China. It is important that you heed every warning as this outbreak is spreading and a threat to your health. We must take every precaution we can to ensure the safety of all Americans.
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP – Today, we passed the #NeverAgain Education Act to give teachers the resources to educate current and future generations on the Holocaust. We must use the power of education to ensure this dark part of history never repeats itself. #WeRemember
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets –This shows how important it is that we take back the Supreme Court. One vote can determine whether America lives up to the virtues of its founders or caves to the fears of privileged xenophobes. America should not be behind a paywall.
Rep. Michael Waltz @RepMichaelWaltz – After spending the last week in my district it’s clear Americans see impeachment for the political attack it is. Meanwhile, President @realDonaldTrump keeps getting things done, including working on a Middle East peace deal & signing #USMA this week alone.
AG Ashley Moody @AGAshleyMoody – Last week in Miami, I met with local business leaders to discuss strengthening efforts to prevent #HumanTrafficking ahead of #SuperBowlLIV. We need everyone’s help in fighting this evil. Visit http://YouCanStopHT.com to learn how to spot and report HT.
Jimmy Patronis @JimmyPatronis – On International #HolocaustRemembranceDay, we take time to honor the victims and survivors of these evil acts. We can never allow these atrocities against humanity again. #WeRemember
Commissioner Nikki Fried @NikkiFriedFL– As Florida’s only Jewish statewide elected official and Cabinet member, #HolocaustRemembranceDay is incredibly personal and important to me. It’s important that we stand up against anti-Semitism and discrimination, and to ensure evil like the Holocaust never happens again.
Senator Lori Berman @loriberman 75 years ago, Auschwitz was liberated. On this #HolocaustRemembranceDay, we remember the millions of victims of genocide, and reaffirm that bigotry and prejudice will never again have a place in our society.
Anthony Sabatini @AnthonySabatini Every public records exemption should be highly scrutinized… Some are very good for Florida… Others aren’t
“DNA Ties Florida S*x Offender to ‘Pillowcase Rapist’ Cases: Prosecutors,” by The Daily Beasts’s Julia Arciga –
Florida prosecutors announced Thursday that a 60-year-old s*x offender’s DNA has been matched to as many as 25 rape cases from the 1980s, leading them to believe they have finally identified the so-called Pillowcase Rapist, The Sun-Sentinel reports. At a Thursday news conference, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said officials believe Robert Koehler was the Pillowcase Rapist—who s*xually assaulted over 40 women in Florida about four decades ago. “This offender will never, ever be free again,” Rundle said. “We feel confident that there are a number of sufficient cases that we can prosecute,” she said, adding that it may take time to locate victims. Koehler, who was convicted of a 1990 rape, was arrested over the weekend and has denied the allegations against him. Authorities say DNA tests show 100 percent matches between his DNA and that found on at least 25 women who claimed to have been raped by the Pillowcase Rapist. Koehler is being held without bond.