Bipartisan bill makes way to governor’s desk
Florida’s health insurance program for low-income kids is set to expand through a bipartisan bill heading to the governor’s desk. Democratic Rep. Robin Bartleman’s plan increases KidCare eligibility for families with incomes up to 300 % of the federal poverty level. Which is about 83,000 a year for a family of four. “It is a way, not to expand Medicaid, I know it has been characterized that way, but to give them time to make an extra dollar and not go from zero or 10 to 20 dollars a kid to $250 a kid. So they can work their way off welfare.” House Speaker Paul Renner stated. Traditional Medicaid is free for enrollees but only below a certain income level. Florida KidCare enrollees are required to pay monthly premiums. Under the old method, families could lose coverage once their income surpassed 200% of the federal poverty level, which is $55,000 dollars for a family of four.
Supporters advocate for Florida amendment
Reproductive rights supporters launched a new campaign to pass a constitutional amendment in Florida to protect access to abortions. WMNF’s Chris Young reports that this comes after the governor signed a six-week abortion ban last month.
City Council member home searched by F.B.I.
F.B.I. agents searched Seminole Heights home yesterday of recently elected Tampa City Council member, Lynn Hurtak. The F.B.I. seized computers, a phone, and other equipment belonging to Hurtak’s husband reported the Tampa Bay Times. The agents would not release why they were at the home nor what agency they represented. An F.B.I. spokesperson confirmed that a court-authorized search was conducted by the agency at Hurtak’s address. Hurtak’s husband, Tim Burke, is a former journalist who runs a media business and deferred questions to him. Burke said the agents were there because they had a search warrant with his name on it. They spent the day taking Burke’s personal devices and the devices that he uses for his business. Burke declined to share details of the warrant with the Times. Burke runs Burke Communications, a media company, and as of yesterday, Burke Communcations’ website was not working.
Disney revises lawsuit
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts yesterday revised a federal lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis after DeSantis signed a bill designed to overturn development agreements involving the entertainment giant. DeSantis signed the bill after the annual legislative session ended on May 5th. The bill sets up a process to nullify agreements reached by Disney and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District board. Disney filed the federal lawsuit last month, alleging that retaliation by DeSantis has economically harmed the company and violated its constitutional rights. DeSantis and Disney began clashing last year after Disney opposed HB 1557 or labeled by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney’s amended lawsuit on May 8th added quotes by DeSantis from an interview with Newsmax, and from a news conference that happened on May 5th. “Since our skirmish last year, Disney has not been involved in any of those issues, they have not made a peep. That, ultimately, is the most important, that Disney is not allowed to pervert the system to the detriment of Floridians,” Gov. Ron DeSantis told Newsmax. Reedy Creek Improvement District board has been renamed “The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board” (CFTOD) and members appointed by DeSantis sit on the board. CFTOD has filed a state lawsuit seeking to overturn the development agreements.
Algae bloom in Polk County lakes
The Florida Department of Health in Polk County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in several lakes including Tiger Lake, Scott Lake, Peace River, Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Alfred, and Lake Hancock – South Central. This is in response to water samples taken last week. The public should exercise caution in and around Lake Hancock – South Central. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection collects and analyzes algal bloom samples. To report a bloom to DEP, call the toll-free hotline at 855-305-3903 or report online.
The Friends of Ron DeSantis fundraising decrease
Governor Ron DeSantis’ political committee raised $161,909 in April, a major decrease from previous months, according to a newly filed finance report. The Friends of Ron DeSantis committee raised nearly $10 million in February and about $3.68 million in March, amid speculation about a possible 2024 White House bid by DeSantis. The committee’s largest cash contribution in April was $25,000 from Building a Better Florida, a committee chaired by lobbyist Michael Corcoran. The committee had about $85.79 million in cash on hand as of April 30, the report shows. The super PAC promoting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plans to have dozens of staff in place in the first 18 states on the GOP presidential primary calendar in the next few weeks. The move by the Never Back Down group indicates that DeSantis’ expected 2024 presidential run announcement is drawing closer. The group is also set to handle on-the-ground organizing for DeSantis, a function typically done by a candidate’s campaign staff.
Program to help underprivileged students
For six years now, a college-readiness program has catered to underprivileged, high-achieving students. Wilkine Brutus says Path to College partnered with the school district for a speech competition – addressing the social concerns of high schoolers yesterday.
Information from the Florida Public Radio network, News Service of Florida and Associated Press was used in this report.