State Audit Reveals Florida Undercounted COVID Deaths by Thousands

An audit released by the state of Florida on Monday suggests that information that the state released to the public during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic was inaccurate and incomplete. The report, conducted over the past year by the Florida Auditor General, examined the state’s COVID-19 response from March to October 2020. The audit reviewed a sample of tests from three separate state-run facilities in its investigation — and ultimately came to the conclusion that data on case and death counts frequently went unreported, and that the state often failed to adhere to protocols regarding the virus. State-contracted…

Weeks Before Abortion Ban, DeSantis Vetoes Millions in Birth Control Funding

For the second time in two years, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) has vetoed millions of dollars in funding that would have gone toward making birth control accessible to low-income Floridians. DeSantis vetoed a total of $3 billion out of the $110 billion budget that the state legislature sent him last month. Of the $3 billion he slashed, $2 million would have provided individuals with low incomes the opportunity to obtain long-acting, reversible forms of contraception, including intrauterine devices (IUDs), which are effective for up to 10 years, and Depo-Provera injections, which last for around three months, among others. DeSantis issued…

DeSantis’s Next Move in War Against Trans Kids Is Banning Gender Affirming Care

Far right Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration is moving to ban transgender youth and Medicaid recipients from accessing gender affirming care in Florida in an extreme escalation of Republicans’ war on transgender people. On Thursday, state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo sent a letter to the governing body that oversees doctors in Florida, requesting that it “establish a standard of care” that would implement anti-trans guidelines issued by state health officials earlier this year. The guidelines, which were nonbinding when they were first released, say that, despite the findings of major medical, psychiatric and pediatric groups, transgender children should not be able…

Florida Man Demands Ban on Bible in Schools Using DeSantis’s Own Law Against Him

A political activist and atheist in Florida is using a contentious law that allows residents to object to teaching materials in public schools to request that the Bible be banned from classrooms and school libraries throughout the state. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 7 (sometimes called the Stop WOKE Act) into law earlier this year. DeSantis and other right-wing lawmakers have pushed for the law and others like it as a means to ban LGBTQ content in schools as well as to restrict educators from teaching about racism throughout U.S. history in classrooms. More than 200 books have been…

Black Florida Lawmakers Say DeSantis’s Gerrymandered Maps are “Overtly Racist”

Black lawmakers and voting rights activists in Florida are blasting newly introduced legislative maps proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), calling them “overtly racist” for diluting the voices of non-white voters in the state. DeSantis previously vetoed maps drawn by the Republican-led legislature, complaining at the time that they weren’t made in a way that was “race-neutral.” Republican lawmakers and DeSantis then decided that the governor would redraw the maps himself, which he submitted for consideration earlier this week. Critics of those maps say that they will diminish the influence of Black voters. In the state’s Fifth Congressional District, for…

Activists Promise Action After Florida Legislature Passes “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

On Tuesday, activists promised action after the Florida legislature passed a bill that aims to restrict discussion of LGBTQ issues in classrooms throughout the state. The Parental Rights in Education bill, which LGBTQ activists and allies have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, passed in the Florida Senate by a vote of 22 to 17. Two Republican senators crossed the aisle to join all Democratic lawmakers in the chamber in voting against the legislation. The bill, which previously passed in the state House of Representatives, is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. In past statements, DeSantis…

DeSantis Press Secretary Suggests Dems Staged Recent Nazi Rallies in Orlando

Christina Pushaw, the press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), suggested on Sunday — contrary to all evidence — that the white supremacist rallies held in Orlando over the weekend were staged. On Saturday, neo-Nazis gathered on a street in a suburb of Orlando and on an interstate overpass, holding up anti-Semitic signs and displaying Nazi symbolism while shouting slurs at passing cars. Pushaw questioned the authenticity of these demonstrations, baselessly claiming that the neo-Nazis could be Democrats trying to make her boss and other Republicans look bad. “Do we even know they’re Nazis? Or is this a stunt…

Florida Bill Would Ban History Lessons That Cause White Students “Discomfort”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is pushing for the passage of a bill that would forbid public school teachers from teaching information that could cause students to feel “discomfort,” in yet another GOP attempt to censor lessons about the history of racism in the U.S. The bill would also apply to companies that require their employees to receive training on combatting racism and discrimination in the workplace. “An individual should not be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race,” reads Senate Bill 148, which was approved by…

Florida Republicans Push for 15-Week Abortion Ban

Republican lawmakers in Florida have submitted legislation that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a measure similar to a near-total abortion ban in Mississippi that is currently being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ban, which was introduced on Tuesday by State Sen. Kelli Stargell (R) and Rep. Erin Grall (R), contains no exceptions for rape or incest. Individuals would only be allowed to get an abortion after the 15-week mark if their pregnancy puts them at risk of serious injury or death, or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. If passed, the measure would create…

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