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Florida Government News for October 2020

October Florida Government News

Voting & the Elections

The Latest

Voter Registration Website Crash

Florida has allowed online voter registration since 2017 and is one of now 40 states (and the District of Columbia) that allows it. But:

Voting Rights Restoration

A majority of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 that restored the right to vote for those with prior felony convictions who completed their sentence, except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. In 2019, the governor signed SB 7066, which defined “completion of sentence” to include full payment of any ordered restitution and any ordered fines, fees or costs. After months of litigation, a federal appeals court last month upheld the law.

All Voters Vote Amendment Challenged

All Voters Vote in Primary Elections for State Legislature, Governor, and Cabinet, Amendment 3 on this year’s ballot, would allow all registered voters to vote in primaries for state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of political party affiliation. Its opponents include Florida’s Democratic and Republican Parties, the Florida League of Women Voters, and Florida’s Attorney General. This month:


Coronavirus Update

Through October 29, the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard reported 16,648 resident deaths (an increase of 1,974 from my September post) and 206 non-resident deaths (an increase of 32 from last month).

Florida averaged 3,499 resident cases of COVID-19 per day for the past two weeks; the average positivity rate of people tested per day for the same period was 5.17 percent.

Testing, Monitoring and Reporting

Coronavirus Effects on Workers

Ever since the statewide business shut down in March, the state has struggled to pay the onslaught of unemployment claims, largely due to problems with its unemployment system.

Florida paid out $17.8 billion in unemployment claims to 2.1 million claimants between March 15 and October 28, and 97.2 percent of eligible claimants had been paid, according to the state’s Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard. By comparison, Florida had paid out $17.0 billion to 2.0 million claimants and 97.3 percent of eligible claimants had been paid as of September 30.

Coronavirus and the Schools

Coronavirus Effects on Nursing Homes, Prisons, Courts


M-CORES Toll Roads Project

The three proposed M-CORES toll roads have been controversial since the beginning. Task Forces held their final meetings this month and final reports are due to the Governor by November 15. Will the critics prevail?

News from Tallahassee

The 2021 regular legislative session will not convene until March 2, but stories about likely issues are already being reported.


State Government Executive Branch

This month, Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) launched a review of dozens of domestic property insurers in the state as the industry once again begins to show signs of financial distress.

The Governor and independently-elected Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture, acting as the state’s Financial Services Commission, oversee the OIR.

Governor

One of many state government departments overseen by the Governor is the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Controversy swirls around the DEP’s effort to take over a federal program meant to protect the wetlands.

Attorney General

Chief Financial Officer

Commissioner of Agriculture


State Government Judicial Branch

Florida Supreme Court

Florida Appeals Courts

Florida’s U.S. Senators are Marco Rubio and Rick Scott

That’s it for Florida government news for October. Stay tuned for my report on Florida’s statewide elections in the coming weeks.

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