Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the Jacksonville area added 21,600 new private-sector jobs in the past year, creating the third-highest number of jobs among all Florida metro areas. [Read more…] about Jacksonville Created More Than 21,000 New Jobs Over the Year
WHAT: Serving as a kick-off to the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Marsy’s Law for Florida will honor victims who have lost their lives to violent crime by joining the Justice Coalition at the annual “Tossing of the Roses” event, where surviving families and friends will toss yellow roses into the St. Johns River in memory of their loved ones.
WHO: Members of the Justice Coalition, a nonprofit organization serving crime victims on Florida’s First Coast; Marsy’s Law for Florida advocates; families of violent crime victims and other supporters.
WHEN: Monday, April 9
WHERE: Jacksonville Landing
2 Independent Drive
Jacksonville, Fla. 32202
CFO Jimmy Patronis was joined today by Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Sen. Audrey Gibson, Rep. Cord Byrd, Rep. Tracie Davis, Rep. Jason Fischer, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief Kurt Wilson and members of the fire service and law enforcement communities to highlight the signing of Senate Bill 376, expanding mental health benefits for first responders. Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill this week in Tampa surrounded by hundreds of first responders from across the state. SB 376 was sponsored by Sen. Lauren Book and Rep. Matt Willhite.
The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) invites all interested Floridians to participate in a public hearing at the University of North Florida’s Adam W. Herbert University Center on Tuesday, February 20 from 1:00-7:00 PM. This will be the third public hearing held on the CRC’s 2018 “Road to the Ballot” public hearing tour.
Public hearings are free events open to all Floridians who would like to attend. No tickets or RSVPs are required. Free public parking will be provided. Floridians planning to attend the public hearing are respectfully requested to observe the CRC Public Hearing Participation Guidelines.
WHAT: Northeast Florida Public Hearing of the Constitution Revision Commission
WHEN: Tuesday, February 20, 1:00 – 7:00 PM (Doors open at Noon)
WHERE: University of North Florida
Adam W. Herbert University Center
12000 Alumni Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32224
SIGN-UP TO SPEAK: To speak at a CRC public hearing, Floridians must fill out an appearance form and hand it in to CRC staff at the Citizen Services Desk. The appearance form is available online at flcrc.gov and printed copies are available at public hearings. Appearance forms will not be accepted in advance of the public hearing.
Public speakers will be called in the order in which appearance forms are received by CRC staff at the Citizen Services Desk at the public hearing. The Citizen Services Desk will be open to accept appearance forms starting at 12:00 PM (Noon). Appearance forms received by 7:00 PM will be accepted.
Additional information for the February 20 public hearing is available online at flcrc.gov/Meetings/PublicHearings.
The Florida Lottery announces that Sharon Wright, 47, of Jacksonville, claimed a top prize in the $500,000 GOLD RUSH DOUBLER Scratch-Off game at Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee. She purchased her winning ticket from Publix, located at 5000-11 U.S. 17 South in Orange Park.
The $5 Scratch-Off game, $500,000 GOLD RUSH DOUBLER, launched in January 2017, and features more than $182.8 million in prizes, including 44 top prizes of $500,000. The game’s overall odds of winning are one-in-3.98.
Scratch-Off games are an important part of the Lottery’s portfolio of games, comprising approximately 68 percent of ticket sales and generating more than $784 million for the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund (EETF) in fiscal year 2016-17.
Governor Rick Scott today visited W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, a Jacksonville-based company with more than 1,000 employees throughout eight Florida locations, to highlight his proposal for $180 million in tax cuts for Florida families in his Securing Florida’s Future recommended budget. The Governor’s proposal includes sales tax holidays to help families prepare for the school year and hurricane season, and reductions to many of the fees on driver’s licenses. Since 2010, the Governor has cut taxes more than 80 times, saving Floridians more than $7.5 billion. Governor Scott also highlighted his proposed amendment to Florida’s Constitution to make it harder for politicians to raise taxes by requiring a supermajority vote by future Florida legislatures to raise any taxes or fees.
Governor Scott’s $180 million tax cut package includes:
- Sales Tax Holidays to Save Families $88 Million – The Governor’s recommended budget includes funding for four sales tax holidays which will save Floridians an estimated $88 million in the upcoming fiscal year. These sales tax holidays include:
- $73 million from a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday; and
- $15 million from three one-week disaster preparedness sales tax holidays which would take place in May, June and July.
- Reduction in Driver’s License Fees to Save Floridians $87 Million – Governor Scott is proposing to reduce the fees for driver’s licenses. These fees were increased in 2009, prior to Governor Scott taking office. These fee cuts include:
- $67 million in savings from reducing the fee for a renewal of a regular driver’s license by more than 58 percent from $48 to $20; and
- $20 million in savings from reducing the fee on an original regular driver’s license by more than 43 percent from $48 to $27 and the fee on an original Commercial Driver’s License by more than 10 percent from $75 to $67.
- Reduction in Traffic Citation Fines to Save Floridians $4 Million – Governor Scott is proposing to reinstate the 18 percent reduction of eligible traffic citation fines, which was repealed in 2009 prior to Governor Scott taking office, for individuals who attend a basic driver improvement school.
Florida’s 28 colleges will receive over $1 million in scholarships
On behalf of the Florida College System Foundation, today Education Commissioner Pam Stewart presented Florida State College at Jacksonville President Dr. Cynthia Bioteau with a check for $50,772 to benefit first-generation students and students pursuing careers in health care.
“The demand for talented health care professionals continues to grow throughout our state and nation, and we take every opportunity to help first-generation students succeed,” Commissioner Stewart said. “These scholarships are essential to helping students achieve their career goals and to meeting workforce needs. I applaud the Florida College System Foundation for prioritizing first-generation students and students pursuing careers in health care, and I am honored to take part in this check presentation.”
Each year, scholarships funded by the Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue and Bank of America focus on relieving the national nursing shortage and helping students who are the first in their family to attend college. The scholarships will help add nurses and allied health professionals that reflect Florida’s diverse population while meeting critical workforce needs.
“More than 60% of students enrolled in the Florida College System are part-time students balancing life and work while pursuing their degree”, says Madeline Pumariega, Chancellor for the Florida College System. “These scholarships provided by the Florida College System Foundation, with business partners like Helios Education Foundation, Florida Blue and Bank of America, are essential for many of our students, especially first generation students. Florida’s colleges produce more than 4,500 registered nurses each year, and this is just another great opportunity for students to pursue their dreams, earn a great career while meeting a critical nursing workforce need in the state of Florida.”
“Florida Blue and the Florida Blue Foundation believe that nursing plays a vital role in the safety and quality of patient care,” said Velma Monteiro-Tribble, Director Florida Blue Foundation and Florida State College at Jacksonville Foundation Board Member. “We have been committed since 2003 and remain steadfast in our support of nursing education and the nursing profession. We are pleased to partner with the Florida College System Foundation to continue these nursing scholarships, to ensure that there is a qualified and diverse nursing workforce in the state of Florida.”
“An investment in Florida’s students is an investment in the state’s future workforce,” said Paul Luna, President & CEO, Helios Education Foundation. “Helios Education Foundation is proud to partner with the Florida College System Foundation to ensure more students, particularly first-generation students, experience the transformational power of education and are positioned for success in career and in life.”
“The funds we received today from the Florida College System Foundation will make a significant impact in helping our health care students fund their education as they devote their futures to taking care of others,” said FSCJ President Dr. Cynthia Bioteau. “Providing affordable and accessible educational opportunities is one of the most important things we, as a College, can do as an essential pipeline for developing skilled health care workers. We take this responsibility very seriously and are fortunate to receive these funds to help contribute to the long-term success of our students.”
This year, the Florida College System Foundation will award more than $1 million in scholarship funds to Florida’s 28 colleges through the state. Students may apply for scholarships through their local college foundation and/or financial aid office. Eligibility criteria are based on local college requirements.
For more information about the scholarships, visit Florida College System Foundation.
For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.
The State Board of Education will meet next week in Jacksonville.
The agenda is posted at State Board Meeting.
WHAT: State Board of Education Meeting
WHEN: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
WHERE: Florida State College at Jacksonville
Advanced Technology Center
401 West State Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.
Governor Rick Scott last night visited Florida families and American Red Cross volunteers with Tim Tebow at the Landmark Middle School shelter in Jacksonville. Over the past two days, Governor Scott has visited three shelters in Pensacola, Immokalee and Jacksonville. Today, Governor Scott is joining Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Michael Calhoun, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, and members of the National Guard on an aerial tour to assess damage from Hurricane Irma in Jacksonville.
The City of Jacksonville has agreed to settle lawsuits alleging violations of federal housing and disability regulations stemming from its determination that a proposed housing redevelopment project in the city’s historic Springfield neighborhood amounted to a prohibited special use under relevant zoning laws. The project at the center of these lawsuits was the proposed renovation of a Jacksonville apartment complex to be funded under a grant obtained by Ability Housing of Northeast Florida for the purpose of providing permanent supportive housing to individuals with disabilities experiencing chronic homelessness. City officials initially nixed the project amidst public concern regarding the possible increase of social service housing projects within the one-square mile historic district.
Under terms of the city’s settlement with Ability Housing, Disability Rights Florida, and the U.S. Department of Justice – approved by the Jacksonville City Council at its May 23rd council meeting – the city has agreed to rescind its original determination relating to the project, and to revise relevant portions of its zoning code.
The revisions would require code interpretations consistent with the federal Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities Acts, while also specifying that the permanent supportive housing at issue is properly characterized as a multiple-dwelling use that is therefore allowed wherever the city permits multiple-family dwellings. The city’s zoning code will be further amended to authorize residential treatment facilities and group homes for persons with disabilities as allowable exceptions. The amended zoning code will also include a specific procedure for individuals with disabilities to request reasonable accommodations or modifications on the basis of disability from the city’s code requirements as required by federal law.
The city has also agreed to establish and award a grant totaling $1.5 million to a qualified developer for development of permanent supportive housing units for persons with disabilities within city limits in the next year. As defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “permanent supportive housing” is intended to provide long-term, community-based housing incorporating supportive services for homeless individuals with disabilities to enable “special needs populations to live as independently as possible in a permanent setting.”
The dispute began in 2014, following the award of a $1.3 million grant to Ability Housing by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to redevelop a 12-unit apartment complex in the Springfield historic district as permanent supportive housing. Under the proposal submitted by the nonprofit, the renovated units were to be offered on a permanent basis for rent to individuals with disabilities and a history of experiencing chronic homelessness. No staff would reside on premises, and residents would coordinate with outside providers for all treatment services and needs.
Although city officials initially acknowledged the project’s proposed zoning, before permits had been obtained for the project mounting pressure from concerned residents in the community led to a ruling by the city’s Director of Planning and Development that the project violated provisions in Springfield’s zoning overlay by authorizing the residency of individuals receiving treatment and related services for mental illness. Such determination was upheld across a series of appeals and related attempts by Ability Housing to obtain a Certificate of Use, during which time the nonprofit lost the grant funding it had originally secured for the project.
Both Ability Housing and Disability Rights Florida filed suit against the city in November, 2015 alleging violations of the federal Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities Acts. In its suit, Disability Rights Florida noted that the “effect of these actions by the City of Jacksonville is that persons with disabilities are unlawfully restricted from enjoying dwellings in the Springfield neighborhood and this unnecessarily deteriorates the possibility of these individuals from fully integrating into the community.”
As a part of the city’s approved settlement of the nonprofits’ lawsuits, Ability Housing and Disability Rights Florida will each receive the reasonable fees and costs of their actions against the city, and Ability Housing will be compensated for additional out-of-pocket expenses in pursuing review of the city’s determination. Ability Housing was represented by the law firm Akerman, LLP.
David Boyer, lead counsel for Disability Rights Florida, noted, “While this is obviously a big victory for Ability Housing, it is an even bigger victory for individuals with disabilities in the City of Jacksonville. This settlement will help to ensure that discrimination doesn’t affect our clients’ and constituents’ choice to live in the community.”
In a related enforcement action brought by the U.S. Department of Justice last year, the city has further agreed to designate a compliance officer to receive complaints of alleged housing and disability discrimination against the city, and to ensure the city’s compliance with the decree. Additionally, the city has agreed to provide training on the Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities Acts to all city officers, elected and appointed officials, and employees who have duties related to the planning, zoning, permitting, construction, code enforcement, or occupancy of residential housing. Finally, the decree also directs the city to pay a $25,000 civil penalty to “vindicate the public interest” pursuant to federal law.
“We hope that this result will show other communities that discrimination against persons with disabilities will not be tolerated,” said Curtis Filaroski, staff attorney at Disability Rights Florida. “There are individuals and organizations that will stand firm against any action that erodes these important rights under federal law.”