The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee is set to hold a series of public hearings on the issues of voter suppression and disenfranchisement in Broward County, beginning on July 23.An advisory issued Friday by Nadine Smith, chair of the panel, reads that the committee “will review the implementation of the 2018 constitutional measure to end the automatic disenfranchisement of most felons in the state and the impediments to voting or the rejection of ballot issues throughout Florida.”Voting rights and civil rights groups, in addition to more than a dozen Floridians with felonies, are challenging the implementation of the amendment, which was signed into law by the Republican-controlled legislature. Under the measure, Floridians who have been convicted of felonies are required to pay financial obligations related to their crimes before they can have their voting rights restored.Those challenging the legislation argue that it unconstitutionally “creates two classes of citizens,” depending on their ability to pay financial obligations that they may or may not know even exist. The meeting will be held at the Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale.
CNN says Cuomo was targeted in an orchestrated setup and defended himself when attacked. President Trump is weighing in after CNN anchor Chris Cuomo got into a heated and f-bomb-laced exchange with a man who called him “Fredo.”The reference is to Fredo Corleone, the dim-witted, cowardly middle brother in “The Godfather.”In the video, the “Cuomo Prime Time” host threatens a man who called him “Fredo,” which Cuomo said was like the N-word for Italians.Cuomo threatened to throw the man down the stairs like a punk, among other colorful and off-color phrases and threats. This morning, Trump tweeted, “I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings @CNN.”
Hurricane Dorian apparently brought quite a surprise to some people walking along the beaches before and during the storm’s approach.Melbourne Police say a package containing a kilogram of cocaine washed ashore near Paradise Beach Park around the time the hurricane began impacting the east coast.A beachgoer found the drugs and pointed out what he thought was a “suspicious package” to a patrol officer who was monitoring the beach, according to Melbourne city spokeswoman Cheryl Mall. Tests confirmed the package contained cocaine.Last Friday, another beachgoer in Cocoa Beach, less than 20 miles away, found a duffel bag that contained 15 bricks, or kilograms, of cocaine, says Cocoa Beach Police Sergeant Manny Hernandez. He adds that one brick of cocaine can sell for more than $30,000.
The School District of Palm Beach County announced Thursday afternoon that it has completed the investigation into a controversial quiz that was given to students at a Palm Beach Gardens school recently, and has disciplined the teacher who administered the assignment.On September 24, a Computer Applications teacher at Watson B. Duncan Middle School gave students a quiz containing a question that read:45th Pres; 2017; Republican; Real Estate businessman; IdiotThe possible answers were:Donald TrumpRonald ReaganRichard NixonJimmy CarterThe investigation has determined that the “offensive question regarding President Donald Trump was not created by the teacher.”According to a district spokesperson, the teacher downloaded the quiz from an application called Quizlet, but did not closely review the questions before giving the quiz to her students.The spokesperson added, “Despite the fact that the teacher didn’t write, or intentionally select the question, the District views this error as a display of unprofessional behavior. The School District of Palm Beach County holds our educators to the highest standards. The teacher has been disciplined.”Local Teacher Reassigned Over Quiz Question About President Trump
A Florida family thought they adopted a child named Natalia Grace but later speculated that she was woman posing as a little girl.Michael and Kristine Barnett adopted Natalia in Florida in 2010 and were told she was from Ukraine and had a rare form of dwarfism that makes it difficult to gauge her age. Michael Barnett said the couple believed the girl was 6.The couple, who are now divorced, claim they were scammed into adopting Natalia, who they claim is really a 30-year-old woman.Now, the Ukrainian woman claiming to be the birth mother of Natalia says her daughter is definitely a child, despite her adoptive parents claiming she is a mentally disturbed adult who terrorized their family.Natalia’s story went viral in September when her adoptive parents, the Barnetts, were charged with with neglect.The Barnetts are accused of legally changing Natalia’s age to from 8 to 22 in 2012, and moving to Canada without her. Prosecutors say she was a child at the time.Kristine Barnett told Daily Mail Online that Natalia terrorized her family. Natalia is now living with another family in Indiana.Daily Mail reporters Will Stewart, Svetlana Skarbo, and Ben Ashford found a woman claiming to be Natalia’s birth mother in Ukraine, who told the site that her daughter is a child, and that she was forced to put her up for adoption because of the girl’s physical disabilities.
Residents may leave their homes to go places such as grocery stores, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and child care centers, among other “essential locations.”In addition, outdoor exercise that complies with social distancing guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is allowed.According to the latest numbers from the Florida Department of Health, there are 504 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Broward County, which is second only to Miami-Dade County in the state.67 people have been hospitalized because of the virus in Broward County, and three have died. Broward County issued a shelter-in-place order on Thursday, urging residents not to leave their homes unless it is to complete “essential activities.”Under the order issued by County Administrator Bertha Henry, “individuals are strongly urged to remain home other than to engage in essential activities, which are the minimum activities necessary to conduct Minimum Business Operations or to engage in or patronize Essential Businesses.”
A Florida mother is facing charges after police she left her 2-year-old child in a car while shopping on a hot afternoon.Witnesses called authorities Saturday afternoon after they saw the girl strapped in the backseat.When police arrived it took them almost 20 minutes to get the girl out of the car. Police say the temperature in the vehicle was nearly 113 degrees.Luckily the toddler was unharmed.Police arrested 20-year-old Marsha Ouwigho and charged her with child neglect.
The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) system will be weak from April to June, which means that high wind sheer will create difficult conditions for tropical storm development. An average hurricane season has 12 named storms, according to data by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Forecasters at AccuWeather predict we will see low activity in the Atlantic during the early part of the summer, although they believe the peak of hurricane season will have an above-normal rate of activity, says Dan Kottlowski, lead AccuWeather meteorologist. The 2020 season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30. Forecasters are predicting seven to nine hurricanes this year, with two to four of them becoming major hurricanes with maximum sustained wind speeds of greater than 130 mph. Experts at the National Hurricane Center say they are ready for the upcoming hurricane season. “The National Hurricane Center is prepared and we will continue to meet our mission,” says Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the NHC. “The National Weather Service’s continuity of operations plan ensures that the National Hurricane Center forecast operations are not disrupted for any reason, including COVID-19. This plan is frequently updated and rehearsed to ensure the National Weather Service is ready for any potential scenario.” That, combined with low predicted wind sheer and high surface level temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, could lead to more tropical development between August and October. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is two months away, and meteorologists say they expect some overlap with the coronavirus pandemic. By August, ENSO is forecast to turn into a low La Niña event, causing sea surface temperatures to be warmer than normal. In addition, the NHC has contingency plans in place, in the event that forecasters do become sick due to the coronavirus.
Former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel’s chances of being reinstated were reduced this week, following a federal judge’s ruling.U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ruled on Tuesday that Israel’s due-process rights were not violated when the Florida Senate refused to reinstate him after he was suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis.Israel’s lawsuit named Senate President Bill Galvano and DeSantis as defendants.In dismissing the case this week, Walker wrote in his 81-page ruling, “This court understands why plaintiff, believing the blame for numerous brutal murders has been unfairly and undeservedly laid at his feet, might feel wronged. He believes he was scapegoated and then railroaded, without a fair chance to defend himself.”He continued, “But the issue in this case is not whether defendants made the right decision in removing plaintiff from office, and this court is not a forum to re-litigate the merits of plaintiff’s suspension and removal.”Gov. DeSantis removed Israel from the position in January 2019, alleging incompetence in the former sheriff’s handling of mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport the year before that.The judge added that Israel, “does not have standing to bring this suit against defendant DeSantis.”In addition, the state Senate has the authority to remove or reinstate elected officials who the governor has suspended.Although he showed empathy for Israel, Walker said the issue before the court was not whether the process “was perfect or could have been fairer or more robust, nor whether it conformed to Florida law.” The “sole issue” is “whether the process plaintiff alleges he received satisfies the requirements of due process clause,” the judge wrote.“Due process does not guarantee a perfect process, nor any particular process, and plaintiff cannot use the due process clause to force the Florida Senate to provide him a more exhaustive procedure just because he believes it would have been better to do so,” Walker wrote.Walker also gave Israel’s lawyer, Benedict Kuehne, until May 15 to amend the complaint, cautioning he may not “replead around facts he knows to exist.”The Senate’s lawyers have argued that the Senate is shielded from being held liable for legislative acts.Kuehne told Walker during a hearing in March that the legislative immunity does not apply in this case, because the Senate was essentially acting as a court rather than as a legislative body that was deciding on political or policy-related matters. He added that the state’s Constitution requires that the removal of an elected official be based on “evidentiary consideration.”Meanwhile, Israel’s lawyer argues that the Senate changed its rules after a special master, who was appointed by Galvano, held a trial and concluded at that time that DeSantis’ lawyers failed to present adequate evidence justifying Israel’s suspension. Special Master Dudley Goodlette recommended that Israel be reinstated.Last October, the Senate Rules Committee considered Goodlette’s report and heard testimony from the public, including two parents of children who died in the Parkland school massacre. Days before the meeting, the committee accepted testimony that had not been submitted during the June trial. The committee supported removing Israel from office. In a 25-15 vote on Oct. 23, the Republican-dominated full Senate stripped Israel from office.Kuehne says his client was denied a “meaningful” opportunity to be heard following the trial, as is required by the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment.Walker agreed last Tuesday that Galvano is not entitled to have legislative immunity from the lawsuit. However, the judge also found that the due-process clause “does not require a suspended official to receive a process amounting to a full-blown civil trial” before the Senate can remove the official from office.Sheriff Israel had several months’ notice of the charges against him, the opportunity to subpoena witnesses, take depositions and cross-examine witnesses, and present substantial documentary evidence, Walker wrote.“Plaintiff seeks to use the due process clause to transform the Florida Senate’s removal proceedings into an appeal from the special master hearing, with the Florida Senate being bound to the record before the special master and serving the limited role of reviewing his conclusion according to a narrow set of delineated rules; but the due process clause imposes no such restrictions,” the judge said.Walker concluded that taking “the facts alleged in the complaint and as supplemented by the voluminous attachments to the complaint — in the light most favorable to plaintiff, it does not state a due process claim.”
Commissioners in West Palm Beach have extended the declaration of a state of emergency due to the ongoing protest in the city.Mayor Keith James originally enacted the declaration on Sunday after protest against the death of George Floyd turned into riots.The order includes a curfew for residents between the hours of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.With no clear end to the protest insight, the order has been extended until city leaders believe it should be discontinued.