Kevin Derby's blog

U.S. Sen. Bernie Miller and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. -- the chairmen of their respective chambers’ Veterans Affairs Committee, reforming the U.S. Veterans Affairs department -- are sending $17 billion to help its medical facilities.  

The new funds, which will be used over the next three years, come in the aftermath of reports across the nation detailing altered wait lists at VA facilities. As a result, Eric Shinseki resigned his post as VA secretary back in May.

The proposal passed the House earlier in the week and passed the Senate 91-3 on Thursday.
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,  launched the “Palestinian and United Nations Anti-Terrorism Act of 2014” on Thursday. Rubio’s bill would cut off American funds to the Palestinian Authority, United Nations Human Rights Council, and other U.N. operations in the Middle East until they stop working with Hamas.
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On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., teamed up with U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, to introduce a bill putting sanctions on Russia for violating the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Rubio’s bill would impose sanctions and stop nuclear cooperation with Russia until it is back in compliance with the treaty. The proposal would also ensure the U.S. researches its own intermediate-range weapons, which is allowed under the INF treaty.
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The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) took aim at Amendment 2, a proposed amendment to the state Constitution which will allow more medical marijuana options in Florida. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this week found 88 percent of Floridians support medical marijuana though the survey did not focus on Amendment 2. The poll also showed 55 percent of Florida voters backed the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
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Florida TaxWatch and the Florida Ports Council reviewed port governance, examining how the Sunshine State’s ports were doing as they ready for the Panama Canal expansion.

"Florida seaports are performing very well under a decentralized governance model, managing and meeting their local needs while implementing a state level strategy to holistically enhance Florida's economic climate," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, on Thursday.
 
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From his seat on the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., said he supports the VA reform agreement crafted by his chairman, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

“The emergency legislation unveiled today helps clear the veteran wait lists and eliminating those waits must be a priority, which is why I’m calling on Congress to act this week and approve this bill before the start of the August district work period,” said Jolly on Tuesday.
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The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) endorsed banker Jay Fant over attorney and veteran Paul Renner in one of the most competitive Republican legislative primaries in Florida. Fant and Renner are running for the Florida House seat currently held by Rep. Daniel Davis, R-Jacksonville, who did not run for a third term so he could lead the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. The seat represents parts of Duval County, including Jacksonville's Westside.
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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) released a digital ad on Wednesday which has former Gov. Charlie Crist debating himself. The ad showcases Crist, the favorite to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in next month’s primary despite spending most of his political life in the GOP, taking both sides of positions on Obamacare, taxes, the Cuba embargo, same-sex marriage and other issues.

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On Wednesday, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) endorsed Gov. Rick Scott for re-election.

“There is no question this governor understands the importance of tourism and the vital role the hospitality industry plays in job creation and economic development,” said Carol Dover, the president and CEO of the FRLA. “On behalf of our more than 10,000 members representing hoteliers, restaurateurs and suppliers, we are thrilled to give our strongest of endorsements to Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera this election cycle.”
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Florida Sen. Thad Altman, R-Rockledge, wants answers on All Aboard Florida’s lease with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority. Altman is asking Attorney General Pam Bondi for her opinion on the lease, especially as the senators says the lease ensures All Aboard Florida’s trains won’t stop in Brevard and Indian River counties.
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