RPOF Newsletter – Chairman Joe Gruters

Chairman’s Message

Fighting back against Big Tech

The legal guardrails are now officially installed around Big Tech in a major step toward ensuring that Floridians of any worldview have well-protected speech rights on social media. Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7072, which will hold Big Tech accountable by driving transparency and safeguarding Floridians’ ability to access and participate in online platforms.

“This session, we took action to ensure that ‘We the People’ — real Floridians across the Sunshine State — are guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites,” Governor DeSantis said. “Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela. If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”

The major points of the new buttressing that include:

All Floridians treated unfairly by Big Tech platforms will have the right to sue companies that violate this law — and win monetary damages. This reform safeguards the rights of every Floridian by requiring social media companies to be transparent about their content moderation practices and give users proper notice of changes to those policies, which prevents Big Tech bureaucrats from “moving the goalposts” to silence viewpoints they don’t like.
The Attorney General of Florida can bring legal action against technology companies that violate this law, under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If social media platforms are found to have violated antitrust law, they will be restricted from contracting with any public entity. That “antitrust violator” blacklist imposes real consequences for Big Tech oligopolies’ bottom line.
Big Tech is prohibited from de-platforming Floridian political candidates. The Florida Election Commission will impose fines of $250,000 per day on any social media company that de-platforms any candidate for statewide office, and $25,000 per day for de-platforming candidates for non-statewide offices. Any Floridian can block any candidate they don’t want to hear from, but is not for Big Tech to decide.
You can read the full text of Senate Bill 7072 here: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?FileName=_s7072er.DOCX&DocumentType=Bill&BillNumber=7072&Session=2021

Big Tech made clear the need for this law over and over. But the brash activists in Silicon Valley took down a Youtube video of Governor DeSantis’ March roundtable with premier national doctors and epidemiologists from Harvard and Stanford — right in the middle of the session debating this bill. The pretend white-coat censors simply will not allow dissenting opinions to stand and see themselves as all powerful. So Florida acted.

Strong Republican leadership across the board stood in defence of all Floridians’ free speech.

“I’m pleased to see Florida setting the example by doing everything in our power to stop the abuses that are possible when big tech goes unchecked. People have a right to express opposing views,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson.

“Social media platforms have morphed into the town square,” said Speaker Chris Sprowls. “If our democracy is going to survive, we must stand up to these technological oligarchs and hold them accountable.”

Read more here: https://flgov.com/2021/05/24/governor-ron-desantis-signs-bill-to-stop-the-censorship-of-floridians-by-big-tech/


Teachers, school principals and superintendents in Baker County, Sarasota County and Okaloosa County joined Governor DeSantis for his announcement of $765 million in funding to support Florida’s teachers. These investments include $550 million to continue elevating minimum teacher salaries, as well as $215 million to provide all of Florida’s eligible public school principals and teachers with $1,000 disaster relief payments.

The Florida Legislature and Governor DeSantis worked hard to continue funding support for Florida’s teachers through the Florida Leads budget. Over the past year, minimum pay for Florida’s teachers increased by an average of $6,000 — from $40,000 to $46,000. Overall, 68 of Florida’s 74 school districts (92 percent) now have a starting salary of $40,000 or higher.

“While most other states locked down their schools, Florida followed the science and opened our schools for in-person instruction, five days a week,” Governor DeSantis said. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our teachers and school leaders Florida succeeded where so many other states failed. I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and dedication during this school year and these bonuses are a small way to say thank you on behalf of our state.”

Read more: https://flgov.com/2021/05/26/governor-ron-desantis-announces-more-than-765-million-in-record-funding-for-teachers/

Florida Update

Florida’s economy continues to surge forward under strong, principled, conservative leadership, leading America out of the pandemic response-induced downturn.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced Florida now has recorded 12 consecutive months of job growth, gaining 18,800 private sector jobs in the month of April. From April 2020 to April 2021, Florida has gained a total of 795,800 private sector jobs. Florida’s unemployment rate of 4.8 percent remains well below the national average of 6.1 percent, even as its labor force in April 2021 increased by 73,000 over the month, reaching its highest point since the beginning of the pandemic. So more than 70,000 people entered the labor force looking for jobs in April and virtually all of them found jobs.

“Through Governor DeSantis’ leadership, our state has remained open for business, leading to an unemployment rate consistently below the national average,” said Dane Eagle, Secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “Our state now has a jobs surplus, and businesses are in need of Floridians to continue bolstering our great workforce.”

Read more here: https://floridajobs.org/news-center/DEO-Press/2021/05/21/florida-department-of-economic-opportunity-announces-twelve-consecutive-months-of-job-growth-gaining-nearly-19-000-private-sector-jobs-in-april


The Republican Party of Florida has launched FloridaDems.com to defeat attempts to give Nancy Pelosi more puppets in service to a Socialist agenda for America.

RPOF’s Executive Director Helen Aguirre-Ferre issued the following statement:

“It really doesn’t matter which one of Nancy Pelosi’s Puppets Florida Democrats nominate, because each and every one will put America and Florida last as they ram through Pelosi’s dangerous socialist agenda.

“We have seen this firsthand — from being weak on China or failing to address the crisis at the border to siding with the radical left to weaken law enforcement, these Democrats will never put Floridians first.

“While Pelosi’s Puppets raise money from Woke Corporations, Big Tech and Wall Street, Florida Republicans and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio will continue to fight for Florida families by advancing common sense conservative policies.

“Senator Marco Rubio has been a champion for Florida and has been laser focused on policies that continue to improve the lives of all Floridians. The Republican Party of Florida is proud to support Senator Rubio who has shown true leadership fighting against misguided policies offered by the left.”

Visit the website here: FloridaDems.com.

More Media Myths Knocked Down

The Miami Herald published a report this week that misrepresented the Public Health Accreditation Board evaluation of the Florida Department of Health collection, analysis, and reporting of the state’s COVID-19 data.

Several reporters and commentators shared the article on social media. In doing so, they spread disinformation by twisting the facts to discredit the hard work of thousands of public servants keeping Floridians safe, healthy, and informed throughout the pandemic.

MEDIA MYTH: The Miami Herald report misled the public by falsely implying that DOH is in danger of losing its accreditation.

THE FACTS: The Herald interviewed Eric Toner, a scholar in Maryland who is not even listed as a representative of PHAB. Toner could not comment on DOH specifically since he has no direct knowledge of the situation, but he made a general statement: “If an accredited health department is told by an accreditation board that they need to do something better…the next step would be probation or losing accreditation.”

However, no official representative of PHAB gave any indication that DOH was ever in any danger of losing accreditation. In fact, PHAB president Paul Kuehnert praised the department’s COVID-19 surveillance and reporting: “Based on what we have seen with Florida, the professionals at the Department of Health are doing a really excellent job.”

These are Kuehnert’s own words, quoted in the very same Miami Herald article, but not until the 19th paragraph. The Miami Herald’s decision to “bury the lede” in this story is irresponsible at best and negligent at worst.

MEDIA MYTH: PHAB criticized DOH for “failing to maintain accurate records regarding COVID-19 infection rates in schools,” issued incomplete data, and neglected Miami-Dade and Broward schools. (Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald)

THE FACTS: In response to a complaint from a political activist in Broward County, PHAB conducted an exhaustive six-month investigation of DOH and found “nothing concerning about the department’s data collection or analysis.” This is a direct quote from the Miami Herald article, once again buried under paragraphs of innuendo and speculation.

Klas’ comment is a glaring example of public health disinformation given undue credibility by association with a mainstream media outlet. Klas quoted the complaint, but misattributed the quote, falsely framing it as an excerpt from the accreditation board’s evaluation of DOH. When Klas was informed of her mistake, she refused to issue a correction, instead publishing more social media commentary to push the same false narrative.

Read many more myth knockdowns: https://flgov.com/2021/05/25/public-health-accreditation-board-florida-department-of-health-doing-a-really-excellent-job-with-covid-19-data-collection-analysis/


Congressman Byron Donalds did a terrific job defending election integrity and conservative values in a fairly hostile interview in the New York Times. We are blessed to have a lot of strong Republicans who know who to forcefully defend the principles that made America great.

Read it here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/22/us/politics/byron-donalds-trump.html

Social Media Highlights

REMEMBER: @FloridaGOP and retweet and share. The Republican message must be spread around the state and you are integral to making that happen.


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