Various Fund – Internet Wealth Zone http://internetwealthzone.com/ Thu, 26 May 2022 09:09:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://internetwealthzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/icon-2021-07-02T225716.250.png Various Fund – Internet Wealth Zone http://internetwealthzone.com/ 32 32 If you’re still making monthly payments on a car loan what do you do to sell it? https://internetwealthzone.com/if-youre-still-making-monthly-payments-on-a-car-loan-what-do-you-do-to-sell-it/ Thu, 26 May 2022 01:34:35 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/?p=3069 It’s normal to dispose of the car you’ve had for a while as you can if you’re on the market for a new one. There is a possibility of losing cash if you have negative equity, which implies that you have more debt in your mortgage than what your vehicle is worth. There are options for you […]]]>

It’s normal to dispose of the car you’ve had for a while as you can if you’re on the market for a new one. There is a possibility of losing cash if you have negative equity, which implies that you have more debt in your mortgage than what your vehicle is worth. There are options for you if have equity either negative or positive as well as how to sell your car that you have financed.

How fast can you swap a car you’ve financed?

It is possible to trade in the car you have financed anytime, however when you have just purchased an all-new vehicle, you might want to hold off for a year or longer. It is worth it to note that the value of a vehicle declines with time. The first period of its ownership, a brand new vehicle can drop 20% or more of its value. Then, it diminishes value over the years to come.

There are several things that could cause negative equity for a new vehicle that could cause this, such as the amount of the deposit as well as the rate at which you depreciate your car.

Making use of a loan for trading for a vehicle

The more cash you receive in exchange for the trade-in, more you can use towards the purchase of an entirely new vehicle. For a start, follow the steps listed below or you can look for Tallahassee lender.

Your car you trade in could have more value than you thought.

To gain an idea of the kind of deal a dealer could offer you on your trade-in, you might want to be aware of the price your car will be sold for in the near future. It is possible to estimate the value of your trade-in vehicle using websites = using information such as the year, make and model of your vehicle along with the amount of miles it has driven.

To determine whether you have negative or positive equity in your vehicle Compare the anticipated value of the trade-in to the amount of repayment. It could fluctuate a bit from the balance of your loan since it is comprised of the loan balance, as well as any fees and interest that are accrued. Get in touch with your lender determine the amount you are owed.

If you’re in possession of equity in the vehicle you trade in, you could utilize the cash from the dealer to pay off the current loan and use the remainder toward buying a brand new car. For avoiding negative equity you need to decide whether to put off your trade-in until later or make your loan payment or transfer the balance to the new loan for your car.

Take a look at the trade-in deals and decide.

Contact a few dealerships to get a trade-in value estimate. If you believe a dealer offers a price that is too low it is possible to use the estimates of car value you’ve collected to bargain. To ensure you receive the most competitive price You may wish to request several estimates.

Discuss your new car and trade-in on your own. Some dealers might try to increase the cost of the new vehicle to compensate for the lower value of the vehicle they’re receiving. Do not sign the dotted line without knowing your total loan amount, annual percentage rate, loan term and the new monthly installment when you have negative equity prior to signing a deal.

Complete the transaction

The value of your trade-in and the price of the new car are in agreement It’s time to complete the purchase. The sales contract should include the current loan amount, period, the interest rate, monthly payments and any other verbal commitments that you made during negotiations. It is important to read the contract thoroughly.

A detailed explanation of what will happen in the event that there’s a loss in equity must be provided. There are certain dealerships that advertise they will take care of the current loan on your car, regardless of the amount you owe. They will put that money into the loan you’re taking out.

The purchase of a car that isn’t completely paid off is possible.

The majority of the time you are able to trade in your vehicle for an entirely new model even if you’re not yet the payment on your old car. But, first find out how much equity that you currently have in your vehicle. If the value of your vehicle is lower than the amount you have to pay on your loan, you’re in an imbalance. Based on these two factors you may have an equity that is positive or negative.

Positive net worth.

In the event that the price of the vehicle is greater than the debt you owe, then you have positive equity. It’s beneficial to have equity. If you make a trade-in, the seller can apply any equity remaining to buying a brand new vehicle. In the end, you’ll have the ability to borrow less amount of money.

Positive equity less negative equity.

If you have more debt on your car loan than what it’s worth it, you’re in negative equity. And you’re not alone. 44 percent of trade-ins for new cars in April 2020 were negative equity, and the average balance on loans of $5,571 based on Edmunds research. There are several possibilities to consider when considering trading in the vehicle that has negative equity.

The sale is best delayed until the time is later. You can also put off the trade until you’ve completed the repayment of the loan or are no longer in debt prior to making the trade-in.

You must pay for the difference in amount of your trade-in as well as the balance that you owe in the event that it is possible. If you have money to pay, you may be able to take the amount that is the sum of what you are obligated to pay for your existing loan as well as the sum that the dealer is willing to pay for your trade-in. This method could aid you in saving the cost of your new loan.

Cut down on your credit card debts by getting a new auto loan to pay for any equity that you might have. This is a simple option however, it will increase the amount of the loan, which means that you’ll be paying more interest over the loan’s term. If you decide to go this option it is more likely that you’ll get into debt again since you’ll need to borrow more than the new car’s value.

Conclusion

Knowing how much you owe for your car and the amount it’s valued is the initial step to trading it into. In the long term trading in a car that has negative equity could be not a good idea.

If you’re not able to purchase the vehicle of your dreams as you’re required to carry over any equity you have think about trading in your car to a cheaper one. Despite the fact that you’ll be required to carry forward any negative equity that you’ve accrued from the previous loan to your car You’ll probably have a lower interest rate overall.

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Takeaways from Tallahassee — Free speech whiplash https://internetwealthzone.com/takeaways-from-tallahassee-free-speech-whiplash/ Thu, 26 May 2022 01:34:35 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/?p=3066 Editor’s note: We have some bittersweet news for Florida Politics’ readers: Jason Delgado is leaving the FP family. Jason has been an invaluable reporter for Florida Politics and a gregarious member of the Capitol Press Corps the last two years. He’s played his strengths, including as an Army veteran, and his coverage of the Florida […]]]>

Editor’s note: We have some bittersweet news for Florida Politics’ readers: Jason Delgado is leaving the FP family.

Jason has been an invaluable reporter for Florida Politics and a gregarious member of the Capitol Press Corps the last two years. He’s played his strengths, including as an Army veteran, and his coverage of the Florida National Guard — and the State Guard — has been second to none.

Jason might carry around a personal fan like Charlie Crist, and he may have unknowingly hijacked Jim Rosica’s seat in the House Press Gallery, but Jason has set himself apart in Tallahassee as a stand-up guy always prepared to give anybody their “fair shake.”

Some parting words from Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch: “Jason Delgado is not only a superb reporter with an extraordinarily bright future, he is a helluva good person who I am fortunate enough to call my friend.”

Expect to see Jason’s byline pop up in USA TODAY in the coming days — or just click through when his work inevitably shows up in Sunburn.

___

Tweetstorm

Between Elon Musk buying Twitter, President Joe Biden’s “Ministry of Truth” and Florida lawmakers reneging on their Disney+ carveout, online free speech has held the keys to the national narrative in recent weeks. But another social media storyline has been quietly inching forward.

A federal judge last week heard oral arguments in Florida’s appeal to reinstate a law preventing social media deplatforming and limiting their ability to regulate their platform.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association and NetChoice sued last year to take down the law. They won the first battle. And the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals should declare the winner of the second battle, whether to remove the injunction as the case moves forward, in the coming months.

The legislation’s proponents say the law combats censorship, while opponents, like NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo, argue the law compels speech, violating the First Amendment.

But as Florida and Silicon Valley have litigated the case, the political battlelines have inverted under their feet again, following Musk’s decision to buy Twitter and take the company private. Szabo told Florida Politics that, in backing Musk and opposing Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board, Republicans went from saying government can regulate content to government can’t regulate content.

Elon Musk has changed the political discourse — not just online.

“I think in the past two weeks, we’ve seen such incredible whiplash from Democrats and Republicans that my neck hurts when it comes to the rights of private businesses to decide what’s best for their users and their advertisers,” Szabo said.

In Szabo’s opinion, the free market should dictate how a company polices its content, like with Musk buying Twitter and the rise of platforms such as YouTube-alternative Rumble. In another example, former President Donald Trump’s Twitter alternative, Truth Social, climbed to the top of Apple’s app chart last week despite initial rollout problems.

Last week, the state’s lawyers argued that key language in federal law, known as Section 230, doesn’t allow online companies to operate free of oversight. Additionally, they said social media has effectively become the public square.

“We are grateful for the time and attention from the engaged panel of judges and look forward to the Court’s ruling,” Attorney General Ashley Moody’s press secretary, Kylie Mason, said in a statement.

Although questions about social media usage and free speech may have been supplanted this week by the U.S. Supreme Court leak on abortion, expect issues around people’s online rights to continue their slow burn.

On Thursday, Missouri and Louisiana sued the Biden administration, accusing officials of colluding with and coercing companies like Meta and Twitter to combat social media “misinformation.” On Friday, a U.S. judge dismissed Trump’s lawsuit over his Twitter ban. Plus, Texas will also argue its appeal against an injunction on its Big Tech bill on Monday in a case that parallels the Florida lawsuit.

Szabo said it can’t be a coincidence that the Biden administration launched its Disinformation Governance Board during the chittering around Musk buying Twitter.

“Whether it’s the Disinformation Governance Board, whether it is the use of antitrust as a weapon, whether it is states forcing private businesses to host speech, all of it is a violation of the First Amendment,” Szabo said. “All of it is exactly the type of government compelled speech that our founders protected us against and that all of us should oppose regardless of who’s in office.”

___

Coming up, the usual assortment of news, intel, and observations from the week that was in Florida’s capital city by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Jason Delgado, Christine Jordan Sexton, Tristan Wood and the staff of Florida Politics.

Take 5

The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

SCOTUS leak shifts Midterm focus to abortion — A leaked report suggesting the Supreme Court will soon overturn Roe v. Wade drew strong reactions from Florida leaders this week. Democrats largely derided the move as an attack on women’s rights, and some feared the Legislature could soon move to further restrict abortions. DeSantis said he’d wait for a final decision before contemplating any action. But he argued the same point made by many Republicans: the leak was unprecedented and wrong. “You want to talk about an insurrection, that’s a judicial insurrection, to be taking that out and trying to kneecap a potential majority through extra-constitutional means,” DeSantis said.

AHCA requests spending data on ‘illegal alien’ health — The DeSantis administration is calling on Florida’s hospitals to compile information on how much money they are spending to treat immigrants who have entered the country illegally. The Agency for Health Care Administration this week asked all licensed hospitals to figure all costs and expenditures and “report any uncollected debt calculations related to the health care of illegal aliens.” DeSantis and Moody have sharply criticized the Biden administration’s border policy, and one of the Governor’s lines of attack has been what they call the untold cost of immigrants who are using government resources while living in the country illegally.

DeSantis signs $1.1 billion tax relief package — DeSantis has signed this year’s sweeping tax relief bill, which will save Floridians an estimated $1.1 billion. The tax package includes major first-time initiatives, like reducing the state and county gas tax in October and a new week-long “Tool Time” sales tax holiday on supplies for skilled trades. This coming fiscal year’s predicted $1.1 billion in savings for taxpayers overshadows the $196.3 million in relief estimated in the current fiscal year, which expires June 30. Speaking in Ocala on Friday, DeSantis told reporters he was signing the bill to combat “Bidenflation.”

Central Floridians sue over Reedy Creek bill — Some Orange County residents are suing Florida after lawmakers in April voted to strip Walt Disney World of its self-governance status. The federal lawsuit, filed Tuesday, asserts the bill is unconstitutional and will significantly “injure” nearby taxpayers, who may inherit upwards of $1 billion in debt. It also alleges the repeal is punitive and aims to punish Disney’s opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill. That legislation — signed in March — bans instruction on “sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.

Appellate court reinstates SB 90 for Midterms — An appellate court temporarily reinstated portions of a Florida election law deemed unconstitutional by a lower court. In March, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark Walker found parts of a 2021 state law to be unconstitutional. The state of Florida last month appealed that ruling, which struck down parts of the law including a prohibition on engaging voters in line at polls. A three-judge panel with the 11th Circuit, though, argued it’s too close to the election to significantly change election law. That means there won’t be any changes to the 2021 law as passed before this year’s Primary and General Election.

Tornado relief

DeSantis and the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) on Wednesday announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) granted the state’s request for a disaster declaration following the Southwest Florida tornadoes in January.

The announcement follows the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to deny DEM’s appeal for Individual Assistance for disaster survivors. Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties will benefit from access to low-interest loans because of the SBA’s declaration.

Better late than never for tornado relief.

“In January, I assured Southwest Florida residents that the State of Florida would identify all available forms of assistance to help their recovery efforts following the tornadoes,” DeSantis said. “It’s a shame that after months of waiting for an appeal decision, the Biden administration decided to deny Individual Assistance again to these disaster survivors. However, despite the federal government’s lack of support, the state of Florida will not let impacted residents suffer because of White House politics.”

The newly available disaster loans include Business Physical Disaster Loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Home Disaster Loans.

“In the last four months, the state of Florida has continuously prioritized the needs of disaster survivors in Charlotte and Lee counties,” DEM Director Kevin Guthrie said. “We’ve worked to identify all available forms of assistance and this SBA Disaster Declaration is an additional tool that will supplement ongoing relief and recovery efforts in Southwest Florida.”

Calm before the storm

Hurricane season is right around the corner, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis wants Floridians to be ready and insured.

This week marks Hurricane Preparedness Week, the perfect time for residents to prep their disaster plans for when hurricane season begins on June 1. Saturday marks the final day of the week, an opportunity for Floridians to take advantage of sales on disaster supplies.

“The 2022 Hurricane Season is only one month away and I am urging Floridians to take advantage of the calm before the storm to prepare now!” Patronis said in a news release. “There is nothing more important than having a disaster plan in place to protect you, your family and your home.”

Jimmy Patronis says the time to prepare for hurricane season is now.

Patronis recommended Floridians secure adequate flood insurance coverage, consider additional living expense coverage and be ready before a storm approaches. Most flood insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect, he noted.

“Business owners should also work now to prepare to weather and recover from what is expected to be another busy storm season,” Patronis said. “As we’ve seen in the past, hurricanes can intensify and develop fast, and getting prepared now can help save lives.”

Floridians will get one more chance to make savings in their disaster purchases. Disaster preparedness week will run from May 28 to June 10, making it a two-week holiday this time. Light sources, radios, tarps, batteries, coolers, generators and even pet supplies will be tax free during that period.

For additional hurricane financial preparedness tips or resources, visit PrepareFL.com.

Cha-ching

Patronis also announced this week that his office helped reunite Floridians with more than $30 million in long-forgotten cash.

The Division of Unclaimed Property, housed in the Department of Financial Services, serves as a lost and found for all manner of unclaimed assets, such as dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance proceeds, stocks, dividends, uncashed checks, deposits, credit balances and refunds.

Jimmy Patronis wants to give the gift that keeps on giving. Image via Colin Hackley.

The division maintains an online database where Floridians can check out how many of their (or their family’s, friends’ and neighbors’) dollars are collecting dust in a government office building. It’s like finding a $100 bill in a pair of jeans you haven’t worn since early 2020, without the shame of realizing they don’t fit anymore.

The Division of Unclaimed Property has kept busy since Patronis took office in 2017, returning more than $1.6 billion. Of that, $331 million has been returned to Floridians this fiscal year — you’d have to sift through 2.5 million pounds of $100-bill-containing-jeans to uncover that much cash.

“My Unclaimed Property Team is working every day to return every single cent of unclaimed property to the rightful owners. There is over $2.1 billion just waiting to be claimed and there is no better time than now to start your search,” Patronis said.

“It’s your money and it only takes a few seconds to visit our website and discover if there are any unclaimed treasures in your name. Search today for yourself, your friends, your loved ones, and even your business at FLTreasureHunt.gov.”

Instagram of the week

The Week in Appointments

Florida Gaming Control Commission — DeSantis made two appointments and three reappointments to the commission late Friday. The new members are John MacIver, who works as general counsel to Patronis and DFS, and John D’Aquila, an accountant and former executive at Comstock and Select Wines. The reappointments are former Department of Business and Professional Regulation Secretary Julie Brown, former Office of Insurance Regulation Chief of Staff Michael Yaworsky and Charles Drago, the founder of Drago Professional Consultants and a former DBPR Secretary.

Enterprise Florida Board of Directors — The Governor appointed Anthony Barbar of Boynton Beach to the EFI board. Barbar is the CEO of Barbar and Associates and volunteers with the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce, Boca Helping Hands and the Palm Beach Atlantic University Board of Trustees. He earned his bachelor’s degree in international business from Florida Atlantic University.

Florida Virtual School Board of Trustees Rafael “Tony” Arza and Kelly Garcia were named to the FVS board on Friday evening. Arza is a Miami resident who works as an educational consultant for Mountain Moving Strategies and serves on the Charter School Appeal Commission under the Florida Department of Education. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and a master’s and doctorate in theological studies from the John Paul II Institute.  Garcia, of Tampa, is a board member and the committee chair of Frameworks of Tampa Bay. She is a career educator and a member of Teneo Network. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America and her master’s degree from the University of Florida.

Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame Council — The Governor picked Bruce Grant for a spot on the council late Friday. Grant is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former employee of Enterprise Florida and the Executive Office of the Governor. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy of West Point, his master’s degree from the University of Puget Sound, and a doctorate from Florida State University.

Boating Advisory Council — Five new members are joining the council. Larry DeHays, of Fort Myers Beach, is a boat captain for Adventures in Paradise and Shell Point Retirement. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, a current member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland. John Stephens, of Destin, is the owner of Luther’s Pontoon, WaveRunner, and Kayak Rentals. He is a member of the Okaloosa County Watersports Operators Coalition, Okaloosa County Waterway Rental Safety Committee, and serves on multiple committees for the City of Destin. Stephens earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of West Florida. James Suber, of Jacksonville, is the president of Suber Marine Services Inc. He is a current member of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Jacksonville Commodores League, and a board member for the Safe Harbor Maritime Academy. He earned his associate degree from Florida State College at Jacksonville. Christopher Wagoner, of Gainesville, is a retired police academy commander for Santa Fe College and a U.S. Army veteran. He earned an associate degree in criminal justice technology from Santa Fe College. James Zurbrick, of Steinhatchee, is the owner and operator of Jolly Rogers II Fisheries LLC and Tides Up Fisheries LLC. He is currently the Director of Southeastern Fisheries Association and a member of the Gulf of Mexico Shareholders Alliance, Seafood Harvesters of America, and Steinhatchee River Chamber of Commerce. He earned his associate degree from St. Petersburg College.

History Day

Florida has its list of winning students from this year’s Florida History Day. The top two individual students and groups from each category will go on to represent Florida at the National History Day contest next month.

The Florida Department of State and the Museum of Florida History put on the annual Florida History Day event, which promotes learning about history through opportunities for middle and high school students to conduct original research. The contest was held at Tallahassee Community College on May 2 with the top student entries from 28 of Florida’s counties participating.

Some of the winning topics were “Opera Diplomacy” and “The Voyages of Captain Cook,” says Laurel Lee’s office. Image via Colin Hackley.

“I want to congratulate this year’s Florida History Day winners, as well as all of the students who participated, and the teachers who supported them,” Secretary of State Laurel Lee said in a news release. “I had the opportunity to see some of the projects and I was incredibly impressed by the students’ thorough research, creativity, and hard work.”

At this year’s state competition, 782 middle and high school students presented award-winning research in a variety of media including documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances and websites. Judges recognized 28 individuals plus 24 groups for their reports on topics including women’s rights, international relations, the labor movement and Florida history.

I’m your buckaroo

The nation recently celebrated Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and the Florida Capitol made sure to join in on the action.

For this year’s annual celebration of working parents, Florida and the Department of Economic Opportunity opened the Capitol doors to more than 500 kids who’ve been watching you, Dad (and Mom), and learning four-letter words like FDLE.

Secretary Dane Eagle and his assistant stop by the Capitol. Image via DEO.

Children joined their parents and caregivers to tour more than two dozen exhibits from a wide variety of agencies, which DEO organizes every Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day. Participating alongside state agencies, like the Department of Transportation, were offices that work adjacent to state government, like Small Business Development Centers, the Florida Housing Coalition and Guardian ad Litem.

Kids interacted with hands-on activities and learned about the many possible future career options available to them in the Sunshine State.

“Each day, the DEO team works with Floridians, communities, and businesses to further the state’s economic development initiatives and establish a strong, diverse workforce to meet today’s needs and future opportunities,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “Our children are our future, and Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day offered our state organizations a chance to show Florida’s future workforce the many jobs and educational opportunities available to them in our great state.”

Certified CLG

The City of Lake Butler is officially a member of the Certified Local Government program, Lee announced this week.

“I am pleased to welcome Lake Butler as Florida’s 81st Certified Local Government,” Lee said. “The City will now partner with the Division of Historical Resources to preserve resources associated with its important agricultural past and role as the seat of Union County.”

Lake Butler celebrated its centennial last year. Image via the Department of State.

The National Park Service initiative, administered here by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, provides training and technical support to member communities to help them enhance their historic preservation efforts.

To make the grade, Lake Butler passed a local historic preservation ordinance and assembled a qualified historic preservation commission. The CLG program encourages decision making about historic preservation at the local level with input from citizens and local government.

There are more than 2,000 CLG members nationwide. With the addition of Lake Butler — the Union County seat — 81 of those are in the Sunshine State.

Lake Butler is named after Colonel Robert Butler, an American military officer and the first Surveyor General of the Florida Territory after it was ceded by Spain to the United States. The city’s presence in the cattle, lumber and sea island cotton industries provided a basis for early economic development of the community.

Despite growth as a result of the railroad, Lake Butler retained its unique rural character. The city remains an agricultural community with historic resources associated with Florida’s early timber and agricultural industries.

Share the road

This month marks Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety Awareness Month, a time for state officials to remind motorists to share the road.

The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and the Florida Highway Patronis are partnering with the Department of Transportation (FDOT), the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Trucking Association and AAA — The Auto Group to spread the word.

Space means safety, says AAA – The Auto Club Group.

Along with the “share the road” campaign, FLHSMV is providing drivers with information on how to safely drive alongside large commercial vehicles.

“Temperatures are increasing and so are the number of commuters on Florida roadways — especially vulnerable road users. On average last year, there were nearly 290 crashes per week involving a motorcycle or bicycle in Florida,” FLHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes said in a news release. “Sharing the road is everyone’s responsibility. Whether you operate a large truck, passenger vehicle, motorcycle, or bicycle, learn your role on the road and always make an effort to look out for one another.”

Last June, DeSantis signed a law (SB 950) giving drivers more space to pass cyclists and pedestrians in no-passing zones, requiring more space between drivers and cyclists when drivers turn right in front of a cyclist and more. Cyclists riding in groups can only cross through intersections in groups of 10 or fewer, and cyclists may ride side-by-side in certain conditions.

“As warmer weather approaches, you will likely see more bicycles and motorcycles on the road taking advantage of Florida’s beautiful weather,” FDOT Secretary Jared Perdue said. “FDOT reminds you that sharing Florida’s roadways is everyone’s responsibility. It is essential that everyone on the road exercise caution and be mindful of all road-users.”

CareerSource Board

House Speaker Chris Sprowls has named Rep. Lauren Melo to the CareerSource Florida Board of Directors.

“I am honored to have been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for CareerSource Florida by Speaker Sprowls,” Melo said. “I look forward to creating workforce policies that will prepare Florida and Floridians to continue to prosper as we face new challenges in the global marketplace.”

Lauren Melo knows a thing or two about what CareerSource does. Image via Colin Hackley.

Melo, a freshman Republican from Naples, was a chief architect and sponsor of last year’s “REACH Act.” The Reimagining Education and Career Help Act, backed by Sprowls, aimed to reform, align and integrate Florida’s workforce, education and training programs into a unified system.

“Representative Melo’s experience in the private and public sectors — as state representative and business owner — make her uniquely qualified to craft meaningful and strategic policy for Florida’s employers, workers and job seekers,” Sprowls said. “I am proud to nominate her to represent the Florida House to stand up for Florida’s workforce and business community.”

As a member of the Board of Directors, Melo joins the Governor, Education Commissioner and private and public sector leaders appointed by the Florida Senate and the Governor.

This term, she served as Vice Chair of the Post-Secondary Education & Lifelong Learning Subcommittee and member of the Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee.

In 1991, Melo started her own trucking company that grew to managing a fleet of 100 trucks. Currently, she owns a real estate brokerage in Naples.

Fine questions

Rep. Randy Fine will hold a town hall to discuss property insurance issues in the Melbourne City Council Chambers at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The event is being hosted by Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey and will also include Sen. Debbie Mayfield, Rep. Thad Altman, West Melbourne City Councilman John Dittmore and Brevard School Board Member Matt Susin.

Alfrey, Dittmore and Susin are licensed insurance agents and will be sharing their perspective on the current tumult in the property insurance market. Alfrey also owns a roofing company — roof claims litigation is often cited by insurers as a root cause of skyrocketing premiums.

Randy Fine is known for his protracted speeches, but he says now it’s his time to listen. Image via Colin Hackley.

“As the Legislature prepares to return to Tallahassee this month to tackle the crisis in property insurance, I want to give my constituents from around Brevard County the opportunity to share their perspective with me, Senator Mayfield, and Representative Altman as we figure out how to tackle this complex issue,” Fine said in a news release.

“I am grateful that local leaders like Mayor Alfrey, Councilman Dittmore, and School Board Member Susin are willing to share their unique perspective both as public servants and private businessmen.”

The Special Session on property insurance is scheduled for May 23-27.

Fine continued, “For me, this event will primarily be an opportunity to listen. This issue affects my family as much as it does yours — our own insurance has increased 66% in the past four years, and we have not even seen this year’s premium yet. We’ve also been on the other side of the issue, having had to spend years working a claim after our home was fatally damaged by a hurricane. Now we want to hear about your experiences and concerns.”

The council chambers are located at 900 East Strawbridge Ave. in Melbourne. Members of the public who sign up to speak will be allotted time based on the total number of people wishing to speak.

Park grantlets

Five Florida State Parks Friends groups are splitting a $25,000 grant program as part of Florida State Parks Foundation’s efforts to advocate for local state parks.

The Friends organizations for Collier-Seminole State Park, Fort Cooper, Islamorada Area State Parks, Silver Springs State Park and St. Joseph State Parks will each receive up to $5,000 as part of the small grants program. Last year marked the first time the Florida State Parks Foundation hosted the program.

Collier-Seminole State Park wants more accessible paths. Image via Florida State Parks.

“These small grants allow Friends groups at Florida State Parks to complete projects that enhance visitor experience, as well as support accessibility projects and park improvement efforts,” Florida State Parks Foundation President Tammy Gustafson said in a news release. “Since the launch of our small grants program, diverse projects have been funded that make a positive impact at state parks locally and ensure the continued award-winning experiences visitors know and love at Florida State Parks.”

Friends of Collier-Seminole State Park, in Collier County, received nearly $3,000 to construct an accessible path through a newly created butterfly garden with interpretive trails.

Friends of Fort Cooper, in Citrus County, received $5,000 to reconstruct and restore the state park’s fort wall, which will preserve a piece of Florida’s history.

Friends of the Islamorada Area State Parks, in the Florida Keys, received $5,000 to purchase a motorized wheelbarrow that will allow for movement of crushed rock onto narrow and remote areas of trails.

Friends of Silver Springs State Park, in Marion County, received $5,000 to purchase a used electric golf cart for volunteers.

Friends of St. Joseph State Parks, in Gulf County, also received $5,000 to purchase a golf cart for resident volunteers. The park’s previous equipment was lost in 2018 when the park suffered significant damage from Hurricane Michael.

Away team

Four Florida middle schoolers are in Washington D.C. this weekend to compete in the national MATHCOUNTS competition.

The MATHCOUNTS competition includes both a written exam and a live “bee” style contest where they’ll race against the clock to answer challenging questions.

Some example questions:

— How many six-digit positive integers containing six distinct nonzero digits are divisible by 99?

— Alana can make a tutu in 40 minutes. Spencer takes 50% longer. Working together, how many minutes does it take them to make 20 tutus?

Previous winners have earned a trip to the White House. Image via MATHCOUNTS.

Florida’s squad of mathletes includes Kevin Liu of Westglades Middle School in Parkland, Aaryan Vaishya of William Middle Magnet School in Tampa and Michael Wei and Anish Patel of Lincoln Middle School in Gainesville.

By their invitations alone, the four students are among the 224 most talented middle school mathematicians in the country. Top competitors will receive a share of $44,000 in college scholarship money.

“We’re so proud of Florida’s statewide MATHCOUNTS winners and wish them best of luck in Washington, D.C., at the national competition,” said Jamie Graham, a member of the Florida Engineering Society, which sponsors the Florida MATHCOUNTS competition.

By the way, the answers are 576 integers and 480 minutes.

Imagine Freedom

SalterMitchell PR recently won two public relations awards for its work running a local “Imagine Freedom” fundraising campaign.

Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) Capital Chapter recognized Salter PR for its work on Survive the fundraising campaign, put together by the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC). The campaign, ran last fall, went toward increasing awareness of human and sex trafficking in the local community.

The campaign earnings more than doubled their fundraising goal.

SalterMitchell PR took home an Award of Distinction and Judge’s Award. Image via SalterMitchell PR.

Human trafficking isn’t just a problem in major cities. It happens everywhere, including Tallahassee. STAC assists survivors and strengthens communities throughout the Big Bend by educating the public on how to recognize, report and prevent human and sex trafficking.

The FPRA Capital Chapter Local Image Awards competition is conducted annually on a local level to recognize outstanding public relations programs. FPRA also hopes to encourage and promote the development of public relations professionalism in the greater Tallahassee area.

The Leon County Commission determined a need for all Tallahassee businesses to know how to identify human trafficking and how to take action to help survivors and hold traffickers accountable. STAC hosts training to help Leon County businesses know what to look for so they can see the signs of human trafficking.

Mayor deal

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is scheduled to deliver the keynote address Saturday’s Florida A&M University College of Law Hooding Ceremony.

FAMU Law has 134 graduates being recognized from the Fall 2021, Spring 2022 and Summer 2022 graduating classes. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando.

FAMU might be based in Tallahassee, but the law school is in Buddy Dyer’s neighborhood.

Dyer, who has served as Mayor of the City of Orlando since 2003, is also a member of FAMU Law’s Dean’s Advisory Council. As Mayor, he has made it a priority to ensure all residents are treated equally, are equally protected and have equitable access to opportunity.

FAMU President Larry Robinson and FAMU College of Law Dean Deidré A. Keller are scheduled to provide remarks and special recognitions. FAMU Senate President Ann Marie Cavazos is on the program to bring greetings from the Board of Trustees.

Professor of Law Patricia Broussard will be hooding the graduates. Associate Dean Markita Cooper will announce the student names, while Associate Dean Jonathan Fineman and Associate Dean Reginald Green will assist with the ceremony.

Valedictorian Shanice Cameron, who hails from the Bronx, will be the event’s student speaker.

The ceremony will be live-streamed on law.famu.edu and FAMU College of Law’s Facebook facebook.com/FAMULAW.

Capitol Directions


Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — Culture wars: All the economic benefits of real wars, but with fewer explosions.

Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — Renatha Francis won’t send unknown numbers to voicemail for the next couple of weeks.

Christina Pushaw — Question mark — We blocked her on Twitter; what did she say now?

TV stations — Up arrow — With DeSantis plunking down a $5.3M ad buy, the spigot is officially on.

NY Museum of Jewish Heritage — Down arrow — Banning DeSantis to promote inclusion … it’s the lost verse to Ironic nobody asked for.

Nikki Fried — Up arrow — Axios says you’re one of four “Democratic women to watch.” Don’t mom’s spaghetti it.

Ashley Moody — Up arrow — She gave the smack peddlers a $683M smackdown.

Dep’t of Ed. — Down arrow — The 2022-23 math curriculum: Shut up and dribble.

Chris Sprowls — Up arrow — DeSantis can thank the Speaker for his new resiliency office.

Demi Busatta Cabrera — Up arrow — The Statewide Office of Resilience didn’t carry itself to the Governor’s desk.

Lauren Book — Up arrow — Air hugs for saving us a few bucks on Huggies.

Bobby Payne — Up arrow — Tool batteries are stupid expensive, but at least we’ll save a few bucks in September.

Ileana Garcia — Down arrow — Somewhere, Todd Akin is looking up and smiling.

Ardian Zika — Double up arrow — A good man with one helluva backstory. He’ll be missed.

Hypocrisy — Up arrow — Don’t Say Refund.

Florida GOP — Up arrow — Leave that bottled water at home on Election Day.

Bail bond agents — Down arrow — It’s time to bite the bullet and subscribe to Uber One.

Intuit — Down arrow — One scam down. TrickBooks next, please.

Fred Karlinsky — Up arrow — He’s the new Chair of the Supreme Court JNC and he’s about to have a lot of names to vet.

Scott Rivkees — Down arrow — Quiet down before someone calls ‘The Hook.’

Gators — Down arrow — They have 80 teeth. Stop WOKE has 100 million.

Real gators — Down arrow — Well, at least they already sleep with one eye open.

Baristas — Up arrow — For Starbucks employees, they’re pretty good at Dunkin’ on the C-Suite.


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VA — ROI — shuffle — public safety — insurance https://internetwealthzone.com/va-roi-shuffle-public-safety-insurance/ Thu, 26 May 2022 01:34:35 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/?p=3072 Border run? Multiple delegation members will push for legislation that stops any diversion of Veterans Affairs resources to the border. Several Florida Representatives with heavy veteran constituencies signed on as co-sponsors after Arkansas Republican Steve Womack introduced the Veterans First Act of 2022, and touted the bill in public statements. All criticized President Joe Biden’s […]]]>

Border run?

Multiple delegation members will push for legislation that stops any diversion of Veterans Affairs resources to the border.

Several Florida Representatives with heavy veteran constituencies signed on as co-sponsors after Arkansas Republican Steve Womack introduced the Veterans First Act of 2022, and touted the bill in public statements. All criticized President Joe Biden’s administration for even considering the move.

“Our veterans and their families make the ultimate sacrifice to defend the freedoms we hold dear,” said Rep. Dan Webster, a Clermont Republican. “I am committed to holding the Biden Administration accountable for their consideration of redirecting funds earned by our nation’s heroes to address their own gross policy failures. We must ensure that those who have already sacrificed so much for this country receive the care they were promised when they entered our nation’s service. We owe them a debt we can never repay.”

Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified to the House Appropriations Committee that his agency has been in talks to bring VA doctors and nurses to the Mexican border to manage an influx of immigrants.

The GOP blocks a plan to send VA doctors to the border.

“An interagency effort is precisely what the challenge of migration requires — and it’s not specific to 2022, 2021, 2020, or any of the years preceding,” he said, according to Fox News.

Ultimately, the VA makes the call on whether any personnel should go toward assisting with the situation.

Rep. Kat Cammack, a Gainesville Republican, said Congress should step in now and make clear it cannot happen.

“It’s absolutely unconscionable that this administration would even think to send VA resources to the southern border to manage the crisis that Biden created,” she said. “Any time our VA doctors are spending time away from their primary mission is unacceptable, and at a time when more veterans than ever are utilizing VA care, it is infuriating that this administration is willing to divert precious resources away from veterans and to illegal immigrants, all in the name of a political agenda. We must always put our veterans first.”

Added Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Palm Harbor Republican: “It is unconscionable that the Biden Administration would even consider diverting resources from our nation’s heroes to tend to the needs of those who are illegally entering our country. This is yet another prime example of how this Administration has its priorities screwed up.”

Reps. Brian Mast, Bill Posey and John Rutherford also co-sponsored the bill. But the legislation remains unlikely to pass in the House, where Democrats have a majority.

Protecting IP

In recent years, universities in Florida and other states saw the sometimes-covert infusion of Chinese support for research.

The America COMPETES Act (HR 4521) includes language penned by Sen. Marco Rubio to protect the intellectual property created and scientific work done in U.S. institutions.

The America COMPETES Act seeks to boost U.S. competitiveness with China on the world economic stage. The Senate, in conference, adopted Rubio’s amendment, which would require the establishment of counterintelligence screening to protect American taxpayer dollars, intellectual property, research and development and innovation efforts from being obtained by China.

Marco Rubio makes moves to protect intellectual property.

“We need safeguards in place to protect American research,” Rubio said. “I am encouraged that my colleagues recognize the need for a counterintelligence screening process, and I look forward to working with the conferees to ensure the language actually protects American dollars and this important research.”

Rubio proposed similar language last year, but the Senate rejected it.

At the time, he warned colleagues the threat of China stealing intellectual property from the U.S. needed addressing; colleagues have begun to come around.

Florida’s senior Senator gave a speech ahead of the vote on the language, saying we must be vigilant.

“We’re about to spend tens of billions of dollars on research,” he said. “If we’re going to do that, I think we should take steps to make sure the tens of billions aren’t also stolen. It doesn’t make a lot of sense and most people would agree, to spend all of this public money on research without enough protections to keep the Chinese from stealing it.”

Checking the ROI

The legislation remains controversial and Sen. Rick Scott pushed for additional financial analysis of the bill before the Senate completed its work. The Senate supported his motion this week for a return-on-investment analysis to be included in the bill.

“The U.S. federal government is $30 trillion in debt, but Congress is working every day to spend money like it’s burning a hole in our pocket,” Scott said on the floor.

“This bad bill, which does almost nothing to actually combat the threats posed by Communist China, spends $250 billion in taxpayer dollars and has zero mandates for return on investment. That makes no sense. No American would make a deal like this for their business or family, and that’s why I proposed a common-sense measure to subject these funds to a real return on investment analysis with clawback provisions.”

Democratic majorities in the House and Senate will probably pass bills and send legislation to Biden — with or without the support of any Florida Senator.

But Scott said it’s good that the upper chamber at least allowed provisions to safeguard spending.

“I am glad my colleagues voted to support my proposal and ensure taxpayer funds are not deliberately wasted,” he said. “I have no doubt this bill will only fuel inflation without actually confronting Communist China, but the Senate’s vote to approve my proposal should send a clear message to the conferees that American families can’t afford more failed policy and reckless spending from a broken Washington.”

To watch Scott’s speech, click on the image below:

Musical chairs

Since passing a new congressional map in Florida, most have anticipated Jacksonville Republican Rutherford would seek re-election in the coastal seat in Florida’s 5th Congressional District. Federal Election Commission records now show he now has shifted his candidacy there.

The Congressman still has his candidacy listed with the Florida Division of Elections in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, his current district number. But it always seemed the incumbent under this map would run in CD 5. The FEC governs election laws in Congress, and the move there signals his intention.

The state designation must only change before he qualifies for the ballot. Actively moving his candidacy should also put to bed rumors Rutherford will retire rather than seek a fourth term.

John Rutherford shifts districts for a re-election bid. Image via AP.

As drawn, the district covers southeast Duval County, including Jacksonville east of the St. Johns River and St. Johns County north of County Road 214.

For the moment, FEC records suggest Rutherford will face Al Lawson, who represents CD 5 now, but the Tallahassee Democrat likely will not run for that seat. He currently represents a district stretching from Tallahassee to Jacksonville that was dismantled in the map drawn by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ staff based on the belief the jurisdiction was racially gerrymandered contrary to the Florida Constitution.

Lawson could run in the new CD 5, which spans a lot of Rutherford’s current district, including all of Nassau and Clay counties. It also covers familiar territory for Lawson in west Duval. But Lawson told POLITICO that should he seek another term, it will likely be in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, which covers Tallahassee. That would pit him against another Republican colleague, Panama City Republican Neal Dunn.

Public safety training

Winter Park Democrat Stephanie Murphy presented a $475,000 check to Seminole State College that will go toward new state-of-the-art equipment and software for students training to be first responders and respiratory care professionals.

While Murphy was at Seminole State Wednesday to announce the federal grant for the college’s Center for Public Safety, she also announced submitting a request for another $400,000 in federal funding for Seminole State College’s fire science program.

Stephanie Murphy touts a sizable grant for public safety.

The first grant came from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (HR 2471), approved in March.

“These are purpose-driven people who are going to go on to save lives in our community,” Murphy said of the students in the programs. “Working as first responders and paramedics and respiratory therapists, basically people who are going to be helping our citizens at their most vulnerable moments. I think these are noble and honorable professions. They are also positions for which we have a real shortage of qualified workers.”

Tanking Apopka

The booming City of Apopka received $1.5 million for a new water system storage tank, delivered from federal grant funding presented Thursday by Orlando Democrat Val Demings.

The 1.5-million-gallon water storage tank is proposed to cover Apopka’s growing residential and commercial needs, especially during potential fire emergencies.

The Apopka water project is one of six Central Florida projects Demings designated for federal funding grants, totaling $6 million. Other grants include police body cameras in Orlando, a park restroom and concession building on the Ocoee lakefront, and wastewater and sewage infrastructure upgrades in Eatonville.

Val Demings awards a big check for Apopka water.

“When Mayor (Bryan) Nelson told me that the city of Apopka was reaching critical capacity on its freshwater infrastructure and that firefighters might not have enough water in an emergency, I knew we had to take action,” Demings said.

Nelson said Demings sought him out.

“Given the rapid growth in northwest Apopka, our greatest need is an additional water tank to store drinking water. Thanks to Congresswoman Demings, we have $1.5 million in the budget for a 1.5-million-gallon storage tank that will help serve our area for the next 20 years,” Nelson said.

Federal insurance reform

On Thursday, St. Petersburg Democrat Charlie Crist introduced legislation to reduce homeowners’ insurance premiums. The Fueling Affordable Insurance for Homeowners Act, or FAITH Act, would provide a federal backstop for catastrophic losses by issuing loans to state insurance commissioners for insurance costs over a set threshold. Loans could be repaid at low-interest rates over the next decade, similar to federally backed Terrorism Risk Insurance support allowed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001.

Crist, a candidate for Governor, conspicuously filed his bill after insurance reform failed to pass in the Florida Legislature this year.

“While Florida’s government is busy fighting culture wars, our people are facing a chaotic and deteriorating property insurance market, driven by excessive reinsurance at exorbitant rates,” Crist said. “With hurricane season right around the corner, premiums are increasingly unaffordable, and carriers are leaving the market altogether. Floridians cannot wait for bold action to bring down premiums, and that’s exactly what my bill would do.”

Charlie Crist takes on Florida’s insurance crisis with his own hands.

The state Legislature will convene again in May. There’s no telling if the federal legislation could serve as a model for a bill DeSantis may sign. But the bill boasts the support of the Federal Association for Insurance Reform and other experts in the industry.

“Reinsurance is the largest expense for homeowners’ insurance companies, and those expenditures ultimately get passed on to consumers through their insurance premiums,” said Paul Handerhan, president of the Federal Association for Insurance Reform. “Creating a federal catastrophic excess of loss (CAT XL) reinsurance backstop for the most severe natural catastrophes will stabilize an increasingly volatile insurance sector being driven by the increased frequency and severity of catastrophic weather events. If this legislation is codified into law, consumers will enjoy more market competition, increased insurance product offerings, and significantly less rate pressure on their insurance premiums for natural catastrophe coverage.”

Back to work

As Gov. DeSantis’ administration cheered the advance of its suit against what it contends are administration border policies that aren’t restrictive enough, Weston Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz cheered Biden’s decision to relax the expiration on immigrant work permits.

The Weston Democrat issued a statement saying she had pushed for the 18-month extension on expiring work permits and called it a win-win that would benefit both individuals and their employers.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is cheering Joe Biden’s decision on an 18-month pause of the expiration of immigrant work permits.

“Huge relief has arrived for thousands of people in South Florida and across the country!” read Wasserman Schultz’s statement.

Those immigrants who are here under work permits face a delay in getting their permits renewed because of a backlog at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, Wasserman Schultz said.

“This move by the Biden administration grants a lifeline to the thousands of people put in turmoil because of expiration dates that are now extended for 18 months,” she said. “I have for months pushed for this extension to address the flood of constituents who contacted my office because they lost jobs and were ineligible for government benefits.”

The Temporary Final Rule that went into effect this week seeks to address a bottleneck of about 1.5 million work permit applications, POLITICO reported.

Demings also cheered the decision.

“I’m excited that USCIS has followed our recommendation and is working to protect legal immigrants who have done what they were supposed to do and followed the rules,” she said. “People who have fled hardship and tyranny deserve a fair system, not one where they are punished for playing by the rules. After letters, phone calls, congressional hearings, and community roundtables here in Central Florida, this change will help ensure that the rules are fair, clear, and work for our economy and our families.”

Besties

Hialeah Republican Mario Díaz-Balart last week celebrated a century of international relations between Egypt and the U.S. As co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Friends of Egypt Caucus, he issued a joint statement with Maryland Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger noting the 100-year anniversary of an international partnership that endured even as chaos created many other rifts in the Middle East.

“This is a partnership built on a shared commitment to peace, stability and economic growth for both countries,” the joint statement read.

Mario Díaz-Balart takes a moment to honor one hundred years of U.S./Egypt relations.

“Our countries have confronted many challenges together, such as the global threat of terrorism and working toward a solution for the Israeli and Palestinian people. For example, decades after the Camp David Accords, we continue to honor that historic agreement with robust contributions to the peace and security of the entire region.”

The accords, approved in 1978 during Jimmy Carter’s administration, serve as one of the few enduring peace treaties between Israel and an Arabic nation. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who was later assassinated, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the agreement.

“It is our shared hope that Egypt will continue to lead on the world stage and that Egypt and the United States will enjoy another century of partnership and progress to the mutual benefit of the Egyptian and American people,” the Congressmen said.

Charged

This week, the Florida Bankers Association reached out to Scott and Rubio to lobby against credit card legislation. While Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, wants to regulate interchange fees on cards, the professional group cited a Florida TaxWatch study as evidence such a move would hurt consumers.

“We share the concerns outlined in their analysis,” the bankers’ letter states. “We also have specific concerns relating to the proposed new mandates on routing credit card transactions because we believe that this would be a heavy-handed additional layer of federal red tape on the banking industry at a time when we are already facing the uncertain headwinds of inflation. In short, this Durbin proposal seems to be a solution in search of a problem.”

Florida TaxWatch takes exception to Dick Durbin’s call for credit card fee regulation.

The bill, bankers said, would eliminate banks’ ability to work directly with partners of their choosing on routing and processing transactions.

“Because thousands of banks offer credit cards, these new requirements would mean banks must reissue every single credit card and program an entirely new microchip to handle these hypersensitive transactions,” the letter reads. “This would be an incredibly expensive undertaking for our industry, and we are concerned our consumers and cardholders would ultimately be left to pay the price.”

Welcome back

Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee just brought on a staffer familiar with Florida. Coleman Garrison took a staff position with Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, the ranking Republican on the Senate committee, to manage the conservation and climate portfolios for GOP members.

He most recently served as government affairs director for the National Association of Conservation Districts. But before that, he held several jobs on Capitol Hill, including working for former Rep. Sandy Adams, a Seminole County Republican who served from 2011 through 2013.

“We are excited to welcome Coleman to the committee,” Boozman said. “His experience and subject matter knowledge will be extremely valuable to the team as we begin writing the new farm bill. I look forward to working with him to help ensure our farmers continue to feed, clothe and fuel the world while maintaining our global leadership in efficiency and sustainability.”

On this day

May 6, 1960 — “Civil Rights Act of 1960 signed by Dwight Eisenhower” via the African American Civil Rights Movement — This act did not introduce a new law but was aimed at strengthening and covering loopholes in the Civil Rights Act of 1957. It established federal inspection of local voter registration polls by appointed referees to oversee southern elections and ensure that African Americans could vote and penalties for anyone who obstructed someone’s attempt to register to vote or vote. It extended the life of the Civil Rights Commission, which was previously limited to two years. The Commission would oversee voter registration and practice. Prosecution for interfering with court orders regarding school desegregation.

May 6, 1882 — “Chinese Exclusion Act signed by Chester Arthur” via the National Archives — This provided an absolute 10-year ban on Chinese laborers immigrating to the United States. For the first time, federal law proscribed entry of an ethnic working group on the premise that it endangered the good order of certain localities. The Chinese Exclusion Act required the few non-laborers who sought entry to the United States (such as diplomatic officers) to obtain certification from the Chinese government that they were qualified to immigrate. But this group found it increasingly difficult to prove their status because the 1882 act defined laborers as “skilled and unskilled … and Chinese employed in mining.”

___

Delegation is published by Peter Schorsch and compiled by Jacob Ogles, with contributions by Anne Geggis and Scott Powers.


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Feds Offer ‘Fresh Start’ to Incarcerated Students https://internetwealthzone.com/feds-offer-fresh-start-to-incarcerated-students/ Thu, 26 May 2022 01:34:35 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/?p=3051 Photo by Dragos Blaga via Unsplash Amanda Newman would have been the ideal candidate for the associate’s degree program offered at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Mich. She’s already got some college experience and she’s eager to go back. There is just one problem: she has three student loans that have been […]]]>

Photo by Dragos Blaga via Unsplash

Amanda Newman would have been the ideal candidate for the associate’s degree program offered at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Mich. She’s already got some college experience and she’s eager to go back.

There is just one problem: she has three student loans that have been in default since before she went to prison.

Anyone who has defaulted on a loan is ineligible for federal financial aid such as Pell Grants – the current way that most people in prison pay for college. Despite seeking advice from college officials and trying to contact the Education Department about bringing her loans into good standing, Newman hadn’t been able to make any headway toward getting out of default.

Student loan payments pose a burden for many borrowers, but people in prison, especially those who don’t have family support on the outside, are often unable to do something as simple as pick up the phone to call their loan servicer or set up a repayment plan online.

This is a significant, little-discussed barrier as policymakers and colleges are preparing for full reinstatement of Pell Grants to the prison population next year.

But the Education Department last month announced a fix that will bring all defaulted loans into good standing, a move that could significantly increase access to college-in-prison programs over the next few years.

The department specified that people in prison also will qualify for a “fresh start” when the student loan payment pause, which has been in effect since March 2020, ends in August.

The “fresh start” policy will bring all eligible defaulted loans into good standing. All borrowers, including those in prison, will have: the default record removed from their credit history, their eligibility for federal student aid restored, and loan collection efforts stopped. They will also be able to consolidate their loans and enter into a repayment plan.

Fixing the student loan default problem was necessary “if the goal of restoring Pell Grants to people in prison was to expand college access,” said Bradley Custer, senior policy analyst for higher education at the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit group.

Details on when “fresh start” will be implemented, and how it will be communicated to people in prison, were not included in the department’s announcement.

“What we need now,” Custer said, “is a transparent plan from the department on how they will help these borrowers to stay out of delinquency and default after they are restored to good standing.”

The “fresh start” was part of the department’s larger announcement of 73 new Second Chance Pell sites, bringing the total to 200. Former President Barack Obama launched the Second Chance Pell program in 2016 as the first step toward reinstating Pell Grants for incarcerated students.

Pell Grants, which are available to low-income students, were eliminated for the prison population as part of the 1994 crime bill. In 2020, Congress lifted that 26-year ban, with full reinstatement of the aid for people in prison currently slated for July 2023.

Lack of Access

Getting out of default has become an urgent issue for both people wanting to go back to school after release and those hoping to enroll in college prison programs as Pell Grants become more readily available next year.

Many loans go into default when people go to prison as they aren’t able to access the necessary paperwork to request a deferral or continue to make payments. Others don’t even know they are in default, or that there’s a process to bring their loans back into good standing.

For Newman, a lack of information about her loans and an inability to call the Education Department meant she couldn’t enroll in the Second Chance Pell program Huron Valley offers through Jackson College.

There is no data available for how many incarcerated people have defaulted on their loans, but it’s a widespread problem for both the general and the prison populations. Twenty-five percent of all borrowers default in their first five years of repayment.

Incarcerated individuals interested in enrolling in the Second Chance Pell Experiment were twice as likely as the broader population to be turned away because they had defaulted loans, according to the Education Department.

Bobby Beauchamp, director of correctional education at Jackson College, estimates that around 10 percent of potential students interested in the college’s Second Chance Pell program have student loan default.

Outside of the “fresh start” policy, there are two ways people who have defaulted can restore their Pell eligibility. They can pay off the balance in its entirety, which can be a daunting prospect as more than 40 percent of borrowers in default owe at least $20,000.

The Education Department has also established a process called rehabilitation that allows people to make nine consecutive monthly payments of at least $5. That brings the loan into good standing and allows them to access federal financial aid.

Loan Write-Off

The Education Department also has another process for people with sentences of 10 years or more to have their loan balances written off by the government. That stops loan servicers from trying to collect, but it doesn’t restore Pell eligibility. Since September 2011, the government has written off the loans of more than 25,000 incarcerated borrowers, according to the Education Department.

Technically, the current rehabilitation process is the same for everyone, a spokesperson for the Department of Education said. It’s relatively straightforward for a borrower on the outside who can call the Education Department for information and then set up an online payment plan with their loan servicer. But the process is difficult – and in some cases nearly impossible – from behind prison walls.

For more than a year, Newman has been trying to bring her loan into good standing so she can take college classes.

She sent a handwritten letter to the Education Department last year requesting information on her loan and informing them that she was in prison. In response, she received paperwork for her counselor to fill out verifying her incarceration, which she promptly sent off. Almost a year later, she’d heard nothing about the status of her loan.

“They can give me all kinds of 1-800 numbers, and they can give me all kinds of addresses to write to,” she said. “But I don’t hear back from them.”

Like Newman, most people in prison don’t have access to the internet to look up information about their loans or set up payment plans. Toll-free 1-800 numbers are blocked unless they are on a special list approved by the prison administration, outgoing phone calls are limited to 15 minutes, and prisoners can’t receive incoming calls.

Newman is lucky because she has family support, she said, but she’s reluctant to ask her relatives to do even “one more thing.”

“My family is already taking care of my kids. And they’re already making sure to get money on my account, and they’re doing so much as it is,” she said.

Many people in prison are only able to manage their loan payments because they have help on the outside. Tydarius Newell, 34, was a full-time college student prior to going to prison in Florida in 2014. He had $30,000 in student loans from studying business at Warner Southern University and Tallahassee Community College. He assumed his loans had been put into deferment, a status where payments and interest are temporarily suspended, until he applied to Miami Dade College’s Second Chance Pell program at Everglades Correctional Institution in 2021.

Newell was able to set up an installment plan after sending the necessary documentation, but only because his family is able to pay the $5 a month for him. “I was told by the prison administration that if I didn’t have family to help set up payments, then I couldn’t go to college.”

This is another part of the process where bureaucracy gets in the way. He couldn’t rely on being able to make the payments from his prison account on time, even though he has money on his books, he said. To send payments, he has to fill out a form at the prison, which is then approved by the administration and forwarded to the Florida Department of Corrections central office in Tallahassee for processing.

Newman and other prisoners report that the multi-step transaction can result in delayed payments. But Paul Walker, press secretary for the Florida Department of Corrections, said the department has staff that process “special withdrawal” payments. “This process does not take several weeks,” he said, “nor does it prevent any inmate wishing to pay external financial obligations from doing so in a timely manner.”

A single late installment during the rehabilitation process means the borrower has to restart the nine payments all over again.

A $900 student-loan debt ultimately kept John Nelson, 57, out of college altogether. He applied for Miami Dade’s Second Chance Pell program in 2019 and again in 2020 but was rejected due to the 10-year-old debt.

“I couldn’t set up a rehab payment because my mother has dementia and nobody else could initiate the payments for me,” Nelson said. “We had the money but no one could help.”

The red tape, he said, made him give up. “Now I’m leaving prison next year without a degree.”

Piecemeal Solutions

Some state correctional departments have started to provide resources to assist in loan rehabilitation as part of reentry support. The Iowa Department of Corrections, in partnership with the state’s workforce development agency, has four reentry career planners that serve nine prisons.

Donshey Reed, 38, has been able to rehabilitate his defaulted student loan after working with Terry Zmolek, a career planner who helped him make phone calls and set up the payment plan. He’s made nine consecutive payments of $5, paid with the $.58 an hour he makes cutting hair in the prison barbershop. In March, he received a letter from the Education Department confirming his loan is in good standing.

Reed had originally enrolled in general education classes in his early 20s, but said he had to withdraw because he wasn’t ready for college. Then he was stuck with the loan balance. “I ended up owing and owing.”

Now he’s expecting to get out soon and wants to study cosmetology and massage therapy to complement the barbering apprenticeship he’s done in prison. “At this age, I’m mature and I’m ready to move forward with furthering my education,” Reed said.

While Reed is now eligible for Pell Grants again, he will need to continue to make payments or file the right paperwork every year to keep the loan in good standing. People are only able to rehabilitate loans once; a second default renders them permanently ineligible for additional federal financial aid.

While there’s no data specifically on incarcerated borrowers, nearly one in three borrowers who brought their loans back into good standing through rehabilitation defaulted for a second time within 24 months, and over 40 percent of borrowers did so within three years, according to the Student Loan Ombudsman.

“The consequence of rehabilitating your loan is that you have to start paying them,” said Custer of the Center for American Progress.

So how long will incarcerated borrowers have before they have to start making payments again after their loans are brought into good standing? Could they inadvertently go into default again and lose all eligibility for Pell Grants in the future? Those are just a few of the outstanding questions about how the new “fresh start” policy will work.

Default Fixes

As is the case with “fresh start,” many of the possible fixes for student loan default would improve and simplify the student loan repayment process for everyone – not just people in prison, Custer said. For example, everyone could automatically be placed in an income-driven repayment plan before their loans come due.

Until “fresh start” is implemented, the current solutions are piecemeal.

Some colleges have been improvising to help students. Lamar State College in Port Arthur, Texas, received a $263,000 grant through federal pandemic relief funds that allows them to pay off balances for students who have loan debt of $1,000 or less.

The college has been able to assist six incarcerated borrowers pay off their loan balances, said Wayne Wells, director of correctional education. About 30 percent of students hoping to enroll in Lamar State’s Second Chance Pell program are in default. If students aren’t eligible for Pell, there are state financial aid programs in Texas that many can take advantage of.

Similarly, Beauchamp of Jackson College said that some students who haven’t already earned a degree and aren’t Pell-eligible can still use state financial aid through Michigan Reconnect, a scholarship for state residents older than 25 that, unlike many state financial aid programs, doesn’t have restrictions for incarcerated students.

In another fix, the Michigan Department of Corrections included the 1-800 number for the Education Department’s Default Resolution Group in its updated list of approved numbers at the end of December 2021, but until recently Newman and other women at Huron Valley were unaware they could now call the Education Department directly.

Newman had heard of Michigan Reconnect scholarship, but initially didn’t think she’d be eligible. “It sounds too good to be true,” she said.

She started asking questions, and earlier this month found out that the scholarship will cover her tuition at Jackson College. She’ll be starting her associate’s degree in May.

And, now that the 1-800 number to the debt resolution center has been approved, Newman finally got through to the Education Department to find out her loan balance. The debt that has kept her out of college? $93.05.

Charlotte West, a John Jay Justice Reporting fellow, is a  national reporter with Open Campus. Ryan M. Moser is an award-winning writer and recovering addict from Philadelphia serving 8 years in the Florida DOC for property crimes. This article was originally published in College Inside, a biweekly newsletter about the future of post-secondary education in prisons, and is reproduced with permission. Sign up for the College Inside newsletter here.  

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Andrew Hartzler Wasn’t Allowed To Be Gay on Campus. So He’s Suing. https://internetwealthzone.com/andrew-hartzler-wasnt-allowed-to-be-gay-on-campus-so-hes-suing/ Thu, 26 May 2022 01:34:35 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/?p=3042 The Department of Education has never imposed Title IX’s most onerous penalty on any college or university, secular or religious: ending federal funding in the form of student loans and grants, federal research money through the military and the Department of Health and Human Services, GI benefits, and other federal contracts. If the REAP lawsuit […]]]>

The Department of Education has never imposed Title IX’s most onerous penalty on any college or university, secular or religious: ending federal funding in the form of student loans and grants, federal research money through the military and the Department of Health and Human Services, GI benefits, and other federal contracts. If the REAP lawsuit were to succeed, universities with the religious exemption could face the same consequences as secular schools for anti-LGBTQ discrimination. (In the meantime, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has opened six investigations into the discrimination claims of REAP clients at Christian colleges and universities.) If Christian schools refuse to comply with Title IX, it could force the government to choose between enforcing the law and ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not fund unlawful discrimination, or letting LGBTQ students’ rights go unprotected, lending implicit government support to a religious view that contravenes established public policy.

Hartzler first learned of the religious exemptions after he graduated. “It didn’t make sense to me because the federal government protects us,” he said. “In my mind, where federal money is used, [the] law should be followed.”

AP Photo

Bob Jones III discusses the philosophy taught at the university named after his grandfather in Greenville, S.C., on Nov. 4, 1982. At the time, Bob Jones University did not allow interracial dating.

The original battleground for Christian schools was not abortion or gay rights. It was race.

In 1976, when the Internal Revenue Service revoked the tax-exempt status of Bob Jones University because of the fundamentalist South Carolina school’s ban on interracial dating, it set off a firestorm that has defined the modern religious right.

The government, the school and its defenders argued, had no place interfering in the institution’s core biblical beliefs. Together with the IRS’s efforts to desegregate private Christian K-12 schools, by revoking the tax-exempt status of explicitly segregationist schools, and by proposing regulations to diversify others, the Bob Jones case — not abortion — was the key inflection point for the political advocacy and organizing of evangelicals into national politics and their enduring alliance with the Republican Party. (Unlike Bob Jones, ORU did not have racially discriminatory policies.)

Through the 1970s, the nascent religious right assailed the IRS’s actions as an existential threat to Christian education that would have catastrophic consequences. The Rev. Robert Billings, a graduate of Bob Jones who would go on to become the first executive director of the Moral Majority, a religious liaison for Ronald Reagan’s successful 1980 presidential campaign, and a political appointee in Reagan’s Department of Education, spearheaded the successful effort to stop the IRS from regulating private Christian K-12 schools’ policies relating to race. The IRS’s actions, Billings warned at a 1978 press conference outside the agency’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, could lead to “nothing less than the destruction of religious freedom in the United States.”

Decades later, the Bob Jones University case serves as a potent shorthand for what the religious right portrays as the government’s heavy hand when it comes to matters of faith. In 1983, after a protracted battle, the Supreme Court held the IRS could legally revoke the school’s tax exemption when its policies are “contrary to established public policy” — in that case, ending race discrimination in education. The logic of the Bob Jones decision was that taxpayers should not have to subsidize discrimination that the courts have determined is unlawful. When the Supreme Court heard arguments in the landmark marriage equality case, Obergefell v. Hodges, in 2015, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, an enthusiast of the Christian right’s religious freedom arguments, invoked the specter of Bob Jones. He noted the court had held the school was not entitled to a religious exemption owing to its opposition to interracial dating, and asked: “Would the same apply to a university or college if it opposed same-sex marriage?” Even before the court issued its decision in Obergefell, religious right activists and leaders of Christian colleges and universities preemptively protested, asserting in a letter to Republican Congressional leaders that “schools adhering to traditional religious and moral values” could be in danger of losing their exemptions, which could cause “severe financial distress for those institutions and their millions of students.”

The government has taken no such actions in the seven years since marriage equality became the law of the land. Despite the anxiety triggered by Alito’s question, the Obama administration did not signal any political appetite for such a fight. And although educational institutions are subject to another federal enforcement mechanism — Title IX — they had a ready counterweight at hand in its permissive religious exemption. The right to an exemption is written into the statute itself, and the history of its accompanying regulations points to the clout religious colleges and universities have wielded for decades to shield themselves from the law’s requirements.

The American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, a body formed in 1968 because they were “[b]eset by government encroachment, intensifying competition by public universities, and an atmosphere of student rebellion” on college campuses, led the charge. The Department of Health, Education and Welfare (the predecessor agency to the Department of Education) proposed regulations containing language that would have given government officials the power to decide whether a school was entitled to the religious exemption. According to the legislative history unearthed by legal scholar Kif Augustine-Adams, the AAPICU objected, calling the provision “an outrageous and flagrant violation of academic and religious freedom.” As a result, the final 1975 regulations adopted a policy, still in place today, that the university’s highest-ranking official need only submit a letter identifying which parts of the statute are in conflict with the organization’s religious tenets, after which the exemption will be granted.

Schools made liberal use of the exemptions to shield themselves from cultural and legal changes they claimed were unbiblical.

A first round of exemptions, granted by the Department of Education in the 1980s, “[was] made to allow discrimination against women in hiring, discrimination against women who are unmarried and were pregnant or terminated their pregnancy … or engaged in premarital sex,” said Shiwali Patel, senior counsel for the National Women’s Law Center. Universities also sought to “discriminate more broadly against women,” she said, including denying them scholarships and admission.

ORU received its first exemption in 1985, after requesting it because compliance “could conflict with the Bible’s statements on illicit sexual activity, marriage and homosexuality.” At the time, Title IX did not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the government granted the university an exemption from complying with the law’s ban on discrimination based on marital or parental status and pregnancy.

After that initial round, few requests were made for nearly three decades. That changed in 2013, when the Obama administration indicated it would consider discrimination based on gender identity a violation of Title IX. Through “the pronouncements, policy statements, enforcement by the Department of Education,” the Obama administration signaled it was going to enforce Title IX when schools discriminated against trans students, said Patel. “With that came more requests for religious exemptions from institutions who wanted to be able to discriminate against LGBTQI+ students.”

In 2016, Oral Roberts University requested such an additional exemption, citing its honor code and the religious belief of its controlling religious organization — its board of trustees. “We cannot support or encourage an individual to live in conflict with Biblical principles,” Wilson, the university’s president, wrote. He hinted at the university’s endorsement of the medically discredited idea that LGBTQ people can be “converted” or healed, quoting parts of the university’s Position Statement on Human Sexuality and Gender that “it is never our intent to shame persons who struggle with sexual issues. Instead, we wish to offer them supportive assistance in Christian love to live the godly lifestyle envisioned in the ORU Honor Code.” Still, though, Wilson made the most severe penalties clear. “Any individual who violates ORU’s Code of Honor is subject to discipline, including possible dismissal from the university.”

In many ways, the culture war ran right through Andrew Hartzler’s childhood bedroom.

When Hartzler was small, he was a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants, and he decorated his bedroom with images of the goofy yellow sea creature. As he remembers it now, Fox News ran a segment claiming that SpongeBob was gay, and his parents promptly emptied his room of all SpongeBob items. “That was not okay,” Hartzler recalled to me recently in his apartment in Tulsa, across the street from the ORU campus. “I wasn’t allowed to watch SpongeBob anymore.” (Hartzler’s parents declined to be interviewed, writing in an email, “We love our son, Andrew Douglas Hartzler unconditionally; we prefer to keep our thoughts private.”)

But over the next decade, much of the country would undergo a massive shift in attitudes — and laws — concerning gay rights. Hartzler, coming of age in the middle of the culture war over gay rights, felt keenly the push and pull between changing American cultural norms and the evangelical backlash to that evolution.

In 2004, when Hartzler was just five years old, his aunt, Vicky Hartzler, a former home economics teacher and state legislator, became the spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri, which pushed for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state, even though a law banning it was already on the books. “The most fundamental cornerstone of civilized society — traditional marriage — is under attack,” she said in announcing the new initiative. “This unwelcome assault on our most basic values must be stopped.” Later that same year, Missouri voters made it the first state to pass such a constitutional ban, part of a wave of religious right organizing that propelled George W. Bush into a second term in the White House. (Vicky Hartzler did not respond to requests for comment, made through her Congressional office, about her nephew’s participation in the REAP lawsuit.)

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Andrew’s aunt, arrives for a House GOP Conference meeting on the Capitol Hill in Sept. 2016. “The most fundamental cornerstone of civilized society — traditional marriage — is under attack,” she said while announcing the formation of the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri in 2004.

Hartzler was unaware of his aunt’s advocacy, but he was acutely aware that he was different, and of the sting of his Christian school classmates’ bullying of him, calling him “gay” and “f–” as early as fourth grade. His parents pulled him out of that school — which had been founded by his grandmother — because of the bullying. “I think they were upset and afraid that I was going to start believing what those kids were saying because we didn’t talk about gay,” he said.

An opportunity in high school allowed Hartzler to see what life was like for teenagers outside his insular world. In the summer of 2014, he attended the student conference People to People at UCLA. “That was the first time that I’d ever really been around other people that weren’t Christian, because I lived in such a protected environment. I really came out of my shell there, completely came out of my shell,” he said, showing me photographs of his time there on his iPad.

But a few months later, his parents found a screenshot he had saved on his phone of a text in which he said another boy was sexy. The following year, in 2015, the very same summer the Supreme Court issued its landmark decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage, Hartzler’s parents sent him to a Christian summer camp in Tennessee that practiced conversion therapy. (Twenty states and the District of Columbia, along with dozens of municipalities around the country, have banned the practice because of its harmful effects.) “It wasn’t until after I got there and I met my roommate who was also gay and kept meeting all these gay people and I’m like, wait, this is weird, and it was literally like session, session, meal, there was worship three times a day,” he said. “I hated it. It was awful.”

  • ‘It’s a weird feeling to be in trouble for who you are, especially.’ – Andrew Hartzler

    In his apartment in Tulsa this spring, he read aloud from a journal he kept as a high school senior. Hartzler recounted that he worried at the time that agreeing to his parents’ plan to send him to ORU was “devious” because he believed he had “various problems” and “lustful thoughts” that conflicted with ORU’s honor code policies.

    Hartzler did not know anything about ORU beyond that it was his father’s pick for him for college. It was founded in 1963, at the cusp of the religious right’s long campaign against secularism, by Oral Roberts, a Pentecostal evangelist and purported faith healer. Roberts, a pioneer of televangelism, boasted of creating a “world class university” that wasn’t just a bible college but that educated the “whole man” in the liberal arts, physical well-being and spiritual gifts of charismatic Christianity, such as healing, prophecy, and speaking in tongues — the same religious tradition that Andrew Hartzler grew up in.

    Campus Pride, a national organization that provides resources to LGBTQ college students, has placed ORU on its list of the “absolute worst” colleges for LGBTQ youth. But ORU is admired, defended and protected by evangelicals. During a financial scandal in the mid-2000s while ORU was helmed by Roberts’ son, Richard, the billionaire owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of stores and the Museum of the Bible pledged $70 million to rescue the school from financial collapse. “If ORU goes down, it affects all the Christian colleges,” said Mart Green in 2008, explaining his family’s decision to intervene.

    Yun Jai-Hyoung/AP Photo

    Evangelist Oral Roberts speaks in Seoul, South Korea on June 2, 1989.

    Evangelicals see ORU as a place to shield their children from the temptations of the secular world — and from its rules. When the university’s men’s basketball team had a Cinderella run in the 2021 NCAA tournament, proponents of LGBTQ equality criticized its participation because its anti-LGBTQ policies conflict with the NCAA’s own nondiscrimination rules. Evangelical leaders leapt to the school’s defense.

    “Christians in the United States now face the reality that open hostility to our convictions is now leading to public calls for Christian colleges and schools to be marginalized and excluded from organizations such as the NCAA,” wrote Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A USA Today column that called for ORU’s removal from the NCAA constituted, he said, “an indictment of any Christian college, university, institution, chartered organization, church, or denomination that would dare to stand against the headwinds of the moral and sexual revolution.”

    At ORU, that revolution felt light years away for Hartzler. In December 2017, while home on Christmas break, he attempted suicide by taking an overdose of ibuprofen. In the hospital, he said his parents told him that they loved him, but that they could not accept his being gay. Recounting this in Tulsa, Hartzler choked up describing how he asked his father if he would attend his wedding and walk him down the aisle. His father, he said, told him no. By January, Hartzler was back at ORU.

    Brett Deering/Politico

    A “Be Brave” sign is mounted above Hartzler’s stove at his apartment in Tulsa.

    For two years, he managed to fly under the radar, but in January 2020, Hartzler was summoned to meet with Dean Lori Cook and Associate Dean Zach Robinson, where, he says, he was accused of violating the honor code for having his boyfriend in his dorm room. In his Tulsa apartment two years later, reading aloud from his journal, Hartzler recalled the angry entry filled with raw emotion. “I desire love, affection, tolerance as well,” the entry concluded. Hartzler was required to attend an “accountability meeting” with a third school official, Director of Student Experience Jonathan Baker. Hartzler recalled “a Bible in there, it was literally set up like a Sunday school.” He says Baker talked to him about “how to be a man of God and how to be a good husband to your wife, and how men are supposed to be the leaders in families.” (ORU did not respond to a request for comment specifically on this incident and the meetings with school officials.)

    Hartzler had an anxiety attack after the meeting. “It’s a weird feeling to be in trouble for who you are, especially. I would say it’s the worst feeling because, I mean, it makes sense if you’re in trouble for cheating or something, something like that.”

    Hartzler was supposed to have additional “accountability meetings.” But he let the phone calls go to voicemail. Then, in March, the campus went remote because of the Covid-19 pandemic. For his senior year, Hartzler lived off campus, avoided any further encounters with school officials, and graduated in 2021. Later that year, through social media and contacts in the LGBTQ community, he discovered REAP, learning that his experience at ORU was far from unique. He decided to join the lawsuit, making public on social media his participation in December last year. He said he was not welcome home for Christmas.

    Even more than with abortion, the vehemence of the right’s opposition to LGBTQ rights doesn’t reflect broader societal attitudes. Indeed, wide majorities of Americans support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. Recent polling by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 79 percent of Americans favor such protections, including even 61 percent of white evangelicals. But as public opinion supports legal expansion of LGBTQ rights, at evangelical organizations, particularly educational institutions, policies have gone in the opposite direction of law, policy and the broader culture.

    “As queer rights advanced rapidly with same sex marriage and all that, things in these non-affirming religious educational spaces were not getting any better,” said Southwick, who himself attended George Fox University, an evangelical college in Oregon. Instead, he said, they were “in many ways getting worse.”

    In the early months of 2021, Southwick embarked on a tour of Christian colleges and universities, gauging LGBTQ student interest in challenging their schools’ exemptions. He filed the lawsuit in federal court in Oregon against the United States Department of Education in March that year with 33 plaintiffs. The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and three schools, Corban University, William Jessup University and Phoenix Seminary, intervened in the lawsuit, and filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit, as did the Department of Education, which argued that the lawsuit was not the appropriate vehicle for resolving the dispute. The Department of Education, and the Department of Justice, which is litigating the case, both declined to comment on the lawsuit or on the Biden administration’s position on the religious exemption. (After the Supreme Court in 2020 ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that the prohibition on sex discrimination in employment in Title VII includes a bar on discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Biden administration confirmed that Title IX bars such discrimination in education as well.) Those motions, along with the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, are pending.

    For Josiah Robinson, finding REAP during his last semester in 2021 at the Regent University School of Law “was the most serendipitous, beautiful thing.” As Robinson spent the Covid shutdown studying the history of LGBTQ rights, and learning of the existence of religious exemptions, discovering the REAP lawsuit gave him the opportunity to connect with the plaintiffs’ lawyers and make use of his research skills.

    Brett Deering/Politico

    Josiah Robinson stands on a section of “Pride Street” in Tulsa on March 23, 2022. “Showing up here, my big queer self, and just being visible has been important to me,” he said.

    Robinson grew up in Tulsa in ORU’s shadow, graduating from the university in 2016. His entire childhood, teenage years, and time at ORU were spent deeply in the closet. Through his immersion in church and other charismatic Christian youth organizations, Robinson, too, believed that his sexuality was a “struggle,” and convinced himself that “I am queer because God chose me to deal with this horrible, horrible plague, and I’ve been chosen to carry this burden for my whole life.”

    When it came time to apply to law school, “I was terrified,” Robinson said, “if I went to a secular school, then I would be corrupted in my sexuality.” So he chose the law school at Regent, which had taken over in 1986 the law school Oral Roberts had founded in Tulsa seven years before. It was the first of its kind, launched in order to teach the “biblical” foundations of law. But the American Bar Association refused to accredit it, owing to its restrictive statement of Christian faith, which both students and faculty were required to sign. The ABA argued that the statement of faith was discriminatory, and violated its codified standards, which included a prohibition on discrimination in the legal profession. Without ABA accreditation, no law school could succeed, since in most states, a student must graduate from an ABA-accredited law school to take the bar exam.

    The battle over accreditation foreshadowed today’s religious freedom wars. ORU sued the ABA and secured a preliminary injunction from a federal judge, arguing that the standard violated its religious faith. With that leverage in hand, the school’s lawyers forced the ABA to change the wording of its standards. The law school later gained its accreditation and is now housed at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, founded by Roberts’ friend, the televangelist Pat Robertson.

    Over his time at Regent, Josiah Robinson began to see his own sexuality — and these Christian institutions’ hostility to it — more clearly. “The faculty at Regent were on the front lines against marriage equality, and they are some of the leading voices opposing LGBTQ rights. They’re the law review scholars and the legal professionals on religious liberty used as a tool to discriminate,” said Robinson.

    • ‘Almost nobody at this point knew that I was queer, and just that feeling of things being so isolated, and feeling so alone, and feeling so targeted and having no choice but to try to fit in, so I don’t lose my entire livelihood.’ – Josiah Robinson

      Robinson recalled sitting alone in the law library in 2018, as a Federalist Society event on religious freedom was taking place downstairs. The speaker was Kristen Waggoner, one of Regent Law’s most celebrated alumni, who, as counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, the powerhouse legal organization of the Christian right, had successfully argued Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a 2018 case in which the Supreme Court held a state civil rights commission violated the religious freedom rights of a baker in its investigation of a gay couple’s claims he had discriminated against them by refusing them his services. (ADF also represents the three Christian colleges who have intervened in the REAP lawsuit.) “I could hear them clapping and cheering,” said Robinson. “Almost nobody at this point knew that I was queer, and just that feeling of things being so isolated, and feeling so alone, and feeling so targeted and having no choice but to try to fit in, so I don’t lose my entire livelihood.”

      Robinson spent his final year of law school in Covid isolation, studying more about religious exemptions and LGBTQ rights. He analyzed the honor codes at Regent and other Christian universities and developed a base of knowledge that led to a part-time position at REAP researching honor codes at Christian schools. He is now back living in Tulsa thanks to a stipend from Tulsa Remote, an initiative funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, created “to enhance Tulsa’s talented and successful workforce community by bringing diverse, bright and driven individuals to the city.”

      Now, he hopes to change the same environment that constrained his identity for the first 25 years of his life. “Showing up here, my big queer self, and just being visible has been important to me,” he told me on a blustery March day as we walked the paths at the Gathering Place, a riverfront park in downtown Tulsa. But he acknowledges it will not be simple to change minds in a place that has been “such a hot spot of a lot of these issues and institutions like ORU, of megachurches, of very politically connected organizations that are power players in some of these bigger movements.”

      The legal structure — the Christian law schools, the alumni they produce to practice law and become judges, the growing acceptance of the right’s religious freedom arguments in the courts — serves to reinforce the theological pressure LGBTQ kids like Hartzler and Robinson experienced. The REAP lawsuit is one just one path to challenging it. “I think that there needs to be bridges built, and I think Tulsa could be a good place for that,” Robinson said. “There’s so much work to be done in religious spaces.”

    About the reporter

    Sarah Posner

    Sarah Posner

    Sarah Posner is a reporting fellow with Type Investigations.

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Capital City Bank Group Reports First Quarter 2022 Results https://internetwealthzone.com/capital-city-bank-group-reports-first-quarter-2022-results/ Thu, 26 May 2022 01:34:31 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/?p=3087 TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Capital City Bank Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CCBG) today reported net income attributable to common shareowners of $8.5 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2022 compared to net income of $6.4 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2021, […]]]>

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Capital City Bank Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CCBG) today reported net income attributable to common shareowners of $8.5 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2022 compared to net income of $6.4 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2021, and $9.5 million, or $0.56 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2021.

First Quarter 2022 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Period-end loan balances grew $54 million, or 2.8% sequentially
  • Net interest income gained momentum driven by growth in investment portfolio and higher rates
  • Noninterest income increased by 4.6% sequentially, driven by wealth management fees (insurance commission revenues)
  • Noninterest expense decreased $1.0 million, or 2.4% sequentially, attributable to lower pension plan expense
  • Continued strong credit quality resulted in no credit loss provision

“We begin 2022 with a quarter of solid financial performance,” said William G. Smith, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO of Capital City Bank Group.  “Loan growth, credit quality, rising rates, wealth management and lower expenses all contributed to this quarter’s strong performance.  Much has changed in a short period of time – rapidly escalating inflation, a pivot by the Federal Reserve toward a quicker tightening of monetary policy and the Russia-Ukraine war, along with the accompanying sanctions and questions around how the financial markets will respond to these macro-economic events. While much of this is out of our control, we believe we are well positioned to navigate through this year and beyond.  While acknowledging higher rates will generate unrealized losses in our investment portfolio, our asset-sensitive balance sheet and pension related other comprehensive loss should respond well to rising rates.  Capital City Strategic Wealth (“CCSW”) also had a strong first quarter and we continue our expansion efforts in west Florida and the northern arc of Atlanta.  While challenges remain, we continue to focus on identifying opportunities and executing strategies we believe are sustainable and add long-term value for our shareowners.”

Discussion of Operating Results

Net Interest Income/Net Interest Margin

Tax-equivalent net interest income for the first quarter of 2022 totaled $24.8 million, comparable to the fourth quarter of 2021, and $24.6 million for the first quarter of 2021. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, higher rates on overnight funds and growth in the investment portfolio was offset by two less calendar days during the quarter. Compared to the first quarter of 2021, the increase was due to growth in our investment portfolio which was funded by higher deposit balances.

Our net interest margin for the first quarter of 2022 was 2.55%, a decrease of five basis points from the fourth quarter of 2021 and a decrease of 30 basis points from the first quarter of 2021. Compared to both prior periods, the decrease was primarily attributable to growth in earning assets (driven by deposit inflows), which negatively impacted our margin percentage. Our net interest margin for the first quarter of 2022, excluding the impact of overnight funds in excess of $200 million, was 3.11%.

Provision for Credit Loss

We did not record a provision for credit losses for the first quarter of 2022 or the fourth quarter of 2021 and recorded a negative provision of $1.0 million for the first quarter of 2021. The lack of provision for the first quarter of 2022 reflected continued strong credit quality and slight improvement in the forecasted level of unemployment. We discuss the allowance for credit losses further below.

Noninterest Income and Noninterest Expense

Noninterest income for the first quarter of 2022 totaled $25.8 million compared to $24.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2021 and $29.8 million for the first quarter of 2021. The increase over the fourth quarter of 2021 was primarily attributable to higher wealth management fees of $2.1 million that were partially offset by lower mortgage banking revenues of $0.9 million. The increase in wealth management fees was attributable to higher insurance commission revenues. Lower loan production and a slightly lower gain on sale margin drove the decline in mortgage banking revenues. Compared to the first quarter of 2021, the decline was due to lower mortgage banking revenues attributable to lower loan production (primarily refinancing activity) and a lower gain on sale margin. Additional detail on our mortgage banking operation (CCHL) is provided on Page 11.

Noninterest expense for the first quarter of 2022 totaled $39.2 million compared to $40.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2021 and $40.5 million for the first quarter of 2021. The decrease from the fourth quarter of 2021 was primarily attributable to lower pension expense of $1.6 million (reflected in other expense) offset by higher commission expense of $0.7 million related to higher insurance revenues. The decrease in pension expense generally reflected a higher discount rate in 2022 for determining plan liabilities and strong asset returns in 2021. Compared to the first quarter of 2021, the decrease was attributable to lower commission expense of $2.6 million related to lower mortgage banking revenues offset by higher associate benefits of $0.5 million and a decrease in realized loan cost of $0.8 million (credit offset to salary expense).

Income Taxes

We realized income tax expense of $2.2 million (effective rate of 20%) for the first quarter of 2022 compared to $2.0 million (effective rate of 22%) for the fourth quarter of 2021 and $2.8 million (effective rate of 19%) for the first quarter of 2021. Tax expense for the fourth quarter of 2021 was unfavorably impacted by discrete tax expense of $0.1 million. Absent discrete items, we expect our annual effective tax rate to approximate 19%-20% in 2022. 

Discussion of Financial Condition

Earning Assets

Average earning assets totaled $3.939 billion for the first quarter of 2022, an increase of $147.5 million, or 3.9%, over the fourth quarter of 2021, and an increase of $440.9 million, or 12.6%, over the first quarter of 2021. The increase over the fourth quarter of 2021 was primarily attributable to seasonal growth in our public fund deposits. The increase compared to the first quarter of 2021 was primarily driven by higher deposit balances (see below – Funding).

We maintained an average net overnight funds (deposits with banks plus FED funds sold less FED funds purchased) sold position of $873.1 million in the first quarter of 2022 compared to $789.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 and $814.6 million in the first quarter of 2021. The growth compared to the fourth quarter of 2021 primarily reflected higher seasonal public fund balances. The increase compared to the first quarter of 2021 reflected higher deposit balance (see below – Funding).

Average loans held for investment (“HFI”) increased $15.3 million, or 0.8%, over the fourth quarter of 2021 and decreased $80.8 million, or 4.0%, from the first quarter of 2021. Excluding SBA PPP loans, average loans HFI increased $18.8 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, and increased $115.9 million compared to the first quarter of 2021. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, the increase in average loans (excluding SBA PPP loans) reflected growth in commercial loans (primarily institutional), residential loans, HELOCs, and consumer loans (indirect auto). Compared to the first quarter of 2021, we realized growth in commercial loans, construction loans, residential mortgages, and consumer loans (indirect auto). New loan production strengthened in the latter part of the first quarter of 2022 resulting in period end loan growth of $54 million over the fourth quarter of 2021. Increases were realized in most loan categories with the largest growth in commercial loans (primarily institutional) and consumer loans (indirect auto).

Allowance for Credit Losses

At March 31, 2022, the allowance for credit losses for HFI loans totaled $20.8 million compared to $21.6 million at December 31, 2021 and $22.0 million at March 31, 2021. Activity within the allowance is provided on Page 9. At March 31, 2022, the allowance represented 1.05% of HFI loans and provided coverage of 761% of nonperforming loans compared to 1.12% and 500%, respectively, at December 31, 2021, and 1.07% and 411%, respectively, at March 31, 2021.

Credit Quality

Overall credit quality is strong and continues to improve. Nonperforming assets (nonaccrual loans and other real estate) totaled $2.7 million at March 31, 2022 compared to $4.3 million at December 31, 2021 and $5.5 million at March 31, 2021. At March 31, 2022, nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets totaled 0.06% compared to 0.10% at December 31, 2021 and 0.14% at March 31, 2021. Nonaccrual loans totaled $2.7 million at March 31, 2022, a $1.7 million decrease from December 31, 2021 and a $2.7 million decrease from March 31, 2021. The $4.4 million increase in classified loans over the fourth quarter of 2021, reflects one loan relationship that is in the loan workout process and has been reserved for at March 31, 2022.

Funding (Deposits/Debt)

Average total deposits were $3.714 billion for the first quarter of 2022, an increase of $164.9 million, or 4.6%, over the fourth quarter of 2021 and $474.6 million, or 14.6%, over the first quarter of 2021. Growth over the fourth quarter of 2021 was primarily attributable to an increase in seasonal public fund deposits. Compared to the first quarter 2021, strong growth occurred in our noninterest bearing deposits, NOW accounts, and savings account balances. Over the past few years, we have experienced strong core deposit growth, in addition to growth related to multiple government stimulus programs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, such as those under the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. Given these increases, the potential exists for our deposit levels to be volatile into 2022 due to the uncertain timing of the outflows of the stimulus related balances, in addition to the frequency and degree to which the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raises the overnight funds rate. It is anticipated that current liquidity levels will remain robust due to our strong overnight funds sold position. The Bank continues to strategically consider ways to safely deploy a portion of this liquidity.

Average borrowings decreased $14.6 million from the fourth quarter of 2021 and declined $36.6 million from the first quarter of 2021, as both periods reflected lower warehouse line borrowing needs to support CCHL’s loans held for sale.

Capital

Shareowners’ equity was $372.1 million at March 31, 2022 compared to $383.2 million at December 31, 2021 and $324.4 million at March 31, 2021. During the first quarter of 2022, shareowners’ equity was positively impacted by net income of $8.5 million, a $0.2 million decrease in the accumulated other comprehensive loss for our pension plan, a $1.4 million increase in the fair value of the interest rate swap related to subordinated debt, net adjustments totaling $0.5 million related to transactions under our stock compensation plans, and stock compensation accretion of $0.2 million. Shareowners’ equity was reduced by common stock dividends of $2.7 million ($0.16 per share) and a $19.1 million increase in the unrealized loss on investment securities.

At March 31, 2022, our total risk-based capital ratio was 16.98% compared to 17.15% at December 31, 2021 and 17.20% at March 31, 2021. Our common equity tier 1 capital ratio was 13.77%, 13.86%, and 13.63%, respectively, on these dates. Our leverage ratio was 8.78%, 8.95%, and 8.97%, respectively, on these dates. All of our regulatory capital ratios exceeded the threshold to be designated as “well-capitalized” under the Basel III capital standards. Further, our tangible common equity ratio was 6.61% at March 31, 2022 compared to 6.95% and 6.13% at December 31, 2021 and March 31, 2021, respectively. The slight reduction in our regulatory capital ratios was attributable to loan growth and higher asset levels.

About Capital City Bank Group, Inc.

Capital City Bank Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CCBG) is one of the largest publicly traded financial holding companies headquartered in Florida and has approximately $4.3 billion in assets. We provide a full range of banking services, including traditional deposit and credit services, mortgage banking, asset management, trust, merchant services, bankcards, securities brokerage services and financial advisory services, including the sale of life insurance, risk management and asset protection services. Our bank subsidiary, Capital City Bank, was founded in 1895 and now has 57 banking offices and 86 ATMs/ITMs in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. For more information about Capital City Bank Group, Inc., visit www.ccbg.com.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Forward-looking statements in this Press Release are based on current plans and expectations that are subject to uncertainties and risks, which could cause our future results to differ materially. The following factors, among others, could cause our actual results to differ: fluctuations in inflation, interest rates, or monetary policies; the accuracy of the our financial statement estimates and assumptions; legislative or regulatory changes; the effects of security breaches and computer viruses that may affect our computer systems or fraud related to debit card products; changes in consumer spending and savings habits; our growth and profitability; the strength of the U.S. economy and the local economies where we conduct operations; the effects of a non-diversified loan portfolio, including the risks of geographic and industry concentrations; natural disasters, widespread health emergencies, military conflict, terrorism or other geopolitical events; changes in the stock market and other capital and real estate markets; the magnitude and duration of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy and financial market conditions and our business; customer acceptance of third-party products and services; increased competition and its effect on pricing; negative publicity and the impact on our reputation; technological changes, especially changes that allow out of market competitors to compete in our markets; changes in accounting; and our ability to manage the risks involved in the foregoing. Additional factors can be found in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, and our other filings with the SEC, which are available at the SEC’s internet site (http://www.sec.gov). Forward-looking statements in this Press Release speak only as of the date of the Press Release, and we assume no obligation to update forward-looking statements or the reasons why actual results could differ.

USE OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

We present a tangible common equity ratio and a tangible book value per diluted share that removes the effect of goodwill and other intangibles resulting from merger and acquisition activity. We believe these measures are useful to investors because it allows investors to more easily compare our capital adequacy to other companies in the industry.

The GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliations are provided below.

(Dollars in Thousands, except per share data) Mar 31, 2022 Dec 31, 2021 Sep 30, 2021 Jun 30, 2021 Mar 31, 2021
Shareowners’ Equity (GAAP)   $ 372,145   $ 383,166   $ 348,868   $ 335,880   $ 324,426  
Less: Goodwill and Other Intangibles (GAAP)     93,213     93,253     93,293     93,333     89,095  
Tangible Shareowners’ Equity (non-GAAP) A   278,932     289,913     255,575     242,547     235,331  
Total Assets (GAAP)     4,310,045     4,263,849     4,048,733     4,011,459     3,929,884  
Less: Goodwill and Other Intangibles (GAAP)     93,213     93,253     93,293     93,333     89,095  
Tangible Assets (non-GAAP) B $ 4,216,832   $ 4,170,596   $ 3,955,440   $ 3,918,126   $ 3,840,789  
Tangible Common Equity Ratio (non-GAAP) A/B   6.61 %   6.95 %   6.46 %   6.19 %   6.13 %
Actual Diluted Shares Outstanding (GAAP) C   16,962,362     16,935,389     16,911,715     16,901,375     16,875,719  
Tangible Book Value per Diluted Share (non-GAAP) A/C $ 16.44   $ 17.12   $ 15.11   $ 14.35   $ 13.94  
CAPITAL CITY BANK GROUP, INC.              
EARNINGS HIGHLIGHTS              
Unaudited              
               
    Three Months Ended  
(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)   Mar 31, 2022   Dec 31, 2021   Mar 31, 2021  
EARNINGS              
Net Income Attributable to Common Shareowners $ 8,455 $ 6,372 $ 9,506    
Diluted Net Income Per Share $ 0.50 $ 0.38 $ 0.56    
PERFORMANCE              
Return on Average Assets   0.80 % 0.61 % 1.01   %
Return on Average Equity   8.93   7.22   11.81    
Net Interest Margin   2.55   2.60   2.85    
Noninterest Income as % of Operating Revenue   51.11   49.96   54.90    
Efficiency Ratio   77.55 % 81.29 % 74.36   %
CAPITAL ADEQUACY              
Tier 1 Capital   15.98 % 16.14 % 16.08   %
Total Capital   16.98   17.15   17.20    
Leverage   8.78   8.95   8.97    
Common Equity Tier 1   13.77   13.86   13.63    
Tangible Common Equity (1)   6.61   6.95   6.13    
Equity to Assets   8.63 % 8.99 % 8.26   %
ASSET QUALITY              
Allowance as % of Non-Performing Loans   760.83 % 499.93 % 410.78   %
Allowance as a % of Loans HFI   1.05   1.12   1.07    
Net Charge-Offs as % of Average Loans HFI   0.16   0.02   (0.10 )  
Nonperforming Assets as % of Loans HFI and OREO   0.14   0.22   0.27    
Nonperforming Assets as % of Total Assets   0.06 % 0.10 % 0.14   %
STOCK PERFORMANCE              
High $ 28.88 $ 29.00 $ 28.98    
Low   25.96   24.77   21.42    
Close $ 26.36 $ 26.40 $ 26.02    
Average Daily Trading Volume   24,019   29,900   30,303    
               
(1) Tangible common equity ratio is a non-GAAP financial measure. For additional information, including a reconciliation to GAAP, refer to Page 4.
               
CAPITAL CITY BANK GROUP, INC.                    
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL CONDITION            
Unaudited                    
                     
  2022   2021
(Dollars in thousands) First Quarter   Fourth Quarter   Third Quarter   Second Quarter   First Quarter
ASSETS                    
Cash and Due From Banks $ 77,963   $ 65,313   $ 73,132   $ 78,894   $ 73,973  
Funds Sold and Interest Bearing Deposits   790,465     970,041     708,988     766,920     851,910  
Total Cash and Cash Equivalents   868,428     1,035,354     782,120     845,814     925,883  
                     
Investment Securities Available for Sale   624,361     654,611     645,844     480,890     406,245  
Investment Securities Held to Maturity   518,678     339,601     341,228     325,559     199,109  
Other Equity Securities   855     861              
Total Investment Securities   1,143,894     995,073     987,072     806,449     605,354  
                     
Loans Held for Sale   50,815     52,532     77,036     80,821     82,081  
                     
Loans Held for Investment (“HFI”):                    
Commercial, Financial, & Agricultural   230,213     223,086     218,929     292,953     413,819  
Real Estate – Construction   174,293     174,394     177,443     149,884     138,104  
Real Estate – Commercial   669,110     663,550     683,379     707,599     669,158  
Real Estate – Residential   368,020     346,756     355,958     362,018     358,849  
Real Estate – Home Equity   188,174     187,821     187,642     190,078     202,099  
Consumer   347,785     321,511     309,983     298,464     267,666  
Other Loans   6,692     13,265     6,792     6,439     7,082  
Overdrafts   1,222     1,082     1,299     1,227     950  
Total Loans Held for Investment   1,985,509     1,931,465     1,941,425     2,008,662     2,057,727  
Allowance for Credit Losses   (20,756 )   (21,606 )   (21,500 )   (22,175 )   (22,026 )
Loans Held for Investment, Net   1,964,753     1,909,859     1,919,925     1,986,487     2,035,701  
                     
Premises and Equipment, Net   82,518     83,412     84,750     85,745     86,370  
Goodwill and Other Intangibles   93,213     93,253     93,293     93,333     89,095  
Other Real Estate Owned   17     17     192     1,192     110  
Other Assets   106,407     94,349     104,345     111,618     105,290  
Total Other Assets   282,155     271,031     282,580     291,888     280,865  
Total Assets $ 4,310,045   $ 4,263,849   $ 4,048,733   $ 4,011,459   $ 3,929,884  
LIABILITIES                    
Deposits:                    
Noninterest Bearing Deposits $ 1,704,329   $ 1,668,912   $ 1,592,345   $ 1,552,864   $ 1,473,891  
NOW Accounts   1,062,498     1,070,154     926,201     970,705     993,571  
Money Market Accounts   288,877     274,611     286,065     280,805     269,041  
Regular Savings Accounts   614,599     599,811     559,714     539,477     518,373  
Certificates of Deposit   95,204     99,374     101,637     103,070     103,232  
Total Deposits   3,765,507     3,712,862     3,465,962     3,446,921     3,358,108  
                     
Short-Term Borrowings   30,865     34,557     51,410     47,200     55,687  
Subordinated Notes Payable   52,887     52,887     52,887     52,887     52,887  
Other Long-Term Borrowings   806     884     1,610     1,720     1,829  
Other Liabilities   77,323     67,735     113,720     105,534     109,487  
Total Liabilities   3,927,388     3,868,925     3,685,589     3,654,262     3,577,998  
                     
Temporary Equity   10,512     11,758     14,276     21,317     27,460  
SHAREOWNERS’ EQUITY                    
Common Stock   169     169     169     169     169  
Additional Paid-In Capital   35,188     34,423     33,876     33,560     32,804  
Retained Earnings   370,531     364,788     359,550     345,574     335,324  
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss, Net of Tax   (33,743 )   (16,214 )   (44,727 )   (43,423 )   (43,871 )
Total Shareowners’ Equity   372,145     383,166     348,868     335,880     324,426  
Total Liabilities, Temporary Equity and Shareowners’ Equity $ 4,310,045   $ 4,263,849   $ 4,048,733   $ 4,011,459   $ 3,929,884  
OTHER BALANCE SHEET DATA                    
Earning Assets $ 3,970,684   $ 3,949,111   $ 3,714,521   $ 3,662,852   $ 3,597,071  
Interest Bearing Liabilities   2,145,736     2,132,278     1,979,524     1,995,864     1,994,620  
Book Value Per Diluted Share $ 21.94   $ 22.63   $ 20.63   $ 19.87   $ 19.22  
Tangible Book Value Per Diluted Share(1)   16.44     17.12     15.11     14.35     13.94  
Actual Basic Shares Outstanding   16,948     16,892     16,878     16,874     16,852  
Actual Diluted Shares Outstanding   16,962     16,935     16,912     16,901     16,876  
(1) Tangible book value per diluted share is a non-GAAP financial measure. For additional information, including a reconciliation to GAAP, refer to Page 4.
                     
CAPITAL CITY BANK GROUP, INC.                    
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF OPERATIONS              
Unaudited                    
                     
    2022     2021  
(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)   First Quarter   Fourth Quarter   Third Quarter   Second Quarter   First Quarter
INTEREST INCOME                    
Loans, including Fees $ 22,133   $ 22,744   $ 25,885   $ 24,582   $ 23,350  
Investment Securities   2,896     2,505     2,350     2,054     1,883  
Federal Funds Sold and Interest Bearing Deposits   409     300     285     200     213  
Total Interest Income   25,438     25,549     28,520     26,836     25,446  
INTEREST EXPENSE                    
Deposits   224     213     210     208     208  
Short-Term Borrowings   192     307     317     324     412  
Subordinated Notes Payable   317     306     307     308     307  
Other Long-Term Borrowings   9     12     14     16     21  
Total Interest Expense   742     838     848     856     948  
Net Interest Income   24,696     24,711     27,672     25,980     24,498  
Provision for Credit Losses               (571 )   (982 )
Net Interest Income after Provision for Credit Losses   24,696     24,711     27,672     26,551     25,480  
NONINTEREST INCOME                    
Deposit Fees   5,191     5,300     5,075     4,236     4,271  
Bank Card Fees   3,763     3,872     3,786     3,998     3,618  
Wealth Management Fees   6,070     3,706     3,623     3,274     3,090  
Mortgage Banking Revenues   8,946     9,800     12,283     13,217     17,125  
Other   1,848     1,994     1,807     1,748     1,722  
Total Noninterest Income   25,818     24,672     26,574     26,473     29,826  
NONINTEREST EXPENSE                    
Compensation   24,856     24,783     25,245     25,378     26,064  
Occupancy, Net   6,093     5,960     6,032     5,973     5,967  
Other Real Estate, Net   25     26     (1,126 )   (270 )   (118 )
Pension Settlement   209     572     500     2,000      
Other   8,050     8,866     9,051     9,042     8,563  
Total Noninterest Expense   39,233     40,207     39,702     42,123     40,476  
OPERATING PROFIT   11,281     9,176     14,544     10,901     14,830  
Income Tax Expense   2,235     2,040     2,949     2,059     2,787  
Net Income   9,046     7,136     11,595     8,842     12,043  
Pre-Tax Income Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest   (591 )   (764 )   (1,504 )   (1,415 )   (2,537 )
NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO
COMMON SHAREOWNERS
$ 8,455   $ 6,372   $ 10,091   $ 7,427   $ 9,506  
PER COMMON SHARE                    
Basic Net Income $ 0.50   $ 0.38   $ 0.60   $ 0.44   $ 0.56  
Diluted Net Income   0.50     0.38     0.60     0.44     0.56  
Cash Dividend $ 0.16   $ 0.16   $ 0.16   $ 0.15   $ 0.15  
AVERAGE SHARES                    
Basic   16,931     16,880     16,875     16,858     16,838  
Diluted   16,946     16,923     16,909     16,885     16,862  
CAPITAL CITY BANK GROUP, INC.                    
ALLOWANCE FOR CREDIT LOSSES (“ACL”)                
AND CREDIT QUALITY                    
Unaudited                    
                     
    2022   2021
(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)   First Quarter   Fourth Quarter   Third Quarter   Second Quarter   First Quarter
ACL – HELD FOR INVESTMENT LOANS                    
Balance at Beginning of Period $ 21,606   $ 21,500   $ 22,175   $ 22,026   $ 23,816  
Provision for Credit Losses   (79 )   200     (546 )   (184 )   (2,312 )
Net Charge-Offs (Recoveries)   771     94     129     (333 )   (522 )
Balance at End of Period $ 20,756   $ 21,606   $ 21,500   $ 22,175   $ 22,026  
As a % of Loans HFI   1.05 %   1.12 %   1.11 %   1.10 %   1.07 %
As a % of Nonperforming Loans   760.83 %   499.93 %   710.39 %   433.93 %   410.78 %
ACL – DEBT SECURITIES                    
Provision for Credit Losses $   $ 20   $ 16   $   $  
ACL – UNFUNDED COMMITMENTS                    
Balance at Beginning of Period   2,897   $ 3,117   $ 2,587   $ 2,974   $ 1,644  
Provision for Credit Losses   79     (220 )   530     (387 )   1,330  
Balance at End of Period(1)   2,976     2,897     3,117     2,587     2,974  
CHARGE-OFFS                    
Commercial, Financial and Agricultural $ 73   $ 101   $ 37   $ 32   $ 69  
Real Estate – Construction                    
Real Estate – Commercial   266         405          
Real Estate – Residential       20     17     65     6  
Real Estate – Home Equity   33     9     15     74     5  
Consumer   622     254     221     230     564  
Overdrafts   780     678     1,093     440     492  
Total Charge-Offs $ 1,774   $ 1,062   $ 1,788   $ 841   $ 1,136  
RECOVERIES                    
Commercial, Financial and Agricultural $ 165   $ 148   $ 66   $ 103   $ 136  
Real Estate – Construction   8         10          
Real Estate – Commercial   29     25     169     26     645  
Real Estate – Residential   27     33     401     244     75  
Real Estate – Home Equity   58     173     46     70     124  
Consumer   183     214     334     332     311  
Overdrafts   533     375     633     399     367  
Total Recoveries $ 1,003   $ 968   $ 1,659   $ 1,174   $ 1,658  
NET CHARGE-OFFS (RECOVERIES) $ 771   $ 94   $ 129   $ (333 ) $ (522 )
Net Charge-Offs as a % of Average Loans HFI(2)   0.16 %   0.02 %   0.03 %   (0.07 )%   (0.10 )%
CREDIT QUALITY                    
Nonaccruing Loans $ 2,728   $ 4,322   $ 3,026   $ 5,110   $ 5,362  
Other Real Estate Owned   17     17     192     1,192     110  
Total Nonperforming Assets (“NPAs”) $ 2,745   $ 4,339   $ 3,218   $ 6,302   $ 5,472  
                     
Past Due Loans 30-89 Days $ 3,120   $ 3,600   $ 3,360   $ 3,745   $ 2,622  
Past Due Loans 90 Days or More   74                  
Classified Loans   22,348     17,912     16,310     19,397     20,608  
Performing Troubled Debt Restructurings $ 7,304   $ 7,643   $ 7,919   $ 8,992   $ 13,597  
                     
Nonperforming Loans as a % of Loans HFI   0.14 %   0.22 %   0.16 %   0.25 %   0.26 %
NPAs as a % of Loans HFI and Other Real Estate   0.14 %   0.22 %   0.17 %   0.31 %   0.27 %
NPAs as a % of Total Assets   0.06 %   0.10 %   0.08 %   0.16 %   0.14 %
                     
(1) Recorded in other liabilities                    
(2) Annualized                    
CAPITAL CITY BANK GROUP, INC.                                                          
AVERAGE BALANCE AND INTEREST RATES                                                              
Unaudited                                                                      
                                                                       
    First Quarter 2022     Fourth Quarter 2021     Third Quarter 2021     Second Quarter 2021     First Quarter 2021  
(Dollars in thousands)   Average
Balance
  Interest   Average
Rate
    Average
Balance
  Interest   Average
Rate
    Average
Balance
  Interest   Average
Rate
    Average
Balance
  Interest   Average
Rate
    Average
Balance
  Interest   Average
Rate
 
ASSETS:                                                                      
Loans Held for Sale $ 43,004   $ 397   3.75 % $ 62,809   $ 522   3.29 % $ 67,753   $ 497   2.91 % $ 77,101     566   2.94 % $ 106,242   $ 970   3.70 %
Loans Held for Investment(1)   1,963,578     21,811   4.50     1,948,324     22,296   4.54     1,974,132     25,458   5.12     2,036,781     24,095   4.74     2,044,363     22,483   4.46  
                                                                       
Investment Securities                                                                      
Taxable Investment Securities   1,056,736     2,889   1.10     987,700     2,493   1.00     904,962     2,333   1.03     687,882     2,036   1.18     528,842     1,863   1.41  
Tax-Exempt Investment Securities(1)   2,409     10   1.60     3,380     17   2.07     4,332     25   2.31     3,530     23   2.58     3,844     25   2.61  
                                                                       
Total Investment Securities   1,059,145     2,899   1.10     991,080     2,510   1.01     909,294     2,358   1.03     691,412     2,059   1.19     532,686     1,888   1.42  
                                                                       
Federal Funds Sold and Interest Bearing Deposits   873,097     409   0.19     789,100     300   0.15     741,944     285   0.15     818,616     200   0.10     814,638     213   0.11  
                                                                       
Total Earning Assets   3,938,824   $ 25,516   2.63 %   3,791,313   $ 25,628   2.68 %   3,693,123   $ 28,598   3.07 %   3,623,910   $ 26,920   2.98 %   3,497,929   $ 25,554   2.96 %
                                                                       
Cash and Due From Banks   74,253               73,752               72,773               74,076               68,978            
Allowance for Loan Losses   (21,655 )             (22,127 )             (22,817 )             (22,794 )             (24,128 )          
Other Assets   275,353               284,999               283,534               281,157               278,742            
                                                                       
Total Assets $ 4,266,775             $ 4,127,937             $ 4,026,613             $ 3,956,349             $ 3,821,521            
                                                                       
LIABILITIES:                                                                      
Interest Bearing Deposits                                                                      
NOW Accounts $ 1,079,906   $ 86   0.03 % $ 963,778   $ 72   0.03 % $ 945,788   $ 72   0.03 % $ 966,649   $ 74   0.03 % $ 985,517   $ 76   0.03 %
Money Market Accounts   285,406     33   0.05     289,335     34   0.05     282,860     34   0.05     272,138     33   0.05     269,829     33   0.05  
Savings Accounts   599,359     72   0.05     573,563     71   0.05     551,383     68   0.05     529,844     64   0.05     492,252     60   0.05  
Time Deposits   97,054     33   0.14     101,037     36   0.14     102,765     36   0.14     102,995     37   0.15     102,089     39   0.15  
Total Interest Bearing Deposits   2,061,725     224   0.04 %   1,927,713     213   0.04 %   1,882,796     210   0.04 %   1,871,626     208   0.04 %   1,849,687     208   0.05 %
                                                                       
Short-Term Borrowings   32,353     192   2.40 %   46,355     307   2.63 %   49,773     317   2.53 %   51,152     324   2.54 %   67,033     412   2.49 %
Subordinated Notes Payable   52,887     317   2.40     52,887     306   2.26     52,887     307   2.27     52,887     308   2.30     52,887     307   2.32  
Other Long-Term Borrowings   833     9   4.49     1,414     12   3.50     1,652     14   3.37     1,762     16   3.38     2,736     21   3.18  
                                                                       
Total Interest Bearing Liabilities   2,147,798   $ 742   0.14 %   2,028,369   $ 838   0.16 %   1,987,108   $ 848   0.17 %   1,977,427   $ 856   0.17 %   1,972,343   $ 948   0.19 %
                                                                       
Noninterest Bearing Deposits   1,652,337               1,621,432               1,564,892               1,515,726               1,389,821            
Other Liabilities   72,166               114,657               112,707               107,801               111,050            
                                                                       
Total Liabilities   3,872,301               3,764,458               3,664,707               3,600,954               3,473,214            
Temporary Equity   10,518               13,339               20,446               26,355               21,977            
                                                                       
SHAREOWNERS’ EQUITY:   383,956               350,140               341,460               329,040               326,330            
                                                                       
Total Liabilities, Temporary Equity and Shareowners’ Equity $ 4,266,775             $ 4,127,937             $ 4,026,613             $ 3,956,349             $ 3,821,521            
                                                                       
Interest Rate Spread     $ 24,774   2.49 %     $ 24,790   2.52 %     $ 27,750   2.91 %     $ 26,064   2.81 %     $ 24,606   2.77 %
                                                                       
Interest Income and Rate Earned(1)       25,516   2.63         25,628   2.68         28,598   3.07         26,920   2.98         25,554   2.96  
Interest Expense and Rate Paid(2)       742   0.08         838   0.09         848   0.09         856   0.09         948   0.11  
                                                                       
Net Interest Margin     $ 24,774   2.55 %     $ 24,790   2.60 %     $ 27,750   2.98 %     $ 26,064   2.89 %     $ 24,606   2.85 %
                                                                       
(1) Interest and average rates are calculated on a tax-equivalent basis using a 21% Federal tax rate.                                    
(2) Rate calculated based on average earning assets.                                                              
CAPITAL CITY HOME LOANS            
MORTGAGE BANKING ACTIVITY            
Unaudited            
             
    Three Months Ended
(Dollars in thousands)   Mar 31, 2022   Dec 31, 2021   Mar 31, 2021
Net Interest Income $ 75   $ 35   $ (153 )
             
Mortgage Banking Fees   8,947     9,800     16,846  
Other   467     470     426  
Total Noninterest Income   9,414     10,270     17,272  
             
Salaries   6,024     6,643     10,276  
Other Associate Benefits   181     202     221  
Total Compensation   6,205     6,845     10,497  
             
Occupancy, Net   885     743     861  
Other   1,313     1,312     1,101  
Total Noninterest Expense   8,403     8,900     12,459  
             
Operating Profit $ 1,086   $ 1,405   $ 4,660  
             
Key Performance Metrics            
Total Loans Closed $ 246,887   $ 294,237   $ 463,126  
Total Loans Closed – Mix            
Purchase   79 %   76 %   60 %
Refinance   21 %   24 %   40 %

For Information Contact:
J. Kimbrough Davis
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
850.402.7820

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Man stole $1.3 million from women on dating apps, prosecutors say https://internetwealthzone.com/man-stole-1-3-million-from-women-on-dating-apps-prosecutors-say/ Wed, 25 May 2022 17:35:36 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/man-stole-1-3-million-from-women-on-dating-apps-prosecutors-say/ A man who posed as a doctor on dating platforms and scammed women across the country into giving him money, luxury items and their bank details pleaded guilty last week for wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft in federal court in Florida. According to The New York Times, Brian B. Wedgeworth […]]]>


A man who posed as a doctor on dating platforms and scammed women across the country into giving him money, luxury items and their bank details pleaded guilty last week for wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft in federal court in Florida.

According to The New York Times, Brian B. Wedgeworth pretended to be a doctor and surgeon who attended schools like Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Pennsylvania. He is said to have developed romantic relationships with women whom he is suspected of having defrauded with his tricks.

A man who posed as a doctor on dating platforms and scammed women across the country into giving him money, luxury items and their bank details pleaded guilty last week for wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. (Photo: AdobeStock.com)

“The Casanova Scammer”, as he was dubbed by law enforcement officials, made his false claims on websites like Match.com, Christian Mingle and Elite Singles, where he stole 1.3 million dollars, possibly more, to more than 30 women between 2016 and 2021.

The 46-year-old received Rolexes, tickets to the Super Bowl game and banking information from his victims, prosecutors said. He used an array of aliases including Dr Brian Anderson, Dr Anthony Watkins, Dr Brian Adams, Dr Edward Chen, Dr Brian Chris, Dr Chris Williamson, Dr Brian Christopher Williamson, Dr Brian Edmonds , Dr. Brian Ammerson, Dr. Brian Lamar Wilson, Dr. Brian Wilson, Dr. Brian Mims and Dr. Brian Lamar Sims, according to the justice department.

Her officials want anyone who fears they may have fallen victim to Wedgeworth’s charms to email authorities at casanovascammer@uspis.gov.

Wedgeworth allegedly told some of his victims that he was part of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, according to The temperature, as a number of the victims were members of sororities. He also promised to pay off their loans and other debts so he could get their banking information and social security numbers.

Wedgeworth was initially charged in November after the United States Postal Inspection Service and the IRS conducted an investigation.

Maryland woman graduates from college the day after her 82nd birthday

“Eradicating fraudulent schemes fostered by the U.S. Mail, such as romance scams, remains a top priority for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” said Juan A. Vargas, acting inspector in charge of the service. U.S. Postal Inspection Center in Miami, in a statement. . “Our agency will continue to investigate those who target innocent individuals and abuse their trust for financial gain.”

Wedgeworth is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 8 in Tallahassee, Florida. He faces up to 20 years for wire and mail fraud charges, up to 10 years for money laundering, and faces a minimum sentence of two years in prison, according to the DOJ.

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Florida Voting Rights Groups Appeal Redistricting Map Fight to State Supreme Court | Florida News | Orlando https://internetwealthzone.com/florida-voting-rights-groups-appeal-redistricting-map-fight-to-state-supreme-court-florida-news-orlando/ Tue, 24 May 2022 14:18:00 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/florida-voting-rights-groups-appeal-redistricting-map-fight-to-state-supreme-court-florida-news-orlando/ Click to enlarge Voting rights groups took to the state Supreme Court on Monday as they try to keep alive the possibility of blocking a congressional redistricting plan that would make it harder for a member to be elected of the Black US House this year in North Florida. The filing by attorneys for the […]]]>

Voting rights groups took to the state Supreme Court on Monday as they try to keep alive the possibility of blocking a congressional redistricting plan that would make it harder for a member to be elected of the Black US House this year in North Florida.

The filing by attorneys for the groups and other plaintiffs was the latest twist in a legal battle over a congressional redistricting plan that Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed through the Legislative Assembly in April.

Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith issued a temporary injunction May 12 against the DeSantis-backed plan, but the 1st District Court of Appeals reimposed a stay of the injunction on Friday. The stint could effectively pave the way for the DeSantis-backed plan to be used in this year’s election.

But in a 59-page emergency motion Monday, plaintiffs asked the Supreme Court to stay the 1st District Court of Appeals’ order. Plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote that such a move would allow county election supervisors to prepare to implement the plan DeSantis backed and a different plan that Smith approved in his temporary injunction.

“A stay of the First District’s decision is necessary to preserve the ability of this (Supreme) Court to adjudicate party appeals in time for the 2022 election,” the filing said.

The case centers on Congressional District 5, a sprawling North Florida district that was drawn in the past to help elect a black congressman. DeSantis argued that continuing with such a district would involve racial gerrymandering and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution.

The legislature approved DeSantis’ proposal to reorganize the neighborhood, condensing it into the Jacksonville area. But Smith ruled the plan violated a 2010 state constitutional amendment — known as the Fair Districts Amendment — that prohibited diminishing the ability of minority voters to “elect representatives of their choosing.”

The overall redistricting plan passed by the Republican-controlled legislature is expected to increase the number of GOP members of the state’s congressional delegation from 16 to 20, based on past voting patterns. District 5 is currently held by U.S. Representative Al Lawson, a black Democrat, but the revamped district would likely move to Republicans.

Smith’s temporary injunction ordered the use of a map that would retain the current sprawling shape of the district, which stretches from Jacksonville west to Tallahassee. Use of this map would also affect other districts.

The state quickly appealed Smith’s temporary injunction, which resulted in an automatic stay. Smith lifted that automatic stay, but the appeals court reimposed a stay on Friday.

The state’s underlying appeal of Smith’s temporary injunction remains pending in the 1st District Court of Appeals. But in reimposing the stay, the Tallahassee-based court signaled that it disagreed with the temporary injunction.

“Based on a preliminary review, the court has determined that there is a strong likelihood that the temporary injunction is unlawful, because by granting a preliminary remedy to the respondents (the plaintiffs) on their application, the order has frustrated the status quo, rather than preserved it,” the appeals court said, citing legal precedent.

The appeals court also cited “the exigency of the circumstances and the need for certainty and continuity as election season approaches”.

But in Monday’s Supreme Court filing, the plaintiffs also cited the approaching election season. A qualifying period for candidates will take place in mid-June, with primary elections on August 23.

“A recovery plan (the plan included in Smith’s temporary injunction) likely needs to be implemented in the coming weeks to ensure the 2022 congressional elections are held on time under a legal precinct plan. “, says the folder. “But the resolution of multiple appeals from the parties will make this deadline almost impossible to meet. Therefore, if the Petitioners (Plaintiffs) are to obtain relief, the Election Administrators must continue to prepare the Remedial Plan now to ensure that they are able to effect any relief granted by this (Supreme) Court. The First District’s preliminary order restoring the stay makes that impossible. »

The plaintiffs also filed a motion on May 13 for the underlying appeal to bypass the appeals court and move quickly to the Supreme Court, a decision known as a motion to “certify” the case to court. the Supreme Court.

But state attorneys on Monday urged the appeals court to deny the certification request. In a nine-page filing, they said the complainants’ ‘supposed need for urgent resolution falls flat. The Secretary (of State) has made it clear from the outset of this matter that it is already too late to provide relief for the 2022 election cycle.”

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Florida Hospital Systems tries to attract and retain employees by repaying student loans and paying tuition | L.Cane https://internetwealthzone.com/florida-hospital-systems-tries-to-attract-and-retain-employees-by-repaying-student-loans-and-paying-tuition-l-cane/ Mon, 23 May 2022 14:24:50 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/florida-hospital-systems-tries-to-attract-and-retain-employees-by-repaying-student-loans-and-paying-tuition-l-cane/ Hospital systems in Florida are trying to get creative with the increasingly difficult challenge of attracting and retaining a healthcare workforce. The increasing difficulty of staffing health care workers: Like many industries, healthcare is finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain employees in the aftermath of the pandemic. The stress of working during a […]]]>

Hospital systems in Florida are trying to get creative with the increasingly difficult challenge of attracting and retaining a healthcare workforce.

The increasing difficulty of staffing health care workers: Like many industries, healthcare is finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain employees in the aftermath of the pandemic. The stress of working during a pandemic has contributed to some healthcare workers quitting their jobs or deciding to withdraw. At the same time, a Aging of the population in the United States requires more, not less, access to health care.

Frank F. Brabec, MBA, Founder and CEO of Brabec Healthcare Management, Inc., Explain:

“Baby boomers need help now, and they’re living longer. So they will stay in that space and need health care for a long time. We don’t follow. It is necessary to meet the growing demand. »

Health facilities across the country are experiencing staff shortages: According to NPR, despite an increased demand for nurses and other healthcare personnel, colleges and programs to train healthcare workers are not meeting the demand. A recent medical group management association survey found that 88% of healthcare managers admitted to having difficulty recruiting medical assistants.

The health system in Naples offers to help repay student loans and pay tuition: In order to meet these personnel challenges, Physicians Regional Health System in Naples, Florida recently announced a new incentive program. The company has launched a new student loan repayment program that consolidates loans and lowers interest rates. The company will also pay a portion of the loan premiums for most clinical employees, up to $20,000 per employee.

Additionally, the company reimburses employees for all licensing and certification requirements and will pay up to $5,000 in annual tax-free tuition reimbursement to be used for college training toward any hospital role.

Scott Lowe, CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, Explain:

“We are excited to have a new way to recognize our employees for all they do and we want to support them. With these benefits, we hope Physicians Regional Pathways will ease the burden of student debt and allow employees to focus on achieving their goals and career success.

Florida Supplemental Health Systems Offering Education Reimbursement Incentives: Physicians Regional isn’t the only health care system in Florida to offer these types of programs. ShorePoint Health in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda offer similar loan and tuition repayment programs. North Florida Regional Medical CenterTallahassee Medical Center, Orlando Healthand Bayfront Health St. Petersburg reimburses tuition for employees.

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Governor vetoes HB 265 and signs eight more bills https://internetwealthzone.com/governor-vetoes-hb-265-and-signs-eight-more-bills/ Mon, 23 May 2022 12:32:00 +0000 https://internetwealthzone.com/governor-vetoes-hb-265-and-signs-eight-more-bills/ Tallahassee – Friday, May 20, 2022: Governor DeSantis on Friday vetoed CS/HB 265’s proposed change to the value of motor vehicles exempt from legal process. It would have increased the exemption value of a debtor’s interest in a single motor vehicle from $1,000 to 5,000% in the event of bankruptcy. For all other creditor matters, […]]]>

Tallahassee – Friday, May 20, 2022: Governor DeSantis on Friday vetoed CS/HB 265’s proposed change to the value of motor vehicles exempt from legal process. It would have increased the exemption value of a debtor’s interest in a single motor vehicle from $1,000 to 5,000% in the event of bankruptcy. For all other creditor matters, a debtor’s interest on a single motor vehicle would remain exempt up to $1,000, according to the bill.

Although “it may be time to consider increasing the amount of the obsolete exemption”, the governor explained that he had vetoed this measure because “this increase should apply to all people who can apply for exemptions in Florida whether they are bankrupt or not, so people have no incentive to file for bankruptcy, which has long-term negative consequences on a person’s credit history. »

For transmittal letters, click here.

The Governor has signed into law the following eight bills:

• CS/SB 58 – Relief of Yeilyn Quiroz Otero by Miami-Dade County

• CS/SB 70 – Relief of Donna Catalano by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

• CS/SB 74 – Relief of Harry Augustin Shumow by the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County d/b/a Jackson Memorial Hospital

• CS/CS/SB 80 – Relief of Christeia Jones, as guardian of Logan Grant, Denard Maybin, Jr. and Lanard Maybin

• SB 546 – Consumer loans

• CS/SB 838 – Fire Investigators

• SB 1058 – Property Insurer Reimbursements

• SB 7006 – A review under the Open Government Sunset Review Act

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