Takeaways from Tallahassee — Tiger hosts a Nole

Gun Rights

The Capital Bay Tiger Club will host Peter Collins, chairman of Florida State University’s board of trustees at its Tuesday luncheon.

Collins joins the luncheon as a guest to have conversations related to the Board of Trustees, the future landscape and the ongoing lawsuit between the Atlantic Coast Conference and Attorney General Ashley Moody.

Peter Collins will headline the Tuesday program. Image via FSU.

In addition to being chairman of the FSU Board of Trustees, Collins was formerly a trustee for the FSU Foundation, chair of the FSU endowment and Investment Advisory Council, and was a board member of the FSU College of Business and Florida Council of 100.

Collins additionally co-founded Forge Capital Partners, a real estate investment and management company, where he has overseen more than $1.5 billion in real estate and corporate transactions. He is also an FSU alumnus, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA.

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The Capital Bay Tiger Club, founded in 1971, facilitates conversations on political and community issues through non-partisan speakers, newsmakers and community leaders.

This is a luncheon you won’t want to  miss.

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, Christine Jordan Sexton, Robert Haughn and the staff of Florida Politics.

But first, the “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

—Take 5—

Start the clock: A U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a federal law banning the possession of firearms by those accused of domestic abuse will unstick the National Rifle Association’s challenge of the law passed in the aftermath of the Parkland massacre. The NRA challenged the 2018 law that raised the age to purchase a rifle to 21. The law had been upheld by a lower court  but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals put that case on hold until the Supreme Court ruled in the case decided on Friday. The NRA and attorneys for the state must now file legal briefs explaining how the latest Supreme Court ruling affects the age restriction for gun purchases.

Abortion ruling: The 1st District Court of Appeal this week agreed to place on hold a circuit court ruling requiring Florida’s top economists to rewrite a financial impact on the abortion access amendment on the November ballot. The state’s top economists, sitting at the Financial Impact Estimating Conference, will meet on July 1 and July 8 to score the abortion amendment, also known as Amendment 4.

Back in Black:  At least three Black farmers tied to what is known as the “Pigford” litigation will benefit from legislation the Governor signed into law this week. DeSantis didn’t tout the change at the lengthy South Florida press conference for the signing of SB 1582, an omnibus Department of Health bill. It’s the second time in as many years DeSantis has signed into law changes meant to benefit Black farmers who have been shut out of Florida’s medical marijuana market.

Up, up and away: Homeowners covered by Florida’s insurer of last resort will see an average 13.5% increase in their multi peril policy rates after the Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Board of Governors unanimously endorsed the proposal, which still must be approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Condominium owners would see an average 14.2% increase if the new rates are approved by OIR. The proposed rate increase would take effect on Jan. 1, 2025. Citizens has 1,202,696 policies in force, though with the return of some insurers to Florida’s market Citizen’s officials hope the number will drop below 1 million.

Nope: The  U.S. The Supreme Court declined to take up West Flagler Associates’ claims that the Gaming Compact between the state of Florida and the Seminole Tribe  violates federal law. Only  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh agreed that the West Flagler Associates’ petition should be heard. The compact grants the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights for sports betting in the state.

—The Great Outdoors—

There’s no denying it, Florida’s known for its surf and great outdoor living.

Gov. Ron DeSantis this week boasted about state spending on coral reef restoration and coastal protection in the recently signed 2024-25 budget, noting the $57 million investment is “historic.”

The funding includes $5 million for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to support a framework for installing, overseeing and preserving artificial reef habitats in the Florida Keys.

During his tenure as Governor, the DeSantis administration has directed $114 million in state funding to coral reef restoration and protection efforts.

“Florida has the best fishing and boating in the world because we have the greatest natural resources,” DeSantis said in a news release. “That’s why our state is making record investments in protecting our natural treasures, like our coral reefs.”

DeSantis also used the news conference to announce an extra lobster mini-season day exclusively for Florida residents.

Floridians will get an extra day to snag some tasty crustaceans. Image via FWC.

The residents only day is slated for July 14. The 2024 lobster mini season is open to everyone, regardless of residence, on July 24-25. The regular commercial and recreational lobster season will run Aug. 6 through March 31.

DeSantis also spotlighted 2024 Lionfish Challenge, which is currently underway. The program encourages the public to hunt lionfish — an invasive species — and awards prizes to recreational and commercial anglers who bag the most, both by number and by weight.

Participants can register at FWCReefRangers.com and choose to compete in either the recreational or commercial category.

“From lobster to world-class fishing, the Keys exemplify Florida as the Boating and Fishing Capital of the World,” said FWC Executive Director Roger Young. “Through Gov. DeSantis’ support of conserving our natural resources, we will continue to promote the removal of invasive species — such as the lionfish — that negatively impact our waters.”

—Splashy headlines—

The Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution helped prosecute a pool company owner for bilking Florida homeowners out of more than $1 million.

Judge William S. Orth sentenced Ricardo Villarroel Duerto, owner of Villa Pavers and Pools, to 18 years on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering.

“Building a pool is an expensive undertaking and some families may save for years to build their dream pool,” Moody said. “This shady contractor took advantage of nearly 100 Florida homeowners, including seniors, trying to buy a pool — causing more than $1 million in losses. Thanks to our Statewide Prosecutors, this contractor will serve a lengthy prison sentence for ripping off Floridians,” the AG said.

If you sell a pool, you better build it or you’ll have to deal with Ashley Moody.

Throughout Broward, Collier, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lake, Miami-Dade, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas and Seminole counties, Duerto low-balled pool construction costs. He’d collect deposits of as much as 40% of the overall construction costs from the homeowners — and sometimes even dig giant holes in their backyards — but ultimately never follow through on installing a pool.

The investigation uncovered that Villarroel teamed with licensed general contractor Luis Alvarez of Conquer Builders, who aided and abetted Villa Pavers and Pools to defraud homeowners throughout the state. Alvarez sold the use of his general contractor license to Villa Pavers and Pools, an unlicensed contractor company, to present a contractor license to homeowners and obtain building permits. Villarroel used the license repeatedly and hired two salespeople, Michael Borrego Fernandez and Laura Ballester Alpizar, to rope in more homeowners.

Alvarez, Borrego and Ballester all faced or are facing the same charges as Villarroel. Alvarez pled guilty to both charges and is awaiting sentencing. Borrego and Ballester are out on bond.

—Hot as H.E. double hockey sticks—

Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is warning parents, caregivers and loved ones to not leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle this summer, especially as a stifling heat wave impacts much of the state. Last year, seven children died in hot car related tragedies in Florida.

“Summer in Florida is in full swing and with it brings blazing temperatures and the dangers associated with hot cars. Parents and caregivers should never leave children alone in a car under any circumstances. Temperatures inside a parked car increase quickly, becoming dangerously hot in just a matter of minutes,” Patronis said.

“Experts say that an average of 37 children under the age of 15 die every year from hot car-related tragedies. These heartbreaking numbers are preventable by following a few safety tips like staying alert when your daily routine changes and avoiding distractions while driving. Following these tips can help you and your loved ones avoid a hot car tragedy this summer.”

Patronis laid out four steps to avoid hot car-related tragedies. First, check the back of your car — think children in carseats and make a routine. Second, store an important item in the backseat —  this way you have a reason to check the back and it gives you a reminder on potential loved ones in the backseat. Third, use a phone alarm — set a reminder in case you have to and make it a distinct sound. Finally, beware of changing your routine — if your routine changes or you are in a rush, make sure you confirm with loved ones you have dropped people off or run your errands.

—Simpson the influencer—

Talk about exponential growth.

Since January 2023, Fresh From Florida has seen its follower count grow by more than 90%, going 500,000-and-change to a million plus over the 18-month span. The overall tally includes consumers who follow Fresh From Florida on social media platforms, signed up for the Fresh From Florida newsletter or joined the Free From Florida Club.

Fresh From Florida is the brand the state uses to promote more than 300 commodities produced by 44,703 farm operations throughout the state.

Fresh From Florida’s social media footprint has nearly doubled under Wilton Simpson.

“When I took office as Commissioner of Agriculture, we set a four-year goal of reaching 1 million Fresh From Florida followers, and we did it in a little over a year. I am very proud of our team and their efforts to grow the Fresh From Florida brand,” Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson said.

“The continued success of the Fresh From Florida program stands as a testament to the dedication and hard work of our farmers, fishermen, and producers who provide us with the freshest and finest products. Through strategic marketing and branding efforts, Fresh From Florida has not only elevated the visibility of Florida-grown products, but also fostered a strong sense of pride among our consumers and producers alike.”

Agriculture and agribusiness contributes more than $213 billion to the state’s economy, making it the No. 2 industry in the state.

Check out the seasonal commodities and the recipes that celebrate Sunshine State-grown fruits and vegetables at  FreshFromFlorida.com.

—Instagram of the Week—

—The Week in Appointments—

Florida’s 19th Circuit Court — The Governor has named Lillian Ewen, of Fort Pierce, to serve as judge in the 19th Circuit. Ewen has served as a general magistrate in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court since 2021. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and her law degree from the University of Florida.

Liberty County Court — DeSantis this week appointed Chris Bufano, of Bristol, to serve as judge on the Liberty County Court. Bufano has served as a deputy general counsel for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement since 2022. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wilmington University and his law degree from Widener University Delaware Law School

Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors — DeSantis announced the appointment of Marcus Chambers to the Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors. He is the Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools.

Broward College District Board of Trustees — The Governor appointed Michael Caschette and Eileen LaMarca to the Broward College District Board of Trustees. Caschette is the founder of KIDS 1st Urgent Care, where he works as a registered nurse. He  earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing and his MBA from Florida International University. LaMarca is the Vice President of Development for the LaMarca Group. She earned her associate degree from Palm Beach State College.

Valencia College District Board of Trustees — DeSantis this week announced the appointment of Blair Bradley, Shawn Hindle and Belinda Kirkegard and the reappointment of John Davis to the Valencia College District Board of Trustees. Bradley is a former analyst for North American Reserve Corporation.  Bradley earned her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and managerial studies from Rice University. Hindle is the president of Hanson, Walter & Associates. Hindle earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from North Carolina State University. Kirkegard is the president of the National Entrepreneur Center. Kirkegard earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from the University of Central Florida and her master’s degree in public administration from Troy University. Davis is the Secretary of the Florida Lottery. Davis earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University.

—Help is on the way—

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved Leon County residents for Individual Assistance from the impacts of a trio of tornadoes that touched down in the capital city last month, killing two people and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

Individuals who sustained losses may now apply for FEMA Individual Assistance, which may include financial help for temporary lodging, basic home repairs, and other disaster-related expenses.

Assistance applications are open for capital city residents recovering from the tornadoes. Image via AP.

Florida Division of Emergency Management Executive Director Kevin Guthrie said, “The Division is committed to ensuring the most assistance possible is available to disaster survivors. I encourage homeowners and renters in Leon County to start their FEMA application immediately to ensure they don’t miss any federal assistance deadlines and give themselves ample time to receive all support possible on their road to recovery.”

Leon County was the sole county approved for FEMA Individual Assistance in the month of May for severe weather.

The three twisters tore through Tallahassee on May 10, uprooting trees, damaging homes, destroying nearly 400 power poles across the city and killing two people.

More information on applications is available here.

—Busted—

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn’t gamble  when it comes to its election crimes.

FDLE has charged paid petitioner Henos Joseph, a 34-year-old Miami resident, with 13 counts of criminal use of personal identification information concerning a deceased individual.

When dead voters sign petitions, expect FDLE to come knocking.

The arrest is the result of an investigation led by FDLE’s Election Crime Unit (ECU) working with the Florida Department of State Office of Election Crimes and Security (OECS) and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office.

Henos is accused of submitting the fraudulent petitions for the Las Vegas Sands-backed casino gaming initiative that failed to make the 2022 ballot.

He was arrested in Broward County last month on an FDLE warrant. The case is currently being prosecuted by Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

An arrest warrant is currently active for Alex Joseph (a relative of Henos Joseph). He is also accused of committing petition circulator fraud.

—Veteran and spouse friendly, too—

Starting July 1, the spouses or surviving spouses of Florida veterans will be eligible for admission to veterans’ long term care facilities.

‎Florida Department of ‎Veterans’ Affairs Executive ‎Director James ‎S. Hartsell, a retired Marine Corps Major General, joined the Governor at a press conference this week where DeSantis signed the policy change, contained in HB 725, into law.

“Admitting eligible spouses and surviving spouses into our State Veterans’ Homes is another great accomplishment to keep Florida the most Veteran friendly and sought after state in ‎the Nation,” he said.

James ‎Hartsell and the Governor announced the expansion during a news conference this week.

The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs operates nine veteran nursing homes across the state and is in the process of adding a 10th facility. The homes offer 1,102 skilled nursing and assisted living beds.

DeSantis also signed into law HB 1329, which increases from nine to 11 the number of people on the Veterans Florida’s board of directors; authorizes Veterans Florida to assist state agencies in recruiting veteran talent into their workforce and to maximize veteran access to benefits, services, training, and education; exempts honorably discharged veterans with a qualifying service connected disability from having to pay for hunting and fishing licenses; requires public school instruction on the history and importance of Veterans Day and Memorial Day; and creates the Major John Leroy Haynes Florida Veterans’ History Program to record the stories of Florida’s veterans and preserve them for future generations.

—Ring, ring—

Not everything is getting more expensive.

The Florida Public Service Commission this week reduced the monthly charge applied to landline bills to support the Florida Telecommunications Relay Inc., the nonprofit organization that administers the system that proves telecommunications access to people who are deaf hard of hearing or speech impaired. Monthly surcharge applied to landline customer bills will drop by a penny to 8 cents.

Officially known as the Florida Relay System, the technology helps facilitate telephone calls between people with hearing loss or speech disabilities and other individuals through the use of specialized equipment and a communications assistance operator.  T-Mobile is the current Florida Relay System provider.

Florida Relay System usage is expected to decline by 25% in the next state fiscal year as people continue to move away from landlines. The FTRI’s budget for fiscal year 2024-25 is $3.3 million.

It’s a small reduction, but every cent counts.

“As the Commission continues to reduce the FRS surcharge, we must also look for ways to remove regulatory hurdles that are stifling the adoption of new technology,” said PSC Commissioner Andrew Giles Fay.

In other money-saving news, the PSC has designated 10 wireless telecommunication carriers as eligible to provide a federal discounted telephone/broadband service to qualified customers. Prior to the 10 additions, there were only three Lifeline providers available to residents, which is a potential reason why Lifeline participation rates hovered at around 18% for the past two years.

The PSC was able to give the carriers the green light after the Legislature this year agreed to alter the law to reinstate its authority to  act on carriers’ petitions to serve as Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs). An ETC designation is necessary for telecommunications companies to participate in the Lifeline program. Prior to the statutory change, wireless carriers had to petition the Federal Communications Commission for ETC designations in Florida.

The PSC granted ETC designations to:

— TruConnect Communications;

—FLORIDA TERRACOM d/b/a MAXSIP TEL;

—IM Telecom d/b/a Infiniti Mobile;

—Q LINK WIRELESS;

—Boomerang Wireless, LLC d/b/a enTouch Wireless;

—Global Connection Inc. of America d/b/a STAND UP WIRELESS;

—TEMPO TELECOM;

—DISH Wireless d/b/a Gen Mobile;

—Telrite Corporation d/b/a Life Wireless; and

—American Broadband and Telecommunications Company.

—Targeting the Rare—

There’s a new grant available for scientists and researchers on the front lines of discovering new diagnostics, treatments and cures for rare pediatric conditions.

With the signing of SB 1582 in South Florida this week, the Governor approved the creation of the Andrew John Anderson Pediatric Rare Disease Grant Program, which is charged with advancing the research and treatment of rare pediatric diseases. It is named after Rep. Adam Anderson’s son, who died of a rare pediatric disease.

Adam Anderson championed the grant program, which is named after his late son, Andrew.

“This program is a milestone in the journey towards improving the health and well-being of children affected by rare diseases. By funding innovative research, we create opportunities to address these tragic situations,” the Republican from Palm Harbor said in a statement.

“By bringing together the top minds in research and medicine, we are hastening the development of novel therapies that will directly improve the quality of life for countless children and their families.”

Rare diseases are those that affect fewer than 200,000 people nationwide. There are some 7,000-plus rare diseases which collectively affect more than 30 million people in the U.S.

The Florida Legislature has in recent years placed more focus on rare diseases and in 2021 created the Rare Disease Advisory Council  (RDAC). Twenty three states have similar councils according to the Florida RDAC 2023 legislative report.

—Papers, please—

Paperwork.

It’s a cringeworthy word for many who find themselves looking for important documents.

Imagine how much harder it would be if the government canceled birth certificates. Well, the government of Puerto Rico did exactly that for all birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010, leaving droves of people without the proper paperwork to qualify for vital services.

Rep. Susan Valdés has been tireless in her efforts to help Puerto Ricans who now reside in the Tampa Bay area gain access to essential government documents. To that end, she is hosting the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration at her district office on June 24.

Have an invalidated birth certificate? Susan Valdes can help.

The event is the sixth time she has orchestrated a temporary setup at her Tampa district office to help Puerto Rican Floridians obtain their birth, marriage, death, and Administration for Child Support (ASUME) certificates, as well as driver records and apostille services.

Valdés office is located at 2221 N. Himes Ave., Suite B, in Tampa. Orders can be placed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Documents will be ready for pick up on June 28. More information on services offered and appointment booking is available online or by calling (813) 673-4673.

—New Prez—

The Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers announced its new 2024-2025 board of directors on Wednesday.

The board will be led by 2024-2025 FCCC President and Orange County Clerk of Court Tiffany Moore Russell. Each member of the board will serve a one-year term. Russell will be succeeding 2023-2024 FCCC President Barry Baker, who expressed his confidence in Baker at the FCCC Summer Conference.

Tiffany Moore Russell is taking the reins at FCCC.

“Clerk Russell has always shown exceptional leadership, dedication and heart throughout her time as a member of our executive committee,” Baker said. “During my tenure as President, I was proud to work closely with her on many successful initiatives for our association, and it’s an honor to now pass the presidential baton to her as we move into the new program year.”

The newest members of the Florida Clerks executive committee is Judge Greg James as Secretary, as well as Judge Sam Bailey as District I Director, Judge W. Greg Godwin as District II Director, Judge Tara S. Green as District III Director, Judge Tom Bexley as District IV Director and Judge Rachel Sadoff as District V Director.

Other members of the executive committee include Russell as President, Hernando County Court Clerk Doug Chorvat Jr. as President-elect, Marion County Court Clerk Gregory C. Harrell as Vice President and Putnam County Court Clerk Matt Reynolds as Treasurer.

—Sachs bags another one—

Sachs Media was named to Inc.’s 2024 Best Workplaces list.

The Tallahassee-based communications firm that assists clients in areas such as public relations and affairs, strategy, crisis communications, research and social media.

The company, headed by President and CEO Michelle Ubben, was one of 543 American companies recognized on Inc’s list.

“Being recognized by Inc. as a top workplace is a tremendous honor because it reflects our core values: impact, excellence, and caring,” Ubben said. “This honor underscores our dedication to fostering an environment where creativity, collaboration, and professional growth thrive – and the unparalleled collaborative spirit of our team.”

Sachs Media is a top PR agency, and a pretty nice place to work, too.

Inc’s 2024 Best Workplaces list recognizes American companies with “exceptional workplaces and company culture.”

The 543 honorees were selected based on a variety of qualifying factors, mainly an employee engagement survey conducted by Quantum Workplace, as well as an auditing of companies’ benefits.

“Each year, Inc.’s Best Workplaces program recognizes the very best in terms of companies that have fostered a truly amazing culture,” said Inc. Editor-in-Chief Mike Hofman. “We use hard metrics and data as well as qualitative measures for judging in order to find the very best — and we’re proud that the program is highly selective.”

Sachs Media’s selection comes off of several other recent awards, including a third appearance on PRNews’ Agency Elite Top 100 list, and having four of their team members honored with PRNews’ and Ragan’s Top Women in Communications awards.

—Putting on a clinic—

NBA veteran and Heisman-winning FSU football QB Charlie Ward made Father’s Day special for Nole fans by hosting the third annual Leadership Basketball Clinic.

Ward’s charitable foundation — The Charlie and Tonja Ward Family Foundation — and the Florida Lottery teamed up to put on the event, which offered fathers, male mentors, and their children an opportunity to spend some quality time on the court, not only playing basketball, but building leadership and community bonding.

Participants enjoyed a range of activities at Florida High aimed at fostering teamwork, motivation and education, through basketball drills and leadership sessions all while celebrating Father’s Day in a meaningful way that strengthens the bonds between kids and their fathers, father figures and male mentors.

FSU legend Charlie Ward and the Florida Lottery put on a special Father’s Day clinic. Image via FSU.

“The Florida Lottery is proud to support initiatives like the Father’s Day Leadership Basketball Clinic that foster community engagement and youth development,” Florida Lottery Secretary John Davis said.We believe in the power of education and mentorship, and events like this help pave the way for future leaders. It’s an honor to work alongside Charlie Ward and his foundation to create positive, lasting impacts in our community.”

The Ward Family Foundation aim is to develop youth characters through sports, education, the arts, and wellness. This year’s clinic, while focused on basketball instruction and technique, also featured a new station on the application of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) to the sport of basketball, including lessons on physics and digital technology.

“We are grateful for the Florida Lottery’s support of our programs,” Ward said, “and we’re excited that attendees had the chance to learn about how the Bright Futures Scholarship Program can help them achieve their educational and career goals.”

The event was open to 7- to 18-year-olds accompanied by their fathers or male mentors.

The two-and-a-half-hour clinic also saw the Ward Family Foundation announce the winner of its “Championship Breakfast” student logo design contest and two students be awarded “Bright Future” medallions.

—FAMU Striking it Rich—

Florida A&M University (FAMU) has an additional $50 million to spend in fiscal year 2024-25 to ramp up student graduation and retention rate efforts, recruit and retain faculty, bolster the health care workforce and expand research programs at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

“FAMU and the rest of the State University System are on an upward trajectory, but our work is far from complete; however, this funding will make a significant difference to our efforts,” FAMU President Larry Robinson said.

The budget includes: $15 million in performance based funding; $11 million; $5 million for capital outlay at the FAMU FSU College of  Engineering; $5 million  for campus security; $5 million  for the chemical and biological research center; $1.1 million for nursing education; and $500,000 for the FAMU Developmental Research School.

FAMU is inching closer to R-1 status.

FAMU is angling to become the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to achieve Carnegie R-1 status. To qualify for the R-1 designation, higher ed institutions must spend $50 million a year or more on research and grant at least 70 research doctorates.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Allyson Watson, says the investments will help the university reach that goal.

“At Florida A&M University, these funds are vital for our continuous pursuit of academic excellence and innovation, including modernization of research facilities, increased funding for specialty crop research, and support for scholarships at our 1890 institution that aligns with our mission to lead in agricultural innovation and education,” Watson said.

The only public HBCU in the Sunshine State, FAMU is aiming even higher for next year — late last month, the FAMU Board of Trustees agreed to a 2025-26 legislative budget request of $55.5 million.

—Unique and One of the Best—

Established by the Florida Legislature in 1982, the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is the only engineering college in the nation shared by two public institutions.

And it’s considered one of the best in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.”

The FAMU-FSU College of Engineering moved up one spot among public institutions, achieving a No. 60 ranking nationally and tied for No. 3 among Florida public universities.

“We’re pleased to have the majority of our engineering departments making the top 100 list,” said Suvranu De, Dean of the joint engineering college.

The one-of-a-kind engineering school climbed another rung in the national rankings.

“Some of these top-ranking programs are fairly new, and that speaks to our upward trajectory as a college overall. Although we may not have the long-standing recognition of some older institutions, the joint FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is a standout gem in the state and the nation. Our model is like no other — and our research impacts are truly outstanding. Per faculty member, our research expenditure is among the highest in the state. I’m so proud of our faculty, students and staff as we continue to make our mark in the engineering research sector.”

Broken down by program, the 2024 list ranks the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering industrial engineering program at No. 49, its chemical engineering program at No. 52, its material engineering program at No. 54 and its civil engineering program at No. 72.

Graduate students at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering enroll through either university. The students have access to engineering research laboratories including the The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion, Center for Advanced Power Systems and RIDER Center.

Provosts at both FAMU and FSU lauded the rankings.

“We are proud of the accomplishments of our faculty and students, and we are committed to growing this partnership as we advance our strategic initiatives in aerospace and advanced manufacturing, quantum, materials science and many other areas.” said FSU Provost and EVP for Academic Affairs Jim Clark.

FAMU’s Watson said the steady increase in rankings “indicates the collaboration and joint efforts of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering administrators, faculty, and staff to benefit students ultimately. We are proud of the accomplishments and look forward to even greater impacts in the future.”

—Capitol Directions—

DeSantis admin & ACLU — Up arrow — Wait, everybody is happy? Let’s not question it.

James Uthmeier — Crossways arrow — “That’s a nice FDLE you have over there. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.”

Air DeSantis — Up arrow — Not as comfortable as Air Mori, but the peanuts are from Fresh From Florida.

Citizens — Double up arrow — Their request for 14% more up arrows was approved.

FDOT — Down arrow — That EV charger money is starting to grow mold, guys.

Kathleen Passidomo and Paul Renner — Up arrow — And this is why it’s smart to have a rainy-day fund.

Paul Renner — Up arrow — It sure seems like Vivek Murthy is a fan of HB 3.

Mat Bahl — Up arrow — #IYKYK.

Jason Brodeur — Down arrow — What’s he going to do with all that two-stroke fuel?

Darryl Rouson, Michelle Salzmann — Up arrow — They delivered for Dozier victims.

Dennis Baxley and Keith Truenow — Up arrow — They landed the plane for Jonathan’s Landing.

Jay Collins — Up arrow — Florida is for Veterans just hit a home run.

Fabian Basabe — Crossways arrow or rain cloud — All of this resiliency money and no iPhone 15 chargers.

Anna Eskamani — Up arrow — Is there a doctor in the House? Yes.

Brian Kramer — Up arrow — DFS put a lot of bait on the hook and didn’t even get a nibble.

Culture, bruh — Down arrow — Who needs it?

Joel Searby — Double down arrow — Just horrifying.

Gabriel and Sarah Warren — Double down arrow — More creepers.

Black farmers — Up arrow — Dust off those licensure applications.

Captains for Clean Water — Down arrow — They can either return the cash or rebrand to Captains for Dirty Money.

David Shoar — Down arrow — It says something when a name that’s been in the game for 20 years raises a whopping $0 in-district … and it’s not good.

Florida State — Crossways arrow — New protest rules make it even harder to remember when FSU was the ‘Berkeley of the South.’

FSU Baseball — Up arrow — The Vols dashed their hopes this season, but historically that’s a good omen for the Noles.

Fresh From Florida — Up arrow — A million followers and growing … looks like the Ag Commish cracked the algorithm.

Gas blowers — Down arrow — Keep that thing on choke.

Lobsters — Down arrow — As they say, ‘When life hands you lemons … mix them with clarified butter, garlic and white wine.’

Seminole Tribe — Up arrow — The house always wins.

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