Sunday, February 07, 2016


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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Yellow Dot Motorist Medical Information Program

Yellow Dot Decal

The Yellow Dot Motorist Medical Information Program (Yellow Dot Program) will officially launch in Broward County on February 1.

The Yellow Dot program is designed to assist Broward County residents and first responders in the event of an automobile crash or other medical emergency involving the participant's vehicle.

The program can help save lives during the critical moments after an accident. 

Broward Mayor Marty Kiar and Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Fire Chief Anthony Stravino will hold a joint news conference on Monday, February 1st at 11 a.m. at Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Station 32 located at 3400 SW 4th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale to explain program details and locations where the material is available to the public. 
"This program will save lives by providing vital information to first responders when accident victims may be unable to communicate for themselves. Enrollment in this program is voluntary, quick and easy and it's now available in Broward County," said Mayor Kiar.

"We support Mayor Kiar's passion for the Yellow Dot program and recognize that any tools that can assist our responders in rendering emergency medical care will prove beneficial," Sheriff Scott Israel said.

A Yellow Dot decal displayed on the rear windshield or in a clearly visible location on a motorcycle alerts emergency responders to look for the Yellow Dot pamphlet in the vehicle's glove compartment. The information provided on the pamphlet is designed to help emergency responders decide how to treat a person who may be unconscious following an accident. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

2016 Advocacy Day at Florida’s Capitol

2016 Advocacy Day at Florida’s Capitol

FL: Advocacy Day at the Capitol

There is nothing quite like hearing nearly 100 people chanting, “Pass the Buck” outside of Florida’s Capitol on a rainy morning!

On Thursday, January 21st, volunteers and staff from all over the state came to Tallahassee to ask Florida’s legislative leaders to make the fight against cancer a priority. After a rally on the steps of Florida’s Historic Capitol, asking the legislature to "Pass the Buck" and support an increase in the cigarette surcharge, our team visited with legislative offices and the Governor’s office. ACS CAN volunteers were making three primary requests: 

  • Increase Florida’s Cigarette Surcharge by $1 (Senate Bill 758 by Senators Clemens and House Bill 335 by Representative Stark) 
Increasing the price of cigarettes will reduce tobacco consumption, decrease the state’s health care costs from tobacco-related disease and generate additional funding to invest in our health care system.

  • $2.6 million for the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program 
The Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides lifesaving cancer screenings for medically underserved women between the ages of 50 and 64 who have

  • Continue investing in Florida’s biomedical research programs - $30 million 
For budget year 2015-16, we ask that both the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program and the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program are funded at $15 million apiece and that, as prescribed by law, program funding allocations are determined on a peer-reviewed, competitive grant basis.

ACS CAN volunteers secured a number of cosponsors for our cigarette surcharge bills during their visits! Thank you, Representatives Hazel Rogers (D – Lauderhill), Daphne Campbell (D – Miami Shores), Reggie Fullwood (D- Jacksonville), Lori Berman (D - Boynton Beach), Jared Moskowitz (D – Coral Springs), José Javier Rodríguez (D – Miami) and Senators Dwight Bullard (D – Cutler Bay), Jeremy Ring (D – Margate) and Chris Smith (D – Fort Lauderdale) for supporting our lifesaving tax initiative.

Thank you to those volunteers and staff who were able to join us! Never doubt that your efforts make a difference. To see more pictures from the day search hashtags #FLCancerLobbyDay #FundMaryBrogan and #PasstheBuckFL on your favorite social media outlet.

Updated information on the ACS CAN’s legislative priorities can be found at and you can follow the upcoming 2016 session action in real time on Twitter @ACSCAN_Florida

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Commissioners Ban Fracking in Broward County

 County Commissioners unanimously banned any type of hydraulic and acid fracturing, known as "fracking", to extract oil and gas from the ground in Broward County.  The vote comes as the Florida Legislature contemplates a series of bills that would stop local governments from regulating the practice.

"This is about protecting our water supply and environment," said Commissioner Beam Furr, who brought the ordinance to the Commission for a vote.  "We're discussing a ban on fracking today and at the same time state lawmakers are discussing taking away our authority to do so.  We must ban this now."

Fracking involves the pumping of huge amounts of water, sand and chemicals into the ground using extreme pressure to recover oil and gas deposits.  Oil and gas companies are not currently required by federal or state law to disclose formulas used in fracking. 

"This is Tallahassee once again trying to take away the authority of local elected officials who represent the people who live in Broward County.  This is a critical issue for us.  If necessary, I'm in favor of pursuing appropriate legal remedies to enforce this ordinance," said Broward County Mayor Marty Kiar. 

Dozens of people attended a public hearing to tell Commissioners they opposed fracking and spoke in favor of the ordinance to ban the controversial practice. An application to drill an exploratory oil well in the Florida Everglades, just west of the city of Miramar is currently under review by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 

Public and private water utilities across Broward County rely entirely upon groundwater sources, including the Biscayne and Floridan Aquifers for drinking water supplies.  The Floridan Aquifer alone is the source of drinking water for ten million residents.

Many of the chemicals used during the fracking process have resulted in thousands of documented cases of water contamination and adverse effects on human health and the environment in the United States.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mad Hatter's Tea Party at Stranahan House March 5

Don’t be late for this very important date! Join the Stranahan House for its Annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Saturday, March 5 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. along the banks of the New River. Delight in an assortment of finger foods, music and tea with Alice in Wonderland characters including Alice, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and more.  

“The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is definitely one of our most popular events of the year,” said April Kirk, executive director of the Historic Stranahan House Museum. “We invite guests of all ages to wear their most extravagant and outrageous hats as they enjoy finger sandwiches, cookies, cakes and tea while mingling with their favorite characters under the canopy.”

Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Advanced registration is required for this event and seating is limited. For more information and ticket sales, call 954-524-4736 or email Tickets can also be purchased online at

About Historic Stranahan House and Museum
The Stranahan House was built in 1901, when Broward County was no more than a bleak southern frontier supposedly unsuited for human habitation. The existing residents were the Seminoles who traveled down the New River to Frank Stranahan’s trading post to do business. Over the years as Fort Lauderdale grew and developed, the house became a post office, boarding house, restaurant and home to the “Founding Father” and “First Lady” of Fort Lauderdale – Frank and Ivy Stranahan. Today it stands as the oldest house in Fort Lauderdale and an epicenter of Broward County’s long and fascinating history.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Editorial Board: "Florida faces many tough problems. Abortion rights is not one of them."

An editorial in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel criticized efforts by Florida lawmakers to restrict women's access to safe and legal abortion. On January 19, a piece of legislation mirroring Texas' controversial anti-abortion bill HB 2 was passed out of a Florida House committee panel. A January 20 editorial by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel rebuked the Florida Legislature for "squandering time" with political "grandstanding" about women's safety while pushing for new regulations on clinics that have "nothing to do with safety or quality, either."
The editorial board's criticism comes as evidence mounts that HB 2 has had a deleterious effect on the health and safety of women in Texas. The editors noted that Planned Parenthood says that if Florida passes similar legislation, the organization "might have to close some of its 16 clinics in Florida," depriving women not only of the ability to obtain safe and legal abortions, but also of access to a wide variety of health care services. The editorial board argued that the legislation shows that 43 years "after the landmark Roe v. Wade case made abortion legal nationwide, ending abortion remains a goal of the Florida Legislature." From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (emphasis added):
In what has become an annual ritual, the Legislature is again trying to place barriers in front of women who seek an abortion.
This time, they're going after the state's 65 abortion clinics, trying to make it harder for them to stay in business by making them comply with the tougher regulations placed on outpatient surgery centers and hospitals.
HB 233, sponsored by Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, would force abortion clinics to make costly renovations. Some of the regulations have nothing to do with safety or quality, either. Rather, they have to do with the width of hallways, the size of closets and even the color of wall paint.
If the bill passes, Planned Parenthood said it might have to close some of its 16 clinics in Florida. In Texas, it says about 20 clinics closed after a similar law there passed three years ago.
Forty three years after the landmark Roe v. Wade case made abortion legal nationwide, ending abortion remains a goal of the Florida Legislature.
Last year, for example, the Legislature passed a law requiring women to wait 24 hours after visiting an abortion provider before having the procedure. A lawsuit has placed that law on hold. There's legitimate concerns that forcing women to visit a clinic twice, and force those who don't live nearby to find a place to stay overnight, creates an undue burden.
The year before, lawmakers passed a law prohibiting abortions after a fetus might be considered viable, possibly at 23 weeks, unless the mother's life is at risk.
The list goes on.
We send folks to Tallahassee to represent us, to do the critical business of the state and to spend tax money wisely. Yet every year, we watch them try to score political points with their base by chipping away at a woman's right to choose.
Florida faces many tough problems. Abortion rights is not one of them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Coastal Commissioners head to Tallahassee to push for Designated Beach Funding

Displaying Beach Renourishment CLM.jpg

Commissioner Chip LaMarca at beach renourishment project underway in Broward County

 County Commissioners from the panhandle to South Florida are joining forces in Tallahassee this week to drive home the significant role that beaches play in our state's economy.

Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca and coastal commissioners from throughout Florida will join the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association for meetings with state lawmakers to encourage designated funding for beaches using money earmarked for the environment with the passage of Amendment 1.

"Our beautiful beaches are our Florida brand and keeping them healthy drives Florida's economy. Beaches bring tourists who spend billions of dollars in our state every year.  We are asking that $50 million be placed into a beach fund annually to be used to maintain beaches throughout Florida. That is but a small portion of the $648-million available in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund approved by voters. The office of Economic and Demographic Research reports confirm that the statewide beach management program generates a positive return on investment (ROI) of 5.4 for each dollar invested in our beaches. Beach renourishment and shore protection is an ongoing process and there must to be money available to keep our coastal areas in pristine condition," said Commissioner LaMarca.

The group is also asking that economic impact be among the list of parameters used to determine which beaches receive priority funding.

Meetings are planned with Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Steve Crisafulli, Senators Alan Hays, Tom Lee, and Jack Latvala and State Representative Ben Albritton. 

Amendment 1 funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund using money generated from an excise tax on documents.  The money is set aside for a variety of environmental purposes including the improvement of Florida beaches and shores. 

Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Historic Stranahan House Museum Present “Native Reel Cinema Fest”

Wes Studi is “Ronnie BoDean” in Steven Paul Judd’s film

Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Historic Stranahan
House Museum Present “Native Reel Cinema Fest”

 The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Seminole Paradise, and the Historic Stranahan House Museum present South Florida’s first “Native Reel Cinema Fest” during the Annual Seminole Tribal Fair and Pow Wow on Friday, February 5 at 5:30 pm and Saturday, February 6 at 5:00 pm at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The free screening of Steven Paul Judd’s film “Ronnie BoDean,” starring Wes Studi, will be presented in conjunction with an interactive session with the director. This event will help provide the platform of showcasing Native American talent through film.

“Native Reel Cinema Fest” will spotlight on native short films by Kiowa/Choctaw director and writer Steven Paul Judd. Wes Studi stars as the eponymous Ronnie BoDean, a larger-than-life outlaw who must shake off an epic hangover and use his considerable street knowledge to take on his greatest challenge yet – babysitting. Judd’s film presents the first Native American “anti- hero” allowing for a new opportunity to explore the culture’s representation in films. The film was financed by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Judd is known primarily as a filmmaker; yet he’s also a prolific visual artist whose mashups of Native experiences and disposable American pop culture are sly and often downright funny. His creations include paintings, prints, poster art, photography and t-shirt designs.

The evening will include the presentation of the film accompanied by two of Spencer Battiest’s music videos also directed by Judd – “Love of My Life” and “The Storm”.  Battiest is an American Indian singer-songwriter, musician, producer, and actor from Hollywood, Florida. In 2013, Spencer became the first American Indian artist to sign with Hard Rock Records. His music release song "The Storm" garnered his first music video win as a musician. The music video was filmed entirely on the Seminole Reservation in Florida highlighting historical tribal land, ancestry and culture. The song was written as a tribute to the Seminole tribe of Florida, and homage to his parents, grandparents and tribal leaders. Battiest will join Judd during the Q&A session.

Everett Osceola
The event is coordinated by Seminole Tribal Members and film co-producers,Everett Osceola and Oliver Wareham, with the support of April Kirk. Osceola serves as the Cultural Ambassador for the Seminole Tribe and is an educator sharing the importance of the Seminole culture as instilled by his family. Wareham serves as an Official Commissioner for Seminole Gaming and is a photographer and storyteller sharing the beauty of the Seminole culture through images and the spoken word. Kirk is the Executive Director of the Historic Stranahan House Museum and a painter. The team envisions bringing a larger multi-day Native American Film Festival to South Florida in the future - which will become the only one of its kind on the southeastern coast.

The portrayal of Native Americans in film has been fed by stereotypes, however, a growing number of pictures have portrayed indigenous peoples of the Americas in a more historically accurate light. In recent years, the growth of Native Americans in all avenues of the film industry has been substantial. There are only a few Native American film festivals in America, all of which take place in the mid and west coast of the country, with the exception of the Native American Film and Video Festival. The “Native Reel Cinema Fest” goal is to focus on films that can provide an in depth look into Native cinema in America.

The Seminole Tribe and the Stranahans have a long and mutually respectful relationship. Collaborative efforts between the two strive to bring an awareness and appreciation of Seminole Culture and how it has positively impacted the lives of areas first settlers. Programs work to preserve, interpret, and promote the two histories to residents and visitors alike.

Last year the Seminole Tribe and Stranahan House partnered under the leadership of Osceola and Kirk to bring “Seminole Cinema Night” to the Historic Stranahan House Museum. This was the first-ever local screening of the 1958 film, “The Exiles” produced by director Kent MacKenzie. The documentary, which was lost for nearly 50 years and restored in 2008, follows three Indian Americans who have left their reservations to live in downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row. The film reveals the complex social issues faced by these young teens and highlights many challenges that still exist today.

"They say pictures are worth a thousand words,” said Everett Osceola. “Native Reel Cinema Fest gives you the opportunity to experience our journey through our words and images.”

Native Reel Cinema Fest
Friday, February 5th at 5:30 pm and Saturday, February 6th at 5:00 pm
Film Screening, Music Videos, and Q&A
Tickets: Free and Open to the Public
Location: Paradise Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino One Seminole Way, Hollywood, Florida 33314

For information, please contact:
Everett Osceola, Seminole Tribe of Florida Cultural Ambassador
April Kirk, Historic Stranahan House Museum Executive Director

For interviews, please contact Everett Osceola at or 954.393.7757.

Seminole Tribe of Florida
Known as the “Unconquered” Seminole Tribe of Florida, because the Tribe never signed a peace treaty with the U.S. Government, the Seminoles are one of the most admired and successful Indian Tribes in North America.  The Tribe’s seven casinos, including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotels and Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla., are among the most financially profitable casinos in the world. The Tribe also owns Hard Rock International, with a total of 212 venues in 69 countries, including 162 cafes, 23 hotels and 11 casinos. More than 4,000 members of the Seminole Tribe live on and off reservations in many parts of Florida. Today’s Seminoles are often entrepreneurs and college graduates, including many who work in tribal economic enterprises or in tribal government.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, located minutes from Fort Lauderdale’s world-famous beach, features a AAA Four Diamond resort with 469 luxury rooms and suites, award- winning restaurants, high-energy nightlife, a lagoon-style pool and Beach Club, a Hard Rock-inspired spa, and premium meeting and convention space. As South Florida’s premier entertainment destination, Seminole Hard Rock hosts top-name acts at its 5,500–seat Hard Rock Live concert arena and offers more than 100 table games, 2,000 of the most popular slots and a stand-alone poker room. Fine dining options include Council Oak Steaks & Seafood, the resort’s signature steakhouse, and Kuro, a luxe and socially vibrant restaurant offering new- style Japanese cuisine. The resort also features contemporary and casual eateries, including Blue Plate, the hotel’s 24-hour, diner-inspired restaurant; Constant Grind, a gourmet coffee and pastry shop; and the ever-famous Hard Rock Cafe - Hollywood, part of Hard Rock’s 162 globally recognized rock ‘n’ roll restaurants.

Historic Stranahan House Museum
Stranahan House is the oldest and most historic surviving structure in Broward County. Originally the Trading Post of the New River Settlement, the wood frame structure has served as a community center, boarding house, restaurant, and home of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Founding Family, the Stranahans. Today the building stands as a museum preserving the history of the Stranahans, the Seminoles, and the first settlers of Fort Lauderdale. The mission of the museum is to tell the story of the birth of our community through the lives of two extraordinary people and the homestead they created and to serve as an enduring legacy for historic preservation.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Democrats Could Take Florida Senate Back In 2016

Senate diagram 2014 State of Florida.svg

The GOP in Florida has lost a major battle they should never have had a chance at winning in the first place. A judge for the Leon Circuit has ruled in favor of district maps drawn up by voters’ groups, and not the GOP-controlled legislature. These maps give Democrats a new chance at capturing the state’s Senate in upcoming elections by making districts competitive again.
The House is another story, because Republicans dominate Florida’s House by a huge margin. Right now, they hold the Senate by a 26-14 margin, despite the fact that registered Democratic voters outnumber registered Republican voters in the state. Judge George Reynolds rejected the state Senate’s maps as partisan, saying:
“While the Senate maintains that the selection of Senate Map 1 was without partisan intent and that all safeguards were taken to insulate staff from outside political influence, it is difficult to infer anything other than impermissible partisan intent in the selection of Senate Map 1 based on its political performance.”
Gerrymandering has been losing a lot of ground around the nation, particularly in the wake of a little-known Supreme Court decision earlier this summer that upheld Arizona’s citizen redistricting commission. Arizona’s legislature sued in federal court after the commission drew Arizona’s new districts, claiming the Constitution doesn’t give them that authority. It was a 5-4 decision, but the Court sided with the independent commission, which paved the way for other states to create their own independent commissions to combat the scourge of gerrymandering.
“Safe districts” are a major problem for voters and the population because they give one party a distinct advantage over the other for years at a time. States end up with disproportionate representation in their legislatures and in the federal government. Florida is a prime example of this, with more Democratic voters than Republican voters, but far more Republicans controlling the state.
Safe districts can cause two massive problems that seem contradictory: The first is to make legislators lazy, because they don’t have to fear serious challenges from the opposition. However, it can also make them more extreme politically, because they fear primary challenges from their lunatic fringes. This is part of how the GOP’s lunatic fringe, a.k.a. the Tea Party, took over. Republicans screwed themselves with their gerrymandering efforts, because they created hyperpartisan districts for themselves, some of which were way too far right. When you create entire districts for your lunatic fringe, your lunatic fringe takes over.
Florida’s new maps—one for the House and one for the Senate—will be drawn by the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida. These two groups spearheaded the four-year long war against the Republicans’ own redistricting plans. The court rejected those plans as illegal under a voter-approved ban on gerrymandering.
State Sen. Joe Negron, of Stuart, seems to think that the Senate should cut its losses with this, although others are reviewing the judge’s decision and seeing if there might be a way to appeal to the state Supreme Court. Negron thinks that the people of Florida will continue to elect “principled” Republicans in spite of the new maps.
Florida’s Supreme Court has struck blows to nearly every one of the legislature’s redistricting challenges, so if they do appeal, they can probably expect to be shot down yet again. Negron might actually be a voice of reason for the GOP on this. It’s time for them to give it up and find real, honest ways to reach voters.
That requires real work on the party, though, which is too difficult for them.
Earlier in December, Florida’s Supreme Court approved the independently-drawn Congressional district map, which was also far less gerrymandered than previous maps. It will hurt some Republicans and also some Democrats, but helps to end the “safe district” problem at the federal level, too.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Judge Sides With Voting-Rights Groups On Senate Map

A Leon County circuit judge Wednesday approved a redistricting plan for the Florida Senate.
Judge George Reynolds approved a map proposed by voting-rights groups that have led a long-running legal challenge against current Senate districts. In doing so, Reynolds rejected a map proposed by the Senate.
Reynolds had the task of recommending to the Supreme Court either the Senate’s redistricting proposal or one of several plans offered by a coalition of voting-rights groups including the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida. The job fell to Reynolds after the House and Senate failed to come to an agreement on a map during a special session that ended in November.
Existing Senate districts are being set aside under a settlement between lawmakers and the voting-rights organizations, which sued to overturn the current map, arguing it violated a voter-approved ban on political gerrymandering.
(The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


CONGRESSWOMAN FIGHTS REDISTRICTING PLAN: U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown faces a deadline to file a revised federal lawsuit challenging a new Florida congressional redistricting plan. Brown's district would be dramatically changed under the plan. Currently, it stretches from Jacksonville to Orlando. Under the new plan, it is drawn to go from Jacksonville to Gadsden County, west of Tallahassee. Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat, filed an original version of the lawsuit in August but has said she will amend it after the Florida Supreme Court this month approved the new map.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Jeb Bush Campaigns In Florida Today

BUSH CAMPAIGNS IN HIALEAH: Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will campaign at a restaurant in Miami-Dade County. (8:15 a.m., Chico's Restaurant, 4070 West 12th Ave., Hialeah.)

BUSH SPEAKS IN PALM BEACH COUNTY: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is expected to speak to the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches. (Noon, Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach.)

BUSH CAMPAIGNS IN OCALA: Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush will hold a town-hall event in Marion County. (3 p.m., Circle Square Commons, Cypress Hall, 8413 S.W. 80th St., Ocala.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


 Circuit Judge Terry Lewis

A Leon County judgey ordered the state to use a map of congressional districts drawn by a coalition of voting-rights groups during the next three elections. The brief final judgment, written by Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, was a formality; Lewis had already recommended the coalition's proposal to the Florida Supreme Court, which supported his ruling in a Dec. 2 decision. "Plan CP-1 shall be utilized in the 2016 Florida congressional elections and in Florida congressional elections thereafter until the next decennial redistricting," Lewis wrote. The original draft of the congressional map --- drawn by the Legislature in 2012 and tweaked in 2014 --- was struck down by the Supreme Court in July for violating a voter-approved ban on gerrymandering. Lawmakers will try again in 2022, two years after the U.S. Census. U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., is challenging the redistricting plan in federal court.

© 2015 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved


U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, a Jacksonville Democrat who has been perhaps the most-outspoken opponent of a congressional redistricting plan, will file a revised federal lawsuit by Dec. 29, according to a court filing Tuesday. The Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 2 approved a new map that dramatically changes Brown's district, which currently stretches from Jacksonville to Orlando. Under the new plan, the district would run from Jacksonville to Gadsden County, which is west of Tallahassee. The plan, which received a final sign-off Tuesday from Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, is aimed at complying with the anti-gerrymandering "Fair Districts" standards approved by voters in 2010. Brown filed a federal lawsuit in August, arguing that reconfiguring her district would reduce African-Americans' chances of electing a candidate of their choice, violating the Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit was later placed on hold until the Supreme Court approved the new map. The document filed Tuesday in federal court in Tallahassee was a joint status report from attorneys for Brown, the state House, the state Senate, Secretary of State Ken Detzner and voting-rights groups. It said Brown plans to amend her original complaint by Dec. 29. Also it said the League of Women Voters of Florida and Common Cause Florida, the voting-rights groups that led a legal fight to require redrawn districts, will file an amended motion to intervene in the federal case by Jan. 12.

© 2015 The News Service of Florida. All rights reserved

A Holiday Message from Commissioner Beam Furr

Seasons Greetings

Happy Holidays everyone, I hope that this season affords each and everyone a chance to relax, spend time with family and friends, and reflect on the past year. As we move into 2016, I am optimistic that Broward County will continue moving in the right direction. Of course, there were several newsworthy events that took place over the last few weeks, which I would like to bring to your attention.
Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact 2.0 Signed in Key West

While the nations of the world were in Paris coming to an agreement on Climate Change, the counties of Southeast Florida were meeting in Key West for the 7th Annual Summit of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact. Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties each gave presentations on their updated action plans and projects. They recounted the successes and lessons learned in order to provide guidance to help other communities move forward in responding to Climate Change. The three-day summit concluded with each of the four counties re-signing the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact.
The Importance of Regional Collaboration in Fighting Against the Effects of Climate Change
At the summit, members of the Compact presented the updated unified sea level rise projection, which is the projection that all of the city and county governments have agreed to use for purposes of building codes, planning and resiliency. Members also gave presentations illustrating the need to establish their own resiliency standards that could guide future development.

As Dr. Jennifer Jurado, the Director of Broward County’s Environmental Planning and Community Resilience division stated on a recent episode of WLRN’s the Florida Roundup, "In the absence of those (resiliency) standards, we're subjecting these new investments to conditions that are not going to be sustainable… we're not going to be able to sustain levels of service that are critical to a functional community." Furthermore, we need to have these standards apply to any new development, meaning that there needs to be coordination between building elevation, road elevation, and all other parts of our infrastructure.
From Left to Right – Miami-Dade County Commissioner (and Chairman) Jean Monestime, Broward County Commissioner Beam Furr, Monroe County Commissioner (and Mayor Pro Tem) Heather Carruthers, and Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams
The City of Hollywood took a big step into a leadership position in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact. Hollywood joins Key West, West Palm Beach and Miami Beach as the four municipalities on the Compact Steering Committee.
To hear more about this Summit and the work that is being done by the members of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact, you can listen to the December 4th episode of WLRN’s The Florida Roundup.

Listen to program
Unspent Office Funds will be Donated to the Beach Dune Grant Program

At the end of this fiscal year, each Commission office was given an opportunity to use unspent funds to donate to a special project. I have decided to donate the full $12,000 to the Beach Dune Grant Program. This means that in FY16 another round of small grants will be awarded to cities, HOAs or other non-profits looking to construct vegetated beach dunes in Broward County. My office will not have any input on who wins the grants, but I have asked that preference be given to projects in District 6.
Broward County Faces Off with the Florida Panthers
The Broward County Commission decided to renegotiate the deal with the Florida Panthers. It passed on a 5-3 vote with one abstention. This deal commits $86 Million of taxpayer funds over several years to the NHL team, its owner and the arena operating company. I voted against this deal for one simple reason. The $86 million in this deal comes out of Tourist Development Tax dollars. The Tourist Development Tax (TDT) is generated by sales of hotel and motel room nights, and those funds historically go towards projects that are specifically designed to generate more tourists to Broward County.

One of the biggest projects that is paid for with TDT money is Beach Renourishment. Segment III, the segment of the beach in Broward County from the Miami-Dade County line up to Port Everglades, including Hallandale Beach, Hollywood Beach and Dania Beach, is estimated to cost $53.9 million for a future round of beach renourishment.

To me, the health of our Beaches in Broward County needs to be our top priority when we consider how and where we spend our TDT money. Tourists from all over the world come to South Florida for the sun and the sand, not the ice.

My concern is that the current strategy for funding future beach renourishment also depends on the State Legislature, the Governor, and the Congress to meet their spending obligations. When it comes to the protection of our environment, none of those commitments can be guaranteed, making our dollars all that more important. The beach is our livelihood. We must plan to sustain our beach as it is necessary to sustaining our very way of life.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise will only increase the need for Broward County to hold cash reserves for other environmental projects on our beaches.

To see my comments in full from the December 8th meeting, here is the video below.
TutorMate and Climate Change on WPBT2’s Issues with Helen Ferre

On December 18th I was invited to speak about the TutorMate initiative and Climate Change on WPBT2’s Issues with Helen Ferre. The original program aired on WPBT Channel 2 on December 18th at 7pm, and you can watch it here.

Watch Video on YouTube
Volunteer Opportunity – Help Broward County Conduct the Homeless Point-in-Time Count.
I hope you will join me and volunteer for the Homeless Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time Count is the best tool for tracking where the needs are greatest in our community, and where our programs have been most successful. From Tuesday, January 26th through Thursday, January 28th teams of two, three, or four volunteers will canvass the known sites where individuals experiencing homelessness gather.

If you would like to volunteer for the Homeless Point-in-Time Count, please visit to register as a volunteer. If you and several friends want to register as a team, you can do so. If you do not have a team, you will be assigned to one on the day of the Point-in-Time Count. The goal is to sign up 200 volunteers by the beginning of volunteer training, which runs from January 12th through the 14th. If you can gather a group of 10 or more volunteers, you can email a request to for the Broward Regional Health Planning Council to arrange for a trainer to come to you.
Travelling Soon? FLL has an App!

Broward County's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport now has its own app for smartphone and tablet devices. This app has several functions, and I recommend using it to make sure you get up to the minute updates on your flights arrival and departure schedule as well as real time information on parking at the FLL garage. You can download the FLL App from the Google Play Store or the Apple iTunes Store below.
Child Care Licensing Proposals Presented at Florida Association of Counties Annual Conference
The Florida Association of Counties (FAC) represents Florida’s 67 counties on a range of important issues before the state legislature. I serve as Vice Chair of the Human Services Legislative Committee, and I had the privilege to attend the FAC’s Legislative Conference earlier this month. At this conference I brought forth two proposals related to early learning and school readiness. The first proposal centers on the idea that the state of Florida should ensure appropriate funding to provide adequate access to child care and enrichment programs for low-income working families. I am happy to report that this part of the proposal was enthusiastically adopted by the Florida Association of Counties and will be part of the FAC 2016 legislative program.

The second part of my proposal puts the focus on raising the quality of available programs. While there are several factors that define a high quality early education program, a key component is the knowledge and skills of the child care providers. I proposed that over a five-year period we raise the minimum standard for working as an early educator in our state.
Current Credentialing Minimum Requirement
Proposed Minimum Credentialing RequirementWithin Five Years
  • High School Diploma
  • High School Diploma
  • 45 Hour Introductory Child Care Course
  • 120 Hours National Child Development Associate (CDA) credential
  • 10 Hours / Year In-Service Training
  • 20 Hours / Year Professional Development
This proposal remains under review by the committee so that a revised proposal can come back for a vote. We must invest in making sure that all of our youngest residents come to school prepared for school, because the price of inaction is just too high.
The Rain Couldn’t Stop the Hollywood Candy Cane Parade

On December 5th, the City of Hollywood held its annual Candy Cane Parade, rain or shine. Thankfully, the weather cleared up considerably before the parade finally got underway. I was happy to still see so many children and their families on the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk and their excitement as the floats passed by.

Recycle Your Christmas Tree at a Broward County Park through Chip-a-Tree

The Holidays are here, which means that Broward County is bringing back our Chip-a-Tree initiative. Last year, Broward County Parks recycled more than 5,000 trees, representing tons of material that would otherwise have gone to landfills. The mulch from the trees is used throughout the county parks system.

The free program encourages Broward County residents to remove all decorations from their holiday trees (no decorated trees will be accepted), then bring the trees to a participating park, where they are chipped and used for landscaping throughout the county park system. There is a limit of two trees per vehicle, artificial trees are not accepted, and no commercial vehicles or garbage trucks are allowed.
This season's program runs daily from Saturday, December 26, 2015, through Monday, January 18, 2016 Martin Luther King Day. The gate fees will be waived for tree recyclers, so there's no excuse not to do the right thing.

For more information on locations and hours, please visit Broward.Org/Parks/ThingsToDo/Pages/Chip-a-TreeProgram.aspx
Contact Us
Contact Us
Our district office is conveniently located in the lobby of the Hollywood Branch of the Broward County Public Library at 2600 Hollywood Blvd, next to Hollywood City Hall. This office is open for your convenience Mondaythrough Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. If you would like to schedule an appointment, or you have a great idea, suggestion or an issue that needs my attention, feel free to call me at 954-357-7006/7790 or send me an email at


County Commissioner Beam Furr District 6
Broward County Commission | 115 S. Andrews Ave. Room 412 | Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Email | Website - | Phone: 954-357-7006