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Category: Politics


Islamorada Village Council Chambers are open to village residents who wish to attend regularly scheduled and special meetings. Those taking seats inside the chambers at the Founders Park Community Center are strongly encouraged by the village to wear masks, but they’re not required.  Members of the public can still view and listen to meetings from their homes by watching Monroe County’s MCTV channel 77 or logging on via Zoom.  A special meeting called by Mayor Buddy Pinder on May 13 lasted just over an hour, as members discussed the next steps following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ set of executive...

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Boats heading to the popular bayside beach in Islamorada will soon need to anchor farther from the shore. Those that don’t could face fines.  Twenty white buoys will soon be placed to create a swim/vessel exclusion zone at Port Antigua and White Marlin Beach on Lower Matecumbe Key. The idea to push boats 300 feet from the mean high water line — and making people swim to the popular area — saw the village council’s unanimous approval last August.  Enacting a boating-restricted, swim-only area off the beach looks to address ongoing safety issues as well as problems from the commotion that’s seen...

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A 60-day legislative session in Tallahassee brought more than 260 pieces of legislation to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk for signature. Last week, the governor signed two bills related to the state’s elections and COVID-19 recovery, which also saw two executive orders.  Joining DeSantis in his signature of election legislation, Senate Bill 90, during a press conference in West Palm Beach last week was the state’s No. 2 in charge, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez. The first Hispanic female lieutenant governor, elected in 2018, Nuñez was tuned in to the issues during the session.  With the signing...

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Keys get funding; Key West cruise ship vote overturned

Legislative session in Tallahassee yielded millions of dollars for vital programs and projects in the Florida Keys. It also saw insertion of language to overturn a Key West vote that sought to limit cruise ships coming and going there.  First-year state Rep. Jim Mooney said while he wanted more funding for the College of the Florida Keys, a $20 million appropriation for the Florida Keys Stewardship Act passed through the legislature in a victory for the island chain. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget recommendation included the full funding amount after a $10 million cut last year due to the pandemic.  Mooney,...

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Property purchases for workforce housing in Islamorada and a rezoning for employee housing at the Florida Sea Base were among items receiving unanimous approval during the village council’s April 29 meeting.  Council members said “yes” to purchase property owned by Overseas Center LLC, located at MM 88.6 and zoned as residential single-family, for $850,000. The dais followed that up by approving the purchase of three single-family lots located near MM 88.6 on Overseas Highway for a price of $951,000. Pursuing the vacant Overseas Center lot began in early April when village council directed...

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Mask-wearing mandates and other local government COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and individuals in Florida are no longer in effect, per a pair of executive orders signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on May 3.  Business owners can still require masks when patrons enter their establishments, but DeSantis’ orders override any approved decision-making and oversight by city and county governments over COVID measures that infringe on rights or liberties.  The first executive order signed by DeSantis suspends all local COVID-19 restrictions and mandates on individuals and businesses through the end of...

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A 60-day legislative session in Tallahassee is nearing the end. While some bills related to election administration and social media are making progress, other pieces of legislation are stalling — not to mention a $100 billion budget that still must be approved. Session is set to end Friday, April 30, as legislators work to get their bills to the finish line.  SENATE BILL 90 — ELECTION ADMINISTRATION Passing through the Senate via a 23-17 vote on April 26, the bill sponsored by Dennis Baxley, who represents Sumter, Lake and Marion counties, puts tighter regulations on vote-by-mail ballots. The...

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A lot can happen in 411 days.  For example, during the April 21 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, emergency management director Shannon Weiner said that Monroe County has been in “Covid Operations” for 411 days. Weiner’s portion of the meeting was a public hearing to consider changes to the county’s mask ordinance. Unless rescinded or extended by the board, the ordinance would sunset on June 1, 2021, subject to quarterly review. The general consensus of the BOCC, with firm backing from health officer and administrator Bob Eadie of the Florida Department of Health in Monroe...

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Key West’s effort to ban large cruise ships is on death row, the governor its only lifeline. A single signature by Gov. Ron DeSantis will bring a breathless end to Key West’s cruise ship debate today. If DeSantis approves the bill passed by the Florida House late Wednesday night, cruise ships of all sizes will continue coming to Key West. If DeSantis instead vetoes the bill, Key West’s Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships will prevail. But a veto is unlikely given the breadth of the transportation bill that contains the cruise ship legislation.  Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, the Florida House...

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KKK connection prompts Key West housing board to rename public housing complex

The board of the Key West Housing Authority on April 19 voted unanimously to change the name of JY Porter Place public housing apartments in light of concerns about Porter’s connections to the Ku Klux Klan. The same board is also committed to making its meetings more accessible to the public and to creating a resident advisory board to give residents of public housing a voice. The JY Porter Place housing complex at the end of White Street will be renamed, as proposed by City Commissioner Clayton Lopez, for Lang B. Milian, the second black man ever elected to the Key West city commission...

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