Project Kuiper—our work to provide fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world—plans to launch and deploy its first two satellites by the end of next year.
The satellites will allow Amazon to test the communications and networking technology that will be used in the last design and procedures for deploying the project’s full constellation of low Earth orbit satellites. The launches, in partnership with ABL Space Systems, will take place at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued a proclamation announcing that the Special Session to provide protections for Floridians who have lost their jobs or are having their employment threatened because of vaccine mandates will begin on November 15, 2021, and go no later than November 19, 2021.
“Your right to earn a living should not be contingent upon COVID shots,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We have somehow gone from 15 days to slow the spread to 3 jabs to keep your job. In Florida, we believe that the decision whether or not to get a COVID shot is a choice based on individual circumstances, so we are litigating against the Biden Administration and will be passing legislation in this Special Session to protect Florida jobs and protect parents’ rights when it comes to masking and quarantines. The health, education, and wellbeing of our children are primarily the responsibility of parents. As long as I am Governor, parents in Florida will play a strong role in determining what their kids are learning and how they’re treated in school.”
Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis called for this Special Session of the Florida Legislature at a press conference where he was joined by first responders, healthcare workers, airline employees, and Floridians from various other industries who have faced or are facing consequences as a result of vaccine mandates.
Governor DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody have also announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s unconstitutional vaccine mandates, making Florida the first state to bring a comprehensive legal action against the federal contractor vaccine mandate. “Governor DeSantis has called this Special Session because we must stand up for the rights and liberties of Floridians not only through litigation but also through legislation,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “We are looking forward to collaborating with Senate President Simpson and House Speaker Sprowls to provide protections for Floridians of all ages, in the workforce and in the classroom.”
Governor DeSantis is calling on the Legislature to consider legislation that will:
Protect current and prospective employees against unfair discrimination because of COVID-19 vaccination status and ensure robust enforcement for this protection;
Ensure that educational institutions and government entities are prohibited from unfairly discriminating against current and prospective employees, students, and residents based on COVID-19 vaccination status;
Ensure that employees improperly denied employment based on COVID-19 vaccination status can be eligible for reemployment benefits and, if needed, ensure that employees injured by a COVID-19 vaccination taken under a company policy are covered by workers’ compensation;
Appropriate a sufficient amount of funds to investigate complaints regarding COVID-19 vaccination mandates and to take legal action against such mandates, including mandates imposed by the Federal Government;
Clarify that the Parents’ Bill of Rights, Chapter 1014, Florida Statutes, vests the decision on masking with parents, not government entities, and that schools must comply with Department of Health rules that govern student health, including rules that ensure healthy students can remain in school;
Limit mandates by school districts on students or employees regarding COVID-19 and related mitigation measures;
Provide adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure that Florida law is followed and the rights of parents are honored;
Direct the State to evaluate whether it should assert jurisdiction over occupational safety and health issues for government and private employees;
Repeal the authority for the State Health Officer to order forced injections or vaccinations under Section 381.00315, Florida Statutes, originally enacted in 2002; and
Create as necessary public records exemptions related to complaints and investigations described herein.
To hear testimonials of employees affected by vaccine mandates, the video of Governor DeSantis’ press conference from Thursday, October 21st, where he called for the Special Session is available for use here, and the video of Governor DeSantis’ press conference from Thursday, October 28th, where he announced a lawsuit against the Biden Administration is available for use here, both courtesy of the Governor’s Press Office.
Though nothing has been set in stone yet, there are many proposed changes coming forth in what students are taught in Florida’s public school system. Some changes may be loved by some and hated by others. You can find here a full list of proposed changes.
For example, instead of the United States being referred to as a democracy, it would be referred to as its correct form as a constitutional republic. The United States is not a democracy, despite many public assertions that it is; it is in fact a constitutional republic. Also, there is a call to explain advantages of capitalism and free market over socialism and communism. As well, it could make an emphasis on the Federalist papers in classrooms besides teaching students will recognize Judeo-Christian principles of law and government in primary sources (e.g., rule of law, God-given rights, equality of mankind, limited government, separation of powers, consent of the governed).
Today, May 26, 2021, teachers, school principals, and superintendents in Baker County, Sarasota County and Okaloosa County joined Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to announce $765 million in funding to support Florida’s teachers. These investments include $550 million to continue elevating minimum teacher salaries, as well as $215 million to provide all of Florida’s eligible public school principals and teachers with $1,000 disaster relief payments.
Governor DeSantis worked with the Florida Legislature to fight for continued funding to support Florida’s teachers through the Florida Leads budget, and for the $550 million to continue to raise minimum teacher salaries represents an additional $50 million over last year’s historic $500 million investment. Over the past year, minimum pay for Florida’s teachers increased by an average of $6,000 from $40,000 to $46,000. Overall, 68 of Florida’s 74 school districts (92 percent) now have a starting salary of $40,000 or higher.
“While most other states locked down their schools, Florida followed the science and opened our schools for in-person instruction, five days a week,” said Governor DeSantis. “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our teachers and school leaders Florida succeeded where so many other states failed. I can’t thank them enough for their hard work and dedication during this school year and these bonuses are a small way to say thank you on behalf of our state. My thanks also go to Speaker Sprowls, Senate President Simpson, Senator Stargel, and Representative Trumbull for their leadership during the 2021 legislative session to make this funding a reality.”
“Governor DeSantis has proven once again that Florida is the Education State,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “His exceptional leadership and bold vision has taken Florida’s minimum teacher salaries to an average of $46,000, and his focus on celebrating and elevating our educators is unparalleled. The way to ensure that Florida has the best teachers is to outpace the nation in minimum teacher pay and to reward, recruit, and retain the best teaching talent possible. Thank you to the Florida Legislature for heeding the Governor’s request to prioritize our state’s educators.”
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “Since day one, Florida’s teachers and first responders have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, working tirelessly to protect our communities and care for our students. The bonus checks that Governor DeSantis proposed, and secured from the Legislature, means a lot to these educators, our first responders and their families who endured through this crisis with them. These heroes are the backbone of our communities and today the Governor sent a clear message that Florida loves and appreciates their hard work and dedication. I thank Governor DeSantis for his leadership throughout these challenging times and for putting families first as we work together to move Florida forward.”
“Dedicated teachers across Florida have gone above and beyond over the last 18 months to make certain our students have every opportunity to continue to make learning gains in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson. “In addition to increases in funds available specifically for teacher salary increases, I hope these bonuses will demonstrate just how much our state appreciates and values the contributions of Florida’s teachers.”
“During this pandemic, we were reminded of the importance of Florida’s teachers to our children,” said Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls. “While other states kept their schools closed, Florida opened them up and allowed students to return to normalcy. I applaud Florida’s teachers for stepping up and giving students the ability to learn in-person, from the classroom. Thank you Governor Ron DeSantis for these bonuses.”
“We are so proud of the work our teachers have done over the last year, innovating every step of the way,” said Senator Kelli Stargel. “They have had to make so many adjustments and have worked so hard to make sure every child has a chance to learn. This bonus is so well deserved, and along with an increase in our teacher salary increase allocation, demonstrates our commitment to Florida teachers and the service they provide to our state.”
“Ensuring that our children had access to in-person education during the COVID-19 pandemic was perhaps the most important task our state faced in the past year,” said Representative Jay Trumbull. “Florida’s teachers and principals went above and beyond this school year under unprecedented circumstances. I would like to thank Governor DeSantis and Speaker Sprowls for their tireless leadership in securing this well-deserved $1,000 bonus for the heroes in Florida’s classrooms.”
UPDATE: The Palm Beach County School Board decided on Thursday, May 20, 2021 to make facial masks for students and staff optional through the rest of the school year.
Last night, May 19, 2021, the Palm Beach County School Board had their regular meeting and were met with over six hours of bashing by county parents angry of the board’s mask policy which ended at 11:30 PM, while the meeting itself ended at 1 AM. this morning. It is an anger we are seeing across the nation at many school board meetings as many parents feel school boards are abusing their emergency powers given them temporarily to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Board member Marcia Andrews was the only one who was positive comments from the parents speaking as she has been the only board member to reach out and speak with them outside of the board meetings.
The parents want it to be optional for students to wear masks through the end of the school year, instead of the current policy requiring masks from the time they get on the school bus in the morning to when they are dropped off later in the afternoon. We expect masks to be optional in the next school year scheduled to begin August 10, 2021.
Many of the speakers directed their anger at Superintendent Dr. Donald E. Fennoy II who was accused of being out of touch with what is going on in county schools. All the speakers spoke out against the county’s mask policy and an online petition has over 8,000 signatures. For the meeting, they separated parents into two rooms — one for the masked and one for the unmasked.
The online petition states, “The School District Palm Beach County is ignoring the Governor’s latest order 2020-244 and forcing children to wear masks regardless of that child’s overall well being. A blanket policy of masking children is not only ineffective but for many students like my own children can cause tremendous psychological harm and potentially long term negative health consequences. All we ask is that masks become an option for those who are still suffering from those negative effects of mask mandates. Currently, children must wear a facial covering and are told through verbal instruction from staff employees that it is required to cover their nose and mouth the entire school day. That includes when they are at their individual desk, outside at recess or doing anything other than eating during lunch.”
Many parents said they are researching other alternatives to the government-run schools like charter schools, private schools, and home schooling their children.
According to new Annual Survey of School System Finances tables, released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau, per pupil spending for elementary and secondary public education (pre-K through 12th grade) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia increased by 5.0% to $13,187 per pupil during the 2019 fiscal year, compared to $12,559 per pupil in 2018. This is the largest increase in more than a decade. Data for this report covers the fiscal year before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The spending increase was due in part to an overall increase in revenue. In 2019, public elementary and secondary schools received $751.7 billion from all revenue sources, up 4.5% from $719.0 billion in 2018.
Other highlights include:
State governments contributed the greatest share — 46.7% or $350.9 billion — of public school funding in fiscal year 2019.
New York ($25,139), the District of Columbia ($22,406), which comprises a single urban district; Connecticut ($21,310), New Jersey ($20,512), and Vermont ($20,315) spent the most per pupil in fiscal year 2019.
Of the 100 largest public school systems (based on enrollment), the six that spent the most per pupil in FY 2019 were the New York City School District in New York ($28,004), Boston City Schools in Massachusetts ($25,653), Washington Schools in the District of Columbia ($22,406), San Francisco Unified in California ($17,228), Atlanta School District in Georgia ($17,112), and Seattle Public Schools in Washington ($16,543).
Public school systems in Alaska (15.3%), Mississippi (14.0%), South Dakota (13.7%), New Mexico (13.0%) and Arizona (12.9%) received the highest percentage of their revenues from the federal government, while public school systems in New Jersey (4.1%), Connecticut (4.3%), Massachusetts (4.3%), New York (4.8%) and New Hampshire (5.0%) received the lowest.
Total public school district debt increased by 3.7% to $495.1 billion in fiscal year 2019 from $477.4 billion in fiscal year 2018.
These statistics come from the 2019 Annual Survey of School System Finances. Education finance data include revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings). They do not adjust statistics for cost-of-living differences between geographic areas. It will release a preliminary version of the fiscal year 2020 data in the fall of 2021.
At 1PM on Monday, February 22, 2021, the U.S. House will present the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hopes to have a vote in the U.S. House by the close of next week. The 591-page reconciliation bill was made public late yesterday and provides billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer obligations to spend on everything from agriculture to education. Since the U.S. government does not have $1.9 trillion to spend on the Act, it will need to borrow the funds if the bill passes to be paid back by U.S. taxpayers on top of the $28 trillion owed by taxpayer already and the $122 trillion of unfunded liabilities on the federal government has obligated U.S. taxpayers.
Besides $1,400 direct payments to most Americans, the bill includes a raise in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour by 2025. The Act includes implementation of a national vaccination program that includes setting up community vaccination sites nationwide. It would also take measures to attempt combat with COVID-19, including scaling up testing and tracing, addressing shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies, spending on high-quality treatments. The plan will also spend money to reopen schools.
The Act would also provide funds for housing and nutrition to families (via SNAP), expand already funded child care and health care, extend and expand unemployment insurance, and give families with children and childless workers enhanced tax credits.
More rioting and looting broke out in American cities this week. This time, it was Philadelphia consumed by violence after a police shooting.
According to ABC News, at least 30 police officers have been injured in the violent unrest, while dozens of people have been arrested for rioting or vandalism. Mobs have descended on Walmart and rushed out carrying TVs, while other agitators ransacked Footlocker for new sneakers. The full number of businesses ravaged by the destruction is increasing and still being tallied.
This latest outbreak simply adds to the thousands of businesses, from Chicago to Minneapolis and beyond, that have been rioted, ransacked, burned down, or looted in the ongoing period of political unrest over police brutality, both real and imagined. All told, the damage from rioting in recent months will exceed any past period of civil unrest in American history, with even modest under-estimates putting the total cost at up to $2 billion.
The outbreak of mass rioting and looting across America is alarming in its own right, but equally chilling is the public’s support for the violence. As first reported by the Washington Examiner’sPaul Bedard, a new poll finds that college students in particular overwhelmingly believe that rioting and looting is justified.
The poll was conducted by Mclaughlin & Associate in conjunction with Yale University’s conservative William F. Buckley Program. It surveyed a nationally representative sample of 800 college students on a wide array of issues, from the coronavirus to race in America.
One key finding from the poll was that 64 percent of college students agreed that “the recent rioting and looting is justified to some degree.” Only 28 percent disagreed with this assessment.
What this result really conveys is that many of today’s young people neither understand nor respect the importance of property rights in a free society. And this is deeply misguided. Even if you’re concerned about racism in America and support criminal justice reform, property rights are essential.
Property rights are human rights. As economist Murray Rothbard once explained:
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The human right of every man to his own life implies the right to find and transform resources: to produce that which sustains and advances life. That product is a man’s property. That is why property rights are foremost among human rights and why any loss of one endangers the others.
Many left-leaning young people likely rooted their disdain for property rights in the notion that they only really matter to “Big Business” or “the rich.” (And themselves, of course). This is mistaken. In fact, the rich, safe neighborhoods aren’t the ones being looted. The destructive acts are disproportionately victimizing urban, poorer neighborhoods and minority-owned businesses.
And the long-term fallout of attacks on property rights haunts society’s most vulnerable the most. As famed economist Thomas Sowell put it, property rights “belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights.”
Even if you’re concerned about racism in America and support criminal justice reform, property rights are essential to progress.
Why? Well, property rights are the foundation of a capitalist economy.
The calculation of costs and benefits that underlies a profit-driven economy relies on the protection of property rights. If business owners and investors can’t feel secure in their property in an area, they take their investment elsewhere. This means that in areas that are looted, there are fewer jobs and fewer opportunities over time.
Hence, as Sowell observed, property rights serve everyone.
So, if young people really care about social justice, they shouldn’t downplay and justify looting. They ought to understand that no matter the cause, violating property rights isn’t “progressive” at all.
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Prior to founding his company, Brian Tracy International, Brian was the Chief Operating Officer of a $265 million dollar development company. He has had successful careers in sales and marketing, investments, real estate development and syndication, importation, distribution and management consulting. He has conducted high level consulting assignments with several billion-dollar plus corporations in strategic planning and organizational development.