Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials in his administration did a good job responding to Hurricane Dorian.
Hurricane Dorian was far less of a threat to Florida than initially feared, but state and local officials still deserve credit for being well prepared.
Cheer: Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials in his administration, for doing a good job responding to Dorian. As GateHouse Media's John Kennedy reported, local emergency managers praised DeSantis for listening to them and their staffs in making decisions, in contrast to his predecessor's top-down management style.
DeSantis didn't push for widespread early evacuations, instead recommending residents follow local evacuation orders. He avoided the chaos on roadways caused by former Gov. Rick Scott calling for mass evacuations days before Hurricane Irma hit in 2017.
DeSantis appointed former state Rep. Jared Moskowitz as state emergency management director, replacing Scott's inexperienced director, and reversed the former governor's decision to close emergency operations briefings to the media. And in response to the nursing-home deaths that happened during Irma, state officials made changes in the monitoring of those facilities.
While DeSantis benefited from Florida avoiding a direct hit from Dorian, he handled his first hurricane as governor well — although the jury is still out on his longer-term planning for more intense storms and other changes wrought by a warming planet.
Jeer: U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville, for joining an effort to allow employers to legally discriminate against LGBTQ workers.
Yoho was among at least 48 GOP members of Congress who filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that LGBTQ employees shouldn’t be covered by federal protections against workplace discrimination. Yoho was the only Florida representative on the list.
It’s shameful that Yoho would go out of his way to facilitate discrimination against some of his own constituents.
Cheer: State Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, for again filing a bill to expand safety requirements for children riding in motor vehicles.
As Florida Politics reported, Perry for the third straight year filed legislation to raise the age in which children must be in a booster or car seat in Florida. The measure, SB 158, would increase the age to 7 from 6 years old, with exemptions allowing children to use just a safety belt if they’re in an emergency situation, being driven by a non-family member or have a medical condition.
His previous bill passed two committees, but never made it to the Senate floor and wasn’t considered by the House. We hope the latest effort will get greater traction.
Jeer: The state’s process for evaluating three new toll roads, for being stacked in favor of building the highways.
The three task forces tasked with considering the roads held their initial meetings Aug. 27. Lindsay Cross of Florida Conservation Voters said the process made it seem “like a foregone conclusion that these roads will be built,” arguing the groups should be looking at the roads' environmental impact and whether they’re needed.
As former Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan said, the process should include an analysis of mass transit as well. The wishes of residents along the proposed routes should also be considered, given that officials from those counties are among those expressing objections.