Trump’s border wall: What U.S.-Mexico border looks like now

Congress is preparing to pass a budget deal that President Donald Trump said Tuesday includes “enough money to make a down payment on the border wall” between the U.S. and Mexico.

Barriers exist along some of the 2,000-mile border, but challenges remain in evaluating which sections need to be replaced, built or left alone.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: Photos, stories, videos, analysis of Donald Trump’s presidency

These photos taken by Getty Images over the past year provide a look at the structures in place now.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

In several places along the border, artists have added their own touch to the wall. This segment faces Tijuana, Mexico.

(Can’t see the photos? Click here.)

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

This mural also appears on the border wall in Tijuana.

Artist Enrique Chiu led part of the mural effort along the border wall between California and Mexico. He told KPBS in San Diego that if Trump’s administration builds more miles of wall, “it’s more canvas for us.”

» Trump’s wall: Why building it would be an engineering marvel

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Along the far western edge of the border at Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, the barrier extends into the Pacific Ocean.

The 18-foot steel fence stretches 300 feet into the water and was approved in 2011, according to the Los Angeles Times.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

People are seen through the U.S. and Mexico border fence from Border Field State Park on Feb. 4 in San Diego, California. Friends and families gather there at Friends of Friendship Park for several hours on weekends.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Friendship Park is one of the few places along the 2,000-mile border where separated families are allowed to meet. Here, people are seen at the beach in Tijuana on Sept. 25.

(Getty Images)
(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

View of the U.S.-Mexico border wall as seen on Jan. 25 in San Ysidro, California.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A police officer stands near a sign that directs pedestrians to the U.S. border crossing on Jan. 27 in Tijuana, Mexico.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Cars wait in line to enter the United States at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Jan. 27 in Tijuana, Mexico.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

A pedestrian walks towards the Port of Entry at the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 25 in San Ysidro, California.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle waits for undocumented immigrants at a fence opening near the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 5 near McAllen, Texas.

Border Patrol officials told TV station KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley that some of the gaps are strategic, designed to funnel immigrants into more rural areas. One Texas mayor said the design works.

“Because of the way the structure in these gaps, the traffic is funneled through these gaps opening right now, and they’re heavily patrolled,” Los Indios Mayor Rick Cavasos told KRGV. Cavasos is a former Border Patrol agent supervisor, the TV station reported.

But others aren’t so sure of the gaps’ effectiveness. One homeowner who lives near a gap told KRGV that he was startled once by the sight of “six kids” walking across the border.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A crew works to improve a road along the U.S.-Mexico border on March 16 in Hidalgo, Texas. There has been speculation on where a border wall would be built near the Rio Grande, which forms the border between Texas and Mexico.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

U.S. border agents patrol the Rio Grande while searching for undocumented immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 5 near McAllen, Texas.

The Department of Homeland Security said last month that illegal border crossings dropped 30 percent from February to March, while seeing a 64 percent drop from March 2016 to March of this year.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. border wall tops a levee near Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border on March 15 near La Grulla, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A border fence stops near the U.S.-Mexico border, formed by the Rio Grande, on Jan. 3 near McAllen, Texas.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Surveillance cameras stand above the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico on Jan. 27 in Tijuana, Mexico.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

A Border Patrol vehicle sits along the U.S.-Mexico border wall in San Ysidro, California, on Jan. 25.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Aerostat surveillance balloon flies near the U.S.-Mexico border on Jan. 5 near McAllen, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent walks along the U.S.-Mexico border at the Imperial Sand Dunes on Nov. 17 near Felicity, California. The 15-foot “floating fence” sits on the dunes and shifts as the sand moves. Border Patrol agents say they have caught undocumented immigrants and drug smugglers crossing in from Mexico there daily, despite the terrain.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The border fence between the U.S. and Mexico stands at an international bridge between the two countries on March 14 in Hidalgo, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

U.S. Border Patrol agents ride ATVs while monitoring the U.S.-Mexico border fence at the Imperial Sand Dunes on Nov. 17 near Felicity, California.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A barbed-wire fence stands in front of the newer U.S.-Mexico border fence on Oct. 4 in Sunland Park, New Mexico. Border Patrol agents surveil the area to combat undocumented immigrant crossings in the area on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Workers on the U.S. and Mexico side of the border fence talk on Oct. 4 in Sunland Park, New Mexico. The crew was upgrading the chain-link fence in the area, which is on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The border fence stops at a hillside on the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Jacamba Hot Springs, California.

FAA: Trump to travel to Bedminster on Thursday, stay through Sunday

President Donald Trump will travel to his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., from New York on Thursday and stay through Sunday, according to temporary flight restrictions posted Tuesday morning by the Federal Aviation Administration.

President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport on March 17, 2017, with his wife Melania and son Barron. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

The restrictions counter two notices to pilots posted by the FAA on Monday that indicated Trump would stay in Bedminster from Friday through Sunday after spending the night in New York City. One of those notices, the one for Trump’s Bedminster stay, remained posted on the FAA Safety Team website Tuesday morning. The other, for Trump’s time in New York City, was edited and reposted to only include a trip there Thursday.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

A notice posted Monday by the FAA indicated President Donald Trump would arrive at his Bedminster golf club on Friday and stay through Sunday. (www.faasafety.gov)

However, it is not unusual for notices to change several times before being final, and pilots are cautioned to frequently check with the FAA for updates.

The notices and flight restrictions have served as the first sign for Palm Beach County residents that Trump is planning a trip to his Mar-a-Lago Club. Intended for use by pilots, the flight restrictions set the parameters for where aircraft can fly when a VIP visits an area. Restrictions are issued for the president and vice president’s travel, and also for air shows, natural disasters, rocket launches and military operations.

» Palm Beach police chief has Trump advice for Bedminster

Presidential-level flight restrictions are among the most strict. They include a 10 nautical mile inner ring where all flights are banned except those “directly supporting the United States Secret Service (USSS) and the office of the President of the United States, approved air ambulance flights and regularly scheduled commercial passenger and all-cargo carriers.” The outer, 30 nm ring is less strict but still requires pilots to follow specific guidelines available on the flight restrictions notice.

It’s been reported that with Mar-a-Lago’s club closing for the summer, Trump and his family instead will spend the occasional weekend in Bedminster. Before his campaign, Trump reportedly spent summer weekends at his residence there, and he hosted potential cabinet members at the Bedminster property’s clubhouse in November following his election win. Reports from multiple media outlets, including Politico and The New York Times, have focused on what some are calling Trump’s “Camp David North.”

» FLORIDA FACTOR: How Mar-a-Lago visits were a big part of President Trump’s first 100 days

Trump will be in New York City on Thursday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of a World War II battle and meet with Australia’s prime minister, the White House has said.

 

 

 

Scott signs two bills, including one to help foster kids get licenses

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed into law two bills, including one designed to help children in foster care in Florida get driver’s licenses.

Senate Bill 60, known as the “Keys to Independence Act,” cements a pilot program Scott signed into law three years ago and expands it to children in settings outside foster homes, including children living with relatives or non-relative caregivers, Scott’s office said in a news release.

(Getty Images)

» RELATED: Complete Florida Legislature coverage

“I’m proud to sign this legislation today to help Florida’s teens in foster care and out-of-home settings obtain their driver’s licenses. This bill continues our efforts to help children in our foster system thrive and live their dreams in our state,” Scott said in the news release.

Under the law, which went into effect with Scott’s signature, teens in foster care in Florida could be eligible for help from the state to pay for a driver education course “for up to 6 months after the date the child reaches permanency status or 6 months after the date the child turns 18 years of age,” according to the bill’s text. The program also could pay for “the costs of licensure and costs incidental to licensure” for children in foster care who are able to show that those costs are preventing them from staying employed or attending school.

On Monday, Scott also signed SB 7004, retains the public record exemptions for biomedical and cancer research programs within the Department of Health.

MORE COVERAGE

Republican Adam Putnam enters governor race; Dem Gwen Graham tomorrow?

Senate passes homestead exemption resolution

Florida state workers to see pay raise, pension changes

Florida House, Senate moving closer on medical marijuana plan

Florida film industry first casualty in incentives cutbacks

White House to have ‘mock press briefing’ for press corps kids on Thursday

The Trump administration is taking part in this year’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, inviting members of the press corps to bring their children with them to the White House on Thursday.

Among the “fun activities” promised in a White House news release: a mock press briefing — but there were no details on whether or not Press Secretary Sean Spicer would field the questions.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

President Trump’s administration has invited members of the White House press corps to bring their children to work with them on Thursday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Journalists will be able to have their children between ages 5 and 13 with them from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the White House said. Members of the press corps who want to bring their children have to provide details including their child’s first name, date of birth, Social Security Number and place of residence.

According to an archived Obama administration webpage, this will be the twelfth year the White House has participated in the annual event. Last year, children with participated met the Obamas’ dogs, Bo and Sunny, and toured the presidential limousine, known as “The Beast.”

MORE COVERAGE

Common Cause files complaint over State Department Mar-a-Lago promo

Trump has 45% favorable rating in Florida in poll by Rubio-linked firm

State Dept. regrets ‘misperception,’ nixes post on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Trump border wall update: Mexico will pay ‘eventually…in some form,’ cost ‘$10 billion or less’

 

 

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Trump makes space call to record-breaking NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson

President Donald Trump made a call Monday morning to Peggy Whitson, the new holder of the record for most time spent by an American astronaut in space with 534 days orbiting Earth.

Well, depending on its location, it may not have been Monday morning on the International Space Station, where Commander Whitson and fellow U.S. astronaut Jack Fischer took the call.

President Donald Trump speaks along with his daughter Ivanka Trump (right) and NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins, during a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday in Washington, DC. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Ivanka Trump and astronaut Kate Rubins joined the president in the Oval Office to offer their congratulations. Video of the call was streamed live to thousands of schoolchildren via NASA TV and the White House’s YouTube channel.

Watch the video:

“It is one of those rides that you hope never ends,” Whitson tweeted Sunday night. “I am so grateful for all those who helped me on each of my missions!”

Here’s the full transcript of the phone call, via the White House:

NASA: White House, this is Mission Control, Houston. Please call Station for a voice check.

THE PRESIDENT: Do you hear me?

CMDR. WHITSON: Yes, sir. We have you loud and clear.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s what we like — great American equipment that works. And this isn’t easy. (Laughter.)

I want to say it’s very exciting to be here today — very, very exciting — and to speak to you live with three brave American astronauts. These are our finest. These are great, great Americans, great people. Two join us from orbit aboard the International Space Station: Commander Peggy Whitson and Colonel Jack Fischer. And Peggy Whitson has been setting records, and we’re going to talk about that very soon.

I’m here in the Oval Office, along with my daughter Ivanka and astronaut Kate Rubins, who recently returned from space and from the Space Station. Together, we are being joined by students all across America, thousands and thousands of students who are learning — they’re learning about space, learning about a lot of other things — and they’re watching this conversation from the classroom. And, all over, we have astronauts and we have everybody, who are flying right now, 17,000 miles per hour. That’s about as fast as I’ve ever heard. I wouldn’t want to be flying 17,000 miles an hour. But that’s what you do.

President Donald Trump speaks along with his daughter Ivanka Trump during a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday in Washington, DC. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

Peggy, Jack, and Kate, I know that America’s students are thrilled to hear from you. But first, I want to say that this is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight. Today, Commander Whitson, you have broken the record for the most total time spent in space by an American astronaut — 534 days and counting. That’s an incredible record to break. And on behalf of our nation and, frankly, on behalf of the world, I’d like to congratulate you. That is really something. And I’d like to know, how does it feel to have broken such a big and important record?

CMDR. WHITSON: Well, it’s actually a huge honor to break a record like this, but it’s an honor for me basically to be representing all the folks at NASA who make this spaceflight possible and who make me setting this record feasible. And so it’s a very exciting time to be at NASA. We are all very much looking forward, as directed by your new NASA bill — we’re excited about the missions to Mars in the 2030s. And so we actually, physically, have hardware on the ground that’s being built for the SLS rocket that’s going to take us there. And, of course, the hardware being built now is going to be for the test flights that will eventually get us there.

But it’s a very exciting time, and I’m so proud of the team.

THE PRESIDENT: Great. And what are we learning from having you spending your time up there? I know so much research is done; I’m getting a glimpse of some of it right here in the Oval Office. What are we learning by being in space?

CMDR. WHITSON: Well, I think probably the International Space Station is providing a key bridge from us living on Earth to going somewhere into deep space. So on those Mars missions, we need to better understand how microgravity is really affecting our body, and we need to understand it in great detail. So, many of the studies are looking at the human body. We’re also looking at things that involve operations of a space vehicles on these long-duration missions and the technological advancements that will be required.

For instance, on a multiyear Mars mission, we’re going to need to be able to close the life support system, and that means we, right now, for instance, are taking solar power that we collect, and using it to break apart water into oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen, we breathe, of course. We use the hydrogen, combine it back with the CO2 that we take out of the air, and make more water. But water is such a precious resource up here that we also are cleaning up our urine and making it drinkable. And it’s really not as bad as it sounds.

NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer are seen onboard the International Space Station in a live video conference with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Monday. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s good. I’m glad to hear that. (Laughter.) Better you than me. I will say, Colonel Fischer, you just arrived, and how was your trip? Complicated? Easy? How did it go?

COL. FISCHER: Oh, sir, it was awesome. It made even my beloved F-22 feel a little bit underpowered. I launched in a Russian vehicle with my Russian friend, Fyodor Yurchikhin, from Kazakhstan. Got the immediate perspective change as we got to orbit, and I saw that frail, thin blue line of life around the Earth. Six hours later, we’re docked at the station. The next day, I install an experiment in the Japanese module that’s going to be looking at new drugs and how we can make those drugs for muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s, multi-drug-resistant bacteria — all sorts of things. A couple hours later, I watched our crewmate, Thomas Pesquet, a Frenchman, drive a Canadian robotic arm to capture a spaceship from Virginia, carrying 3.5 tons of cargo and science that’s going to keep us busy for the next few months, and dock that to the station.

Sir, it’s amazing. Oh, and then, you know, now I’m talking to the President of the United States while hanging from a wall. It’s amazing. The International Space Station is, by far, the best example of international cooperation and what we can do when we work together in the history of humanity. And I am so proud to be a part of it. And it’s just cool. (Laughter.) Like, yesterday, I had — well, there you go — there’s our resident space ninja doing the gravity demonstration. And yesterday morning, I had my coffee in floaty ball form, and, sir, it was delicious. So, it’s awesome.

President Donald Trump speaks along with his daughter Ivanka Trump (right) and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, during a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

THE PRESIDENT: Tell me, Mars — what do you see a timing for actually sending humans to Mars? Is there a schedule? And when would you see that happening?

CMDR. WHITSON: Well, I think as your bill directed, it will be approximately in the 2030s. As I mentioned, we actually are building hardware to test the new heavy launch vehicle, and this vehicle will take us further than we’ve ever been away from this planet. Unfortunately, spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting there will require some international cooperation to get it to be a planet-wide approach in order to make it successful, just because it is a very expensive endeavor. But it so worthwhile doing.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term. So we’ll have to speed that up a little bit, okay?

CMDR. WHITSON: (Laughter.) We’ll do our best.

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, you will. And I have great respect for you folks. It’s amazing what you do. And I just want to introduce another great one. Kate Rubins is with us today, and she has been so impressive with research and so many other things having to do with NASA. And, Kate, I understand you’re the first person to sequence DNA in space. Can you tell us about that?

DR. RUBINS: Yeah. So that was actually just this last summer, and it’s a real example of what we can do with technology and innovation. We’ve got a sequencer down to the size of your cellphone, and we were actually able to fly that onboard the space station and sequence DNA. It’s not just the technology demonstration, but we can actually use that to do things like detect microbes on the space station, look at astronaut health. We can easily use that in Earth-based settings, too, to look for disease outbreaks and to do rural healthcare as well.

President Donald Trump speaks along with his daughter Ivanka Trump (right) and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins during a video conference with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station in the Oval Office on Monday. (Photo by Molly Riley-Pool/Getty Images)

THE PRESIDENT: That’s fantastic. That is really great. I saw some of the work, and it’s incredible. You know, I’ve been dealing with politicians so much, I’m so much more impressed with these people. You have no idea.

Now, speaking of another impressive person — Ivanka, you’ve been very much interested in this program. Tell us something about it.

MS. TRUMP: Hi, Dr. Whitson. First of all, congratulations on your incredible milestone today. You may know that my father recently signed the Inspire Women Act to encourage female participation in STEM fields across all aerospace areas, and really with a focus on NASA. So encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM careers is a major priority for this administration.

And today we are sitting with an amazing example of that — Dr. Rubins, and you, Dr. Whitson. So I would love to hear from you, what was the impetus for you to get involved in the sciences?

DR. RUBINS: Yeah, so when I around fifteen, I actually went to a conference, and that was very inspiring for me. It was sort of the beginning of recombinant DNA and understanding biology. And so just that exposure to scientists and the kinds of things that you can do with science and technology innovation.

MS. TRUMP: Amazing. Dr. Whitson?

CMDR. WHITSON: For me, it was actually the Apollo program was my inspiration, and that was when it became a dream to become an astronaut. But I don’t really think it became a goal until I graduated from high school, when the first female astronauts were selected. And seeing those role models, and with the encouragement of my parents and various mentors in college and graduate school, and when I started working at Rice, that’s what made it possible, I think, to become an astronaut. And it took me a lot longer to become an astronaut than I ever really wanted it to take, but I do think I’m better at my job because of the journey.

MS. TRUMP: You’re an incredible inspiration to us all. So I would also like to ask you one more question. I’m incredibly curious, as I’m sure all the students across the country are, to know what a day in the life in space is like. Could you share what a typical day looks like, what the challenges are, just any special moments?

President Donald Trump shakes hands with NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, as Ivanka Trump looks on, during a video conference where President Trump talked with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer onboard the International Space Station on Monday from the Oval Office. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

CMDR. WHITSON: Well, a typical day, we wake up and look at the messages from the ground, because we have a huge ground team that’s working overnight to prepare changes or the details of the tests that we’re going to be performing over the course of the day. So first thing I do is check out that, see what’s changed.

But on any given day, it can be so dramatically different. On one day, we might be focusing on science. On another day, we might be repairing the carbon dioxide removal system. On another day, soon Jack and I are going to do a spacewalk. We talked about, last Saturday, we did robotics operations. I love the diversity of the different activities that we do. Plus, you know, we have over 200 investigations ongoing onboard the space station, and I just think that’s a phenomenal part of the day.

Of course, there’s also just the living and, onboard the space station, it’s such a unique and novel environment. Nothing that we’re used to on the ground. And it’s so special to just be in zero gravity. So Jack is the new guy here, and I think he can probably give you a better perspective on what that’s like.

COL. FISCHER: Well, you know, everything here — my dad always said that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. And we work really hard up here, but it’s not really work, it’s just fun. It’s like playing fort almost, only you’re changing the world while you do it.

And then on the off time, the other morning I was working out, and on our machine that we work out on, right below it is the Cupola window. And so when you’re on the device where you do crunches, every time you come up, you see out the window. And it’s awesome because you kind of go, crunch, “Oh, my gosh, that’s beautiful! I got to do that again.” Crunch, “Oh my gosh, that’s beautiful.” It’s awesome. Everything we do here is fun, and it feels so great to know that we’re making a difference on the ground and for the future of humanity as well. So it’s an incredible, incredible job.

Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (center) and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins speak to reporters outside of the West Wing of the White House shortly after President Donald Trump, first daughter Ivanka Trump and Rubins talked with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer onboard the International Space Station on Monday from the Oval Office. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

THE PRESIDENT: You’re making a great difference, I have to say. And this is a very exciting time for our country, and you see what’s happening with our country in terms of jobs, in terms of business, and there’s such excitement and such enthusiasm. Many American entrepreneurs are racing into space. I have many friends that are so excited about space. They want to get involved in space from the standpoint of entrepreneurship and business.

Tell us about the opportunities that could exist for the next generation of scientists and engineers. Is that something that you think a student — because you have so many students, hundreds of thousands watching — is that something that you think that students should be focusing, or should they be thinking about other subjects? What do you think are the opportunities for young students wanting to be involved in space?

COL. FISCHER: Sir, absolutely. I think that this is probably the most exciting in space exploration, certainly in my lifetime. We are about to just have an explosion of activity. There is so much involvement on the space station with commercial industries and commercial partners. We have an entire program to manage the science. NASA has done a wonderful job of seeding a new industry with the Commercial Crew Program and the Commercial Cargo Program so that we can build the infrastructure we need for the future exploration.

One thing I love about American entrepreneurs is, once you get them going, you better stand out of their way because they’re going to start chucking. And we’re about to that point. NASA is taking on that expensive, hard, complex task of going further and deeper into space with the wonderful new rocket, Space Launch System and Orion. And then, as soon as we break open that door, this incredible infrastructure that we’ve been building is going to be right there to pick up the baton and continue into the stars.

I would say to all the students that are watching, the time to get excited is now. If you aren’t studying science and math, you might want to think about that because our future in the stars starts now, and you can be a part of that if, like Dr. Whitson, you can find that passion and work really hard. And we’re going to find a permanent foothold in the stars for humanity if you do that.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you. So well said. And I have to say, there’s tremendous military application in space. We’re rebuilding our military like never before. We’re ordering equipment, and we’re going to have the strongest military that we’ve ever had, the strongest military that the world has ever seen, and there’s been no time where we need it more. And I’m sure that every student watching wants to know, what is next for Americans in space.

I’m very proud that I just signed a bill committing NASA to the aim of sending America astronauts to Mars. So we’ll do that. I think we’ll do it a lot sooner than we’re even thinking. So which one of you is ready to go to Mars? Are you ready? And I think you’re ready. I know you’re ready, right? We just discussed that. She’d like to go to Mars very quickly. Who’s ready to go to Mars up there?

CMDR. WHITSON: We are absolutely ready to go to Mars. It’s going to be a fantastic journey getting there, and very exciting times, and all of us would be happy to go. But I want all the young people out there to recognize that the real steps are going to be taken in a few years. And so by studying math, science, engineering, any kind of technology, you’re going to have a part in that, and that will be very exciting.

THE PRESIDENT: I just want to thank you very much. And, Dr. Whitson, I just — congratulations. Amazing. What an amazing thing that you’ve done. Everybody here — I know you’re family — but everybody here is incredibly proud of the record you just broke. I hope that every young American watching today finds, in your example, a reason to love space and think about space because many great things are going to come out, tremendous discoveries in medicine and so many other fields.

So thank you very much. I want to say God bless you, God bless America. We are very, very proud of you, and very proud of your bravery. Thank you very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW: President Trump tells Scott feds will help pay to fix Herbert Hoover Dike

Just two days after Gov. Rick Scott asked state lawmakers to dedicate $200 million to repair the aging Herbert Hoover Dike over the next five years, Scott says President Donald Trump has pledged federal support for the work.

While visiting the White House today for the president’s signing of a veterans health care bill, Scott spoke to Trump about the dike and the president committed to “provide the resources” to make needed repairs, Scott said in a news release.

Gov. Rick Scott (center) delivers brief remarks after President Donald Trump signed the Veterans Choice Program And Improvement Act with representatives of veterans’ organizations, politicians and members of his administration, including Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on Wednesday in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

» Scott offers surprise solution to Lake Okeechobee pollution fight

The federally operated dike was built in the 1960s as an expanded form of levees and dams that had been put in place over the previous decades to protect nearby residents from devastating flooding that ensued each time a hurricane hit the lake. It has undergone many rounds of repairs ranging from minor to more intensive.

Speaking to members of the Florida Legislature in a news conference on Monday, Scott said he was “tired of waiting” for a solution to issues stemming from Lake Okeechobee’s nutrient-rich waters, including algae blooms that have plagued the St. Lucie River in Martin County and the Caloosahatchee River to the lake’s west. Scott also noted Monday that he had spoken to members of Trump’s administration about the dike and needed repairs.

Crews work to repair the aging Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee in 2012. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

Lawmakers, including state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, have expressed reservations about Scott’s proposal, saying the state should not have to foot the bill for something the federal government should cover.

“I want to make sure we do not spend hundreds of millions of dollars of (state) general revenue funds on what is unquestionably a federal responsibility,” Negron said in a statement issued Monday.

Here are Scott’s comments on his conversation with Trump, via today’s news release:

“Today, I spoke with President Trump on the importance of fixing the federally operated Herbert Hoover Dike and he committed that his administration would help provide the resources to do that. President Trump is clearly focused on protecting Florida’s environment and investing in our infrastructure, and I want to thank him for partnering with us to solve the water issues around Lake Okeechobee by fixing the dike.

“While I called on President Obama multiple times throughout his administration to step up and fulfill the federal government’s funding commitment to fixing the dike, it never happened. Today, President Trump is fighting for Florida’s families and this news is a big win for our state. My goal is for the dike to be completely repaired by 2022, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Trump Administration to complete this important project. With this commitment from the president, I hope that the Florida Legislature will immediately allocate $200 million in the budget they send me to help fix the dike.”

 

 

 

 

Traffic smooth as Trump arrives in Palm Beach for first visit since election win

Though several miles of two major arteries were closed in West Palm Beach Tuesday evening, traffic delays were minimal as President-elect Donald Trump arrived in Palm Beach for his first visit since winning the presidential election earlier this month.

The Palm Beach Post learned this past weekend that Trump was planning to make his annual Thanksgiving visit to his Mar-a-Lago estate, where’s he’s spent the holiday for the past 20 years. Trump was joined by his wife, Melania, son, Barron, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, among others, according to a pool report.

President-elect Donald Trump arrives at PBIA for Thanksgiving holiday in West Palm Beach, Florida on November 22, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
President-elect Donald Trump arrives at PBIA for Thanksgiving holiday in West Palm Beach, Florida on November 22, 2016. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

» RELATED: Donald Trump’s Palm Beach visit prompts Coast Guard to set security zones

Trump’s plane arrived at Palm Beach International Airport just after 7 p.m., and he was then taken by motorcade to Mar-a-Lago, which sits a straight shot down Southern Boulevard from PBIA. Southern and several of its intersecting roads — including Interstate 95 — had to be closed until the motorcade passed.

Traffic cameras, congestion-monitoring apps and eyewitnesses reported few delays during what the Florida Department of Transportation says is a peak time for travel during the Thanksgiving holidays. Onlookers lined Southern Boulevard, with many parking at the Publix just east of I-95.

» PHOTOS: Inside Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s Palm Beach home

This procedure is going to start sounding very familiar: Any time Trump comes to visit, this will be how he is escorted from PBIA to Mar-a-Lago and back.

Trump spent some time on Twitter during the short trip from Palm Beach International Airport to his estate. He tweeted about the deadly Chattanooga, Tennessee, school bus crash that happened late yesterday, sending his condolences to the victims’ families and saying, “These beautiful children will be remembered!”

More coverage of Donald Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

4 key moments from President Obama’s Democratic convention speech

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledge the crowd on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledge the crowd on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

In a headlining speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, President Barack Obama urged voters to elect Hillary Clinton as president, saying she will continue fighting for the same things for which he fought in office.

And in a surprise move, Clinton joined Obama onstage briefly after his speech, hugging him and walking off-stage together.

Obama, who was preceded by speeches from Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, said that “even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect.”

Here are the top five moments from Obama’s speech:

1. The president’s speech continued on several key themes of the week.

Calling on one theme from President Bill Clinton’s Tuesday night speech, Obama said Hillary Clinton “never, ever quits.”

He also frequently used the phrase “stronger together,” Clinton’s campaign slogan.

2. He touted Clinton’s experience, saying that “with confidence, there has never been a man or a woman — not me, not Bill, nobody — more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.”

3. He took several digs at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Obama said he knows several businesspeople who have found success “without leaving a trail of lawsuits and unpaid workers and people who feel like they got cheated.”

He added, “Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice?”

Later in his speech, Obama ripped Trump’s “make America great again” slogan, saying, “America is already great. America is already strong.”

4. He not-so-subtly name-dropped one of his books. 

Toward the end of his speech, Obama snuck in a reference to his book “The Audacity of Hope.”

“I will ask you to carry (Clinton) the same way you carried me,” Obama said. “Because you’re who I was talking about 12 years ago when I talked about hope. It’s you who have fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds are great, even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.”

Read Obama’s full prepared remarks:

Hello, America.

Twelve years ago tonight, I addressed this convention for the very first time.

You met my two little girls, Malia and Sasha – now two amazing young women who just fill me with pride. You fell for my brilliant wife and partner Michelle, who’s made me a better father and a better man; who’s gone on to inspire our nation as First Lady; and who somehow hasn’t aged a day.

I know the same can’t be said for me. My girls remind me all the time. Wow, you’ve changed so much, daddy.

And it’s true – I was so young that first time in Boston. Maybe a little nervous addressing such a big crowd. But I was filled with faith; faith in America – the generous, bighearted, hopeful country that made my story – indeed, all of our stories – possible.

A lot’s happened over the years. And while this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge – I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your President, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America.

How could I not be – after all we’ve achieved together?

After the worst recession in 80 years, we’ve fought our way back. We’ve seen deficits come down, 401(k)s recover, an auto industry set new records, unemployment reach eight-year lows, and our businesses create 15 million new jobs.

After a century of trying, we declared that health care in America is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody. After decades of talk, we finally began to wean ourselves off foreign oil, and doubled our production of clean energy.

We brought more of our troops home to their families, and delivered justice to Osama bin Laden. Through diplomacy, we shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba, and brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could save this planet for our kids.

We put policies in place to help students with loans; protect consumers from fraud; and cut veteran homelessness almost in half. And through countless acts of quiet courage, America learned that love has no limits, and marriage equality is now a reality across the land.

By so many measures, our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started.

And through every victory and every setback, I’ve insisted that change is never easy, and never quick; that we wouldn’t meet all of our challenges in one term, or one presidency, or even in one lifetime.

So tonight, I’m here to tell you that yes, we still have more work to do. More work to do for every American still in need of a good job or a raise, paid leave or a decent retirement; for every child who needs a sturdier ladder out of poverty or a world-class education; for everyone who hasn’t yet felt the progress of these past seven and a half years. We need to keep making our streets safer and our criminal justice system fairer; our homeland more secure, and our world more peaceful and sustainable for the next generation. We’re not done perfecting our union, or living up to our founding creed – that all of us are created equal and free in the eyes of God.

That work involves a big choice this November. Fair to say, this is not your typical election. It’s not just a choice between parties or policies; the usual debates between left and right. This is a more fundamental choice – about who we are as a people, and whether we stay true to this great American experiment in self-government.

Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward.

But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican – and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems – just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.

And that is not the America I know.

The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous. Sure, we have real anxieties – about paying the bills, protecting our kids, caring for a sick parent. We get frustrated with political gridlock, worry about racial divisions; are shocked and saddened by the madness of Orlando or Nice. There are pockets of America that never recovered from factory closures; men who took pride in hard work and providing for their families who now feel forgotten; parents who wonder whether their kids will have the same opportunities we had.

All that is real. We’re challenged to do better; to be better. But as I’ve traveled this country, through all fifty states; as I’ve rejoiced with you and mourned with you, what I’ve also seen, more than anything, is what is right with America. I see people working hard and starting businesses; people teaching kids and serving our country. I see engineers inventing stuff, and doctors coming up with new cures. I see a younger generation full of energy and new ideas, not constrained by what is, ready to seize what ought to be.

Most of all, I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together – black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young and old; gay, straight, men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance, under the same proud flag, to this big, bold country that we love.

That’s the America I know. And there is only one candidate in this race who believes in that future, and has devoted her life to it; a mother and grandmother who’d do anything to help our children thrive; a leader with real plans to break down barriers, blast through glass ceilings, and widen the circle of opportunity to every single American – the next President of the United States, Hillary Clinton.

Now, eight years ago, Hillary and I were rivals for the Democratic nomination. We battled for a year and a half. Let me tell you, it was tough, because Hillary’s tough. Every time I thought I might have that race won, Hillary just came back stronger.

But after it was all over, I asked Hillary to join my team. She was a little surprised, but ultimately said yes – because she knew that what was at stake was bigger than either of us. And for four years, I had a front-row seat to her intelligence, her judgment, and her discipline. I came to realize that her unbelievable work ethic wasn’t for praise or attention – that she was in this for everyone who needs a champion. I understood that after all these years, she has never forgotten just who she’s fighting for.

Hillary’s still got the tenacity she had as a young woman working at the Children’s Defense Fund, going door to door to ultimately make sure kids with disabilities could get a quality education.

She’s still got the heart she showed as our First Lady, working with Congress to help push through a Children’s Health Insurance Program that to this day protects millions of kids.

She’s still seared with the memory of every American she met who lost loved ones on 9/11, which is why, as a Senator from New York, she fought so hard for funding to help first responders; why, as Secretary of State, she sat with me in the Situation Room and forcefully argued in favor of the mission that took out bin Laden.

You know, nothing truly prepares you for the demands of the Oval Office. Until you’ve sat at that desk, you don’t know what it’s like to manage a global crisis, or send young people to war. But Hillary’s been in the room; she’s been part of those decisions. She knows what’s at stake in the decisions our government makes for the working family, the senior citizen, the small business owner, the soldier, and the veteran. Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect. And no matter how daunting the odds; no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.

That’s the Hillary I know. That’s the Hillary I’ve come to admire. And that’s why I can say with confidence there has never been a man or a woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as President of the United States of America.

And, by the way, in case you were wondering about her judgment, look at her choice of running mate. Tim Kaine is as good a man, as humble and committed a public servant, as anyone I know. He will be a great Vice President, and he’ll make Hillary a better President. Just like my dear friend and brother Joe Biden has made me a better President.

Now, Hillary has real plans to address the concerns she’s heard from you on the campaign trail. She’s got specific ideas to invest in new jobs, to help workers share in their company’s profits, to help put kids in preschool, and put students through college without taking on a ton of debt. That’s what leaders do.

And then there’s Donald Trump. He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.

Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice? If so, you should vote for him. But if you’re someone who’s truly concerned about paying your bills, and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everybody, then the choice isn’t even close. If you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages, better benefits, a fairer tax code, a bigger voice for workers, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.

And if you’re concerned about who’s going to keep you and your family safe in a dangerous world – well, the choice is even clearer. Hillary Clinton is respected around the world not just by leaders, but by the people they serve. She’s worked closely with our intelligence teams, our diplomats, our military. And she has the judgment, the experience, and the temperament to meet the threat from terrorism. It’s not new to her. Our troops have pounded ISIL without mercy, taking out leaders, taking back territory. I know Hillary won’t relent until ISIL is destroyed. She’ll finish the job – and she’ll do it without resorting to torture, or banning entire religions from entering our country. She is fit to be the next Commander-in-Chief.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump calls our military a disaster. Apparently, he doesn’t know the men and women who make up the strongest fighting force the world has ever known. He suggests America is weak. He must not hear the billions of men, women, and children, from the Baltics to Burma, who still look to America to be the light of freedom, dignity, and human rights. He cozies up to Putin, praises Saddam Hussein, and tells the NATO allies that stood by our side after 9/11 that they have to pay up if they want our protection. Well, America’s promises do not come with a price tag. We meet our commitments. And that’s one reason why almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago.

America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.

In fact, it doesn’t depend on any one person. And that, in the end, may be the biggest difference in this election – the meaning of our democracy.

Ronald Reagan called America “a shining city on a hill.” Donald Trump calls it “a divided crime scene” that only he can fix. It doesn’t matter to him that illegal immigration and the crime rate are as low as they’ve been in decades, because he’s not offering any real solutions to those issues. He’s just offering slogans, and he’s offering fear. He’s betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.

That is another bet that Donald Trump will lose. Because he’s selling the American people short. We are not a fragile or frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that together, We, the People, can form a more perfect union.

That’s who we are. That’s our birthright – the capacity to shape our own destiny. That’s what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny and our GIs to liberate a continent. It’s what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot, and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma, and workers to organize and fight for better wages.

America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us. It’s always been about what can be achieved by us, together, through the hard, slow, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.

And that’s what Hillary Clinton understands. She knows that this is a big, diverse country, and that most issues are rarely black and white. That even when you’re 100 percent right, getting things done requires compromise. That democracy doesn’t work if we constantly demonize each other. She knows that for progress to happen, we have to listen to each other, see ourselves in each other, fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground, no matter how elusive that may seem.

Hillary knows we can work through racial divides in this country when we realize the worry black parents feel when their son leaves the house isn’t so different than what a brave cop’s family feels when he puts on the blue and goes to work; that we can honor police and treat every community fairly. She knows that acknowledging problems that have festered for decades isn’t making race relations worse – it’s creating the possibility for people of good will to join and make things better.

Hillary knows we can insist on a lawful and orderly immigration system while still seeing striving students and their toiling parents as loving families, not criminals or rapists; families that came here for the same reasons our forebears came – to work, and study, and make a better life, in a place where we can talk and worship and love as we please. She knows their dream is quintessentially American, and the American Dream is something no wall will ever contain.

It can be frustrating, this business of democracy. Trust me, I know. Hillary knows, too. When the other side refuses to compromise, progress can stall. Supporters can grow impatient, and worry that you’re not trying hard enough; that you’ve maybe sold out.

But I promise you, when we keep at it; when we change enough minds; when we deliver enough votes, then progress does happen. Just ask the twenty million more people who have health care today. Just ask the Marine who proudly serves his country without hiding the husband he loves. Democracy works, but we gotta want it – not just during an election year, but all the days in between.

So if you agree that there’s too much inequality in our economy, and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been. We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.

If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote – not just for a President, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and state’s attorneys, and state legislators. And we’ve got to work with police and protesters until laws and practices are changed.

If you want to fight climate change, we’ve got to engage not only young people on college campuses, but reach out to the coal miner who’s worried about taking care of his family, the single mom worried about gas prices.

If you want to protect our kids and our cops from gun violence, we’ve got to get the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, who agree on background checks to be just as vocal and determined as the gun lobby that blocks change through every funeral we hold. That’s how change will happen.

Look, Hillary’s got her share of critics. She’s been caricatured by the right and by some folks on the left; accused of everything you can imagine – and some things you can’t. But she knows that’s what happens when you’re under a microscope for 40 years. She knows she’s made mistakes, just like I have; just like we all do. That’s what happens when we try. That’s what happens when you’re the kind of citizen Teddy Roosevelt once described – not the timid souls who criticize from the sidelines, but someone “who is actually in the arena…who strives valiantly; who errs…[but] who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement.”

Hillary Clinton is that woman in the arena. She’s been there for us – even if we haven’t always noticed. And if you’re serious about our democracy, you can’t afford to stay home just because she might not align with you on every issue. You’ve got to get in the arena with her, because democracy isn’t a spectator sport. America isn’t about “yes he will.” It’s about “yes we can.” And we’re going to carry Hillary to victory this fall, because that’s what the moment demands.

You know, there’s been a lot of talk in this campaign about what America’s lost – people who tell us that our way of life is being undermined by pernicious changes and dark forces beyond our control. They tell voters there’s a “real America” out there that must be restored. This isn’t an idea that started with Donald Trump. It’s been peddled by politicians for a long time – probably from the start of our Republic.

And it’s got me thinking about the story I told you twelve years ago tonight, about my Kansas grandparents and the things they taught me when I was growing up. They came from the heartland; their ancestors began settling there about 200 years ago. They were Scotch-Irish mostly, farmers, teachers, ranch hands, pharmacists, oil rig workers. Hardy, small town folks. Some were Democrats, but a lot of them were Republicans. My grandparents explained that they didn’t like show-offs. They didn’t admire braggarts or bullies. They didn’t respect mean-spiritedness, or folks who were always looking for shortcuts in life. Instead, they valued traits like honesty and hard work. Kindness and courtesy. Humility; responsibility; helping each other out.

That’s what they believed in. True things. Things that last. The things we try to teach our kids.

And what my grandparents understood was that these values weren’t limited to Kansas. They weren’t limited to small towns. These values could travel to Hawaii; even the other side of the world, where my mother would end up working to help poor women get a better life. They knew these values weren’t reserved for one race; they could be passed down to a half-Kenyan grandson, or a half-Asian granddaughter; in fact, they were the same values Michelle’s parents, the descendants of slaves, taught their own kids living in a bungalow on the South Side of Chicago. They knew these values were exactly what drew immigrants here, and they believed that the children of those immigrants were just as American as their own, whether they wore a cowboy hat or a yarmulke; a baseball cap or a hijab.

America has changed over the years. But these values my grandparents taught me – they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re as strong as ever; still cherished by people of every party, every race, and every faith. They live on in each of us. What makes us American, what makes us patriots, is what’s in here. That’s what matters. That’s why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries, and blend it into something uniquely our own. That’s why we can attract strivers and entrepreneurs from around the globe to build new factories and create new industries here. That’s why our military can look the way it does, every shade of humanity, forged into common service. That’s why anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.

That’s America. Those bonds of affection; that common creed. We don’t fear the future; we shape it, embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own. That’s what Hillary Clinton understands – this fighter, this stateswoman, this mother and grandmother, this public servant, this patriot – that’s the America she’s fighting for.

And that’s why I have confidence, as I leave this stage tonight, that the Democratic Party is in good hands. My time in this office hasn’t fixed everything; as much as we’ve done, there’s still so much I want to do. But for all the tough lessons I’ve had to learn; for all the places I’ve fallen short; I’ve told Hillary, and I’ll tell you what’s picked me back up, every single time.

It’s been you. The American people.

It’s the letter I keep on my wall from a survivor in Ohio who twice almost lost everything to cancer, but urged me to keep fighting for health care reform, even when the battle seemed lost. Do not quit.

It’s the painting I keep in my private office, a big-eyed, green owl, made by a seven year-old girl who was taken from us in Newtown, given to me by her parents so I wouldn’t forget – a reminder of all the parents who have turned their grief into action.

It’s the small business owner in Colorado who cut most of his own salary so he wouldn’t have to lay off any of his workers in the recession – because, he said, “that wouldn’t have been in the spirit of America.”

It’s the conservative in Texas who said he disagreed with me on everything, but appreciated that, like him, I try to be a good dad.

It’s the courage of the young soldier from Arizona who nearly died on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but who’s learned to speak and walk again – and earlier this year, stepped through the door of the Oval Office on his own power, to salute and shake my hand.

It’s every American who believed we could change this country for the better, so many of you who’d never been involved in politics, who picked up phones, and hit the streets, and used the internet in amazing new ways to make change happen. You are the best organizers on the planet, and I’m so proud of all the change you’ve made possible.

Time and again, you’ve picked me up. I hope, sometimes, I picked you up, too. Tonight, I ask you to do for Hillary Clinton what you did for me. I ask you to carry her the same way you carried me. Because you’re who I was talking about twelve years ago, when I talked about hope – it’s been you who’ve fueled my dogged faith in our future, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long. Hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; the audacity of hope!

America, you have vindicated that hope these past eight years. And now I’m ready to pass the baton and do my part as a private citizen. This year, in this election, I’m asking you to join me – to reject cynicism, reject fear, to summon what’s best in us; to elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States, and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation.

Thank you for this incredible journey. Let’s keep it going. God bless the United States of America.

 

Here’s the full list of 111 bills signed by Gov. Rick Scott last week

Last week was a busy one for Florida Gov. Rick Scott: He signed 111 bills into law.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (Getty Images)

From a measure on medical marijuana for terminally ill patients to bills inspired by local tragedies, we have the full list here.

Nine bills signed into law Wednesday

SB 238, Medical Assistant Certification – This bill repeals a voluntary certification for medical assistants.

SB 242, An Infectious Disease Elimination Pilot Program – This bill establishes a pilot program at the University of Miami to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other blood borne diseases.

SB 340, Vision Care Plans – This bill relates to health insurance requirements for ophthalmologists and optometrists.

SB 450, Physical Therapy – This bill relates to the licensure of physical therapists.

SB 590, Adoption – This bill allows judges to make adoption decisions based on the best interest of the child and makes other changes to adoption procedures.

SB 636, Rape Kits – This bill requires rape kits to be tested within a specified time frame.

SB 860, Foster Families – This bill designates the second week of February as “Foster Family Appreciation Week.”

SB 1174, Residential Facilities – This bill clarifies distance requirements for community residential homes.

SB 7020, A Review Under the Open Government Sunset Review – This bill reenacts an existing public records exemption relating to the Florida Health Choices Program.

34 bills signed into law Thursday

HB 93, Law Enforcement Officer Body Cameras – This bill requires law enforcement agencies to establish policies and procedures regarding the use of body cameras.

HB 231, Motor Vehicle Manufacturer Licenses – This bill relates to contracts between motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers.

HB 293, Public Records – This bill revises a public records exemption regarding certain juvenile criminal history records.

HB 303, Unlicensed Activity Fees – This bill relates to unlicensed activity fees at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

HB 373, Mental Health Counseling Interns – This bill provides certain requirements for internship supervision at mental health institutions.

HB 387, Offenses Evidencing Prejudice – This bill revises an existing provision in Florida’s hate crime statutes for individuals with mental or physical disabilities.

HB 413, Title Insurance – This bill relates to title insurance companies.

HB 431, Fire Safety – This bill provides fire classifications for nonresidential farm buildings.

HB 549, Offenses Concerning Racketeering and Illegal Debts – This bill relates to the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.

HB 561, Organizational Structure of the Department of Environmental Protection – This bill revises the organizational structure of the Department of Environmental Protection.

HB 633, Public Food Service Establishments – This bill exempts religious and other non-profit organizations from regulations when hosting certain charity events.

HB 701, Art in the Capitol Competition – This bill creates the “Art in the Capitol Competition” for Florida students.

HB 749, Agriculture – This bill relates to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Greenbelt Law.

HB 773, Special Assessments on Agricultural Lands – This bill exempts agricultural lands from certain local assessments.

HB 783, Unclaimed Property – This bill revises several provisions in the Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

HB 793, Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program – This bill allows students to defer their acceptance of Florida Bright Futures Scholarships until completion of religious or service obligations.

HB 819, Medicaid dental services — Bill requiring state to review Medicaid dental services and possibly change them in 2017.

HB 965, Fire Safety – This bill updates fire safety standards for assisted living facilities.

HB 967, Family Law – This bill creates the collaborative law process.

HB 971, Community Development Districts – This bill increases the size of certain Community Development Districts.

HB 1025, Public Records – This bill relates to public records and the state infrastructure bank program.

HB 1051, Anchoring Limitation Areas – This bill prohibits overnight anchoring of vessels in certain zones.

HB 1063, Public Records and Meetings – This bill creates a public records and meeting exemption for the Nurse Licensure Compact.

HB 1125, Eligibility for Employment as Child Care Personnel – The bill aligns requirements for child care facilities and providers with federal regulations.

HB 1133, Applicability of Revenue Laws to Out-of-State Businesses During Disaster-Response Periods – This bill exempts out-of-state businesses from certain requirements during disaster response.

HB 1149, Alternative Sanctioning – This bill allows alternative punishments for technical violations of probation.

HB 1181, Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement – This bill relates to the Patent Troll Prevention Act.

HB 1219, Veterans’ Employment – This bill requires state agencies and authorizes local governments to implement a veterans’ employment recruitment plan.

HB 1245, Medicaid Provider Overpayments – This bill authorizes the Agency for Health Care Administration to certify certain payments.

HB 1333, Sexual Offenders – This bill increases registration requirements for sexual offenders and predators in compliance with the Adam Walsh Act.

HB 1347, Illicit Drugs – This bill expands the prohibition of synthetic drugs.

HB 4009, Slungshot – This bill makes it lawful to make, sell, and carry a concealed slungshot.

HB 7013, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – This bill revises certain penalties for fish and wildlife violations.

HB 7025, At-Risk Vessels – This bill authorizes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to prohibit vessels that are at-risk of becoming derelict from occupying state waters.

68 bills signed into law Friday

SB 190, Conservation Easements – This bill removes certain application requirement relating to conservation easements.

SB 286, Merger and Acquisition Brokers – This bill relates to the Office of Financial Regulation and certain transfers of ownership.

SB 422, Health Insurance Coverage for Opioids – This bill allows doctors to prescribe “abuse deterrent” opioids.

SB 586, Responsibilities of Health Care Providers – This bill requires a hospital to notify physicians within a specified time frame upon the closing of their obstetrical department.

SB 624, Public Records – This bill provides a public records exemption relating to information technology (IT) security incidents or breaches.

SB 1046, Farm Vehicles – This bill revises certain requirements related to the transportation of agricultural products.

HB 183, Administrative Procedures – This bill makes certain revisions to the Florida Administrative Procedures Act.

HB 189, Teacher Certification – This bill assists STEM teachers with advanced degrees to obtain professional teaching certificates.

HB 195, A Special Election – This bill provides for a special election on August 30, 2016 to approve a constitutional amendment proposed in HB 193.

HB 229, Bullying and Harassment Policies in Schools – This bill requires school districts to review their bullying and harassment policies at least every three years.

HB 249, Culinary Education Programs – This bill relates to licensed culinary education programs obtaining alcoholic beverage licenses.

HB 277, A County and Municipality Homestead Tax Exemption – This bill creates an additional homestead exemption for certain low-income residents over the age of 65.

HB 299, Expressway Authorities – This bill revises membership of the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority.

HB 307 & HB 1313, The Medical Use of Cannabis – This bill relates to the Office of Compassionate Use and allows for the use of cannabis for terminally ill patients in certain situations.

HB 347, Utility Projects – This bill provides an additional financing option for local government utility infrastructure projects.

HB 375, Physician Assistants – This bill clarifies the scope of practice for physician assistants.

HB 419, The Highlands Road and Bridge District, Pasco County – This bill closes the Highlands Road and Bridge District.

HB 427, Recreational Vessel Registration – This bill reduces registration fees for vessels which are equipped with certain safety features.

HB 439, Mental Health Services in the Criminal Justice System – This bill addresses mental health issues in the criminal justice system.

HB 481, The Columbia County Law Library – This bill closes the Columbia County Law Library.

HB 499, Ad Valorem Taxation – This bill makes various revisions to the Value Adjustment Board process.

HB 519, The Gilchrist County Development Authority – This bill closes the Gilchrist County Development Authority.

HB 535, Building Codes – This bill revises several provisions in the Florida Building Code.

HB 589, Environmental Control – This bill modifies several areas regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection.

HB 627, Community Contribution Tax Credits – This bill expands the contributions that qualify for a tax credit or tax refund.

HB 649, The Eagle Bay Sub-Drainage District, Okeechobee County – This bill closes the Eagle Bay Sub-Drainage District.

HB 651, The Department of Financial Services – This bill makes various revisions relating to the Department of Financial Services.

HB 655, The City of Jacksonville, Duval County – This bill revises alcoholic beverage license requirements for certain Jacksonville restaurants.

HB 659, Automobile Insurance – This bill revises various provisions in the automobile insurance law.

HB 703, Vessels – This bill modifies regulations for operation of a vessel and creates a safety inspection decal program.

HB 709, The City of Tallahassee, Leon County – This bill authorizes the issuance of temporary permits to sell alcohol at outdoor events in Tallahassee.

HB 769, Mental Health Treatment – This bill allows for the continuation of certain medication for individuals undergoing mental health evaluation and treatment.

HB 785, St. Lucie County Fire District, St. Lucie County – This bill relates to the operations of the St. Lucie County Fire District.

HB 799, Out-Of-State Fee Waivers for Active Duty Service Members – This bill allows active duty military members serving abroad to pay in-state tuition and fees.

HB 837, Education Programs for Individuals with Disabilities – This bill allows foster children to be eligible for the McKay Scholarship Program.

HB 845, The Bay County Bridge Authority, Bay County – This bill dissolves the Bay County Bridge Authority.

HB 847, Pasco County – This bill repeals certain provisions regarding wastewater treatment in Pasco County.

HB 871, Broward County – This bill shifts requirements to post and maintain water markers in waterways from Broward County to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

HB 891, The Northwest Florida Community Hospital Board of Trustees, Washington County – This bill dissolves the Northwest Florida Community Hospital District.

HB 895, The West Manatee Fire and Rescue District, Manatee County – This bill revises membership provisions in the West Manatee Fire and Rescue District.

HB 911, The City of Delray Beach, Palm Beach County – This bill repeals City of Delray Beach’s civil service special act.

HB 1033, Information Technology Security – This bill relates to the Agency for State Technology and cybersecurity policies for state agencies.

HB 1039, The Babcock Ranch Community Independent Special District, Charlotte and Lee Counties – This bill expands the boundaries of the Babcock Ranch Community in Lee County.

HB 1061, The Nurse Licensure Compact – This bill authorizes Florida to enter into the Nurse Licensure Compact.

HB 1071, The South Broward Hospital District, Broward County – This bill makes revisions to the South Broward Hospital District charter.

HB 1081, The North Sumter County Hospital District, Sumter County – This bill dissolves the North Sumter County Hospital District.

HB 1083, The Agency for Persons with Disabilities – This bill relates to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities Home and the Community Based Medicaid Waiver Program.

HB 1147, Character-Development Instruction – This bill requires certain revisions to high school character development programs.

HB 1157, Postsecondary Education for Veterans – This bill provides additional options for veterans and service members to earn college credit.

HB 1205, Fumigation – This bill directs DACS to adopt guidelines for fumigation registration.

HB 1221, Barron Water Control District, Glades and Hendry Counties – This bill removes the repeal date from the Barron Water Control District charter.

HB 1233, Federal Home Loan Banks – This bill relates to the Office of Financial Regulation and Federal Home Loan Banks.

HB 1241, The Ordering of Medication – This bill allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to order controlled substances under specific circumstances.

HB 1265, The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Collier County – This bill expands district boundaries in the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, if approved by the voters in a referendum.

HB 1267, The Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, Collier County – This bill expands district boundaries in the Greater Naples Fire Rescue District, if approved by the voters in a referendum.

HB 1297, Discretionary Sales Surtaxes – This bill allows a county with underfunded pension plans to levy a pension liability surtax upon termination of the local government infrastructure surtax, if approved by the voters in a referendum.

HB 1335, Long-Term Care Managed Care Prioritization – This bill relates to home and community based services administered by Department of Elder Affairs.

HB 1339, The City of Webster, Sumter County – This bill updates the charter for the City of Webster.

HB 1361, Growth Management – This bill makes various changes to the state’s growth management program.

HB 1365, The Competency-Based Education Pilot Program – This bill creates the Competency-Based Education Pilot Program.

HB 1411, Termination of Pregnancies – This bill revises regulations for licensed abortion clinics.

HB 1417, Hillsborough County – This bill revises alcoholic beverage license requirements for Hillsborough County establishments.

HB 1433, Martin County – This bill revises alcoholic beverage license requirements for Martin County establishments.

HB 3509, The Relief of Susana Castillo, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Andrea Castillo – This bill directs the City of Hialeah to pay the settled amount to Susana Castillo as compensation for the death of Andrea Castillo.

HB 3515, The Relief of Q.B. by the Palm Beach County School Board – This bill directs the Palm Beach County School Board to pay the settled amount to a special needs trust and purchase an annuity for the benefit of Q.B. as compensation for injuries and damages she sustained.

HB 3517, The Relief of Rafael Zaldivar and Kyoko Zaldivar, parents of Alex Zaldivar, Deceased, Individually and as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Alex Zaldivar, and Brienna Campos and Remington Campos by Orange County – This bill directs Orange County to pay the settled amount to the estate of Alex Zaldivar, Brienna Campos, and Remington Campos as compensation for injuries and damages they sustained.

HB 3525, The Relief of Melvin and Alma Colindres by the City of Miami – This bill directs the City of Miami to pay the settled amount to Melvin and Alma Colindres as compensation for the death of Kevin Colindres.

HB 7071, Public Corruption – This bill strengthens Florida’s anti-public corruption laws.

Scott signs body camera bill inspired by Corey Jones, 32 other bills into law

Gov. Rick Scott today signed 33 bills, including one inspired by the shooting death of Corey Jones that requires law enforcement agencies to set policies and procedures for using body cameras.

Corey Jones
Corey Jones

The bill, HB 93, does not require law enforcement agencies to use body cameras, only to set rules for their use.

Jones was shot three times by then-Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja as Jones waited for a tow truck at the off-ramp from Interstate 95 on PGA Boulevard in the early hours of Oct. 18. Raja had arrived at the scene in an unmarked van and plain clothes.

Raja has since been fired by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. He was not wearing a body camera when he shot Jones, and there is no recording of what happened.

Jones’ family members came to the Capitol last month on what would’ve been his 32nd birthday to lobby in support of the measure. They also delivered a letter to Scott’s office, asking for support on the legislation and investigations underway into the shooting.

Read more about the bill and how Corey Jones inspired it.

Scott also signed these 32 bills into law:

HB 231, Motor Vehicle Manufacturer Licenses – This bill relates to contracts between motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers.

HB 293, Public Records – This bill revises a public records exemption regarding certain juvenile criminal history records.

HB 303, Unlicensed Activity Fees – This bill relates to unlicensed activity fees at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

HB 373, Mental Health Counseling Interns – This bill provides certain requirements for internship supervision at mental health institutions.

HB 387, Offenses Evidencing Prejudice – This bill revises an existing provision in Florida’s hate crime statutes for individuals with mental or physical disabilities.

HB 413, Title Insurance – This bill relates to title insurance companies.

HB 431, Fire Safety – This bill provides fire classifications for nonresidential farm buildings.

HB 549, Offenses Concerning Racketeering and Illegal Debts – This bill relates to the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.

HB 561, Organizational Structure of the Department of Environmental Protection – This bill revises the organizational structure of the Department of Environmental Protection.

HB 633, Public Food Service Establishments – This bill exempts religious and other non-profit organizations from regulations when hosting certain charity events.

HB 701, Art in the Capitol Competition – This bill creates the “Art in the Capitol Competition” for Florida students.

HB 749, Agriculture – This bill relates to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Greenbelt Law.

HB 773, Special Assessments on Agricultural Lands – This bill exempts agricultural lands from certain local assessments.

HB 783, Unclaimed Property – This bill revises several provisions in the Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

HB 793, Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program – This bill allows students to defer their acceptance of Florida Bright Futures Scholarships until completion of religious or service obligations.

HB 965, Fire Safety – This bill updates fire safety standards for assisted living facilities.

HB 967, Family Law – This bill creates the collaborative law process.

HB 971, Community Development Districts – This bill increases the size of certain Community Development Districts.

HB 1025, Public Records – This bill relates to public records and the state infrastructure bank program.

HB 1051, Anchoring Limitation Areas – This bill prohibits overnight anchoring of vessels in certain zones.

HB 1063, Public Records and Meetings – This bill creates a public records and meeting exemption for the Nurse Licensure Compact.

HB 1125, Eligibility for Employment as Child Care Personnel – The bill aligns requirements for child care facilities and providers with federal regulations.

HB 1133, Applicability of Revenue Laws to Out-of-State Businesses During Disaster-Response Periods – This bill exempts out-of-state businesses from certain requirements during disaster response.

HB 1149, Alternative Sanctioning – This bill allows alternative punishments for technical violations of probation.

HB 1181, Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement – This bill relates to the Patent Troll Prevention Act.

HB 1219, Veterans’ Employment – This bill requires state agencies and authorizes local governments to implement a veterans’ employment recruitment plan.

HB 1245, Medicaid Provider Overpayments – This bill authorizes the Agency for Health Care Administration to certify certain payments.

HB 1333, Sexual Offenders – This bill increases registration requirements for sexual offenders and predators in compliance with the Adam Walsh Act.

HB 1347, Illicit Drugs – This bill expands the prohibition of synthetic drugs.

HB 4009, Slungshot – This bill makes it lawful to make, sell, and carry a concealed slungshot.

HB 7013, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – This bill revises certain penalties for fish and wildlife violations.

HB 7025, At-Risk Vessels – This bill authorizes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to prohibit vessels that are at-risk of becoming derelict from occupying state waters.

Palm Beach Post staff writer John Kennedy contributed to this report.