New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church evades foreclosure 

The New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church in Opa-locka will continue its operations following a judge’s decision to cancel a foreclosure sale of church building earlier this month, court documents show. A circuit court judge dismissed Herring Bank’s case against the church, which, according to court documents, owed more than $1.3 million in principal, interests, and fees, since the foreclosure was filed in December 2011. It was previously reported that a private donor gifted the church over $700,000 to stop the sale of the church back in March. The remainder of the debt owed was privately resolved, according to Eric Readon, the church’s pastor. Records show the church is under a new mortgage with a new bank. 

Miami Dade College to provide IT apprenticeships 

Miami Dade College announced it will partner with Casey, a Miami-based software firm, to provide apprenticeship opportunities for students to fill hiring gaps in Florida’s growing technology ecosystem. 

The college received a grant worth nearly to $2 million by the U.S. Department of Labor to combat the hiring needs in the tech field. 

The funds will help develop the Miami-Dade Apprenticeship Partnership, which will focus on information technology and related industries, and expand apprenticeship programs within those fields during four years. 

The technical training will prepare apprentices to earn several certifications, including CompTIA A+ and N+.

Florida Democratic Party launches voter 

protection hotline

Nearly 15 months before the 2020 elections, the Florida Democratic Party launches a 24-hour voter protection hotline to protect Floridians’ right to vote. The hotline will be monitored by a mix of staff, attorneys, and volunteers who are tasked with educating voters and answering questions, and other duties. “We know that voter suppression is happening 365 days a year in Florida,” Chair Terrie Rizzo. “Now any voter can call 24 hours a day and be provided with the information they need to combat efforts to limit their vote and their voice.”

The number to call is 1-833-Vote-FLA. Though created by Democrats, the hotline is not partisan, officials said. 

Concerns on ethics complaints against NRA lobbyist

State Sen. Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale) raised concerns about his ethical complaint filed earlier this year against National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer. Thurston, along with Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando), filed formal complaints with the Senate and House oversight in June regarding Hammer’s compliance with state lobbying disclosure law. 

Thurston claims that Hammer broke state law by failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in payment for her services.  

According to Thurston, the Senate handed off its mandatory obligation to investigate the alleged lobbyist reporting violations to an office tasked with handling lobbyist registrations. 

“Since filing our complaints, if one central theme has emerged, it’s that the process itself is severely flawed,” Thurston said. 

Hammer maintains that she is not a lobbyist, but a consultant, reportedly. 

In her capacity, Hammer has received payments from the NRA, makes regular appearances before Florida legislative committees, is introduced on behalf of the NRA, and influences the fate of Florida gun legislation, according to Thurston.

“In what world does this not constitute lobbying?” he said. “As a registered contract lobbyist for the NRA, Ms. Hammer had a legal obligation to disclose her financial compensation from the NRA; She did not. It is time she is held accountable.”

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