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Self-driving cars,

trucks and buses without a

human backup can now

legally drive on Florida’s


That is, of course,

once autonomous vehicles

[AVs] are actually built,

tested and road-ready.

And that – building

and testing them to be road-

ready – is the impetus be-

hind a new Florida law that

allows AVs to operate on

state roads, Gov. Ron De-

Santis said Thursday.

“Signing this legis-

lation paves the way for

Florida to continue as a na-

tional leader in transporta-

tion innovation and techno-

logical advancement,” he

said before signing House

Bill 311 into law at the $42

million SunTrax AV testing

site next to Florida Poly-

technic University west of


“With this bill,” De-

Santis continued, “Florida

officially has an open-door

policy to autonomous vehi-

cle companies and I encour-

age them to relocate from

California to Florida.”

SunTrax’s 2.25-mile

oval track will be a first-of-

its-kind “smart” technology

Bi- Weekly: June 20 - July 3, 2019

From Island to Bay, News at Sea Level

Vol. 4 No. 36

On Vacation? Take us home with you! Read our digital Flipbook version at


Cont. pg. 4

Reverse-Mortgage Fails NOT A

Factor In Florida’s Stubbornly

High Foreclosure Rate

Cont. pg 13

Foreclosures are

down nationwide since last

spring but not in Florida,

where foreclosure filings in-

creased by 23 percent this

May compared to May

2018, according to ATTOM

Data Solutions' May 2019

U.S. Foreclosure Market

Report (FMR).

June began with one

of every 1,238 Florida

homes in foreclosure, the

nation’s third-highest rate,

behind only New Jersey’s

(one in every 1,117) and

Maryland’s (one in every

1,127}, ATTOM Data Solu-

tions reported last week.

According to



in mid-June there were

94,062 properties in Florida

listed in some stage of fore-

closure, default, auction or

as bank owned, including

more than 3,800 procedures

started in May. In 2018,

there were 33,031 foreclo-

sure starts statewide, the re-

port documents.

Despite the high

foreclosure rates, Florida’s

overall real estate market

continues to stabilize from

the recession that followed

the 2007 housing market

crash, presaged in 2006

when the foreclosure

process was initiated on one

in every 102,875 homes in

the state.

Nationally, the fore-

closure process was started

on 30,554 U.S. properties in

May 2019, less than 1 per-

cent more than in April but

down 9 percent from May

2018. the fourth consecutive

month with an annual de-

cline, according to May’s

FMR posted on ATTOM’s


In May 2019, the

foreclosure process was

completed on 10,634 U.S.

properties, down 4 percent

from April and down 50

percent from May 2018,

seventh consecutive annual

decline, the report docu-


"We are continuing

to see a downward trend

with overall foreclosure ac-

tivity, especially in com-

pleted foreclosures

declining year after year,"

ATTOM Data Solutions

Chief Product Officer Todd

Teta said in a study synop-

sis. "However, in May 2019

we did see an uptick in the

number of states increasing

in foreclosure starts going

from 17 to 23 states rising

annually – and again Florida

is bucking the national trend

with a continuous annual in-


Florida’s rate of one

in every 1,238 homes some-

how embroiled in the fore-

closure process is

significantly higher than the

national rate of one in every


The five counties

with the highest foreclosure

rates are in rural central or

north Florida: Hendry one

in every 458; Clay one in

every 580; Gilchrist one in

every 620; Lafayette one in

every 645; and Desoto one

in every 652.

According to

ATTOM’s FMR, Jack-

sonville had the second-

highest foreclosure rate

among metro areas nation-

wide with

Florida has never had

a “sanctuary city” nor has any

local government ever pro-

posed creating one, but the

state now has a new law out-

lawing them – and that appar-

ently relieved a pressing

urgency for the standing-

room-only crowd in red

“Make America Great Again”

hats that crammed the

Okaloosa County Commis-

sion chambers Friday.

They were in the Pan-

handle county’s administra-

tive center to witness – and

vociferously cheer on – Gov.

Ron DeSantis as he signed

Florida’s ban on “sanctuary

cities” officially into law.

“Sanctuary cities basi-

cally create law-free zones

where people can come to our

state illegally and our country

illegally, commit criminal of-

fenses and then just walk right

out the door and continue to

do it,” DeSantis said. “In

Florida, that will not happen.”

The measure – a leg-

islative priority for DeSantis –

requires local jails and prisons

to hold an undocumented im-

migrant charged or convicted

of a crime for 48 hours past

their release dates to give fed-

eral Immigration & Customs

Enforcement [ICE] agents

time to collect and deport


'Penny Plan' Falls As National Debt Exceeds

$21.5 Trillion


‘Sanctuary City’

Ban Bill-Signing

Morphs Into Trump Rally

The U.S. national

debt exceeds $21.5 trillion.

That's almost quadruple the

national debt when President

George W. Bush first took

office in 2001.

Earlier this month,

the U.S. Senate held a vote

on Sen. Rand Paul's Penny

Plan, which would reduce

federal government spending

and implement fiscal re-

straint reforms.

Only 22 U.S. Sena-

tors voted for the Penny

Plan, with 25 Republican

Senators and all Democrats

voting against it.

The Senate vote

came months after about 130

U.S. leaders called on Presi-

dent Donald Trump to lead a

“transparency revolution,”

and reign in out-of-control

federal government spend-


“With the economy

booming, wages rising, com-

petitive tax rates, domestic

energy production flourish-

ing, and unemployment at a

near 50-year low across

every demographic – the

federal debt continues to

skyrocket. This is unsustain-

able,” they wrote in an open

letter to the president.

Trump responded by

directing his federal agency

heads to cut five percent of

their budgets.

Former Sen. Tom

Coburn, R-Oklahoma, and

honorary chair of OpenThe-


, and Adam An-

drzejewski, CEO and

founder of the watchdog ad-

vocacy group, said Trump’s

“war on federal government

waste” was “a great first step

and an achievable goal.”

However, his “will-

ingness to lead

Cont. pg 9

DeSantis Offers ‘Open

Door’ -- And New Law --

For AV Developers To

Build, Test In Florida

Cont’d pg. 14

Sen. Rand Paul'