Florida governor declares state of emergency before white nationalist speaks at UF


Source:  Miami Herald/Steve Bousquet

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency in Alachua County three days ahead of a scheduled speech at the University of Florida campus in Gainesville by the white nationalist Richard Spencer.

“I find that the threat of a potential emergency is imminent,” Scott said in a seven-page executive order. Scott placed Wes Maul, the recently-promoted 29-year-old interim state emergency management director, as the state coordinating officer “for the duration of this emergency,” including giving Maul the authority to deploy law enforcement officers and to suspend state laws if necessary.

Maul had been chief of staff at DEM to Bryan Koon, who resigned Oct. 1 for a job in the private sector.

The governor’s order, Number 17-264, gives all state agencies the power to suspend rules and regulations, including for purchasing, travel and personnel actions. Scott also activated his authority as governor to spend surplus money as he deems necessary.

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