Budget deal includes billions of disaster aid for Florida, Puerto Rico
Florida lawmakers, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, are celebrating disaster aid and other provisions for the state tucked into the two-year budget deal announced Wednesday. Both are expected to vote for the overall deal, which faces a harder path in the House. More from the Tampa Bay Times and USA Today.
Lawmakers seek common ground on Florida Forever
Lawmakers are continuing to work on restocking Florida Forever, the state’s once-prized land preservation program. However, Florida Forever spending is shaping up to be a big part of the environmental budget differences the House and Senate will have to settle in the coming weeks. [Source: Lakeland Ledger]
Are Irma cleanup efforts making South Florida residents sick?
Residents rebuilding after Hurricane Irma expressed health concerns related to cleanup efforts, including crushing boats in their neighborhoods. Several residents in Tavernier who live near Harry Harris Park, have reported getting sick as crews destroyed damaged, unclaimed boats just feet from their homes. [Source: WPLG]
Florida bill seeks to stop arrests of injured immigrant workers
A new bill under consideration by Florida lawmakers would stop insurance companies from dodging workers compensation payouts by aiding in the arrest and deportation of unauthorized immigrants who are injured on the job. More from NPR and ProPublica.
Gov. Rick Scott announces new employment partnership to help displaced Puerto Ricans
Gov. Rick Scott announced a new employment partnership with the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and Ana G. Mendez University for families displaced by Hurricane Maria. The initiative is part of a $1 million investment announced by the governor last month. [Source: WPLG]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Jeter reaches out to Miami business leaders [WPLG]
Pitchers and catchers don't report until next week, but Marlins CEO Derek Jeter is out pitching his team. Jeter met with the members of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.
› Gov. Scott confident Florida protected from oil drilling [Tampa Bay Times]
Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday reiterated his belief that the Trump administration will keep its word and exempt Florida from plans for offshore drilling. But Scott would not say if he's spoken with the president himself.
› Miami-Dade free transit Wi-Fi initiative falls apart [Miami Today]
A year-old Miami-Dade initiative that had promised free transit Wi-Fi, hundreds of Wi-Fi-enabled kiosks and security cameras throughout the county has fallen apart.
› Citrix Systems hires new CFO from Silicon Valley company [South Florida Business Journal]
Citrix Systems Inc. has hired a Silicon Valley executive to serve as CFO, the Fort Lauderdale company's latest shakeup to its C-suite. Starting Feb. 19, Drew Del Matto, previously CFO of Sunnyvale, California-based technology firm Fortinet, will begin his tenure at Citrix.
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› Florida Could End Recognition Of Confederate Holidays [AP]
An interesting change could be coming to some of the holidays recognized by the state of Florida. Florida could remove the birthdays of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis from a list of legal holidays under a bill that has cleared its first committee.
› Fort Lauderdale votes 3-2 to reaffirm support for The Wave [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Fort Lauderdale city commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a new agreement with the county and Downtown Development Authority, reaffirming a commitment to help pay for the 2.8 mile rail loop and for any cost overruns.
› Florida Justices Question Challenge to Red-Light Cameras [Daily Business Review]
Florida Supreme Court justices seemed skeptical Wednesday of a challenge to red-light camera programs in which private companies look over footage and forward potential violations to police.
› Florida county won't let 7-month pregnant firefighter do light duty [WFTV]
A South Florida firefighter, who is seven months pregnant, was told by her bosses that she will have to carry out her normal duties until she gives birth. Indian River County says that the union contract specifically precludes giving pregnant firefighters, such as Nicole Morris, light duty.