Tuesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Enterprise Florida, Visit Florida get new presidents
Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis’ picks to lead state business-recruitment and tourism-marketing efforts were unanimously approved Monday by the boards of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida. The votes to hire Jamal Sowell as president and CEO of Enterprise Florida and Dana Young for the same position at Visit Florida came a day before DeSantis will take over as governor. More from the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and Florida Politics.
Florida law restoring the vote to former felons takes effect
Under an amendment passed by the voters in November, as many as 1.4 million former felons are regaining the right to vote. The referendum overturned a 150-year-old law that permanently disenfranchised people with felony convictions. [Source: NPR]
Florida Retirement System audit forecasts diminishing future returns
The Florida Retirement System performed well in 2018, but despite that, the reported figures suggest there are some choppy waters ahead. The pension fund, which covers state, county, schools, and other government workers, saw an 8.9% return on investments in fiscal 2018. It now has $161 billion in assets under management, and is 84.3% funded. [Source: Chief Investment Officer]
Justices set to hear major "Stand your ground" case
The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments March 6 in a dispute about whether a controversial 2017 change to the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law should apply to older cases. The 2017 change shifted a key burden of proof in “stand your ground” cases --- a shift that can play a role in determining whether people claiming self-defense should be shielded from prosecution. [Source: WUSF]
Florida's population continues to grow
A recent federal report says Florida is one of the fastest growing states when it comes to population. The U.S. Census Bureau states Florida's population increased 1.5 percent from July 2017 to July 2018. That's the fifth highest rate in the country. [Source: WTXL]
| 2019 Celebration of Reading
Join the Barbara Bush Foundation for the Florida Celebration of Reading – Miami on February 7, 2019, aboard SeaFair. Featuring appearances from bestselling authors Dave Barry, Brad Meltzer, and Susan Page, the event will honor the legacy of Barbara Bush and kick off a year-long celebration of the Foundation’s 30th anniversary. Funds raised will support the Foundation’s literacy initiatives nationwide, which include 80 programs throughout the state of Florida. More here. [Sponsored]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Otronicon makes room for tech startup companies
Tech entrepreneur Gordon Folkes III spent two October evenings on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando, surrounded by fire breathers, ballet dancers and hip-hop artists. But that is how it goes sometimes when you run a small startup, seeking attention and potential customers to help your business grow.
› It’s back: Red tide returns to Sarasota, Manatee beaches
The red tide has persisted in Sarasota-Manatee for 16 months, since October of 2017. Mote Marine Laboratory reported medium concentrations near its dock at New Pass in Sarasota Bay, and very low levels were found at Venice Jetty and Brohard (Dog) Beach.
› Brightline-Virgin rail service looking at Disney station along proposed Tampa-to-Orlando route
Brightline, the Florida passenger train service soon to be known as Virgin Trains USA, plans a stop near Disney World along its proposed Orlando to Tampa route. The company included a map showing a planned future station labeled “Disney” in a filing late last month with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
» Related Florida Trend Content: Floridian of the Year: Brightline
› Prominent South Florida businessman, philanthropist John P. Bauer dies at 93
John P. Bauer fled from Nazis, went to school in Paris, served in U.S. military intelligence and became an international trade icon. Bauer, one of Fort Lauderdale’s most well-known business moguls, died Sunday at the age of 93, said his widow Mimi.
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