Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Hemp program proposed for Florida as officials eye potentially lucrative industry
With officials seeing a potentially lucrative industry, Senate Agriculture Chairman Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, is proposing creation of a state hemp program. The bill came after Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried last week named Holly Bell as the state’s first director of cannabis, a position that is expected to focus on building a hemp industry. The bill also comes as agriculture officials say hemp production could help farmers and timber owners in Northwest Florida who sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Michael. South Florida Sun-Sentinel, WJXT, and the Panama City News-Herald.
Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida Icon: J.R. 'Johnny' Lopez de la Cruz
The retired U.S. Army colonel, president Bay of Pigs Veterans Association Brigade 2506, tells us, "The story is still alive. This place, I think it has soul (Bay of Pigs veterans museum). No matter how many times I come in here I feel something, which is just seeing a photograph of my friends. It hits you really hard." [Source: Florida Trend]
Florida investigating high number of manatee deaths in Everglades National Park
Florida wildlife officials are investigating a higher than normal number of manatee deaths in Everglades National Park over the last two months, after a rare Bryde’s whale beached itself in January. Altogether nine dead manatees have been reported in park waters, but only four bodies were recovered. [Source: Miami Herald]
Black History Month: Florida black owned businesses lag behind
Justin McKennie is unique in Citrus County: not because he owns his own small businesses or because he wants the same for his children one day. He stands out because he is those things and also black. As we celebrate February Black History and the accomplishments of black inventors, civil rights and community leaders, the latest data shows that most working blacks in CitrusCounty lag far behind other races when it comes to owning their own, non-incorporated businesses. [Source: Citrus County Chronicle]
Credit ratings in good shape, state budget panel told
A slight reduction to the state’s general-fund reserves, as outlined by Gov. Ron DeSantis in his proposed budget, wouldn’t affect Florida’s credit ratings, state bond-finance Director Ben Watkins said after addressing House budget leaders this week. [Source: Florida Politics]
Sylvester: New approaches to battling cancer
From research and discoveries, to educational outreach programs focused on first responders and the underserved, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is a beacon of hope for many of the estimated 1.7 million diagnosed with cancer in the US last year. [Sponsored report]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Amazon cancels plans for New York site. Miami officials say tech giant remains welcome.
Amazon announced Thursday morning it won’t be building an HQ2 headquarters in Long Island City, a neighborhood in Queens, New York, after all. So does that put Miami back in the running for the coveted second headquarters, awarded late last year to Northern Virginia and New York?
› Snapshot of $15 minimum wage petition drive in Sarasota
Fueled by donations from Orlando trial attorney John Morgan, the minimum wage petition drive has been ramping up in recent weeks. Paid signature gatherers have fanned out across the state in an effort to obtain the 766,200 signatures need to put the amendment on the ballot.
› House and Senate on different paths to a fracking ban
Florida lawmakers set the terms Wednesday for what may be one of the most contentious debates of the 2019 legislative session: fracking. The controversial process of injecting high-pressure liquid deep into the ground to extract oil and gas was on the agenda for both House and Senate committees. And the two chambers have different ideas about what it is and how to ban it.
› Real job growth in Orlando is not all tourism-related
Contrary to conventional wisdom, employment growth in the past year did not solely stem from the Orlando region’s world-class tourism sector. The strongest growth occurred outside of leisure and hospitality.
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