Tuesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida's 'launch drought' is coming to an end
Finally, the moment has come — rocket launches, what the Space Coast was built upon, will once again resume. After almost two months of waiting, the Space Coast is set to resume having rockets launching from Cape Canaveral. Scheduled for Feb. 21, SpaceX will launch the Indonesian Nusantara Satu communications satellite aboard a Falcon 9 rocket between 7 and 10 p.m. at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40. More from Florida Today and WTSP.
Two bills seek state preemption in regulating vacation rentals
Vacation rentals – exactly what they are and if the state or local governments should regulate them – will again be a hotly debated topic when the Florida Legislature convenes its 60-day session on March 5. At least three Senate bills related to the state’s $31 billion short-term rental industry have been pre-filed thus far, including two that would give oversight to the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR) Division of Hotels and Restaurants. [Source: Florida Watchdog]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Update: Florida's 'revenge porn' law
A state senator wants to close the loopholes in a four-year-old law that was supposed to stop people from engaging in “revenge porn” – the practice of disseminating intimate pictures of former romantic partners without their permission. Florida’s “sexual cyberharassment” law, signed into law by former Gov. Rick Scott in May 2015, makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to publish a sexually explicit image of a person without their consent with the intent of causing that person emotional distress. [Source: Florida Trend]
Gopher tortoise preservation spurs profitable cottage industry
With development booming statewide and suitable habitat at a premium, finding a new residence for a single gopher tortoise can cost builders $750 to $1,250 in today’s market. It’s a business spawned by enhanced protections enacted in 2008 by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The rules include strict oversight of moving the long-lived reptiles from construction projects where once they could be buried alive for a fee. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
How a Category 5 label for Hurricane Michael could impact federal funding in Bay County
Local residents and officials have been calling for Hurricane Michael to be labelled a Category 5 storm for months since the storm devastated Bay County and parts of the Florida Panhandle. Despite rumors that a Category 5 designation would translate into more federal funding for the area after Hurricane Michael, Bay County Emergency Services Chief Mark Bowen explained that while the two are connected, the Category 5 label does not automatically bring more benefits. [Source: Panama City News Herald]
A game-changer for Florida patients and their families
From the most common to the highly complex, cancer is challenging to accurately diagnose and effectively treat. That’s why it’s vitally important to get an expert evaluation and the right advice, which may mean traveling or seeking a second opinion. [Source: Florida Trend]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› In fight against sex and labor trafficking, Tampa chamber works to enlist businesses
Historically human trafficking hasn't been on the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's list of pressing concerns — until Monday. "I believe this is the first time our chamber has ever embarked on something like this," chamber chairman Jamie Harden told a crowd of nearly 200 at the Centre Club in Westshore for a lunchtime summit on sex and labor trafficking in Florida.
› A Florida cellphone seller owes workers $27,000 in back pay after various violations
An owner of Boost Mobile franchises in Pensacola burned the candle at both ends when it comes to keeping money it should have paid workers, violating minimum wage and overtime laws, according to the Department of Labor. That’ll cost IV Wireless, which also owns Boost Mobile franchises elsewhere in Florida, $27,514 in back pay and damages to 32 employees.
› Florida company may build commercial eel farm in Michigan
A Florida-based company is considering building a $30 million eel farm in Michigan, which one state agriculture official said could be the first facility in the U.S. to commercially raise the long fish for food.
› Tourism took a hit in Lee County in 2018 thanks to toxic algae crisis
Amid a water crisis, Lee County's tourism industry took a hit in 2018 — and it shows in the numbers. Visitor numbers declined slightly over the year, coming in closer to 4.79 million.
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