Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Rubio, Scott split vote over Trump’s border wall emergency as president promises veto
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was among a dozen Republicans who joined Senate Democrats to reject the president's border emergency declaration. Although Rubio has stated his support for the wall, he worries Trump's attempt to funding reserved by Congress for military spending sets a precedent that could be exploited by future presidents to circumvent Congressional appropriations. Meanwhile, fellow Republican Rick Scott offered a statement of full-throated support for the president's maneuver. [Source: WOFL]
Orlando area now worst in nation for shortage of extremely low-income housing
The National Low Income Housing Coalition's newest Affordable Housing Gap Analysis reports the Orlando metro area is worst in the nation for households at the lowest income levels — typically under about $24,600 a year — finding a place to live. The report found a mere 13 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households who need them, a drop from 17 in 2018, when Orlando was tied for second worst with Los Angeles. The findings come as Livability.com — an index that weighs education, jobs, affordability, health care, transportation and diversity — ranked Orlando No. 17 on its recently compiled “Top 100 Best Places To Live” list.[Source: Orlando Sentinel]
As massive construction project looms, Miami Beach studies ‘emergency’ traffic measures
The Florida Department of Transportation and the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority are pushing forward on an $800 million redesign of Interstate 395--including sections of I-95 and State Road 836. The construction efforts are expected to take until the fall of 2023 to complete, meaning an incoming swathe of lane closures and detours are about to make the challenging Miami Beach traffic scene much worse in the near future. [Source: Miami Herald]
Florida city votes to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana
According to Florida Law, possessing 20 grams or less of cannabis is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, Cocoa Beach city officials have approved a citation ordinance which decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of cannabis or drug paraphernalia, resulting in a civil citation for offenders, rather than arrest. [Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal]
Vaping ban ready for Florida Senate vote
A voter-approved workplace ban on electronic smoking devices is moving to the Senate for a final vote. The measure would add vaping to a state law that bars people under the age of 18 from smoking tobacco within 1,000 feet of schools. A similar measure was recently approved by the House Health & Human Services Committee. [Source: WJXT]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Grounded Boeing planes land in Melbourne
Orlando Melbourne International Airport is set to house a number of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. The first two such craft--which have been grounded worldwide following two major accidents involving similar aircraft--arrived early Thursday evening.
› Solar installations are on the rise in Florida
According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida added the fourth-most megawatts in the country in 2018 — 850 megawatts. The Sunshine State climbed from 202 megawatts of solar capability installed as of 2015 to about 2,290 in 2018, making it the eighth-largest solar state.
› Several cities on Florida’s west coast named to list of top places for retirees
Urban areas like Orange compete with more rural ones like Polk and Okeechobee when it comes to the local economic impact of the cattle industry.
› Children to get free swim lessons to tackle spike in drownings
According to a new SmartAsset study, five of the top 10 best places for retirees to call home are found in west Florida.
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