May 28, 2020

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 4/16/2019

Offshore drilling in Florida? Gov. DeSantis downplays chances.

The White House is reportedly considering plans to auction off Florida’s coastal waters to search for oil and natural gas. But that may be a hard sell in the Sunshine state. Offshore drilling is deeply unpopular in Florida, among both the general public and lawmakers. Even Republicans have warned it could cost the president support in a state that less than six months ago approved a constitutional amendment banning the practice in state waters. More from the Pensacola News Journal and WGCU.

Big waves damaged SpaceX's Falcon Heavy center booster on its return to Cape Canaveral

The center core booster of SpaceX’s mighty Falcon Heavy, which took off from the Space Coast last week, won’t make it back intact to Cape Canaveral after all. The booster was on its way to Port Canaveral on the company’s drone ship, “Of Course I Still Love You,” after a successful launch and landing last week, when the SpaceX recovery team faced rough seas and was unable to secure the core. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida workers call for $15 minimum wage

Florida workers and union members are pushing for a $15 minimum wage. But it may not be an easy feat in the state. Florida minimum wage workers currently earn $8.46 per hour. The group Fight for $15 wants to raise this to $15 an hour. More from WJCT and WJHG.

Can Hillsborough County's public access network, the last in Florida, find a way to survive?

Today, Hillsborough has the only public access channel still operating in Florida. “We’re it," says Louise Thompson, executive director of the Tampa Bay Community Network public access channel, which is operated by the nonprofit Speak Up Tampa Bay. But for how long? In an age when YouTube attracts more than 60 million eyeballs every day, can a “community network’’ survive? [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida vacation rental reform bills dead – but not buried

Proposals to pre-empt local regulations with state oversight of Florida’s $31 billion short-term vacation rental industry are unlikely to advance this session with measures in both chambers facing challenges. SB 824 and HB 987 would pre-empt local regulations and require vacation rental homeowners, often marketed through Airbnb, HomeAway and other internet-based listing sites, to register with the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation [DBPR], which would exclusively regulate their uses. [Source: Florida Watchdog]


› Competing soccer group sues Fort Lauderdale, Beckham’s team over Lockhart Stadium deal
FXE Futbol, which had submitted a proposal calling for the renovation of Lockhart to host a Division 2 soccer team, filed suit Monday morning in Broward County court alleging the city of Fort Lauderdale violated state laws in the process of evaluating and ranking the two bids.

› Ferry service in Tampa Bay set to become 'permanent'
Ferry service linking downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg is apparently here to stay. The Cross-Bay Ferry previously operated between November and April. But year-round ferry service connecting the two cities is now in the works, according to Ed Turanchik, the former Hillsborough County Commissioner and a policy adviser for the ferry operator.

› IMG Enterprises adds 4,000 acres of citrus
IMG Enterprises, a family owned and operated citrus leader in Florida, recently announced the acquisition of a 4,000-acre grapefruit grove, one of the largest grapefruit groves in St. Lucie County. The grove has been renamed Happy Food Grove, after their brand “Happy Food,” which can be found in supermarkets across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

› Tourism in Manatee remains in growth mode. Here’s why 2019 is off to such a hot start
Walter Klages of Data Research Services, who regularly takes the pulse of tourist activity in Manatee County, said that in February, 77,100 visitors spent time in the Bradenton area, up 8 percent from a year earlier. At the same time, 2,000 new hotel rooms have been added to Manatee County, yet the occupancy rate remained nearly the same, 90.8 percent in February 2019, compared to 91 percent a year earlier.

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Mega pantries already operate in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, serving an average of almost 4,000 people every week.
Mega pantries already operate in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, serving an average of almost 4,000 people every week.

Feeding Tampa Bay opened the new drive-through food bank — dubbed a mega-pantry — in Manatee County in response to an all-time high demand for meals and groceries from local food banks.

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