October 23, 2019

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 6/14/2019

Driverless cars, including big rigs, could be hitting Florida highways next year

Driverless semi-trucks could be sharing Florida highways as early as next year, and there will be no requirement that surrounding motorists know it. Nor will autonomous driving systems need to be tested, inspected, or certified before being deployed under a new state law that takes effect July 1. On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill enacting the law in a ceremony at SunTrax, the state’s new autonomous vehicle testing track in Auburndale. More from the Orlando Sentinel, WTVT, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and the AP.

See also:
»Governor Ron DeSantis Signs CS/HB 311: Autonomous Vehicles

Hemp is hot, and Florida farmers hope to cash in on multibillion-dollar crop

This summer will bring a surge of activity toward getting the state’s regulations and permits for hemp farms in place. Florida’s hemp farming program, approved by the Legislature this spring, is expected to be signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and become law on July 1. The state also is soon hosting a workshop to answer questions about hemp farming and get feedback on state rules. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida creates Blockchain Task Force to study benefits of blockchain technology

The Blockchain Task Force will study if and how Florida’s state, county, and municipal governments can benefit from a transition to blockchain-based systems for recordkeeping, data security, financial transactions, and service delivery, and identify ways blockchain technology can be used to improve government interaction with businesses and the public. [Source: National Law Review]

Are credit unions Florida's new community banks?

Credit unions, nationally and especially in Florida, are diving into a new form of expansion: buying banks. A pair of billion-dollar area credit unions lead the way in the buy-to-grow strategy. The 15 largest credit unions in Florida hold more than $45 billion in assets. Five of the top 15 are based in the Tampa Bay/Lakeland region. [Source: Business Observer]

Turns out Florida dads are the nation's best homework helpers

He does more than blurt out corny dad jokes – he's also good at trying to help with homework. According to a survey by Brainly , an educational technology company, it turns out Florida dads are the nation's best homework helpers. Forty-four percent of dads in Florida help their children with homework assignments. [Source: WPTV]


› Climate change, South Florida sea level rise preparation could cost SFWMD $1 billion
A 10-year program to prepare for sea level rise could cost the South Florida Water Management District more than $1 billion. A three-step program of assessing the problem, designing solutions and building those projects could begin next year, Akintunde Owosina, head of the Hydrology and Hydraulics Bureau, told district board members Thursday.

› $62 million collected so far: What happens if Hillsborough’s transportation tax is revoked?
What if they collected a tax and never got a chance to spend it? Who would get the money? Where would they keep it in the meantime? Are there laws about all this? These and other questions are swirling around a ruling expected any day now on whether the one-cent transportation tax approved by Hillsborough County voters in November is valid.

› Emilio and Gloria Estefan unveil their renovated Cardozo South Beach hotel
Fans of Emilio and Gloria Estefan who have wondered what’s inside their Miami Beach estate may get a glimpse when they visit the Cardozo South Beach hotel. The Estefans have completed a four-year, $15 million renovation of their Art Deco hotel at 1300 Ocean Dr. Part of that interior makeover included adding some personal accessories from their Star Island estate including furniture, chairs and art work.

› Citizens Insurance still grappling with Hurricane Irma lawsuits
Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers this spring approved a plan to overhaul the controversial insurance practice known as “assignment of benefits,” and put new restrictions on lawsuits against insurers. But the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will continue grappling with thousands of lawsuits, including many stemming from disputes about claims from Hurricane Irma in 2017.

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The Sunshine Skyway is a lot more colorful
The Sunshine Skyway is a lot more colorful

The Florida Department of Transportation installed the nearly 1,800 colored LED light fixtures on the Sunshine Skyway bridge. The Skyway lighting project has been in progress for several years.

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