Wednesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
The autonomous vehicle industry in Florida
Florida was one of the first states to welcome the industry to test the technology on its streets. One company is testing autonomous taxis in The Villages. Another has put a driverless semi-truck on the Turnpike. The development of this technology won’t be a big driver of employment in Florida. The technology is imported from California and Pennsylvania for testing. These companies have a few dozen workers here. Instead, they’re focused on the market Florida represents; good driving conditions, and serving a growing and aging population. [Source: WLRN]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Gene Deckerhoff is a Florida Icon
The voice of the FSU Seminoles and Tampa Bay Bucs talks about his career in broadcasting. He tells us: "I began my college career wanting to be a chemical engineer, but there was something about being a college student and having a 7 a.m. chemistry lab that just didn’t work. And so I decided, you know what, I am not going to be a chemical engineer." [Source: Florida Trend]
Dogs are helping save Florida’s citrus groves from a devastating disease
As HLB continues to spread with deadly efficiency, some hope dogs will be the heroes to vanquish this crop-destroying foe. After all, canines have already demonstrated the ability to sniff out plant diseases, including citrus canker and plum pox virus, which infects peach, plum and cherry trees. [Source: Washington Post]
Florida gas prices spike to start the new year
Pump prices are retreating after logging the most expensive start to a new year since 2014. Florida gas prices reached an average price of nearly $2.53 per gallon last Tuesday, but have since declined a total of 4 cents. [Source: Space Coast Daily]
Florida Forever could aid hurricane recovery, sea-efforts
Millions of dollars in Florida Forever land-conservation funds would be tied to sea-level rise and hurricane recovery under a measure moving forward in the Florida Senate. The Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Monday approved a proposal (SPB 7024) that would set aside at least $10 million a year from Florida Forever to buy land and add conservation easements in areas that had been damaged by hurricanes during the previous five years. [Source: WJXT]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Governor’s address opens Florida Legislature with focus on teacher raises, health
The Florida Legislature began its 2020 session Tuesday, as it prepared to consider hundreds of bills, including teachers pay raises, climate change and immigration, as well as approving the billions of dollars required to keep the country’s third-most populous state operating. Addressing a joint session of the state House and Senate, Gov. Ron DeSantis urged cooperation in his second state-of-the-state address.
› In his last major speech as Miami-Dade County mayor, Carlos Gimenez touts ‘fantastic turnaround’
Eyeing the end of nearly a decade as mayor, Carlos Gimenez used his final formal address to tout himself as a consensus builder who brought prosperity to Miami-Dade and discipline to Florida’s largest local government — burnishing a legacy already under attack by Democrats as he prepares to run for Congress.
› Obamacare demand remains high in Florida as enrollment nears 2 million
With more than 1.9 million consumers signed up for 2020, Florida once again leads the nation in health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. Among the 38 states that participate in the federal program, also known as Obamacare, Texas had the second-highest enrollment this year with 1.1 million and North Carolina was third with 505,275.
› Florida Senate panel approves annual cost-of-living pay adjustment plan for state workers
State employees could get an annual cost-of-living pay raise under a plan approved Monday by a Senate committee. SB 1114 would create an annual salary adjustment for most rank and file workers in the state budget tied to the consumer price index – the annual change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services – a 1.6% increase between 2018 and 2019.
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