September 24, 2020

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 8/12/2020

Florida agencies told to figure out how to cut budgets by 8.5%

Getting ready for the possibility of a special legislative session to balance Florida’s budget, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration and top House and Senate appropriations staff have called on state agencies to draw up ways to slice 8.5 percent from their current budgets to address “the expected shortfall” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The direction to look for reductions does not mean such cuts will be made in the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget, which took effect July 1. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

A record 277 deaths added as Florida toll rises — the highest during pandemic

Florida’s coronavirus death toll increased Tuesday by 277 victims, the highest number reported during the pandemic. At least 8,553 residents have died from COVID-19 complications so far, along with another 132 nonresidents who died in the state, according to official data. The previous high for COVID-19 deaths was 257 on July 31. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Super Bowl 55 proceeding as planned with 2.7-mile outdoor fan experience

The NFL and members of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee unveiled their vision for an all outdoor and free fan experience for the upcoming Super Bowl next February in Tampa. The event will be produced by both the NFL and Tampa Bay host committee and will span 2.7 miles along the Tampa Riverwalk, including both Julien B Lane Park and Curtis Hixon Park. The NFL says the event, for the first time, will be completely free to the public and also entirely outdoors. More from WTSP and the Tampa Bay Times.

Plant a seed: Fledgling industry's early entrants see profitable harvest

When Amendment 2 passed in 2016’s general election, it spawned a new industry in Florida — medical marijuana — that has rapidly expanded, approaching $800 million in total market value and nearly 16,000 jobs, according to Leafly, a website that tracks the growth of the U.S. cannabis sector. Gulf Coast companies that got in early on the boom — which also includes robust sales of CBD products that don’t produce the same “high” effect as full-strength cannabis — have been quick to reap the rewards of their foresight and patience. [Source: Business Observer]

Florida businesses hoping bipartisan bill will give $25 billion in stimulus to Postal Service

The slowdown of mail service across the country is causing a ripple effect that is placing a strain on small businesses that depend on timely delivery. While some cite political pressures for the slow down, the wide-ranging impact of the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on the U.S. Postal Service, now reporting a $2.2 billion loss in the three months that ended in June. [Source: Orlando Weekly]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Downtown Orlando bars have alcohol license suspended
The company that does business as Mathers, Shots and Joysticks in downtown Orlando has had its alcohol license suspended by the state for serving patrons “shoulder-to-shoulder” in violation of coronavirus pandemic rules. “Specifically, patrons were being served while standing at the bar area,” the state’s order said. “Patrons were standing shoulder-to-shoulder while congregating at the bar area. Social distancing measures were not being enforced.”

› Sarasota-Manatee homeowners struggling with mortgage payments during economic slowdown
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to undermine the Sarasota-Manatee economy, more homeowners are failing to pay their mortgages on time. The share of homeowners in the two-county region who are at least 30 days late on their mortgage payments ballooned to 6.5% in May, from 5.2% in April and more than double the 2.5% reported one year earlier, data provider CoreLogic reported Tuesday.

› Jacksonville Transportation Authority receives $11.9 million federal grant
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will receive $11.9 million in federal money to buy new buses to replace those that have exceeded their useful life and also rehabilitate JTA’s operations and maintenance building. It is the largest award in the state. The grant is part of the Federal Transit Administration’s award of $27.8 million in transit infrastructure funding in Florida to improve the safety and reliability of the state’s bus systems and enhance mobility for transit riders.

› Lawsuit seeks to overturn Hillsborough pet sales ban
An animal retailer is seeking to overturn Hillsborough County’s crackdown on puppy mills, saying a county ordinance is unconstitutional because it shutters legitimate pet stores. A lawsuit from Puppy Town Tampa LLC, which operates as Puppies Tampa at 6501 N. Dale Mabry Highway, seeks to invalidate recent amendments to the county’s pet retail sales ordinance.

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