Wednesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Up to 1 million Floridians with unpaid bills face October utility shutoffs
Florida’s investor-owned utilities are ending voluntary agreements to not pull the plug on residential accounts for nonpayment but are offering pandemic assistance programs to help customers catch up on electricity bills that, in at least 1.25 million cases, were in arrears this month. Those assistance programs, however, likely won’t help up to 1 million Floridians who could be without power within the coming two weeks, warned Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law advocacy group. [Source: The Center Square]
NASA, SpaceX pick wee hours of Halloween for next launch of astronauts to the space station
NASA and SpaceX are planning to launch another crew of astronauts to the International Space Station from Florida on Halloween morning, following a successful round-trip test mission to the ISS with Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley earlier this year. Currently scheduled for 2:40 a.m., the historic launch known as Crew-1 will include four passengers, NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, the first woman to fly on a commercial flight, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Millions of new rapid COVID tests on their way to Florida
Florida will receive 400,000 rapid-test kits a week that can be used to detect COVID-19 infections at schools, senior centers and long-term care facilities, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday at a news conference in Clearwater. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will take the lead in distributing the test kits, which are coming from the federal government, said division Diretor Jared Moskowitz, who joined DeSantis at Morton Plant Hospital for the announcement. More from the News Service of Florida and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
New Florida laws go into effect Thursday
From stricter penalties for ripping off military veterans to new guidelines for specialty license plates, 24 laws go into effect Thursday after being passed during the 2020 legislative session. The changes are among 206 bills that cleared the House and Senate before the session ended March 19. Of those bills, 201, including a new state budget, were signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida school opening lawsuit gets nudge forward
A small decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal could put the state’s school reopening lawsuit back on track for the expedited ruling that many expected. In a three-sentence order, the court announced it would not combine the original case seeking temporary injunction against the Department of Education emergency order with a second related case asking to reconsider the Florida Education Association’s standing to bring the suit. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Tickets are on sale for the 2020 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Awards Celebration! The Honorees will be revealed during a live broadcast from Orlando on November 12. Companies to Watch was developed by the Edward Lowe Foundation to recognize companies that demonstrate high performance in the marketplace, making them “worth watching”. The program is brought to you by Nperspective CFO & Strategic Services, in association with the Edward Lowe Foundation. Learn more.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Pre-holiday pop-up shops bring new life to Lincoln Road — and fill empty spaces
Lincoln Road is getting a trio of new pop-up shops. To help small businesses and fill a growing number of retail vacancies, the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District has launched a pre-holiday pop-up program. So far, three small business owners have signed leases.
› New delay: No Broadway shows in Orlando until at least April
With the latest delay, Central Florida audiences will go more than a year without seeing a touring Broadway show. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, with co-presenters Florida Theatrical Association and Broadway Across America, announced today that the 2020-21 season of touring shows would not begin until April.
› Tampa airport introduces coronavirus screening for all passengers
Tampa International Airport is introducing a first-of-its-kind initiative to make travel more palatable for passengers in a post-pandemic age: coronavirus testing right in the terminal. The airport will team with BayCare Health System to offer voluntary testing for any passenger departing from or arriving at the airport.
› Blue Origin rocket plans for Cape Canaveral include filling wetlands
Blue Origin plans to expand its rocket facilities in Cape Canaveral include a request to fill wetlands adjacent to its existing building near Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Blue Origin Florida LLC applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fill 10.32 acres of wetlands near its current facilities, which are part of its efforts to build is heavy-lift New Glenn rockets with plans to begin launches as early as next year.
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