December 4, 2020

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 11/16/2020

Florida lawmakers return this week but won’t be tackling pandemic

Florida legislators meet for the first time in eight months on Tuesday to swear in newly elected lawmakers, but legislators will keep their distance from one another, in an attempt to stave off the coronavirus — and from any talk of addressing the economic and health-related fallout from it. The one-day legislative session is required by the state Constitution “on the fourteenth day following each general election...for the exclusive purpose of organization and selection of officers” and it is expected to last just two hours. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Sun sets on Sunshine State elections

For a change, Florida is out of the spotlight as officials in other states continue to count ballots and fend off Trump lawsuits in the run-up to electoral-college votes on Dec. 14, when the occupant of the Oval Office will be formally determined. While election-fatigued citizens could face another month of presidential hijinks, Florida officials are on track to finalize the state’s results this week. The Florida Elections Canvassing Commission will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday to certify the official returns, which county supervisors of elections have to submit to the state no later than noon Sunday. [Source: News Service of Florida]

What’s next for Florida’s controversial toll road projects? Here are three ways they could be stopped.

The road projects, revived by former state Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, in 2019, have been highly controversial. Both environmentalists and many local elected officials who live along the proposed routes have given the project a lukewarm reception. The financial and environmental concerns have only grown since Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the projects into law 18 months ago. Still, there remain three things that could derail the projects. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

A record number of pythons were removed from the Everglades this year. That’s the good news

Contractors from two state agencies have caught a record number of Burmese pythons in Florida this year with direction to combine forces and increase efforts to remove the invasive snakes from the Everglades. As of mid-October, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the South Florida Water Management District removed about 4,000 snakes — bringing the total snakes removed to 6,278 since the python elimination program was introduced in 2017. [Source: Miami Herald]

Hospitals see first effects of South Florida COVID-19 surge

South Florida hospitals are experiencing the impact of a surge in COVID-19 infections, and experts say it will only get worse. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties saw a 44% increase in coronavirus patients over the past two weeks, an increase paralleled across Florida, according to state figures. With about 3,200 Floridians currently hospitalized with COVID-19, the numbers are well below the July peak, when hospitalizations topped 9,000. But the trend is clearly upward, and question is how high it will rise. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Sarasota-Manatee braces for a tourism season like no other
The holiday season at the Ramada by Wyndham Venice Hotel Venezia is usually filled with the energy of Christmas cheer and uproarious laughter of people having fun at their banquets or company Christmas parties. And while this holiday season at the hotel will have plenty of cheer, there won’t be any large groups of people gathering with their friends, family or coworkers to toast the end of this tumultuous year.

› Creative minds use ingenuity to map road to economic recovery in Miami
As Miami-Dade continues to battle the novel coronavirus under “new normal” conditions, its path to recovery and prosperity relies in large part on creative minds whose ingenuity will pave the way. Thanks to the inventiveness of John Stuart, director of FIU’s Miami Beach Urban Studio, home to one of the largest 3D printing labs in the state, thousands of lives may have already been saved.

› Judge gives more time in unemployment case
Rejecting arguments by the state and Deloitte Consulting LLP, a circuit judge has given more time to plaintiffs to file a revised class-action lawsuit stemming from problems in Florida’s unemployment-compensation system. Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper issued an order this week that gives plaintiffs’ attorneys until Monday to file an amended complaint.

› Florida theme parks offer Black Friday deals
The holiday season is quickly approaching and many Florida theme parks are already rolling out their Black Friday deals in advance. Black Friday deals are being offered by Busch Gardens, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, ZooTampa, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

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