Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Pandemic delays Florida redistricting, census data
Blaming coronavirus-related delays, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that data Florida lawmakers will use to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries won’t be delivered until September. The bureau had planned to start delivering census data to states on Friday and complete the rollout by March 31. Florida is expected to pick up at least two additional congressional seats with the new population count. More from the News Service of Florida and WJXT.
Fight over vacation rentals in Florida revs up again
A years-long effort to block local governments from regulating vacation rentals is on the move again, as House and Senate leaders revive a proposal to prevent cities and counties from inspecting and licensing properties offered on platforms such as Airbnb. In a 10-7 vote on Wednesday, the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee gave an initial nod to the latest iteration of the proposal (HB 219). While the legislation has morphed over the past few years, the controversy over the issue has remained consistent. [Source: WUSF]
Demand for Florida concealed weapons surges, depleting fund
With a surge in people seeking concealed-weapons licenses, a legislative panel this week will consider approving an additional $4.34 million for processing background checks. The Legislative Budget Commission, which is made up of House and Senate members, will consider the proposal during a Thursday meeting. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Licensing, which oversees concealed weapons licenses, requested approval of what is known as budget authority to cover a projected $4.34 million deficit. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
COVID-19 vaccine gives Florida restaurants hope as some inoculated customers return
Some restaurateurs are hopeful the vaccine will have customers dining out again after many in the industry have endured almost a year of depressed business. More than 1.27 million people in Florida have received their first dose of the vaccine, and another 891,000 have completed the series, according to the Florida Department of Health. Geoff Luebkemann, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association senior vice president, said although he didn’t have specific data on its effects on restaurants, the vaccine is a positive development. “It has given both the industry and our patrons cause for optimism,” Luebkemann said. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
New website matches Black professionals with tourism industry opportunities
A one-stop-shop website aimed at matching Black professionals with tourism business opportunities just went live. The Black Tourism Talent Directory features profiles of Black businesses, professionals and students and encourages destination marketing organizations, travel brands, associations and media to connect with them for employment opportunities. The site is the brainchild of Stephanie Jones, owner of Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours and founder of the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis urges New York Stock Exchange to relocate to Florida
Last week, Florida Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, wrote a letter to the New York Stock Exchange in which he urged them to relocate to Florida. According to the release, Patronis’ letter comes following a letter that The Exchange sent to New York Legislators regarding their consideration of a transfer tax on the sale of securities.
› Reefer madness in Florida
Get ready for reefer madness on Wednesday, Feb. 18. That’s when members of the state’s two physician licensing boards begin working on the practice standards Florida-licensed physicians must follow when ordering smokable medical marijuana for their qualified patients. The Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine are required to have the rules adopted by July 1.
› Big tech and finance are arriving in Miami. What does it mean for the rest of us?
As tech entrepreneurs and finance gurus relocate to Miami, many locals are asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ It’s a question with profound resonance. Some 96,000 in Miami-Dade remained unemployed in December, resulting in a 7.3% unemployment rate, the second-highest among Florida counties. Another 80,000 Miami-Dade workers have dropped out of the labor force entirely over the past 12 months.
› Florida port workers get training on how to spot and stop human trafficking
vWith nearly 900 calls to the human trafficking hotline in 2019 alone, Florida ranked third nationwide, behind only California and Texas. With that in mind, the Port of Palm Beach this month undertook to train its staff and tenants in how to spot what might happen on their watch.
In a challenging pandemic year, University of Florida researchers contributed to the state with a record-breaking $900.7 million in funding, while research at UF Innovate and Sid Martin Biotech boosted the local economy by way of new jobs, invention disclosures and licenses and options. Check out the numbers that have made an incredible economic impact.
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