Friday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida lawmakers consider healthcare cuts as hospitals battle pandemic
The havoc of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has strained health-care providers across the state, might not be enough to spare hospitals and nursing homes from Medicaid spending cuts in the coming year. Top Republican leaders in the Florida House and Senate acknowledged Thursday a chance that lawmakers could make health-care cuts as they struggle to craft a balanced budget amid the economic wreckage caused by the coronavirus. “So, I would say that everything is on the table,” Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, said when asked about reducing Medicaid payment rates for hospitals and nursing homes. More from the News Service of Florida.
Florida legislature, union leaders argue over worker rights
Union leaders and Florida lawmakers are arguing over protecting government workers’ rights and processing their union dues in a bill moving through the Senate. The bill would require union members to provide proof of consent to employers every three years or every time a new contract is negotiated with employers. Employers will then have to process that paperwork before proceeding to deduct the fees from workers’ paychecks. More from the AP.
DeSantis names Julie Brown to run Florida’s Business and Professional Regulation
Longtime state utility regulator Julie Brown was named Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis to become secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, continuing a series of changes in the upper levels of the DeSantis administration. Brown, a lawyer who has served on the Florida Public Service Commission since 2011, will replace Halsey Beshears, who announced last month he was resigning as Department of Business and Professional Regulation secretary because of health reasons. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Florida reports first case of P.1 virus variant first detected in Brazil
Florida has reported its first case of P.1, a COVID-19 variant that was first detected in Brazil, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Thursday, Florida had only reported one case of P.1 and was one of only four states reporting confirmed cases of the variant in the U.S., according to a map from the CDC. Maryland, Oklahoma and Minnesota have also reported cases of the P.1 variant, the map shows. A total of five cases have been reported nationwide. More from Click Orlando.
Plan to tax online purchases gets support in Florida Senate
An effort to require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians advanced Thursday in the Senate as economists project the move could bring in more than $1 billion a year in revenue. But as the Senate Finance and Tax Committee voted to support the proposal (SB 50), sponsor Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, said efforts are underway to balance the increased tax collections against other funding sources to make the change “revenue neutral.” More from WGCU and WJXT.
Vegan soul food: How South Florida’s Black chefs turn barbecue, burgers and cheesesteaks into plant-based gold
Across South Florida, Black-owned restaurants like the Rabbit Hole Elevated Vegan Comfort Cuisine are driving a renaissance of vegan soul food, with chefs turning common comfort fare – hamburgers, jerk chicken, wings and cheesesteaks – into healthier plant-based gold. Their singular goal: Make vegan soul food taste better than regular comfort food.
» More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
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