Tuesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Ten big issues to watch during the 2021 session
The 2021 legislative session will start March 2, with Gov. Ron DeSantis giving the annual State of the State address. Lawmakers will take up a wide range of issues during the 60-day session, along with negotiating a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Here are 10 big issues to watch during the session. More from the News Service of Florida.
Florida’s marijuana industry nearly doubled jobs, approached $1.23 billion in sales in 2020
The medical marijuana market in Florida created nearly 15,000 new jobs in 2020 and employs an estimated 31,444 state residents, according to a new analysis. Florida recorded nearly $1.23 billion in marijuana sales in 2020, according to the report posted by Leafly and Whitney Economics. Florida's sales were more than every state except California and Colorado, where marijuana is legal for adults. Medical marijuana patient registrations surged in Florida last year, with 170,000 new patients in 2020. More from the Center Square.
Florida’s vaccine-registration website draws millions of people to sign up
The state’s new COVID-19 vaccine registration website is in big demand — drawing more than 2.4 million people to sign up for notifications on appointments. The state’s website myvaccine.fl.gov kicked off last month, giving the public updates on when appointments are available at state-run COVID-19 vaccine sites near them. South Florida, one of the state’s most populous regions, accounts for more than 20% of the state’s total signups, with over 491,000 people registering in the tri-county area as of last week. More from the South Floriida Sun-Sentinel.
Why are Florida gas prices up significantly since December?
Florida gas prices have rocketed up over the past three months. Just before the new year, Florida was heading into a five-month low with average pump prices hovering around the $2-per-gallon mark as concerns about the pandemic dampened demand. But this week, Sunshine State gas prices are up to $2.61 per gallon for regular unleaded as of Monday, according to AAA, the Auto Club Group. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
More people are booking Royal Caribbean cruises this year, even as they remain banned
Royal Caribbean Group is seeing an increase in bookings as the company nears the one-year mark without any cruises in the U.S., its biggest market. Despite U.S. cruises being banned indefinitely, on Monday Royal Caribbean Group executives said the company has seen a 30% increase in future bookings since the start of the year compared to November and December. Royal Caribbean Group has canceled all U.S. cruises until at least May. More from the Miami Herald.
Kicking a bright future into high gear
Haley Jarrett was a high school sophomore attending school during the week and traveling on weekends with her parents to soccer tournaments around the state. A bright student, Haley knew college was in her future. She just wanted to find a way to help pay for it to repay her parents for all they spent on travel soccer. The [Sponsored report]
Out of the Box
Professional python hunter uses hunting dogs to track down reptiles invading Florida’s swamps
A professional python hunter is using some four-legged helpers to sniff out snakes hiding in Florida’s swamps. Mike Kimmel is a trapper, snake hunter and conservationist who specializes in capturing invasive species that are running amok in South Florida’s swamps, including pythons, iguanas and monitors. Kimmel said that what makes him different from other python hunters is that he uses a pack of trained dogs, particularly his dog Moose.
» More from WSVN.
North Port's Lolablue already shows signs of outgrowing its new manufacturing space
Last March, Jamie and D.J. Lovern were in the process of moving Lolablue Artisan Bath + Beauty from its old 1,250-square-foot warehouse space to its new 2,000-square-foot location when most of the world shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “That was the real eye opener for us when COVID hit, we were moving, and we were just lucky we could get plumbers here to hook up the sink,” Jamie Lovern said. Less than a year later, business is booming and, in truth, Lolablue is already showing signs of outgrowing the new place.
» Read more from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
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