Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Local officials worried over Florida bill to make businesses ‘whole'
Legislation that would make it easier for Florida businesses and individuals to challenge local ordinances cleared its first state Senate test Wednesday, with supporters calling it a needed check on government heavy-handedness and opponents saying the bill goes too far. The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Travis Hutson, would make cities and counties come up with a “business impact statement” on a proposed ordinance and require the suspension of any ordinance when it is challenged by a lawsuit under certain conditions — and if the lawsuit prevails, the government would owe attorney’s fees. More from the News Serviice of Florida and the AP.
Florida Trend Exclusive
Man in the middle: Sen. Jeff Brandes
On more than one occasion, Brandes has been the Senate’s only “no” vote in either party. During last year’s legislative session, he was the only senator to oppose SB54, which would have repealed Florida’s nofault auto insurance system (a top priority of Simpson’s that was ultimately vetoed by DeSantis) during the bill’s first full vote on the Senate floor. He was also the lone dissenter opposing a new 30-year gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. [Source: Florida Trend]
How Florida truckers help fight human trafficking
Florida’s Highway Heroes initiative is an ongoing outreach campaign that was launched in October 2020 to train Florida’s half a million licensed commercial drivers on how to identify and report suspected human trafficking. Florida’s commercial drivers are uniquely positioned to make a difference and close loopholes to traffickers who look to use transportation systems for their personal gain. Since the launch of the initiative, FLHSMV has trained nearly 4,600 licensed commercial drivers and nearly 400 FHP members through TAT on how to identify and report suspected trafficking. Read more from WFLA and the Apopka Voiceource]
'Florida' branding on orange juice helps it sell better
Consumers are more likely to buy orange juice if they think the fruit comes from Florida, new University of Florida research shows. The top reasons consumers purchase orange juice (OJ) include taste, health benefits and origin of the fruit. According to the Florida Department of Citrus, while 80% of OJ consumers who responded to a 2021 survey think oranges in their juice came from Florida, only 45% of orange juice in the market was from the state that year. [Source: Fresh Fruit Portal]
Central Florida businesses adapt to make up for sick staff during omicron surge
Many Central Florida businesses are having difficulty meeting demand with so many workers catching COVID-19. No one is in the business of spreading COVID-19. So, many businesses find they have little choice but to turn away customers when staff is out sick. Nick Pannullo said he works as a waiter at the restaurant his uncle owns, Pannullo's Italian Restaurant. "I know people wanted to come in even though we didn't look busy, but we couldn't take care of everybody," Pannullo said. "Everybody got sick more or less at one time." [Source: WESH]
Bright Futures: Today's path to future success
Twins Kehinde and Taiwo Sogbesan were typical high school students in Jacksonville. Kehinde ran track, was a member of the National Honor Society, and served as president of the Student Government Association. Taiwo was a first-string football player and president of the Black Student Union. Both had big plans for the future, including becoming first-generation college graduates. But their plans were seemingly derailed when they began to discuss tuition expenses and how they would pay for college. [Sponsored report]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Justices eye arguments on casino initiative
The Florida Supreme Court could hear arguments March 8 about a proposed constitutional amendment that would open the door to casinos in North Florida. Justices late Tuesday issued an order setting a timeline for consideration of the proposal, which is backed by the Florida Voters in Charge political committee.
› Johnson & Johnson secures building permit for Jacksonville expansion
Johnson & Johnson Vision will be getting a large addition at its location on Jacksonville’s Southside. The company is adding a water expansion phase to the facility at 7500 Centurion Parkway. Jacksonville Building Department officials approved the permit for the project this month. The expansion will add 2,500 square feet for the water facilities. It will cost $9.64 million, and Turner Construction Co. will handle the project, according to the permit.
› What COVID-19 pandemic? Snowbirds flock to Panama City Beach this year in 'droves'
For Sue Peipert, it is nothing short of "fantastic" to once again see large crowds of snowbirds flock to Panama City Beach. As manager of the Panama City Beach Senior Center that sits on Lyndell Lane, Peipert said Monday that although COVID-19 still is a concern for most visiting seniors, it is obvious that the virus is not holding them back from traveling this winter.
› More COVID Norwegian Cruise Line cancellations hit Port Canaveral, Miami, Tampa
Norwegian Cruise Line has expanded its list of cancellations, including the first ship sailing out of Port Canaveral and more ships from PortMiami and Tampa as the omicron variant of COVID-19 surges. Norwegian Escape, the line’s sole ship sailing from Port Canaveral, had its next two sailings taken off the board, according to a travel advisory update on NCL’s website. Its next available sailing is not until Jan. 29.
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