August 17, 2022

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 6/28/2022

New laws: From big budget to strawberry shortcake

Nearly 150 laws that Florida legislators passed this year are set to hit the books Friday. The new laws range from a record $109.9 billion budget to naming a state dessert. Some of the measures face legal challenges, such as a bill that would prevent abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and a bill that would restrict how race-related concepts are taught in schools and workplace training. In all, lawmakers sent 280 bills to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Of that total, 149 that were signed or were awaiting signatures Monday had July 1 effective dates. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Hurricane center has eyes on three Atlantic systems; One expected to develop soon

Forecasters are watching a disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico and two systems in the central and eastern Atlantic, one of which is forecast to turn into a tropical depression soon. The system with a 70% chance of formation in the next 48 hours and a 90% chance of formation through the next five days was about 900 miles east-southeast of the southern Windward Islands More from the Miami Herald and the Orlando Sentinel.

Central Florida sees lifeguard shortage leaving fewer eyes on beachgoers

Just days ahead of one of the busiest beach weekends of the year, beach safety teams along Central Florida’s coast are planning how to keep swimmers safe while facing a massive shortage of lifeguards. “We have the best of the best out there and we’re making up for lost gaps,” said Grace Scheuerman, a lifeguard for Volusia Beach Safety. With fewer lifeguards on Volusia’s 47 miles of beach, those working, like Scheuerman, have more swimmers to watch this year. [Source: Click Orlando]

DeSantis vetoes bill on business lawsuits

A controversial measure that would have given businesses power to sue cities and counties to recoup lost profits was among five bills that Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed Friday. While the veto of the business measure (SB 620) drew praise from local-government and environmental groups, DeSantis left open the door for lawmakers to consider similar, but more targeted, legislation in the future. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Here’s how much Florida gas prices have fallen in the past 2 weeks

Millions of Americans have travel on the brain as a long holiday weekend approaches. If your getaway plans involve a road trip, you’ve probably thought about how much to budget for gas. After a seemingly endless trend of climbing gas prices, you might have noticed some better news at the pumps in the last week or two. AAA says Florida gas prices fell 14 cents in a week’s time, landing at $ 4.67 a gallon on Sunday. It was the second week of declining gas prices in the Sunshine State. [Source: WFTV]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Exotic fruit fly found in Pinellas; state seeks to limit spread
The state is urging people in St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park to be cautious with fruits and vegetables from their yards after exotic flies known to infest produce were discovered here in recent weeks. Two Oriental fruit flies were found in Pinellas County on May 17, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Another few flies were identified June 14, June 16 and this Wednesday.

› Closed for good: Wynwood and Allapattah just lost three local favorite hangouts
Wood Tavern, one of the original pioneers in Wynwood, has closed — again. And this time, two of its siblings are closing along with it. The beloved late-night bar announced its first closing in March of 2021, with owner Cesar Morales citing rising rents, fewer guests and seating restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

› Leadership Jacksonville names Gracie Simendinger CEO
Leadership Jacksonville announced June 27 it named Gracie Simendinger as CEO, succeeding Jill Langford Dame. Currently director of development at the Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, Simendinger will take over the position in August. Leadership Jacksonville announced March 24 that Dame, the organization’s CEO since 2013, is retiring at the end of August.

› Hillsborough County reels in record-setting amount of bed taxes
Hillsborough County collected more than $6.07 million in tourism development taxes, also known as bed taxes, in May. According to a news release from Visit Tampa Bay, the destination marketing agency for Tampa and Hillsborough County, the record-setting intake represents a 51.7% increase over May 2021. Hotel revenue was also up, totaling more than $88 million, as was occupancy, at 73% — a 7.8% improvement from May 2021.

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