Wednesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida tourism continues to bounce back
Tourism in Florida during the first half of 2022 was up 20 percent from the same period last year and was higher than during the first six months of 2019, the last full year of travel before the coronavirus pandemic. Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-marketing agency, posted numbers online late Monday that estimated Florida had 33.717 million visitors from April 1 through June 30, bringing the total for the first six months of this year to 69.34 million. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Wealthy Americans are flocking to Florida at four times the rate of any other state
Known for offbeat felonies, media headline star “Florida man,” swampy weather, Disney adults, and Trump’s recently raided home, Mar-a-Lago, Florida doesn’t always get the best rep. But the Sunshine State is beloved for its warm weather and lack of state income tax, making it a haven for the wealthy. That’s largely why it’s welcomed more high-earners than any other state, per a new analysis from SmartAsset. [Source: Fortune]
A python challenge hasn't done much to reduce impact of Florida's invasive species
There are tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of pythons slithering through the Everglades. And this year, 950 hunters signed up for the python challenge. That's a state sponsored snake hunt targeting one of Florida's most troublesome invasive species, the Burmese python. It may be too late to eliminate them, but python hunters say they are making a difference. [Source: NPR]
A guide to voter rights in Florida. What you need to know before you cast a ballot
Florida is no stranger to election battles, and once again, the Sunshine State is at the center of heated debates about access and election security. A day after the 2020 election, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis praised his state’s handling of 11 million ballots. But since then, he and fellow Republicans have targeted the system he praised. He signed new laws making it tougher to vote by mail, limiting the use of ballot drop boxes and creating a new Election Crimes and Security investigative force. A federal judge overturned major parts of a law approved in 2021. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]
First pediatric case of monkeypox confirmed in Florida
Florida’s first pediatric case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Martin County, state health data shows. The child is between 0-4 years old, according to the Florida Department of Health’s reportable disease frequency report. No other information as to the child’s identity is available in the report. This is the seventh U.S. child to have been confirmed to test positive for the virus. There have been 1,317 cases of monkeypox detected in the state as of Monday. There have been 82 cases detected in Orange County. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Get ready to say goodbye to exact change toll machines in Central Florida
Will anyone remember telephones wired to homes, news inked on broad sheets of paper and motorists tossing coins at toll machines? Of the three, giving way to digital alternatives, one is set for local extinction soon. The ritual of feeding exact change into a basket at toll booths has been scheduled for retirement within two years. The Central Florida Expressway Authority will pull out all 96 automated toll machines throughout its 125-mile system.
› ‘Anybody has a chance:’ Submissions for 2023 Florida Film Festival now being accepted
It’s time for filmmakers all over the world to reel in their excitement because the 2023 Florida Film Festival is now accepting entries for its 32nd annual event. The festival is scheduled to take place at the Enzian Theater in Maitland from April 14-23, 2023, and organizers are looking for submissions from newcomers and experts alike.
› Autonomous shuttles will replace monorail system in Jacksonville
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority plans to install 10 miles of automated shuttle service, in part by repurposing a 33-year-old monorail system, and potentially build transit-oriented development around stations in the expanded system for the north Florida city.
› Hillsborough expanded its free health care plan — but few are biting
In December, Hillsborough County commissioners unanimously voted to expand the county’s health care plan, a safety net for the vulnerable set of residents who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid yet make too little to afford marketplace insurance. More than seven months later, though, the program remains less than half-full.
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