May 26, 2023

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 5/24/2023

DeSantis to announce 2024 presidential bid on Twitter with Elon Musk

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to announce his 2024 presidential campaign in a Twitter Spaces event with Elon Musk on Wednesday, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. DeSantis, who has long been seen as Donald Trump’s leading rival for the Republican nomination, will reveal his plans in an audio conversation with the owner of Twitter, according to the two people, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the announcement publicly. More from the Tampa Bay Times, the Orlando Sentinel, and the Miami Herald.

Hunting and fishing protections go on Florida's 2024 ballot

If a proposal slated to appear on the 2024 ballot passes, hunting and fishing could become activities protected by the Florida Constitution. The proposal would amend the state Constitution and enshrine hunting and fishing as a “public right.” The amendment would also designate fishing and hunting as the “preferred means” of managing fish and wildlife populations. [Source: Spectrum News]

Mysterious disease leaving some Florida panthers disoriented, wobbly, confused; others dead

A mysterious spinal disease spreading through what remains of Florida's panther population is robbing affected cats and kittens of their coordination, focus, and balance. Researchers say the disease is for life, but the disabilities make it harder for panthers to hunt and easier for them to be hit and killed by a vehicle, so the question remains how much shorter is that life, and at what quality? [Source: WGCU]

Lakeland judge Meredith Sasso is named to the Florida Supreme Court

Continuing to mold a conservative Florida Supreme Court, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday named Meredith Sasso to succeed former Justice Ricky Polston, who stepped down in March. Sasso, of Orlando, has served as a state appeals-court judge since 2019 and is chief judge of the Lakeland-based 6th District Court of Appeal. Her previous positions included chief deputy general counsel for former Gov. Rick Scott. With the pick, DeSantis has appointed five of the seven Supreme Court members, as the court has become dramatically more conservative since the Republican governor took office in January 2019. More from the News Service of Florida and  WUSF]

Chinese immigrants sue Florida for law banning certain nationals from buying property

A group of Chinese citizens living and working in Florida sued the state Monday over a new law that bans Chinese nationals from purchasing property in large swaths of the state. The law applies to properties within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of military installations and other “critical infrastructure” and also affects citizens of Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Russia, and North Korea. But Chinese citizens and those selling property to them face the harshest penalties. The prohibition also applies to agricultural land. [Source: AP]


› University of Florida suspends research study that resulted in dogs' deaths
Newly released documents uncovered by a watchdog group show that the University of Florida suspended a research study after the death of two animals. The group is now asking for the university and its president to terminate the program entirely. The temporary halt comes after university officials found that a study's principal investigator failed to follow through on "corrective actions" required by UF's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) during research that resulted in the death of two dogs.

› Exclusive Yachts brings subscription-based boating to Southwest Florida
Those who own yachts in Southwest Florida understand expenses don’t end with the upfront price tag. There are operational, docking, crew and maintenance expenses that continue throughout the ownership of the yacht. Naples-based Exclusive Yachts membership club seeks to take away the challenges of owning and operating a luxury watercraft while allowing members to enjoy their own personalized yachting experiences.

› Miami ordered to draw new voting map months before elections for 3 commission seats
U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore has ordered the city of Miami to draw a new voting map with different district boundaries, shifting political battle lines months before elections for three city commission seats. Moore’s order, issued Tuesday morning, comes amid a lawsuit brought by community groups accusing the city of racial gerrymandering when commissioners sought to preserve the ethnic makeup of the five-person board.

› Southwest Florida specialty food company woos Kroger, Walmart executive 
Gourmet specialty foods company Innovative Food Holdings has named former Kroger and Walmart executive Brady Smallwood COO. Smallwood will develop, integrate and oversee companywide “strategies designed to maximize efficiencies and drive growth across all business categories,” according to a statement. The Bonita Springs-based company, which caters to professional and home chefs, posted $80.1 million in revenue in 2022.

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