October 4, 2023

Thursday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/14/2023

Florida tees up conservation deals across the state

Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet next week could approve spending more than $141 million to conserve 42,000 acres of land from the Panhandle to the Devil’s Garden area southwest of Lake Okeechobee. The most-expensive deal would use $77.6 million in Florida Forever money to acquire 17,229 acres from Alico, Inc. in Hendry County as part of what is known as the Devil’s Garden Florida Forever project. [Source: WUSF]

Environmental groups sue US, seek protection for Florida’s rare ghost orchid

The rare ghost orchid found mainly in Florida and Cuba should be immediately protected by the U.S. as an endangered species, three environmental groups claimed Wednesday in a lawsuit arguing that federal officials are unduly delaying a decision. The lawsuit filed in Florida federal court contends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service missed a January deadline on the orchid’s status and now doesn’t plan to make a decision until possibly late 2026. [Source: AP]

Electric vehicles could be getting more expensive in Florida

Florida electric vehicle owners would pay a registration fee aimed at helping make up for lost gas-tax dollars, under a bill proposed Tuesday by Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Chairman Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater. The proposal (SB 28), filed for consideration during the 2024 legislative session, seeks to impose a yearly registration fee of $200 on electric vehicles that would be in addition to regular registration fees. The cost would go up to $250 starting in 2029. More from the News Service of Florida and Fox 13 News]

Bill requires some Florida businesses to accept currency, coin or pay penalties

Florida businesses, including doctors’ offices and hospitals, could be forced to accept cash payments from their customers or face hefty fines under a bill (HB 35) filed Monday in the House for consideration in the 2024 Session. Filed by Rep. Joel Rudman, HB 35 requires businesses “operating at a fixed, permanent physical premises, from a vehicle or other mobile space, or from a temporary physical premises” to accept cash payment for the transaction of any tangible goods or services. [Source: Florida Politics]

Florida enrollment in Medicaid continues recent decline

Florida’s Medicaid enrollment continue to decline, according to recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on health policy, research and polling. According to data from the Medicaid Enrollment and Unwinding Tracker, the number of people on Medicaid in the Sunshine State declined 7% from April to July, shrinking from 5.78 million to 5.36 million. [Source: The Center Square]

A cancer diagnosis is life changing. So is the AdventHealth Clinical Research Unit.

It seems like there’s no one who hasn’t been touched by cancer. Whether it’s a friend, relative, coworker, or whether the patient is you, the cancer care team you choose is critical. They should leave no stone unturned when it comes to your treatment. AdventHealth knows this, too. That’s why we opened the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) in Celebration, Florida — specializing in treating difficult-to-cure cancers. [Spoonsored report]


› Brevard County will reconsider partial cultural grant funding next month
After backlash from nonprofit cultural organizations across the county, Brevard's Board of County Commissioners may partially reverse its decision to stop funding cultural grants for events such as art shows, symphony orchestra concerts and other tourist-attracting programs. The board voted Tuesday at its meeting in Viera to revisit funding those cultural grants, which were cut this past month when the 25 programs were denied the $530,000 they were expecting to receive, paid for by the 5% tax on hotel rooms and short-term rentals in the county.

› Open up Tampa’s Riverwalk at the port? Apparently, it’s complicated
To some city boosters, the idea seemed pretty simple: Why not open up the area along the water at one of Tampa’s cruise ship terminals when it’s not in use to extend the city’s well-trod Riverwalk beyond its current 2.6 miles? Don’t look for that anytime soon.

› Orange County commissioners vote themselves a 25% pay raise
Orange County commissioners voted themselves and the mayor a nearly 25% pay raise, effective next week, by switching to a state formula to adjust the salaries. The board decided Tuesday to immediately adopt a population-based state method to set their pay and, in future years, limit their salary hikes to the percentage increase in pay awarded to non-bargaining employees.

› $2.5 million Miami-Dade film incentives package called far too small
Miami-Dade County Commissioner René García has not abandoned his quest to increase incentives to film companies that consider the county studio one. Last March Mr. García told Miami Today he wanted a “high impact film fun program” to “attract major television series and motion picture productions.” He submitted a resolution to the county commission to ask Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to create the fund.

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