Wednesday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida ranks third in the number of reported human trafficking cases nationwide
Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain commercial sex or a labor act. According to the number of calls made to the human trafficking crisis hotline, Florida ranks third behind California and Texas for the number of reported cases. The Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking says that the prevalence of human trafficking in Florida is due to the people the state brings in. Whether it is to see the staple beaches or world-renowned theme parks, the state generates a lot of tourism, making it a prime target for human trafficking. More from WUFT.
Citizens CEO says hurricane-insurance-for-all bill would be too expensive for state
The CEO of state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. on Tuesday pushed back against a legislative bill that would require the company to provide hurricane coverage for anyone in the state who wants it. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Spencer Roach, a Republican from Lee County, and Rep. Hillary Cassel, a Democrat from Broward County, would make the so-called “insurer of last resort” into the insurer of first resort for windstorm coverage. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Why do Florida lawmakers have a beef with lab-grown meat?
Gov. Ron DeSantis had thrown his weight behind legislation to ban what he and Republican colleagues are calling “fake meat” – beef, chicken, pork and seafood grown from animal cells cultivated in a lab. “You need meat, OK? We are going to have meat in Florida,” DeSantis said at a recent news conference while blasting corporations for forcing “woke” ideology on consumers. “You can’t have fake meat. It doesn’t work.” But lab-cultivated meat isn’t grown, researched or sold in Florida, and it isn’t fake. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
JaxPort keeping eye on Panama, Suez canals
Pop into someone’s office at JaxPort these days, and you might find them watching news updates from the Middle East or checking weather forecasts for Central America. It’s a reminder that Jacksonville’s economy is globally connected. Terrorist attacks that have significantly reduced shipping through the Suez Canal are putting pressure on shipping lines that sail to Jacksonville. More from the Jacksonville Daily Record.
Boca Raton is attracting some of the highest office leasing activity. What that means for the city’s future
Boca Raton’s office leasing activity led the way in South Florida in 2022 and 2023, surpassing some more populous cities in the tricounty area, according to a recent analysis. It’s yet another indicator of the city’s growth — as well as the demand for office space across the region in a remote-working era. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Tampa’s champion Joe Chillura
Joe Chillura Jr., architect and longtime elected official who crafted a half-penny sales tax that built a football stadium and went on to pay for billions in community improvements, died Saturday. He was 84. Chillura was a true son of Tampa, born in Ybor City, raised in Seminole Heights and a 1958 graduate of Hillsborough High before he went on to the University of Florida to study architecture.
» More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Out of the Box
Publix rolls out giant shopping cart to celebrate new locations
When the Florida-based company was getting ready to open a new location in Wesley Chapel, it knew it had to go big. That’s where the giant shopping cart — and 80’s metal music — came in. On Jan. 24, a day before the grand opening, a Publix employee took a buggy topped with a giant shopping cart for a joyride around the Epperson Lagoon community, with Poison’s 1988 hit “Nothin’ But a Good Time” blasting from the cart’s speakers.
In case you missed it: