Ten big issues to watch during the 2019 Florida legislative session
Florida lawmakers will gather March 5 in the House chamber to hear Gov. Ron DeSantis give his first State of the State address, the traditional start of the 60-day legislative session. Led by Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, lawmakers this year will deal with myriad issues, ranging from passing a state budget to deciding whether to allow patients to smoke medical marijuana. Read more from WJCT and CBS Miami.
Fighting human trafficking in Florida
Florida ranks third in the nation for the number of calls placed to the national human trafficking hotline. The charges filed against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft last week for soliciting prostitution in Jupiter have again put a spotlight on sex trafficking in our state. [Source: WJCT]
DeSantis, Florida Cabinet approve $2.54 million in Florida Forever land acquisition
Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state Cabinet Tuesday voted to spend $2.54 million to buy land in Hamilton and Lake counties as part of the Florida Forever conservation program, the state's leading conservation and recreation lands acquisition program. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
The state of gambling in South Florida
It remains to be seen whether there’s any chance of gambling laws being relaxed in Florida any time soon. While the Republican Governor DeSantis would probably be keen to do anything that could raise some extra taxes for the state, his hands may be tied by his donors – which also give huge amounts of cash to the GOP. [Source: South Florida Caribbean News]
You've heard about Dr. Cade's Gatorade, but what about Cholesterade?
You've probably heard the story of Gatorade and its birth at the University of Florida, but did you know the same Dr. Robert Cade behind the electrolyte beverage created a second drink? It's called Cholesterade and without a Tampa Bay company, it may have stayed in the dark. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Tampa Bay Area tech firm makes acquisition in Brazil [Business Observer]
KnowBe4, a cybersecurity training and simulated phishing firm, has acquired El Pescador, a Brazilian company. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. El Pescador will now operate as an independent subsidiary of Clearwater-based KnowBe4, and maintain its brand, according to a statement.
› Gainesville products to be used at Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi [WGFL]
The world will be looking to Hanoi this week as president Trump meets with Kim Jong Un, but if you're really looking, you'll see a piece of Gainesville in the room. Dacasso, a small Gainesville business that designs leather office accessories, has been asked to accessorize the conference table for president Trump and Kim Jong Un at the summit this week.
› Florida Gulf Coast ports benefit from diverse range of activities [American Journal of Transportation]
Continuing a tradition of supporting a broad spectrum of functions, ports along the Gulf Coast of Florida are reaping benefits of increasing cargo activity in containerized, breakbulk and bulk sectors while serving as home base for such unusual activities as training of sailing crews and future landings of reusable space rockets.
› Why so many great white sharks have been seen in Florida waters this month [Palm Beach Post]
At least two and likely three white sharks have been spotted off the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County in the past two weeks with two identified as sharks tagged by the research group OCEARCH. It’s not unusual for great whites to call Florida waters home during the winter months.
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› Chinese based solar company opens new facility in Jacksonville [WOKV]
It’s a project that started in October 2017 and is now coming to life. Jinko Solar, a solar panel company, has opened their new U.S. headquarters Tuesday on Jacksonville’s westside, near Normandy and the First Coast Expressway. The investment in the city will bring in about 200 new jobs.
› Ex-UCF President Hitt won’t talk with House investigators in spending probe [Orlando Sentinel]
Former UCF president John Hitt has told investigators with a state House panel looking into misspent funds at the school that he won’t meet with them in person or talk with them on the phone.
› Helios posts higher profits, record sales in 2018 [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Driven by acquisitions, fourth-quarter sales jumped 54.5 percent while profits quadrupled at Helios Technologies Inc. Helios, formerly known as Sun Hydraulics Corp., posted net income of $16.4 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, for the final quarter of 2018, compared with $2.8 million, or 10 cents, a year earlier when fewer shares were outstanding.
› Port Everglades project will help sand-starved beaches [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Beaches south of the Port Everglades inlet are starving for attention. For more than 90 years, the man-made inlet has cut off the natural flow of beach sand from north to south, reducing the amount of space beach-goers in Hollywood, Hallandale Beach and Dania Beach have to spread out their towels and soak in some rays.