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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Tourism agency Visit Florida lobbies for its life

Florida’s tourism and marketing agency could be going away if the Florida House has its way. It comes as tourism remains the state’s dominant industry, and the state continues recovering from toxic algae blooms and hurricanes. Despite Hurricanes Michael and Irma, and the worst toxic algae bloom in a decade, Florida saw a record number of visitors last year. More from WLRN and WJHG.

Florida Trend Exclusive
Where are Florida's top chefs from?

Not every chef hails from New York. Get a taste of the talent that has come our way from overlooked corners of the dining map. Full story here.

Featured in this articleStephen Starr; Steak 954; Le Zoo; El Vez; Upland; Justin Smillie; Richard and Larry D’Amico; Campiello; Vincenzo Betulia; Tulia; The Continental Steakhouse; D’Amico & Sons; José Andrés; Bazaar; Bazaar Mar; Hyde Beach; Orlando Jaleo

Florida bill seeks to waive fees for physicians who provide pro bono services

Trying to expand access to health care, a House panel on Tuesday approved a bill that would authorize the state’s medical boards to waive licensure fees for physicians who provide at least 160 hours of pro bono medical services. The bill also would allow retired physicians to provide volunteer health services to indigent people or medically underserved populations. [Source: CBS Miami]

Gov. DeSantis announces Israel will host Florida Cabinet meeting in May

After fighting during his time in Congress to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that the next Florida Cabinet meeting would take place at the embassy during a weeklong trip to Israel at the end of May. Florida’s business will be conducted 6,588 miles from where the public meetings usually take place in Tallahassee and would be accessible for state residents only after a flight of about 14 hours. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Publix embraces plastic bag ban in South Carolina, so why not in Florida?

Grocery stores in the South Carolina town of Mount Pleasant will have to ditch plastic bags next week in favor of paper or reuseable canvas ones. Publix is one of several supermarkets in the Charleston suburb anticipating the change. In Florida, Publix is a driving force against similar local bans. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Lakewood Ranch: The burgeoning business center of Southwest Florida

The fastest-growing multi-generational master-planned community in the nation, Lakewood Ranch (LWR) has grown into an unincorporated town of more than 1,500 businesses and 35,000 residents in just 25 years. The 31,000-acre development is the metropolitan area’s largest job center and as the population center shifts to it, so have county offices, institutions of higher learning and a long-standing area arts organization. [Sponsored report]


› Ranking: Sarasota is best place to live in Florida, and No. 18 in U.S.
Sarasota ranks as one of the top places to live in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Florida city, according to a new list compiled by U.S. News & World Report. The publication ranked the 125 largest metropolitan areas and found that life’s good in Sarasota, placing the city at No. 18 overall and ahead of every other city in the Sunshine State. Austin was ranked at No. 1.

› Miami-Dade commission gives MSC go ahead to build new terminal at PortMiami
Even more cranes are coming to PortMiami. On Tuesday the Miami-Dade board of commissioners approved the construction of a new cruise ship terminal for Geneva-based MSC Cruises. Dubbed Terminal AAA, MSC expects it will be completed by 2022 and big enough to accommodate two of MSC’s forthcoming 7,000-passenger ships at once.

› Workers’ comp benefits rejected for at-home fall
Nearly three years after a woman tripped over her dog while working at home, a state appeals court has ruled that she is not entitled to workers’ compensation insurance benefits for injuries she suffered. The decision by the full 1st District Court of Appeal drew fierce dissents from two judges in a debate about links between injuries and jobs.

› Tampa Bay Area tech firm appoints new CFO
Fintech, a Tampa-based company that specializes in business software solutions for the beverage alcohol industry, has appointed Roy Kemper chief financial officer. Kemper brings more than 25 years of financial leadership experience to the role, having most recently served as CFO of Greenville, S.C.-based The Gordian Group Inc., for more than seven years.

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Endangered Tagged Whale Sharks Return After Eight Months
Whale sharks are known to be nomadic, but the recent travels of two tagged whale sharks raises questions about the lifestyle of the world’s largest shark species. This study of whale shark migrations is being undertaken in collaboration with Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI).

› A food hall with 10 restaurants is coming to Orlando's Ivanhoe Village
Yard at Ivanhoe developer Chance Gordy said his company has hired the team behind the Hall at Franklin to develop a new food hall with 10 restaurants and a meeting space that could host weddings and events. With the new food hall, several tenants from the Tampa space will be expanding to Orlando.

› Florida bill would lift local protections on trees before hurricane season
Local regulations protecting trees on residential property would be nullified for the three months preceding the start of hurricane season — allowing property owners to trim and remove them without a permit — under legislation that advanced in the Florida Senate Monday.

› Anti-vaxxers blamed as record 25,000 Florida students claim religious objection to vaccines
In Florida, children have to be vaccinated to attend public or private schools. There are two exceptions: parents can get a doctor to say a vaccine would be medically dangerous, or they can opt out of vaccines on religious grounds.