Nearly 2 million Floridians now have concealed weapons permits, tops in nation
Already leading the nation with the highest number of concealed weapon permits, Florida is nearing a new threshold: granting authority to 2 million civilians who can lawfully carry guns tucked in waistbands, under jackets or inside purses into restaurants, shopping malls and elsewhere. More from the Orlando Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times, and WUFT.
Winds cause SpaceX to move Falcon Heavy launch to Thursday
SpaceX suffered another delay Wednesday to its first commercial launch of a Falcon Heavy rocket, after high upper-level winds forced the company scrub the liftoff and plan for another attempt on Thursday. The Falcon Heavy mission had first been scheduled for Sunday but has faced multiple delays. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida lawmakers are proposing a massive criminal justice reform bill. But there’s a twist involving horse meat.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, has warned of a crisis in Florida’s prisons for years. “The criminal justice system is broken,” he said recently. “The state cannot support 96,000 inmates.” Fueling the crisis, Brandes and others say, is that judges are required to sentence offenders to a pre-defined number of years in prison based on the crimes they committed, often called “mandatory minimums.” [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
The Sunshine Economy: A conversation with resiliency leaders
After two and a half years of work, a comprehensive report on how to better prepare Miami for all kinds of threats -- economic, health and especially climate risks -- is expected to be released by the end of May. The effort aims to better understand the risks to resiliency. That is the popular word used as a catchall for everything from dealing with housing affordability to recovering after a hurricane to protecting against and adapting to rising seas. [Source: WLRN]
Florida is key player in medical device fraud scheme described as one of largest in U.S. history
Federal investigators say they they’ve cracked the largest Medicare fraud scheme in U.S. history and Florida plays a key role. About a half dozen medical device companies that operate out of a Largo office building were part of the nationwide raids. The federal investigation, dubbed “Operation Brace Yourself,” was a national crackdown on a complex telemedicine scam. [Source: WTXL]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› How to get involved in making movies in Tampa Bay [WTSP]
Did you know you can be involved in the film industry in the Tampa Bay area? With several film productions coming to the area in over the next few months, productions are looking for either people or things you own that they can use in films. By things you own we mean cars, businesses, buildings and even your pets.
› USDA cites Florida, California businesses with PACA violations [The Packer]
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cited four California and one Florida company for violating the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act. The USDA has revoked the companies’ PACA licenses, barring them from the industry.
› Will 2020 census show Hispanic boom in Central Florida? [Orlando Sentinel]
Growing nationwide concern about a lack of resources for next year’s decennial census has hit home for advocates and experts in Central Florida, a closely watched region because of its rising Latino population and rapid growth.
› Sarasota’s Lanning Tire closes abruptly [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
A 45-year-old Sarasota tire business abruptly closed in mid-March and filed for bankruptcy, a move the owner said was driven by tough economic times, but one that left its 35 employees in the lurch and caused some complications in his ongoing divorce proceedings.
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› Growing optimism for South Florida Avenue ‘road diet’ [Lakeland Ledger]
Residents who sat down to percolate and collect their ideas on the proposed “road diet” for South Florida Avenue in Lakeland found instead of dreading the process, they have a reason to be optimistic about the experiment’s results. More than 150 residents attended the Florida Department of Transportation’s open house Tuesday night in Sikes Hall at the RP Funding Center.
› Bradenton’s South Florida Museum is now Bishop Museum of Science and Nature [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Leaders of the South Florida Museum on Wednesday announced its new name — The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. Brynne Anne Besio, the museum’s executive director, said the change honors seven decades of financial support from the Manatee County family that helped start the museum in 1946.
› Want cheap car insurance? Florida ranks near the bottom. [Tampa Bay Times]
If you’re a Florida resident looking for cheap car insurance, the odds might already be against you. According to personal finance website WalletHub, Florida came in as the second-most expensive state for car insurance, out of 47 states ranked.
› Super Bowl donation from downtown Miami facing a squeeze [Miami Today]
The two committees of Miami’s Downtown Development Authority agreed Friday to donate $220,000 to the host committee of Super Bowl 54. The breakdown will be $100,000 in cash, with the balance comprising in-kind services, including $85,000 for a traffic plan and $35,000 for additional working shifts of the Downtown Ambassadors and the Downtown Enhancement Team.