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Thursday's Afternoon Update

House passes bill to permanently ban offshore drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast

The House of Representatives passed a bill to permanently ban offshore drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday, a move Florida lawmakers said would help the state’s tourism industry and military installations. The bill, Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act, passed with a vote of 248-180, with 22 Republicans joining 226 Democrats in favor. Five Democrats and one independent, along with 174 Republicans, voted against the bill. Only one of Florida’s 27 House members voted against the bill, Republican Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville. More from the Miami Herald, WUSF, and CNBC.

Florida’s total credit card debt rose by $2.3 billion in the second quarter

Floridians’ credit card debt is increasing. According to a recent report by WalletHub, the state’s overall credit card debt reached $66.4 billion in the year’s second quarter, up by $2.3 billion. That’s the third-highest increase of any state since the first quarter this year. More from the Tampa Bay Times.

More than 7% of Miami Beach storefronts are vacant. Local artwork will help beautify them

Vacant storefronts in Miami Beach are getting a touch of color. On Thursday, the City of Miami Beach will introduce five new designs created to beautify buildings with empty shops. The city’s economic development team hopes the vibrant designs will create a more positive impression in a city where many storefronts are vacant. More from the Miami Herald.

Sarasota agrees to research East County growth initiative

A first-of-its-kind attempt to color outside the lines of Sarasota County’s official roadmap for growth — submitted by neighbors instead of a developer — was narrowly kept alive Wednesday on a 3-2 vote by the County Commission. One member gave some support to the applicants’ underlying philosophical premise: That homeowners whose lifestyle and property values are threatened by nearby development they find incompatible have a right to rewrite land-use rules to protect themselves. More from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Florida-bound cruise ship Sky Princess completes sea trials

One of the newest cruise ships set to call Florida home has completed sea trial ahead of its fall debut. Princess Cruises’ new Royal Class cruise ship Sky Princess finished the construction milestone in a series of sailings out of the Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy to prove the ship’s seaworthiness this month. More from the Orlando Sentinel.

Meet Mike Blinder, the Florida man trying to save the newspaper business

 Mike Blinder has loved newspapers for as long as he can remember. For the past 20 years, the media consultant has helped news organizations around the world stay afloat. The work filled him with pride, but the travel wore him out. By his estimate, he’s flown more than 5 million miles. “I was the quintessential road warrior,” he said. “And it sucked.” Now he’s trying to save the industry in a different way.

» More from the Tampa Bay Times.


Research Florida
Research around the state

floridaCytonics, a Jupiter-based biotechnology company that develops osteoarthritis therapies, is expanding its research group in Plantation. “Over the next six quarters, we expect to spend $1 million” on process development and manufacturing operations, says Cytonics President Joey Bose.

» Read more from Florida Trend.