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Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Greyhound racing supporters sue to overturn Amendment 13

A group of greyhound kennel owners and breeders is suing the state of Florida to block the enforcement of Amendment 13, the ban on commercial dog racing passed by voters last fall. The suit, filed late last week in U.S. District Court, names Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Secretary of State Laurel Lee and state Attorney General Ashley Moody, claiming the amendment is unconstitutional because it deprives people working in the greyhound racing industry of their livelihoods without due process. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Column: Keeping Florida’s economy in perspective

We want the good times to last but it’s easy to get spooked. We start to look for reasons why the expansion will end. We see problems where there aren’t any, or at least overestimate their impact. It’s easy to feel uneasy about the slightest financial oscillation. Even optimists start to think that we must be due for a big downturn. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Federal judge hears case to restore vote to Florida felons

The latest clash over Florida's ballot box began playing out Monday in a federal courtroom, where a judge is considering whether state lawmakers exceeded their authority by requiring former felons to first pay fines and settle other legal debts as a condition of regaining their right to vote. As many as 1.4 million felons who have completed their sentences regained voting privileges under a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly passed by voters last year. [Source: AP]

See also:
» Restoring felon voting rights a 'mess' in battleground Florida
» Amendment 4: Professor testifies law prevents 80% of ex-felons from registering to vote

JEA receives bids to buy all or part of Jacksonville's public utility

The bids of 16 companies interested in buying Jacksonville's city-owned electric and water utility - or any piece of it - were opened Monday, but it may be months before we know who the bidders are or how much they are willing to pay for the JEA. The sealed bids were due Monday morning and were opened at 2 p.m. amid a shroud of secrecy. More from WJXT, the Florida Times-Union, and WJCT.

Florida craft beer lovers can raise a glass. More breweries are on tap even as some close.

Breweries remain on the rise in Florida, with the national Brewers Association tracking 35 openings and five closings in the state between September 2018 and this August. There were 285 craft breweries across Florida in 2018, up from 45 in 2011 and then 151 in 2015, and more than 30 are in the Orlando area, the association reports. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› More than 23,000 lionfish removed from Florida waters in 2019 Lionfish Challenge
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has announced the winners in the 2019 Lionfish Challenge. The challenge ran from May 18th through September 2nd in Florida waters, with the goal to remove as many of the invasive fish from the state's waters. Overall, they say the 349 registered participants removed 23,451 lionfish.

› Escambia and Santa Rosa leaders say 'transformational' funding from BP spill coming soon
Although it has been more than nine years since oil from BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig hit area beaches, Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are just now starting to see tens of millions of dollars in restitution from the oil giant. Depending on how the funds are used, the money could transform the region for generations to come, experts say.

› Jacksonville to get e-sports ‘arena’
Jacksonville is getting a new “arena” for video-game players. ACE Arena is scheduled to open later this fall and will cater to e-sports players. A news release says it will have more than 120 gaming systems, four training/party rooms, a video projection wall and a lounge. It will reportedly be 22,500 square feet and will be the largest dedicated e-sports facility in Florida.

› Sarasota County balks at another medical marijuana store
On five occasions, Sarasota County commissioners have metaphorically held their noses and granted approval for medical marijuana dispensaries, complaining that the existing Florida state law gives them almost no choice between watching them pop up “on every corner” or banning them outright.

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› Oyster reef dome creates opportunities for cleaner water
Oyster aquaculture was first introduced to the State of Florida in 2013 by Tallahassee Community College's Wakulla Environmental Institute (WEI), located in Crawfordville, in response to the dramatic decline in the wild oyster population following the 2010 BP oil spill. WEI created the program in order to help the local Gulf coast community of Wakulla County, whose economy is largely dependent on seafood.

› Florida lawmakers want background checks for ammunition buyers
Two state lawmakers said Monday they’ve filed legislation to require background checks for ammunition buyers. The proposal is called “Jaime’s Law,” in honor of Jaime Guttenberg, one of the 17 people killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. State Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, and state Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, said their proposal would apply to all sales of ammunition if it becomes law.

› EcoClear wins Ringling College innovation award from Sarasota Council for Economic Development
When Christopher Stidd tells the story of EcoClear Products, which have topped $20 million in annual sales, he starts with the idea — the idea that launched his business and changed his life. Poison-free pesticides that are safe for people, pets and wildlife. Stidd, who had been a salesman for Central Garden & Pet, worked with chemists to develop a targeted rodenticide called RatX.

› Who are the three South Florida businessmen tangled in Trump impeachment inquiry?
There’s always a Florida connection. Three South Florida businessmen have emerged as players in Ukrainian business dealings under scrutiny because of the President Donald Trump impeachment inquiry. The three touted their connections to Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in a quest to replace the leader of Ukraine’s state gas company, the Associated Press reported.