Monday's Daily Pulse
Pandemic delays Florida redistricting, census data
Blaming coronavirus-related delays, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that data Florida lawmakers will use to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries won’t be delivered until September. The bureau had planned to start delivering census data to states on Friday and complete the rollout by March 31. Florida is expected to pick up at least two additional congressional seats with the new population count. More from the News Service of Florida and WJXT.
Fight over vacation rentals in Florida revs up again
A years-long effort to block local governments from regulating vacation rentals is on the move again, as House and Senate leaders revive a proposal to prevent cities and counties from inspecting and licensing properties offered on platforms such as Airbnb. In a 10-7 vote on Wednesday, the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee gave an initial nod to the latest iteration of the proposal (HB 219). While the legislation has morphed over the past few years, the controversy over the issue has remained consistent. [Source: WUSF]
Demand for Florida concealed weapons surges, depleting fund
With a surge in people seeking concealed-weapons licenses, a legislative panel this week will consider approving an additional $4.34 million for processing background checks. The Legislative Budget Commission, which is made up of House and Senate members, will consider the proposal during a Thursday meeting. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Division of Licensing, which oversees concealed weapons licenses, requested approval of what is known as budget authority to cover a projected $4.34 million deficit. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
COVID-19 vaccine gives Florida restaurants hope as some inoculated customers return
Some restaurateurs are hopeful the vaccine will have customers dining out again after many in the industry have endured almost a year of depressed business. More than 1.27 million people in Florida have received their first dose of the vaccine, and another 891,000 have completed the series, according to the Florida Department of Health. Geoff Luebkemann, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association senior vice president, said although he didn’t have specific data on its effects on restaurants, the vaccine is a positive development. “It has given both the industry and our patrons cause for optimism,” Luebkemann said. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
New website matches Black professionals with tourism industry opportunities
A one-stop-shop website aimed at matching Black professionals with tourism business opportunities just went live. The Black Tourism Talent Directory features profiles of Black businesses, professionals and students and encourages destination marketing organizations, travel brands, associations and media to connect with them for employment opportunities. The site is the brainchild of Stephanie Jones, owner of Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours and founder of the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis urges New York Stock Exchange to relocate to Florida [WCTV]
Last week, Florida Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, wrote a letter to the New York Stock Exchange in which he urged them to relocate to Florida. According to the release, Patronis’ letter comes following a letter that The Exchange sent to New York Legislators regarding their consideration of a transfer tax on the sale of securities.
› Reefer madness in Florida [Florida Politiics]
Get ready for reefer madness on Wednesday, Feb. 18. That’s when members of the state’s two physician licensing boards begin working on the practice standards Florida-licensed physicians must follow when ordering smokable medical marijuana for their qualified patients. The Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine are required to have the rules adopted by July 1.
› Big tech and finance are arriving in Miami. What does it mean for the rest of us? [Miami Herald]
As tech entrepreneurs and finance gurus relocate to Miami, many locals are asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ It’s a question with profound resonance. Some 96,000 in Miami-Dade remained unemployed in December, resulting in a 7.3% unemployment rate, the second-highest among Florida counties. Another 80,000 Miami-Dade workers have dropped out of the labor force entirely over the past 12 months.
› Florida port workers get training on how to spot and stop human trafficking [Palm Beach Post]
vWith nearly 900 calls to the human trafficking hotline in 2019 alone, Florida ranked third nationwide, behind only California and Texas. With that in mind, the Port of Palm Beach this month undertook to train its staff and tenants in how to spot what might happen on their watch.
UF Research Economic Impact
In a challenging pandemic year, University of Florida researchers contributed to the state with a record-breaking $900.7 million in funding, while research at UF Innovate and Sid Martin Biotech boosted the local economy by way of new jobs, invention disclosures and licenses and options. Check out the numbers that have made an incredible economic impact.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp accept Marlins’ Triple-A invitation [Jacksonville Daily Record]
The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp announced Feb. 12 that the minor league baseball organization has accepted the Miami Marlins’ invitation to become its Triple-A affiliate. The Marlins extended the Triple-A offer to the Jumbo Shrimp in December under a new professional development licenses structure which stipulates all affiliation agreements between MLB and MiLB clubs are in effect for 10 years, according to the Jumbo Shrimp’s news release.
› Publix says it has given 250,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine in Florida [Orlando Sentinel]
Publix has administered more than 250,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine in Florida so far. The Lakeland-based company released the figure Friday, saying it has used 100% of the more than 250,000 first doses of vaccine it was provided. Across Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia, the company has given more than 300,000 vaccines. Publix began administering the Moderna vaccine in parts of Florida on Jan. 7.
› For some of Florida’s international students, remote learning comes with added burdens [Tampa Bay Times]
Over 850 USF international students — about 20 percent of Florida’s international student population — are currently not on campus. As the state’s universities adapt to remote learning, some international students have faced additional challenges, including closed borders, different time zones and ever-changing U.S. immigration guidelines.
› As slice of old Seminole disappears, Longwood looks forward to new development [Orlando Sentinel]
Back in its heyday more than four decades ago, tourists and locals would flock by the thousands to the Sanford-Orlando Kennel Club in Longwood for the thrill of watching greyhounds dash around a track and the chance of winning hundreds of dollars off a $2 wager. But in recent weeks, bulldozers, dump trucks and other heavy machinery have been tearing down what’s left of the three-story grandstand with ceiling to floor windows and razing the track to make way for hundreds of new apartments and eventually shops and restaurants on the nearly 30-acre property off Dog Track Road.