GOP idea to overhaul Florida judicial circuits rejected by panel
The Judicial Circuit Assessment Committee spent two hours Friday reviewing its recommendation against Florida’s 20 judicial circuits undergoing any merger or consolidation of their boundaries. The report, set to go to justices at the beginning of next month, is the result of the panel spending four months analyzing the proposal to consider redrawing the circuits, made in June by House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]
Florida Trend Exclusive
How sweet it isn't
Since 2015, the Florida Diabetes Advisory Council has issued an annual report on diabetes and its impact on the state. A key finding from the panel’s 2023 report: More than 2.7 million Floridians — about 11.8% of the population — have diabetes. That’s more than double the percentage of Floridians affected by diabetes in 1995. [Source: Florida Trend]
Florida scientists are giving coral IVF treatments to help bolster dying reef
Following a record marine heat wave this past summer, Florida's iconic coral reef experienced massive bleaching and die-offs. One estimate from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute estimated that 60% of monitored coral reefs were bleached as a result of the stress — a sign that the coral could potentially die off if the stress is prolonged. [Source: Yahoo!]
Commentary: State leaders muzzle Floridians who want to speak out
Floridians, take notice. Your right to a representative government is being stolen away. Frequently, the exclusion is happening quietly and secretly, in meetings that never take place; behind closed doors that should be open. Increasingly, the only people who can register their concerns face-to-face with their elected officials are the elites who can afford the private clubs and campaign contributions that give them direct access to power. The voices of regular Floridians are shut out or told to shut up. [Source: Orlano Sentinel]
The tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida on Thursday estimated 35.066 million people traveled to Florida during the third quarter of 2023, 1.4 percent more than during the same period of 2022 and 7.9 percent above the total in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The new numbers showed a rebound from a slight second-quarter dip, which industry leaders attributed to increased competition from other states and countries that were closed longer than Florida because of the pandemic. [Source: News Service of Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Senate committee passes bill that allows veterans and their spouses to live in nursing homes [WUSF]
If passed, the law would not only expand eligibility, but also revise who gets priority in the state’s nursing facilities.
› Medical marijuana & Black farmers: The uphill battle for a grow license [WFTV]
As the medical marijuana industry continues to grow in Florida, the State has issued few licenses to farmers to produce the crop. Out of those select few, only two Black farmers were given a license.
› Florida leaves $800 million on the table for disability services [Orlando Sentinel]
Florida officials responsible for providing services to people with lifelong disabilities have allowed nearly $800 million in state and federal matching funds to fall through the cracks in the past two years, according to a budget analysis by a statewide advocacy group.
› North Florida Land Trust’s Smith Lake Preserve to become part of the Florida National Scenic Trail [Florida Daily]
The North Florida Land Trust (NFLT), the Florida Trail Association and the U.S. Forest Service will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new 2-mile segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail that runs through NFLT’s Smith Lake Preserve in Clay County. The new trail will be part of the 1,500-mile Florida National Scenic Trail, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
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› Rick Case inducted into Florida Automobile Dealers Association Hall of Fame [WPLG]
Rick Case, a visionary in the automotive industry, was honored by the Florida Automobile Dealers Association (FADA), which inducted him in the prestigious FADA Hall of Fame. Case was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Rick Case Automotive Group for 60 years, and began his trailblazing journey as a dedicated and passionate salesman.
› Construction starts on $220 million Sarasota cancer center [Business Observer]
Sarasota Memorial Hospital broke ground last week on a new cancer pavilion. The seven-story, $220 million building is being constructed on Waldemere Street, across the street from the hospital’s oncology tower, which opened in 2021.
› KBRA assigns rating to new Florida insurer Orange [Reinsurance News]
Credit rating agency KBRA has assigned Orange Insurance Exchange, a new Florida-based insurer, an Insurance Financial Strength Rating (IFSR) of BBB, and given it a Stable Outlook. Launched in early November, Orange is a new domestic reciprocal property and casualty insurance company headquartered in Newberry, Florida.
› Investigating South Florida emergency alert systems [WFOR]
In Miami-Dade County, the mayor is the ultimate decision-maker when an emergency alert is issued. In Broward County, multiple officials and agencies work together to make the call. Both offices rely on local, state and national experts.