News Clips

Spectrum News 13

Opioid Overdoses Cost Monroe County $6 Million Last Year

Opioid overdoses cost local taxpayers more than $6 million last year, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday. It did a study this year to determine a financial cost for the opioid epidemic. The sheriff's office says there are a number of hidden costs, including salaries for first responders who respond to overdoses and medical bills. Sheriff Todd Baxter said when the numbers are broken down, the cost per day alone is significant.   "We're still losing every day and now we know what it rudimentary, conservatively costing us — and trust me that's a base, bottom number,” Sheriff Baxter said. “When it comes down to $17,500 every day, we should at least be aware of that too."

Florida Today

Florida texting and driving law: Why your $30 ticket becomes way more expensive

If you think the $30 fine for a first offense of Florida's new texting and driving law is just a slap in the wallet, think again. Court costs and surcharges across many Florida counties will markedly increase that first offense to more than $100. The new texting while driving law went into effect July 1, making texting behind the wheel a primary offense, which means if a law enforcement officer sees you texting on your phone while operating a vehicle, you can be pulled over. The Florida Highway Patrol is only issuing warnings until Jan. 1, 2020. Starting Oct. 1, law enforcement can begin issuing warnings for the hands-free portion of the bill, which prohibits any driver from even holding their phone in school and active work zones.

New York Times

Florida’s Utilities Keep Homeowners From Making the Most of Solar Power

Florida calls itself the Sunshine State. But when it comes to the use of solar power, it trails 19 states, including not-so-sunny Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Maryland. Solar experts and environmentalists blame the state’s utilities. The utilities have hindered potential rivals seeking to offer residential solar power. They have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying, ad campaigns and political contributions. And when homeowners purchase solar equipment, the utilities have delayed connecting the systems for months.