Florida Key News
Vegetable gardens, opioid abuse and street racing are among the topics of several bills Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into Florida law Monday afternoon. One of the measures will help Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody sue drug makers and pharmacies the state claims contributed to the opioid addiction epidemic. “The destruction caused by opioid abuse is undeniable and this epidemic is ravaging our communities. Those who helped fuel this man-made crisis must be held accountable and this new law will help us do that,” Moody said in a news release.
A real-life tomorrowland is being built just outside of Kissimmee. One of the major players is looking to make this a test-city for tech. The first buildings are already complete, or near completion in Osceola County. ”You’re actually going to be living in the future here,” said Mark Miller, chairman, NeoCity Links. “We planned a city here to be one of the first smart cities, made from the ground up, in the world.” The city is being built using the latest tech and environmentally-friendly design. Technology industry companies will make up most of the development, but there will also be housing, retail space and a STEM high school, which opens this Fall.
Naples Daily News
Collier County commissioners moved forward Tuesday to develop an ordinance aimed at regulating vacation rentals after changing course on the issue in past months. The commissioners unanimously approved a motion directing county staff to establish a registration process for people who rent their properties to vacationers, develop ways to enforce existing codes and require a local contact person for rentals. Several local rental owners and residents voiced support and opposition to short-term vacation rentals during the Tuesday meeting.
We’re still months away from the official 2020 U.S. census count, and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration doesn’t seem to be that engaged with making sure Florida is prepared. The census – a tally that provides an accurate, official count of all Americans, including Florida – happens once every decade. And if the state doesn’t successfully count everyone, it could affect Florida’s fair share of federal funding and also how many representatives the state gets in Congress. Kenneth Prewett, the U.S. Census Bureau’s director from 1998 to 2001, told the Phoenix that when it comes to allocating federal funds by using official census counts, “This is a fixed pot that gets allocated … So if Florida does not participate in a major effort to have a high turnout census, then somebody else will benefit – Texas or New York or California, or who knows?”
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Tuesday a measure that will shift 19 law enforcement officers focused on environmental crimes from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to the Department of Environmental Protection. The bill (HB 5401) is part of a series of environmental proposals DeSantis rolled out in January, including increased funding for Everglades restoration and water projects. DeSantis said during a bill-signing ceremony Tuesday at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center in Stuart that shifting the law-enforcement officers should make enforcement of environmental laws more effective. The creation of the Division of Law Enforcement within the Department of Environmental Protection will take effect Monday.
Florida leaders need to be thinking more long term when it comes to hurricanes; that was the message from former FEMA Director Craig Fugate. The emergency management guru laid out recommendations for how the State Legislature could help mitigate the costs of future storms. For Florida alone, damage from Hurricane Irma has cost the federal government more than $8 billion in disaster relief. While speaking to the Economic Club of Florida Tuesday, Fugate said part of the reason costs of storms have been on the rise is because local governments are shying away from insurance and instead are relying more on federal aid to cover costs of rebuilding.
Public support for Hurricane Michael recovery efforts in the Florida Panhandle is lacking, according to a REBUILD 850 survey released Tuesday. The results showed nearly half of respondents would do nothing to help people affected by the hurricane and nearly 75 percent said they would not consider donating money to help with relief efforts. The lack of public support might be because Floridians mistakenly think life has gone back to normal in the panhandle after the hurricane leveled parts of the coast. As a new hurricane season ramps up, residents in the panhandle are still trying to recover from last year’s Category 5 storm.