**This bill will be heard in House Careers & Competition Subcommittee tomorrow at 1pm! Please call the members of the committee and let them know how this bill would impact your community. For more information on HB 17 please click here. To contact committee members, please click here.**
Naples Daily News
Imagine an enterprising entrepreneur comes up with an idea for an all-night gun range/strip club/salvage yard next door to your new home. And there’s not a darn thing you or your county commissioners can do about it. It sounds extreme, but leaders of the Florida Association of Counties, a lobbying group devoted to maintaining home rule for local governments, worry that something along those lines could happen. House Bill 17 is one of hundreds of pieces of legislation filed in advance of the March session of the Florida Legislature.
Citrus County Chronicle
County commission chair Scott Carnahan has told business leaders the county’s permitting personnel need to adopt a more positive attitude and better understand customer needs. Many small business owners who have gone through the process of building or upgrading their facilities would agree. One of the consistent complaints from business owners is the county permitting process can be laborious and seem at times capricious.
Tampa Bay Times
On the eve of a key committee vote, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran on Monday offered what he considers an olive branch: He would let Visit Florida survive but with a much-reduced annual budget of $25 million and restrictions on bonuses, benefits and travel. Gov. Rick Scott's office responded by calling a "67 percent cut to tourism marketing" unacceptable, and said: "More than a million Florida families rely on jobs in our tourism industry and are threatened with this massive cut." Scott's office said he supports transparency and accountability at Visit Florida and has proved it with "changes (and) new leadership at Visit Florida."
The radio system used by local law enforcement agencies and the Alachua County Combined Communications Center is so flawed that some of the portable radios used by first responders don't work properly when communicating with dispatchers.
Discussions about improving the system have been ongoing for some time, and continued during an Alachua County Commission meeting last week.
A South Florida charity will soon offer the homeless community free showers with a brand new mobile shower unit.
HOPE South Florida will bring six private showers to Fort Lauderdale. The unit is an air conditioned and heated trailer which includes changing areas. HOPE South Florida says the showers will compliment its shared meals program at its church partner sites. Individuals will be allowed to use the unit for two hours prior to the meal.
After 17 years and 179 elections, the county's voting machines are set to be replaced. Lori Edwards, Polk's Supervisor of Elections, said recently at a county retreat that they are past due to replace the voting machines for the 167 precincts and early voting sites. She expects to have the new machines, which will be similar to the current ones but with a more modern interface system, for the November elections.
Palm Beach Post
West Palm Beach residents looking to medical marijuana to ease the burdens of cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease will have to wait despite voters’ November decision to legalize its use statewide. The city hit the pause button on applications for medical marijuana dispensaries and treatment centers this month, while waiting for state lawmakers to wrestle with regulations that could pre-empt local ones.
Brevard County officials have proposed rules for locating medical marijuana dispensaries within unincorporated areas of the county that are designed to keep them far away from school, parks and churches. Brevard County commissioners will have a preliminary discussion of the rules today. The proposal then will be considered by two county advisory board before coming back to the County Commission for a vote.
Florida Senate Democrats are urging Gov. Rick Scott to declare a public health emergency over the growing opioid epidemic in the state. “No longer confined to small urban enclaves, heroin and fentanyl have become the scourge of communities throughout Florida, wreaking widespread devastation not only from the ravages of addiction, but the resurgence of deadly diseases associated with drug abuse,” Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon, of Miami Gardens, wrote in a letter to Scott on Monday.
Constitution Revision Commission
The members of the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission are being named this month. The Commission’s proposals, if any, must be submitted at least 180 days before the 2018 general election. Florida has more methods for amending its constitution than any other state. Two of these have been in the Florida Constitution from the beginning (legislative proposal and constitutional convention), two were added by a revision in 1968 (citizen initiative and the Constitution Revision Commission). A fifth method, the Tax and Budget Reform Commission, was added in 1988.
Leesburg Daily Commercial
When President Donald Trump took office, one of the first executive orders he signed was to clampdown on undocumented immigrants by barring sanctuary cities from receiving federal funding. Now, two Florida legislators hope to pass legislation prohibiting local governments and state agencies from adopting sanctuary policies that block enforcement of existing federal immigration law.
Sarasota Herald Tribune
City leaders are looking this week to raise the fees charged to new development for transportation projects to fund improvements for roads, sidewalks and bicycling. The new "mobility" fees would dramatically increase the amount charged for various types of development based on a technical calculation of each type's impact on local transportation systems — more than doubling or tripling most fees.
Daytona Beach News Journal
Flagler County officials took the first step toward adding a penny to its bed tax Monday in an effort to bolster the county's fund for beach restoration. Matt Dunn, executive director of the Flagler County Tourist Development Office, projected that the county could increase its dune replenishment treasury by more than $1.8 million in the first two years by raising the tax from 4 to 5 cents on a dollar for visitors who stay in Flagler's hotels, inns, lodges, campgrounds and other short-term rentals.
Wireless / Internet Technology
Naples Daily News
Commentary: Florida needs 5g wireless technology
What do smart cities, driverless vehicles, autonomous drones and instantaneous 3-D downloads all have in common? The need for 5G wireless technology. Under Florida Senate Bill 596 and House Bill 687, which creates the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act, Floridians have the opportunity to bring ultrafast speeds — speeds that were previously only available through a wired connection — to your wireless devices.
Villages Daily Sun
Some days, John Grob can go on a hike without seeing a single mosquito. On others, a huge swarm of them can prove troublesome. “We can hike in a place 50 times and never have a mosquito, then go back and have millions of mosquitoes,” said Grob, of the Village of Amelia. That unpredictable nature explains why mosquito control and health department workers are remaining vigilant against the threat of the Zika virus, anticipating an active upcoming mosquito season.