Submitted by gmcdonald on Fri, 06/11/2021 - 13:38

WABE

Rural Communities Fall Farther Behind In COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

Rural communities outside America’s cities are falling further behind in the race to vaccinate against COVID-19 as President Joe Biden’s Fourth of July goal to reach 70% of American adults looms over the horizon. Alaska is the sole state where average rural rates of fully vaccinated people have grown faster than urban rates since April 19, when every state opened shots to anybody 16 and older, according to NPR’s latest analysis of county-level vaccination data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

USA Today

Florida policy-makers will no longer know about COVID hospitalizations

When the coronavirus was raging, Gov. Ron DeSantis repeatedly said that the best way to monitor the pandemic was to keep track of how many people were seeking hospital treatment for COVID-19. But, when the state last week stopped issuing daily reports about new cases, deaths and vaccinations, it also stopped requiring hospitals to report how many people it was treating daily for the disease.

International Business Times

Cruise Lines, Eager To Go, Clash With Florida On Vaccines

US-based cruise lines are chafing to resume voyages from Florida ports in July as the pandemic wanes -- but for vaccinated passengers only -- yet the state and its governor won't let them demand proof of inoculation. So far, neither side has blinked, even as two guests on one of the first cruise ships to sail from North America since the Covid pandemic tested positive on Thursday.

WPTV

Palm Beach County businesses can now request mobile COVID-19 vaccine team

The Health Care District of Palm Beach County has opened an online form where businesses can request a mobile clinic team to set up at their location and give free shots to staff and clients. The district offers the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Local businesses and organizations that are interested in hosting the free, walk-up mobile vaccinations at their sites can visit the Health Care District of Palm Beach County website, click the purple “Mobile Clinic Vaccination & Community Event Request” button and submit the completed form for review and approval.

The Capitolist

Court blocks controversial pesticide designed to fight citrus disease

In a victory for environmental and farmworker groups, an appeals court has overturned federal approval of a controversial pesticide that supporters say could help fight a disease that has caused heavy damage in Florida’s citrus industry. The decision this week by a panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia came amid federal and state legal battles about the use of the pesticide aldicarb on citrus crops. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in January approved the use of aldicarb in the production of Florida oranges and grapefruit. That drew a court challenge from the Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Working Group and the Farmworker Association of Florida, which argue, in part, that the pesticide threatens the health of workers and wildlife.

Florida Daily

Val Demings Pushes $20 Million for Transportation Infrastructure in Central Florida

This week, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., announced that funding for five transportation infrastructure projects will be included in the markup on the INVEST Act, which took place on Wednesday. “I am glad to announce that major investments to improve Central Florida’s transportation infrastructure are successfully moving through Congress. I chose these projects for this year’s request because each is important to keep pedestrians and other travelers safe. I will continue to advocate for this important funding to ensure that Floridians can safely and swiftly get around our community,” Demings, who launched a bid to challenge U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., this week, said.

CBS News

Bipartisan group reaches a deal on infrastructure proposal

A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal Thursday on infrastructure legislation, after President Biden ended negotiations with a team of Republican senators on Tuesday. The group of five Republicans and five Democrats released a joint statement Thursday afternoon saying they had reached an agreement, although they did not offer any details about it.

Florida Politics

Charlie Crist lands victory on $25M for Pinellas infrastructure projects

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is celebrating the inclusion of $25 million dollars for Pinellas County in the proposed INVEST in America Act. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee received more than 2,000 Member Designated Project Requests, and all four of Crist’s requested projects were approved for full funding, totaling nearly $25 million for Pinellas.

WFTS Tampa Bay

Bipartisan police reform bill awaiting Gov. Ron DeSantis' signature

A bipartisan bill aimed at reforming law enforcement practices is awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis' signature. House Bill 7051 lays the groundwork for some impactful changes in Florida, but some say it doesn't go far enough. "There [were] more than 50 bills filed. They never made it to the floor," said Rep. Dianne Hart (D-Hillsborough). Rep. Hart was one of the Legislative Black Caucus members to file a flurry of bills aiming to change the policies and practices of state law enforcement. But she says the power struggle between her party and republicans made that mission impossible.

Jacksonville Business Journal

Florida education board backs controversial history guidelines

Backing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign against critical race theory, the State Board of Education on Thursday approved a rule that places controversial guidelines on the way U.S. history is taught in public schools. The board, meeting in Jacksonville, voted after members of the public squared off on the rule, with some saying it would whitewash history and others saying it would prevent Marxist theory from being taught in Florida classrooms.

Florida Politics

Tampa Bay area Congress members reintroduce legislation for fishing industry relief

A group of Tampa Bay area Congress members has reintroduced legislation seeking tax relief for Florida fishers. The bill, known as the Fishing Equipment Tax Relief Act, would equalize the tax rate for portable, electronically aerated bait containers with the parts used to assemble them. The legislation is a bipartisan effort, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Charlie Crist, Vern Buchanan and Stephanie Murphy.

Spectrum News

'Text to 911' goes live in Hillsborough County after successful trial period

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office launched its Text to 911 service this week, after a year-long trial run it says was highly successful. Sheriff's office officials said over the period of the trial run, it received 323 text to 911 calls that led to 197 deputy responses to scenes. Of those responses, three cases were what the Sheriff's Office called "dangerous situations" where a silent 911 call was needed to keep the caller safe.

WTSP

Manatee County commissioners considering water taxi to the beaches

Walton County commissioners steered county funds to projects aimed at preserving two local landmarks on Tuesday, with two commissioners pledging personal donations to one of those projects. The personal largesse came from Commissioners Tony Anderson and Danny Glidewell, who each promised $500 to the ongoing effort to renovate the Tivoli Gym on Thomas Avenue in DeFuniak Springs. Built in 1960, the gym is the oldest such facility built initially to serve the area's Black population.