Issues of Interest

PETER’S ROCK AGAMA LIZARD The invasive Peter’s rock agama lizard population appears to be spreading in South Florida and could threaten local species as it feeds on insects, like butterflies, rather than just plants. The lizards are colorful and can grow to about a foot. In Florida, adult males have bold orange or red heads, a black or dark gray body, and a tail that often has an orange stripe and black tip. 

BAR EXAM More than 3,100 people took the Florida Bar exam remotely in mid-October, the first time the exam has been given online to all new lawyers. Citing a continued upward trend in COVID-19 infection rates, the next exam will be administered online February 23rd and 24th.

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY FIU has, once again, been identified as the top-performing Florida law school. The college’s graduates passed the October, 2020 bar exam with a 89.3 percent success rate, which is 18 percentage points above the state average. Congratulations to the college and its students!

FLORIDA LOTTERY The Florida Lottery announced it has provided over $38 billion in contributions to the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. Over the past 32 years, public schools have received more than $20 billion; colleges and universities more than $9.9 billion; and the Bright Futures Scholarship Program more than $6.8 billion. A Florida Lotto ticket now costs $2, up from $1, as the game was rebranded to include increased non-jackpot cash prizes. The change includes offering free ticket prizes for matching two of six numbers, and players can pay an extra $1 to use the same numbers for a chance to win up to $250,000 through a second drawing.

TOURISM Short- and long-term outlooks from the Florida Economic Estimating Conference indicate visitors, mostly from other states, could travel to Florida in close to pre-coronavirus pandemic numbers by 2022. VISIT Florida reported close to a 32 percent drop in visitors during the third quarter, and a 34 percent reduction total so far this year. The outlooks indicate the state could be back to 30 million visitors per quarter by the third quarter of 2021. POPULATION GROWTH According to the Florida Demographic Estimating Conference, the State is expected to add more than 303,000 residents a year and is projected to have 23.1 million people by April 2025.