Issues of Interest

MYFLORIDAMYFAMILY Governor DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis announced MyFloridaMyFamily, an online hub of resources established in partnership with the Governor’s Faith and Community Based Initiative and the Florida Department of Children and Families. The website will connect Florida families in need to local faith institutions and community organizations, who may be able to provide help. It will also serve as a way to direct individuals to Florida’s Foster Information Center, a hotline which provides support and information about fostering children throughout the state. 

DUKE ENERGY REFUNDS State regulators approved an administrative judge’s decision that Duke Energy must refund $16.1 million to consumers. Its St. Petersburg power plant had been operating a turbine above its capacity resulting in a breakdown of the equipment and a temporary shutdown. The funds represent replacement power costs that were added to consumer bills.

HURRICANE UPDATE On September 15th, in preparation for Hurricane Sally’s landfall, Governor DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the following counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Walton, and Washington. While the Category 2 storm made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, significant rain fell in the Florida Panhandle causing widespread flooding and wind damage.

Additionally, to support small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sally, the Governor activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program. The program provides short-term, zero-interest loans to small businesses that experienced physical damage or economic injury during the hurricane. The application period runs through November 14th, or until the available funds are exhausted. Up to $5 million has been allocated to the program.

Timber growers in Florida who sustained damage from Hurricane Michael in October 2018 can now apply for federal recovery grants. The Category 5 storm caused about $1.3 billion in losses to the industry in Florida. Impacted timber growers were awarded $380 million from the Florida Timber Recovery Block Grant Program and the Florida Irrigation Recovery Block Grant Program as part of the storm recovery efforts.

The National Weather Service promised us a busy hurricane season and they were not wrong. As of this writing, we have used all the available names on the 2020 hurricane season list. Now, for the second time in history we have begun to use the Greek alphabet. The last time this occurred was in 2005, the year of Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.