Issues of Interest

NATIONAL DISLOCATED WORKER GRANT Florida was awarded $13 million from the federal government as part of a grant program to help post-hurricane evacuees from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands dislocated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria to find work in the U.S. Around 350,000 Puerto Ricans have arrived in Florida since the storms, although the number of potential permanent residents is not known. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will implement the grant statewide.

COLD CASE WEBSITE The Florida Department of Law Enforcement unveiled Florida’s first centralized cold-case database which contains more than 400 unsolved murder cases dating back to the 1950’s. The site can be accessed by anyone, including other law enforcement agencies, victims’ families or potential witnesses who have information on a specific case. The site may be accessed here.

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT The Florida Supreme Court streamed their proceedings on Facebook Live February 8th. According to their tweet, “Florida Supreme Court oral arguments are being streamed on Facebook Live for the first time in our history, and are believed to be the first appellate arguments on Facebook Live anywhere in the U.S.”. On the docket: Red Light Camera laws. The Court also has a podcast series called “Beyond the Bench.”

PRESCRIPTION DONATIONS Unused prescription drugs may be donated to low-income patients if a bi-partisan proposal to create a donation program moves forward. Cancer drugs can already be donated in Florida and 12 other states. The Department of Health would manage the program and maintain a registry on its website.

FLORIDA’S GRADUATION RATE Governor Scott announced that the high school graduation rate for Florida reached a 14-year high. The statewide graduation rate rose to 82.3 percent, an increase of 1.6 percentage points over last year. Graduation rates for African American and Hispanic students also increased in the last five years by 10.2 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively.

FLU SHUTS DOWN SCHOOLS This year’s flu season has been particularly rough. So rough, that the Gulf County School Board shut down the district on January 26. This enabled the district to disinfect each school over the long weekend. Experts say it is not too late to get vaccinated if you have not done so already and the Centers for Disease Control offers suggestions for staying healthy. Information may be found on their website.