OPIOID CRISIS Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 19-97 on April 2nd establishing the Office of Drug Control and the Statewide Task Force on Opioid Abuse to combat Florida’s substance abuse crisis.
SUNPASS CONTRACTOR The conversion of software for SunPass billing has not gone smoothly since its implementation began last year. Hundreds of complaints still pour in regarding charging errors and unsubmitted bills. In response to the debacle, the State has fined the contractor $4.6 million and is making further management changes in an attempt to rectify the problems. The Governor has issued an executive order waving late fees until June.
LOTTERY UPGRADES The Florida Lottery is updating its equipment the night of April 15th as part of a $54 million upgrade to 2,500 vending machines. It will replace equipment and software that is almost 15 years old, bringing in a new communications network and improving security and anti-fraud measures.
HURRICANE MICHAEL Fallout continues across the Panhandle in the wake of October’s storm. Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 19-98 which extended the state of emergency for Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington counties. Bay County experienced a 500-acre wildfire fueled by hurricane debris, something the Division of Forestry has been concerned about as counties deal with clearing 72 million tons of downed trees. The Florida Department Transportation is getting $9.8 million from the federal government to reimburse the cost of debris cleanup in Jackson County. Insured losses from the storm top $6 billion and Tyndall Air Force Base is in line for a share of $9.2 billion in emergency funding included in the US. Department of Defense budget proposal for the upcoming federal fiscal year.