After meeting with those involved in emergency response efforts underway in the Florida Keys and assessing damage, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Friday morning joined Walmart associates and members of the National Guard to unload a truckload of water that the company donated to individuals affected by Hurricane Irma.
More than half of Collier and Lee counties now have power but approximately 100,000 customers in each was without electricity, and 1.4 million statewide Friday evening. Statewide, more than 87 percent of Florida has the lights – and air conditioning – back on, in the latest report issued by the Florida Office of Emergency Management, as of 9 p.m. Friday. Collier and Lee, hard hit by Hurricane Irma, saw dramatic improvements in electrical service since Thursday, but still are plagued…
Ritch Workman is headed back to Tallahassee. The former state representative, a Melbourne Republican, was appointed Friday night by Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Public Service Commission. Workman replaces Ronald Brisé, who had sought a third term on the board. Scott also re-appointed Art Graham to the commission and filled the seat left open by the departure of Jimmy Patronis with Gary Clark, the Department of Environment Protection‘s deputy secretary of land and recreation.
Nearly a week after Hurricane Irma walloped Florida, the recovery mission picked up momentum as more people had electricity and schools made plans to reopen.
A South Florida senator has filed the first bill in response to the deaths of eight nursing home residents this week after Hurricane Irma knocked out their air conditioning. Sen. Lauren Book, a Plantation Democrat, filed the measure (SB 284) on Friday afternoon. Among other things, it would require the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) “to determine compliance with standards for electricity and emergency power sources during the routine inspection of a licensed nursing home facility.”
The Legislature’s chief economist has told lawmakers that next year’s relatively tiny budget surplus will be erased because of costs from Hurricane Irma. Amy Baker, director of the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, presented a working version of the state’s long-range financial outlook to the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Friday. She explained that extra costs to the state from last year’s hurricanes, Hermine and Matthew, cost $76.2 million, meaning a projected $52 million surplus for fiscal year 2018-19 is “gone.”
Commercial power had not been restored Friday morning to 50 nursing homes after getting knocked out by Hurricane Irma, according to the Florida Health Care Association, an industry group.