FYI Miami: January 3, 2019
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
MINIMUM WAGE RISES: Florida’s minimum wage rose to $8.46 an hour as of Tuesday, up from $8.25 an hour in 2018, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The minimum wage for tipped employees now is at least $5.44 an hour, up from $5.23 in 2018. Florida voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment establishing a state minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage. The state minimum wage increases because it is tied to inflation. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
SNAKE FUNDS REQUESTED: To redouble efforts to rid Miami-Dade of invasive snakes – particularly Burmese pythons – commissioners directed the county’s federal and state lobbyists to ask for more funding. “In addition to harming wildlife, invasive constrictor snakes pose a safety threat to humans and their pets,” the item sponsored by Dennis Moss and Jose “Pepe” Diaz and co-sponsored by Daniella Levine Cava and Barbara Jordan states. “[They] also add economic burdens to private landowners and public land managers who must expend resources to rid their properties of these undesirable animals.” Since March 2017, more than 1,900 Burmese pythons have been caught through the South Florida Water Management District. But since they can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, the problem may be worsening. “It’s just a matter of time before these huge snakes wind up in the backyards of the residents here,” Mr. Moss said. “We need to have a major effort.”
VETERAN FOOD INSECURITY: The office of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez has three months left to prepare a report and develop a strategy to reduce and ultimately eliminate food insecurity issues impacting impoverished veterans. County commissioners last month passed an item, sponsored by Jose “Pepe” Diaz, directing Mr. Giménez’s office to take necessary action. Miami-Dade is home to 53,272 veterans, according to the item, which cites studies published by Public Health Nutrition and the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics that found veteran poverty is on the rise, with more than 25% of poor veterans experiencing an inability to access sufficient food.
SURFSIDE TURTLE TALLY: Surfside Beach was home to 20 loggerhead sea turtle nests in 2018, all of which hatched successfully, according to a Dec. 26 Surfside release. Earlier in the year, an August 2015 video of boaters removing a straw from a sea turtle’s nose went viral, resulting in an outcry of support for banning disposable straws. Since then, South Florida cities including Surfside, Miami Beach, Hallandale and Deerfield Beach have banned plastic straws in commercial establishments in favor of paper substitutes or requiring customers to forego them altogether.