What Orlando is talking about
We typically stick with all feel-good news on Fridays, but it's a big day in the Florida legislature — it's actually the last day of the regular legislative session — and I thought it'd be wise to catch you up on what's happening there. As of writing, and in no particular order, state lawmakers appear poised to pass, or have passed, the following:
🏈 A resuscitated version of a controversial bill banning transgender female athletes from participating on girls’ and women’s high-school and college sports teams.
💚 The conservation-minded Florida Wildlife Corridor Act. (This bill passed both the Senate and the House unanimously.)
🗳 Legislation adding further hurdles to the voting process such as restrictions on ballot drop boxes and other measures that have caused civil rights activists to call foul in other states. (This one passed the Senate 23-17 and the House 77-40.)
💉 A possible ban on vaccine passports.
💵 A $101.5 billion state budget that includes $8 million allocated to address Florida’s recent rash of manatee deaths and an expansion of Medicaid health care coverage for uninsured newborns and their mothers. (The budget will be voted on today.)
🚨 A bipartisan police reform package that some lawmakers feel doesn’t go far enough.
Phew! If there’s anything we missed, let us know, and please keep in mind that some of these proposals are still subject to change. If passed, their next stop will be Gov. DeSantis' desk.
In other news...
🍔 4 Rivers Smokehouse is offering BOGO barbecue sammies all day long tomorrow. It’s how the Orlando-born BBQ joint likes to kick off national barbecue month, and honestly, what’s better than one BBQ sammy? You guessed it — two! (Orlando Weekly)
🍪 The story behind the making of Table Ghost Kitchen is the kind of good, uplifting content we love to share in this newsletter. Orlandoan Ryan McKenzie was furloughed from his dream job at Tiffins in Animal Kingdom early on during the pandemic. That loss quickly turned into a win because it led McKenzie and his girlfriend to making cookies and now savory food too by way of Table Ghost Kitchen. (Ryan McKenzie on Facebook)
💰 Today is THE day to support your favorite local art org. It's the last day of the United Arts Collaborative Campaign and any donation you make to orgs like Central Florida Community Arts, Orlando Fringe, Opera Orlando... (the list goes on and on!) will be matched by 15%. And that match doubles to 30% if you're a new donor. Do it today. Right now. Right this second. OK? (United Arts Central Florida on Instagram)
💊 Here’s your friendly reminder that tomorrow is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day and you can unload any unused prescription meds at several drop-off locations around town. (WKMG)
🖼 “Black Mary,” the photography exhibit that reimagines Mary Poppins as a modern-day Black woman, is moving to its new home at the Eatonville Branch Library tomorrow where it’ll stay through June 30. The powerful free art exhibit is by a local mother-daughter duo. Cool, right? (Orlando Weekly)
📅 It’s National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day y’all, and Diamond here is an 11-year-old stunner who is in need of some humans who love her and want to shower her with the attention she deserves. (Orlando Weekly)
🌳 Today also happens to be Arbor Day! The City of Orlando may be out of free trees, but the Arbor Day Foundation would be happy to give you 10 to plant. (Arbor Day Foundation)