What Orlando is talking about
💰 Gov. Ron DeSantis approved Florida’s largest budget ever yesterday. The governor was at The Garlic in New Smyrna Beach when he signed the state’s $101 billion spending plan, of which, $10.2 billion is federal COVID-19 relief money. (The new spending plan is $9 billion more than this year’s spending plan.)
It’s considered a win for area educators as $22.4 billion will be used to fund K-12 schools and will push teachers’ minimum salaries to $47,500. Plus overall spending for community-based mental health services improved by $212 million statewide.
With that said, DeSantis vetoed $1.5 billion in spending, including two significant requests in Orlando: the $750,000 the Zebra Coalition needed to build transitional housing for area LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness along with $150,000 in mental health support for Pulse survivors.
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith called the move especially heartless, and that it adds insult to injury being Pride Month, and “not even 24 hours after he signed a bill to expel transgender kids from sports teams and humiliate them in front of their peers.”
Heather Wilke, executive director of the Zebra Coalition, said the org is still committed to making the project happen through grants but "it has definitely put up a huge barrier in our path to being able to open sooner rather than later.”
The Valencia College film school will also not be getting the $1 million it requested to create a documentary about the heinous 1920 Ocoee Massacre. Rep. Randolph Bracy, who pushed for the funding, did however secure the $305,000 needed for the Ocoee Scholarship Program, which will grant tuition payments of up to $6,100 to descendants of the victims of the 1920 riots.
The spending plan goes into effect on July 1.
In other news...
🐶 Don’t be too alarmed, but PETA is planning to barbecue a “dog” in downtown Orlando today. The animal activism group is serving up food for thought and hoping to send the message “If you wouldn’t eat a dog, why eat a pig” while grilling a fake dog. The event is happening at noon on the corner of Church Street and Orange Avenue. (Orlando Weekly)
🛍 It’s official. There’s a Sprouts coming to the Milk District slash Colonialtown area. The organic grocer is taking over the old Stein Mart location in Colonial Plaza and honestly, your editor here couldn’t be happier. (Bungalower)
📺 WUCF, Orlando’s local PBS station, is kicking off its annual fundraiser on Saturday with a concert by Andrea Bocelli. Over the course of a few days, you’ll be able to watch performances by Mannheim Steamroller and Celtic Woman, see Rick Steves travel to Europe, and follow “Central Florida Roadtrip” on its next adventure. Any donations made will result in special offers when Bocelli and Celtic Woman visit Orlando next. (Orlando Sentinel)
🎶 Speaking of concerts, Shaggy and Flo Rida have partnered with Attorney Dan Newlin to offer a free show to 3,000 local health care workers. The event is set for July 17 at Hard Rock Live. If you’re eligible, go ahead and RSVP at their website. (Orlando Weekly)