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ICYMI: Orlando experienced a record year for tourism. and more



Orange County approves ordinance expanding background checks on all gun purchases: Though Florida already requires a three-day waiting period for all retail sales of firearms by licensed dealers and manufacturers, last week, Orange County Commissioners approved an ordinance that closes the legal loophole allowing the sale of firearms at gun shows without a three-day waiting period. Mayor Teresa Jacobs called the public hearing in April, despite the fact the ordinance was struck down following the passage of a 2011 state law that pressured local leaders against considering gun regulations. Under that pre-emptive law, local officials run the risk of removal from office by the governor and a personal fine up to $5,000. "[After] two horrific mass shootings in the state of Florida, the governor may have a right to remove Mayor Jacobs from office. But I'd like to see him try," state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, said after the hearing.

A dragon float caught on fire at Walt Disney World: During the Festival of Fantasy parade at Magic Kingdom last week, the Maleficent dragon, which has a functioning fire feature, went up in flames. According to reports, the fire was extinguished without any incident and no one was injured ... except for the float, which looked a little sad following its accidental torching.

Florida had a terrible citrus season and now it's ending earlier than expected: After a disheartening growing season – with Hurricane Irma taking a heavy toll on an already wilting industry – Florida citrus farmers are facing their lowest yield in eight decades. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this season's orange crop produced 44.95 million boxes, a 35 percent decline from the 2016-2017 crop of 68.85 million boxes. Similarly, this season's grapefruit crop took a significant dip as well, with a 49 percent downturn from the 7.76 million boxes harvested last season.

Orlando welcomed a record 72 million tourists in 2017: Despite Hurricane Irma essentially removing tourism from the state last September, a record-setting 72 million tourists visited the Orlando area last year, which bested the previous season's tally of 68 million. According to the tourism board, the 5 percent increase was largely from strong domestic numbers. The board also cited the throng of brand-new attractions aggressively marketed by local theme parks, like Volcano Bay and Disney's World of Avatar, as a continuously strong source of traffic.

Florida Constitution Revision Commission files eight measures for November ballot: The eight measures contain 20 potential changes to the state Constitution, including a proposed ban on coastal oil drilling, higher ethics standards for public officials, expanded rights for crime victims, term limits for school board members, a ban on greyhound racing and a prohibition on vaping in workplaces. Six of the measures group multiple changes into single ballot items, while two measures, dealing with ethics and dog racing, are single-subject items.


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