Monday, 03 October 2016 15:54

USDA Confirms New World Screwworm Cases in Big Pine Key

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of New World screwworm in Key deer from a wildlife refuge in Big Pine Key, Florida. USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms this is a local infestation of new world screwworm. This is the first local infestation in the United States in more than 30 years. In response to this infestation, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today declared an agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County, Florida, which can be accessed here.

“The screwworm is a potentially devastating animal disease that sends shivers down every rancher’s spine. It’s been more than five decades since the screwworm last infested Florida, and I’ve grown up hearing the horror stories from the last occurrence,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “This foreign animal disease poses a grave threat to wildlife, livestock and domestic pets in Florida. Though rare, it can even infect humans. We’ve eradicated this from Florida before, and we’ll do it again. We will work with our partners on the federal, state and local level to protect our residents, animals and wildlife by eliminating the screwworm from Florida. The public’s assistance is crucial to the success of this eradication program.”

Monday, 03 October 2016 10:40

Halloween Spending Expected to Reach Record His this Year

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:October 3, 2016
CONTACT:James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850) 701-3015

Average person expected to spend almost $83 this year on Halloween candy, decorations, and costumes for a nationwide total of $8.4 billion

Suni

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today that consumer spending on Halloween is expected to set an all-time high with the average person spending almost $83, up from $74 in 2015. Total spending nationally on Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion up from $6.9 billion last year.

“More families are making a bigger deal out of Halloween each year, with consistent increases in per consumer spending, which should make for frighteningly good sales figures for retailers this month,” said FRF President and CEO Randy Miller. “We fully expect Florida’s Halloween sales to meet or exceed the national numbers thanks to sustained positive economic indicators and a healthy state economy.”

According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, with more than 171 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.

According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes (purchased by 67 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.5 billion on candy (94.3 percent), $2.4 billion on decorations (70 percent) and $390 million on greeting cards (35.4 percent).

When it comes to preparation, 71 percent of consumers plan to hand out candy, decorate their home or yard (49 percent), dress in costume (47 percent), carve a pumpkin (46 percent), throw or attend a party (34 percent), take their children trick-or-treating (30 percent), visit a haunted house (21 percent) or dress their pet(s) in costume (16 percent).

Searching for the perfect costume inspiration will lead consumers to sources such as online (35 percent) and in-store (29 percent). Social media is the fastest-growing influencer for the perfect costume, particularly Pinterest (17 percent), which has seen 133 percent growth since 2012. Some other places for inspiration include friends/family (19 percent), Facebook (17 percent), pop culture (16 percent) and print media (14 percent).

When it comes to where consumers will shop for the season, 47 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores to buy their Halloween-related items this year and 36 percent will visit a specialty Halloween/costume store, up from 33 percent last year. In addition, 26 percent of customers will visit grocery stores/supermarkets, 23 percent will visit department stores and 22 percent will shop online.

The survey asked 6,791 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted September 6-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thursday, 29 September 2016 12:47

Gas Pump Skimmer Protection Bill Goes into Effect October 1

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For Immediate Release: September 29, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

FRF & FPMA eager to see the positive impact this legislation will have in keeping Floridians and visitors safe from credit card fraud at Sunshine State gas stations

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (FPMA), remind Floridians statewide that effective October 1, increased security measures take effect at gas stations statewide to protect consumers from gas pump skimmer fraud. SB912, sponsored by Senator Anitere Flores and Representative Dana Young, becomes law this weekend in protecting credit card information while also making it easier to charge someone for committing gas pump skimmer fraud.

“With more than 10,000 gas pumps in Florida, and the potential for one skimmer to impact more than 100 people, this important legislation will go a long way towards protecting millions of Florida’s residents and visitors,” said Randy Miller, FRF President & CEO. “FRF and FPMA were proud to work with Senator Flores, Representative Young and Commissioner Adam Putnam on the passage of this bill and we look forward to it making Florida a safer place.”

SB912, which passed unanimously this past legislative session, requires gas stations to have, at a minimum, security tape on their pumps to show the pump hasn’t been tampered with. The law would make the crime of tampering with a gas pump a second degree felony and the possibility of 15 years prison time, which is an increase from the previous penalties of a third degree felony and just five years in prison. The new law also makes law enforcements’ job easier to charge someone who is in possession of counterfeit credit cards. Previously, it would require ten fake cards to be charged with a second degree felony, now it only requires five cards for the same charge.

Florida’s convenience stores increased from 9,737 in 2014 to more than 10,000 in 2015, which ranked third among all states according to the 2016 National Association of Convenience Stores/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thursday, 29 September 2016 12:16

DEP Emergency Rule -- Notice of Pollution

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Below is the Emergency Rule that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has issued regarding notification of pollution. The Emergency Rule as drafted creates questions about when notification is required. We are working with DEP to clear up these questions. We recognize and agree with the necessity of prompt notification of pollution. Our businesses, our communities and our state are best served when pollution is quickly and completely addressed and its harm is minimized or eliminated. We want to make sure our member businesses are fully compliant without creating unnecessary burdens for local officials and needless concern for citizens. As we receive more detailed information from DEP, we will share this information with you.

Notice of Emergency Rule
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

RULE NO.: 62ER16-1
RULE TITLE: Public Notice of Pollution

SPECIFIC REASONS FOR FINDING AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY OR WELFARE: In a "Specific Finding of Immediate Danger to the Public Health, Safety, or Welfare," which was published on the date of this emergency rule (available at www.dep.state.fl.us/pollutionnotice) and filed with the Secretary of State's Office, Secretary Steverson found that there is a need to immediately require specific notification to the public of any incident or discovery of pollution that may cause a threat to the air, surface waters, or groundwater of the state. These circumstances present an immediate hazard to public health, safety, or welfare which requires emergency action.

REASON FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE PROCEDURE IS FAIR UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES: Prompt notification to the public is necessary regarding any incident or discovery of pollution that may cause a threat to the air, surface waters, or groundwater of the state such that public health could be at risk. The Secretary will commence rulemaking procedures for the emergency rule immediately.

SUMMARY: The provisions of the action provide a requirement that owners and operators of any installation provide notifications to the Department, local government officials, and the public whenever there is an incident or discovery of pollution at an installation within 24 hours. In addition, the owner and operator would be required to provide a subsequent notice within 48 hours that describes any potentially affected areas beyond the property boundary of the installation, and the potential risk to public health, safety, or welfare. The owners and operators are required to notify the Department, local government officials, and the property owner within 24 hours of becoming aware that pollution from an installation has affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation.

THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE EMERGENCY RULE IS: Robert A. Williams, Chief Deputy General Counsel, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., MS-35 Tallahassee, FL 32399

THE FULL TEXT OF THE EMERGENCY RULE IS:

62ER16-01Public Notice of Pollution

Any owner or operator of any installation who has knowledge of any pollution at such installation shall provide notice of the pollution as follows:

(1)Within 24 hours of the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution, the owner or operator shall notify the Departmentand the following persons, in writing, of such pollution:

(a)The mayor, the chair of the county commission, or the comparable senior elected official representing the affected area.

(b)The city manager, the county administrator, or the comparable senior official representing the affected area.

(c)The general public by providing notice to local broadcast television affiliates and a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the contamination.

(2)Within 48 hours of the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution, the owner or operator shall notify the Department and persons identified in (1)(a) through (1)(c), in writing, of any potentially affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, and the potential risk to the public health, safety, or welfare.

(3)Within 24 hours of becoming aware of pollution from an installation that has affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, the owner or operator shall notify, in writing, the property owner of any affected area, the Department, and the persons identified in (1)(a) through (1)(b).

(4)Such notification to the Department shall be accomplished by submitting an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

(5)Failure to provide this notification shall be considered a violation and subject to penalties for purposes of Section 403.161, Florida Statutes.

Rulemaking Authority 377.22(2), 403.061(7), 403.061(8), 403.062, 403.855(1), 403.861(9) FS. Law Implemented 377.21, 377.371, 403.061(16), 403.061(17), 403.061(18), 403.062, 403.855(3), 403.861(9) FS. History-New 9-26-16.

THIS RULE TAKES EFFECT UPON BEING FILED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE UNLESS A LATER TIME AND DATE IS SPECIFIED IN THE RULE.

EFFECTIVE DATE: 09/26/2016

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