It’s Tuesday, November 16th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - South Florida joined in solidarity Monday in response to renewed nationwide protests in defiance of the Cuban government.
The protest follows demonstrations in July where thousands of Cubans took to the streets calling for change and demanding an end to food and medicine shortages. On Sunday, the Assembly of Cuban Resistance, which brings together more than 35 associations that fight for democracy on the island, encouraged exiles in Miami, especially Nicaraguans and Venezuelans, to join the protests. On Sunday, U.S. Congressman Carlos Gimenez tweeted a video in support of the Cuban protests, saying in Spanish that "Today more than ever, the Cuban people want freedom." Gimenez along with South Florida Republican congressmembers Maria Elvira Salazar and Mario Diaz-Balart and New York congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to "send a clear message to the illegitimate Cuban regime."
No. 2 - Florida lawmakers on Monday began debating a package of bills to combat coronavirus vaccine mandates, continuing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' fight against virus rules.
The weeklong special legislative session in the GOP-controlled statehouse includes proposals to let workers opt out of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and allow parents to sue schools with masking requirements. DeSantis has become one of the highest profile Republican governors in the country through his vocal opposition to lockdowns and virus mandates, pitting himself against President Joe Biden as DeSantis runs for reelection and eyes a potential 2024 presidential bid. The Republican measures would bar private businesses from having coronavirus vaccine mandates unless they allow exemptions for medical reasons, religious beliefs, proof of immunity based on a prior COVID-19 infection, regular testing and an agreement to wear protective gear.
No. 3 - Infrastructure week is finally here. President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan, $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law Monday.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava was among the local leaders invited to the White House for the signing ceremony. Levine-Cava has her eyes on funding a variety of projects, including transit improvements laid out in the county’s Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit plan. The infrastructure bill contains billions of dollars for roads and bridges but also for new rail lines, projects to mitigate sea level rise, improved broadband access, and environmental improvement projects. Click here to find out what South Florida will get from the bill in a report from NBC 6’s Ari Odzer.
No. 4 - Despite calls to delay a massive change to flood insurance policies across the country, the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to roll out its new flood risk methodology.
“Risk Rating 2.0” will cause nearly all flood insurance policy premiums to change over the next year. Most will become more expensive in Florida because of new environmental factors like sea level rise and climate change. Some policies have already decreased with the first phase of the change. The second phase for renewal policies kicks in April. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has called on FEMA to delay the change again but in an interview with NBC 6 a senior executive with the agency said that’s not going to happen. Click here to find out why in a report from NBC 6 investigator Phil Prazan.
No. 5 - Cities across South Florida are changing how they deal with recycling.
It’s a big business, but recycling has not been paying off for some communities. China, once American’s top buyer of recyclables, stopped taking most of our country’s recycling in 2018. This change drove down the value on the global market and drove up the price taxpayers were paying for the service. As cities try to adapt, the market for recyclables continues to shift. Click here for more in a report from NBC 6 consumer investigator Sasha Jones.
No. 6 - Construction at the high-rise UNA building in Brickell is still going on, but one concerned neighbor says there's been a second flooding at the construction site.
"We are very concerned with becoming the next Surfside," neighbor Christi Tasker said. Tasker, who lives near the new construction site, said another flooding happened this past Friday. The first flooding she saw was last Wednesday. Tasker has been monitoring the construction for the past two years. Tasker is also concerned about the sea wall separating the construction site and the bay. Click here to find out why in a report from NBC 6's Claudia Docampo.
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