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Dr. Joseph Ladapo; utility bill hikes; Disney World turns 50

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Office of the Governor of Florida
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Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pick to be the state’s next surgeon general has been embroiled in controversy ever since he was announced. Dr. Joseph Ladapo has spoken out against mask mandates and vaccine requirements, which has raised concerns in the medical community.

This week, Ladapo came under fire for refusing to wear a mask in the office of Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky, who has breast cancer. Several Democrats and some newspaper editorial boards called for Ladapo’s resignation. DeSantis sticks by his pick.

Ladapo says he offered to accommodate the senator by moving outside or into the hallway. Pictures from earlier in the day do show Polsky alongside other maskless senators in a committee hearing.

Guests:

Utility bill hikes

Millions of Florida residents can soon expect higher utility bills.

Earlier this week, state utility regulators approved a series of base-rate increases for Florida Power & Light that will result in higher monthly bills for customers, starting in January. Floridians can expect price hikes up to 20% over the next several years.

Despite arguments that residential and small business customers will end up subsidizing costs for some larger customers, the Public Service Commission unanimously supported this four-year rate settlement. It calls for a $692 million increase in base rates beginning in January.

An additional increase of $560 million is planned for 2023, with more increases set for 2024 and 2025 to pay for solar projects. Meanwhile, JEA customers in Jacksonville will see increases in their prices starting in December, due to rising natural gas prices.

Some Floridians argue that these hikes are especially unfair until the state makes alternative power sources like solar panels more readily accessible.

Guests:

Disney World turns 50

Walt Disney World celebrates its 50th anniversary this month in Central Florida.

Disney World, the largest theme park in the world, welcomed its first guests Oct.1, 1971.

Over the next five decades the park — which covers more than 40 square miles in Central Florida — grew into an entertainment complex that includes four theme parks, two waterparks, golf courses, a shopping destination and 27 resort hotels.

Days of festivities kicked off the half-century milestone, and much more is planned over the next 18 months.

Visitors to the parks can expect plenty of new attractions and improvements.

Guest: Seth Kubersky, reporter, Orlando Weekly, Attractions Magazine and co-author of the Unofficial Guides series.

Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.

Florida Roundup Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at khobbs@wjct.org or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs.