Orlando Archives - Page 4 of 39 - Florida Politics

Orlando Love: In a community-wide painful remembrance, celebration breaks out

With tens of thousands of people packing Lake Eola Park and countless more watching remotely, Orlando gathered Monday night for a somber remembrance the 49 people murdered at Pulse one year ago, and a celebration of love and unity emerged.

This was largely Orlando’s LGBTQ community’s opportunity to come together in a mass remembrance and a look back on the year since the nation’s worst mass shooting occurred at Orlando’s popular gay nightclub. Joined by families of the victims and thousands of straight allies – many of whom might not have identified as allies a year ago – the night turned into the city’s statement to the world.

“We are one big family,” declared Pulse owner Barbara Poma.

Beginning with the Procession of Angels into the park’s amphitheater – 49 people dressed in white angel sheets who had protected the victims’ funerals and become the living symbols of Pulse – through words from Poma, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, through numerous musical and dance tributes, and ending with the readings of the names of 49 victims, to the toll of a bell, “Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels” brought tears, hope and joy.

While sorrow sometimes took stage, including occasional cries of heartbreak from family members as names were called, much of the night called upon the world to look at Orlando as the light of acceptance and unity.

“One year ago tonight our lives in Orlando changed forever. From the families of the 49 beautiful, innocent, young people, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, Hispanic, African American, and straight allies, all killed for being accepting and loving of one another. Sixty-eight were wounded, hundreds were traumatized,” Sheehan reminded everyone.

“Orlando came together as never before to show we are a community united in love,” she continued. “Pulse taught our community to open their hearts and minds to foster inclusiveness, acceptance, understanding, and compassion. To the families I say, we can never say we can replace your beloved children, parents ,and spouses. But we can honor their enduring legacy with love, the greatest and most powerful force in heaven and on Earth.”

Officials said 1,350 Pulse survivors and families of Pulse victims asked to attend the event, and were given priority seating in the rainbow-colored Walt Disney World Amphitheatre. The night was for them.

“I believe the Pulse story is not so much about the vicious act of hatred and terror by a deranged killer,” Dyer said. “I believe it’s a story about triumph, triumph of courage over fear, triumph of understanding over intolerance. And a triumph of love over hate.”

It’s a theme that came up time and again all day as Orlando marked the year since the massacre.

“Out of the darkness, Orlando rose as a beacon of light,” Jacobs said.

Teresa Jacobs, Buddy Dyer, Patty Sheehan: Rainbow flag symbolizes Orlando’s values

As Orange County once again unfurled a piece of the Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag in downtown Orlando, city and county leaders insisted its values of acceptance, understanding, diversity and inclusion shall forever define Orlando.

The anniversary of the catastrophic mass murder at Orlando’s popular gay nightclub Pulse on Latino night, June 12, 2016, began largely in celebration of what this community found within itself in the hours, days, months and now the first year since.

City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, introduced at the ceremony as the heart of Orlando, collapsed into the arms of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer as Section 93 of the miles-long Sea-to-Sea Flag, symbolizing the spirit of hope and love, was stretched into position on the Orange County Administration Building. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, other city commissioners, county commissioners, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma, and others all seemed ready to join in the hug.

The flag, Sheehan said, had long ago become ” symbol for LGBTQ unity in a time when we needed a way to symbolize the LGBTQ community.”

“We have responded to that with love and kindness and decency. We’ve responded to hatred with love,” Sheehan said. “That’s just who my community is, and I’m so proud of my community.”

Dyer called the day a year ago “the darkest day, by far, in our city’s history.”

“And since that morning we’ve come together in so many different ways, to support the survivors, the victim’s families, the first responders,” Dyer said. “In the face of terror, this community showed the world what the best of humanity looks like.

“But even in a place as welcoming as Orlando there is still much to do, to honor the legacy of 49 beautiful souls we can’t simply be bystanders,” Dyer continued.

“Here in Orlando and Orange County our compassion and our culture of inclusion and acceptance have shined brightly over the past year. And it is so important that we continue to embrace the values of the Rainbow Flag,” Jacobs said. “It is those values that have made our community what it is. It is the values of acceptance, of understating and of inclusion. Together we must continue to erase those lines that separate us.

“We must continue on the charge that we were given on June 12, 2016, when 49 members of our community became our 49 Pulse angels,” Jacobs continued. “We have a moral obligation here on Earth to do our part to make sure their loss is never forgotten, and the change they wanted to see is the change that we insist happen in our time, in our lifetime, here in this community and across the world.”

Although Dyer noted that many of the values of inclusion already were in place in Orlando, this is a city changed. Jacobs was part of that change, as Sheehan said she had observed Jacobs have “an honest epiphany of understanding of the LGBTQ community” last year, becoming a heartfelt ally of Orlando’s LBGTQ community. The first time the flag was unfurled there, late last June, much of the city felt the same way.

“I can tell you candidly that ten years ago that we would never have been able to fly this flag, or that we could do so without an outpouring of outrage and objections,” Jacobs said. “I can also tell you we received one, single comment of disagreement, in a county 1.3 million large.”

A year later, Orlando looks at Pulse and people still ask ‘Why?’

The shock, horror, and a community’s pain have not eased in the year since Orlando’s Pulse massacre and people still come, still in total disbelief, asking, “Why?”

The trauma of the nation’s worst-ever mass shooting, on Latino night at Orlando’s popular gay nightclub, is blood-deep among the survivors, and the families and friends of the 49 who were murdered and 53 who were left for dead yet survived, in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016; and for the police, deputies, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses and all others who lived that day, and every day, since inside the calamity.

On Monday bells will toll. At 1 a.m., Pulse owner Barbara Poma will lead a private memorial at the club to the 49 killed. At 10 a.m. Orange County will unfurl the Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag section, and the Orange County Regional History Center will open its One Orlando exhibit of Pulse memorabilia. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. a large memorial service will be held at the Pulse nightclub. At 7 p.m. the whole community is invited to a remembrance ceremony at Lake Eola Park. At 10 p.m. a final private memorial will be held at Pulse.

For most of the rest of Central Florida, and by extension countless of people throughout the country, the world, the Pulse massacre remains the cold, hard slap that changed consciousness. You didn’t have to be there, you didn’t have to know someone who was, to be part of what has become OrlandoUnited.

Many still stop by the club to wander among its makeshift memorials. For them, too, the specter of abomination still haunts in Orlando.


“Why?” asked Joseph Moore, visiting Pulse during an Orlando vacation from Nashville.

The question has officially been answered. Shooter Omar Mateen, apparently suffering from mental illness, harboring a great hatred of gays, and, at least in the end, professing loyalty to ISIS, bought guns, went to Pulse and killed, wounded, and brought down more anguish than anyone could imagine. But that doesn’t answer the broader question that still haunts. Why is this even possible?

“It was shocking, to know that something like this could happen so close to your house,” said Jose Torres of Orlando. “In my wildest dream I could never imagine that something like this could happen here in Orlando.

“There’s a lot of hatred, not only of the gay community but through everybody, we have hatred of race, of religion,” Torres said. So, I mean it’s scary that the United States that we have such diverse culture, that in 2017 we’re still living with this type of hatred for each other.”

“It’s just an unthinkable thing, to have that kind thing happen here,” said Matthew Garnetti of Orlando.

“I just don’t know how people can do that to other people,” said Sal Alvarez of Los Angeles, who was in Orlando with his family for a vacation, took the family first to Pulse. “We all have different beliefs and lifestyles. I think we can all learn something, to not judge, to accept people for who they are, no matter what they believe in, or their lifestyle.”

“Sadness. It makes me cry. I’m crying. It just hurts to know that this happened,” said another out-of-town visitor, Kaytiame Rottler of Lafayette, Ind., “It raises questions: Why people do what they do, and what possesses them? Everyone is human, no matter what they look like or who they love.”

Arnsley Cortes‘s brother was at Pulse the night of June 11, 2016, but left before the shooting started. She paid her respects to Pulse late last week.

“When I see it, it feels like all the people that are so mean to one another, with everything going on,” she said. “For some reason they find a way to hurt others. And it’s not right.”

Supreme Court sets oral arguments in Aramis Ayala-Rick Scott case

Attorneys for Orlando’s State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Gov. Rick Scott will give their oral arguments on June 28 in the legal battle over the death penalty in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

Each side is being given 20 minutes that day in oral arguments in the case that both sides and multiple friends of the court have contended has major ramifications for defining the powers of prosecutors and governors in Florida.

At issue is whether Ayala, elected last fall to handle prosecutions in Orange and Osceola counties, has “prosecutorial discretion” that allows her to decline to pursue death penalties in first-degree murder cases. Also at issue is whether Scott has the power to then strip first-degree murder cases from her and reassign them to other state attorneys.

In a written statement, Ayala’s lead attorney, Roy L. Austin, Jr., celebrated that the court has taken the case, which Ayala filed in April:

“State Attorney Ayala is pleased the Court has decided to hear this important case, and looks forward to the opportunity to show that her decision was made in the best interest of the public safety of the communities she serves and the independence of prosecutors across Florida.”

The case has drawn nine amicus briefs from friends of the court lining up on one side or there other, including families of homicide victims and the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association siding with Scott, and a coalition of former judges and prosecutors, and a coalition of Civil Rights groups siding with Ayala.

The Supreme Court did not explicitly offer any of the friends of the court any time for oral arguments.

Florida leaders react to the shooting in Orlando

A disgruntled former employee opened fire inside a Florida awning manufacturer on Monday, killing five workers there and then killing himself, officials said.

The gunman was armed with a knife and a gun but did not stab anyone, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said during a news conference. Demings said the shooter —  who had been fired in April and had been previously accused of assaulting a co-worker —  was not believed to be connected to any sort of terror organization. Demings characterized the shooting as a likely “workplace violence incident.”

Here is a compilation of reaction from Florida’s elected officials and leaders about the tragedy:

— U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson: “The city of Orlando, which is still healing from the Pulse massacre, has seen too much violence this past year. We must do more to address mental health issues in this country.”

— Gov. Rick Scott: “Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before. I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.”

— Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam: “In the wake of today’s shooting in Orange County, my prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, first responders and the entire the Central Florida community.”

— U.S. Rep. Darren Soto via Twitter: “Our thoughts & prayers are with the victims of #ForsythShooting. I encourage public to support law enforcement investigation.”

— U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy: “I’m incredibly saddened by the news of this morning’s tragic shooting in Orlando. My heart breaks for the families and co-workers affected, and I join all Floridians in praying for a quick recovery for those injured and for the families who lost a loved one. The Orlando community is also grateful to our first responders for their speed, bravery, and professionalism, especially the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. I am incredibly thankful for their dedicated public service. “Orlando has endured far too much heartbreak over the past year, and it’s especially important we remain united and supportive of one another. This senseless act of violence happened just one week away from the anniversary of the Pulse attack, only adding to our community’s collective grief. In these difficult moments, we must continue to find strength in one another. We are Orlando strong and Orlando united.”

— Sen. Linda Stewart: :Orlando business shooting is not terrorist attack. Mental Health issues more likely, again a continued need for more help.”

— Rep. Jason Brodeur via Twitter: “Hug your family. Be vigilant. Local Family Help Line: 407-679-0100. Ext. 3087.”

— Rep. Chris Sprowls via Twitter: “My heartfelt prayers to the families & victims of the shooting in Orlando. A big thank you to first responders who contained the situation.”

— Rep. Jennifer Sullivan via Twitter: “Praying for the families effected in the Orlando shooting. My heart is grieved at the thought of yet more loss.”

— Rep. Frank White via Twitter: “Thoughts and prayers for those affected in today’s tragic shooting in Orlando.”

— State Attorney Aramis Ayala : “A sad day in Orlando. My most sincere condolences to the families impacted. Much respect and honor to Orange County Sheriff’s Office and first responders.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report, reprinted with permissions.

Five dead plus shooter at Orange County shooting scene

Five people plus the apparent shooter are dead in an early morning mass killing at the Fiamma company in east Orange County Monday morning.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said a man he described as an apparent disgruntled former employee killed four men and a woman Monday morning and then killed himself, in a camper and RV accessory business in a light industrial park east of the city of Orlando.

“It’s a sad day for us once again here in Orange County,” Demings said.

Demings and Danny Banks Orlando special agent in charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said there is no evidence to suggest any terrorism links, and there are no indications that the shooter was associated with any subversive or terrorist organization.

“What this is at this point is likely a workplace violence incident,” Demings said.

The man, age 45, whom law enforcement has not identified, entered the building through unknown means with a handgun and a knife, and shot the victims and then himself. All those shot died, including a man who died while being treated at Orange County Regional Medical Center, he said.

“There is no indication he used the knife on anyone this morning, but shot five innocent people this morning and then turned the gun on himself,” Demings said.

Seven other employees were in the building at the time, and none was hurt, he said. Sheriff’s detectives are interviewing them.

Demings said the business has Italian ownership.

Deputies received a call of a shooting at 8:03 a.m. and were on the scene within two minutes.

The man identified as the shooter was fired in April, Demings said.

Deming said there also was an incident reported from the business in June of 2014 in which the man was accused of battering another employee. No charges were filed at that time. The man also has a record of minor arrests including battery, Demings said.

Banks credited the rapid response of Orange County Sheriff’s Office for saving the lives of the others in the building.

“I give great support to the sheriff and his staff. we know we lost several individuals due to violence today,” Banks said. “But seven other individuals lives were saved by the quick actions of the Orange County Sheriff’s deputies that got here within two minutes of this incident occurring.”

The mass shooting is stunning Orlando, which is preparing for a remembrance next Monday of the worst mass shooting in recorded American history, at the Pulse Nightclub, June 12, 2016.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said residents must remain vigilant.

“I wish to express my regrets, my sympathy, my sorrow, for the family members of those that we lost this morning. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this play itself out in our community and in other communities across the nation,” Jacobs said. “And it is incumbent upon all of us not to become complacent or become callous to these horrific situations, but for each of our citizens to be vigilant. If they see something that doesn’t seem normal, they need to say something.”

“One thing we know about Central Florida is we have expert law enforcement men and women, and we have a community that cares and has shown that compassion time and time again,” Jacobs added.

Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement:

“Over the past year, the Orlando community has been challenged like never before. I have been briefed by our law enforcement officials on this tragic incident and Ann and I are praying for the families who lost loved ones today. I ask all Floridians to pray for the families impacted by this senseless act of violence. I will remain in contact with the Orlando law enforcement community throughout the day as more information is made available.

The scene is next door to Restaurant Equipment World, a business owned by a very prominent Republican in Orange County, Jerry Pierce. He has hosted visits at that business by numerous officials including Scott, and most recently attorney general candidate Jay Fant, who joined a small-business town hall there as part of his campaign kickoff in May. Pierce also led efforts to create a veterans memorial in Lake Nona near the new Veterans Affairs Hospital.

The scene is just a mile south of Full Sail University, and Demings said a family reunion site is being set up there.

Markeith Loyd hit with two red-light running tickets while he was in jail

Accused cop-killer Markeith Loyd has been cited for two more offenses; but unlike the murder charges he faces, if he challenges the new charges he likely would beat them: red light running tickets.

The tickets, issued because of evidence gathered by red-light cameras in Orlando, were both for dates when Loyd already was in jail, charged with first-degree murder for the slayings of Orlando Police Department Sgt. Debra Clayton this past January and for Loyd’s pregnant girlfriend, Sadie Dixon in December, 2016.

The tickets were issued for offenses that occurred on Jan. 27 and Jan. 30, 2017. After a nine-day manhunt, Loyd was captured and arrested Jan. 17, 2017. He has been in jail ever since.

Unclear is how both tickets were issued on May 15 when either no one connected the dots between the alleged traffic violator, Markeith D. Loyd, 41, of Orlando, and the alleged killer in jail, Markeith D. Loyd, 41, of Orlando, or no one cared that Loyd could not have driven on those dates. The name of the Orlando official who approved and signed the tickets was redacted from records available from the Orange County Clerk of Courts Office.

Neither the city nor Orlando Police Department responded to whether anyone had been aware, before Orlando-Rising.com inquired Friday morning, that Loyd had been cited for running red lights while he was in jail. The tickets were mailed to Loyd’s home address, not the jail.

Florida law does not require officials to check names on citations in red-light camera cases. Drivers receive are mailed an initial notice of the violation. If they do not respond, formal uniform traffic citations must be issued by a traffic infraction enforcement officer, who must have special training and certification in Florida red-light camera and traffic enforcement laws, but need not be a full law enforcement officer. In Orlando’s case, the enforcement officers are not law enforcement officers.

Under Florida law, red-light camera notices and violations are sent to the vehicle’s owner. One acceptable defense under Florida law: if the vehicle owner can demonstrate that someone else was in control of the car at the time of the violation.

“As a city, we must ensure we follow the red light camera state statute, per Florida law. When a violation is determined to have happened, we are legally bound to issue that citation. Per state statute, citations are always issued to the vehicle owner in first position on the registration of the vehicle,” stated Orlando Press Secretary Cassandra Lafser.

The first red light allegedly was run at 10:34 p.m. on Jan. 27, on eastbound West Colonial Drive at the Mercy Drive intersection. The second was at 6:13 a.m. on Jan. 30 on northbound John Young Parkway at the Colonial intersection. The two intersections are just a few blocks apart. In both cases, the cited car was registered to Loyd, a 1992 Buick sedan.

A critic of Florida’s red-light camera law, Republican state Rep. Jason Brodeur of Sanford, said the situation is yet another reason the law is badly flawed. It is bad enough, he said, that defendants cannot face their accusers, but now there is situation that the accusers need not consider if the defendants could have possibly done it.

“It shows me that clearly red-light camera ticket is not reliable,” he said. ‘It’s totally unacceptable that because it’s your car… you’re guilty.”

There is no indication of who was driving the Buick on those two days.



Orlando denied federal anti-terrorism money again; Val Demings says ‘we are baffled’

For the third-straight year, Orlando has been denied local anti-terrorism money for not being a significant enough target under federal guidelines, exasperating Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings who has pushed federal officials to reconsider their decision-making process.

Demings, as have other current and former members of Congress from Orlando, has been pushing U.S. Homeland Security Department officials to reconsider decisions that leave Orlando out while not taking into account the scores of millions of visitors who populate the region each year and create potentially tempting targets for terrorists.

Nor does the process apparently take into account last year’s massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, the deadliest terrorist attack in America since 9/11.

“We are baffled to learn that once again, the Orlando area has been left out of the Urban Area Security Initiative,” Demings said in a news release issued by her office.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, also of Orlando, joined her statement of frustration and determination, saying the federal formula appears to be “completely and unconscionably broken” if it cannot recognize Orlando’s risks.

Earlier this year Demings, a retired Orlando police chief, and U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican whose hometown of San Antonio also got passed over for recent grants, organized a bipartisan group with 19 other members of Congress, calling for an increase in counter-terrorism funding for the nation’s at-risk cities.

Currently, only the “highest-risk” cities nationwide are eligible, as judged by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

It’s an issue that Demings husband, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, and Orlando Police Chief John Mina also testified about in a congressional hearing last year, arguing that the Homeland Security’s scoring system for the Urban Area Security Initiative, was unfair to cities like Orlando.

“Well before the Pulse nightclub shooting, local law enforcement had asked Congress to add the Orlando area to the list of cities who receive funding for counterterrorism efforts, in part because our city is a global destination, with a record 68 million visitors last year,” Demings stated.

“I will continue to urge Congress to expand the list of cities included and work to ensure that we have the proper funds to prepare and respond to terrorism in Central Florida,” she added.

“Working with my Central Florida colleagues, I will follow up with the administration to forcefully argue that the current funding formula is dead wrong,” Soto said in a statement issued by his office. “If the occurrence of a terrorist attack in a recent year, and a city’s ranking as the number one destination for international tourism do not result in funding, then the formula is completely and unconscionably broken beyond repair. The Trump Administration needs to start over from scratch and run an open, but speedy, consultative process with Congress and America’s mayors, beginning now, to fix this problem going forward.”

Knox to open Orlando’s first medical marijuana dispensary Friday

Winter Garden-based Knox Medical is set to open Orlando’s first medical marijuana dispensary Friday in a location near Florida Hospital’s downtown campus.

Knox is one of nine companies statewide licensed to produce and sell medicines derived from cannabis. Knox has been in operation for several months, relying primarily on delivery service, and earlier this month opened its first storefront, in Gainesville. The Orlando dispensary will be its second, and the company vowed to open more in Jacksonville, Lake Worth, Tallahassee, and St. Petersburg in a short time.

The Orlando location hold a grand opening at 11 a.m. Friday, at 1901 N. Orange Ave. in Orlando, about six blocks from Florida Hospital, a location consistent with the company’s vowed strategy of locating near major medical centers.

The facility, the first of its kind in Central Florida, is open to qualified patients who have registered with Florida’s Compassionate Use Registry.

Like the Gainesville dispensary, the Orlando storefront will be low-key, with a single sign announcing “Knox Cannabis Dispensary.” The interior also is designed to be low-key, looking more like an optician’s office than like some of the marijuana shops that opened in California, Colorado and elsewhere under the medical marijuana laws sweeping through states.

“Knox Medical is working with Florida’s top architects and designers o create a cohesive dispensary experience that puts the needs and interests of our patients first,” said a statement from Knox’s founder and chief operation g officer José Hidalgo, and co-founder and chief operating officer Bruce Knox.

Florida approved a limited medical marijuana law in 2014, allowing for non-euphoric products designed to treat epilepsy and other neurological conditions, plus some cancer patients. Last fall Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a much broader medical marijuana initiative. The Florida Legislature failed to adopt enabling legislation, so the current legal parameters of medical marijuana are a little unclear.

State’s unemployment rate drops to 4.5%

Florida’s unemployment rate dipped to its lowest rate in nearly a decade in April, state officials announced Friday.

The state Department of Economic Opportunity announced the unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent in April, down from 4.8 percent one month earlier. The drop marks one of the lowest rates since September 2007, and is only slightly higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.4 percent.

“Florida businesses have excelled over the past six years thanks to the policies of Gov. (Rick) Scott and his administration,” said Cissy Proctor, the executive director of the DEO, in a statement. “Unemployment continues to drop, private sector jobs are on the rise and Florida families are flourishing. We must not give up on our efforts to make Florida the best place to start and grow a business.”

The DEO reported there were more than 8.5 million jobs in April, up 215,400 jobs compared to a year ago.

Professional and business services saw the largest growth, adding 39,500 jobs over the year in April; followed by trade, transportation and utilities with 36,600 new jobs; construction with 34,400 new jobs; and education and health services with 32,700 jobs.

Twenty-three of the state’s 24 metro areas saw over-the-year jobs gains, according to the DEO.

Orlando once again led the state in job creation, adding 42,700 private-sector jobs year-over-year in April. The unemployment rate in the Orlando metro area was 3.6 percent.

“I am proud to announce today that the Orlando area continues to lead the state in job creation, which is great news for families and business in Central Florida,” said Scott in a statement. “Florida’s unemployment rate has also reached a nearly 10-year low, which is sending a message across the country that our state is a top destination for new jobs and opportunities.”

Leisure and hospitality saw the largest growth, with 13,400 new jobs; followed by trade, transportation and utilities with 8,800 new jobs; financial activities with 4,800 new jobs; and manufacturing with 1,600.

The Orlando-area was second among metro areas for job demand, with 37,024 job openings.

The Tampa Bay-area led the state when it came to job demand, with 47,412 job openings. It also ranked first in the state for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) openings with 14,898 openings in April.

The region’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in April.

Scott is expected to highlight the job numbers during an event in Miami later today.

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