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What a Biden presidency means for Florida: 5 things to watch

From Cuba and global warming to the space race, the new Democratic president faces decisions that will affect the Sunshine State.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch fireworks from the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch fireworks from the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) [ EVAN VUCCI | AP ]
Published Jan. 21
Updated Jan. 21

The following first appeared in the Buzz newsletter, a weekly dive into the power, politics and influence shaping Florida from Political Editor Steve Contorno and the Tampa Bay Times politics team. To subscribe and receive it in your email inbox each week for free, click here.

The Rundown: Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States.

If you want to read about the Florida reaction, we got you covered. We have plenty on what Biden said at his inauguration, too. What about Kamala Harris’ historic day? Here you go. Prefer pictures? Follow this link. A guide to Trump’s final hours? We have that too.

But let’s use this space this week to talk about what all of this means for Florida. We have five stories looking at decisions Biden will face — some you’ll be familiar with, some less discussed during the campaign — that could have an outsized impact on Florida and Floridians.

Let’s start with Cuba policy. Obama took in a baseball game on the island. Trump put the country back on the terrorist watch list. Biden has said little about what he’ll do, but there are plenty of people reading the tea leaves. Here’s what they think.

Warm up act. Biden already made good on his promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement. If you care about climate change, that might sound great, but what would that actually do to keep Florida from getting swallowed by sea level rise? This.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event about prescription drug prices with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
President Donald Trump speaks during an event about prescription drug prices with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Oh, Canada? Trump and DeSantis teamed up on a confusing plan to import prescription drugs to the U.S. from our northern neighbor and beyond. The regulatory wheels are turning. And guess what? Biden is actually up for it. But as our reporter Kirby Wilson found, there are still a lot of unknowns.

ICE, ICE baby. Trump turned Florida’s sheriff offices and jails loose in his national campaign to capture undocumented immigration. Biden has vowed to end this practice. But it won’t be easy to undo Trump’s immigration policies quickly. Why not? Let us explain.

The final frontier. Florida’s Space Coast took off (pun absolutely intended) under Trump, with record launches and historic milestones. But Biden faces tough calls early in his term on the country’s galactic aspirations. Oh, and what about Space Force? Is that going to be a thing? This story is one small step for … I’ll stop now.