July 24, 2014

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today.

Joyce Edmondson | 5/11/2012

Florida's economic recovery will be even stronger this year

Florida's recovery from the Great Recession picked up steam last year and "all indications" point to even stronger gains this year, according to a report from Wells Fargo Securities. Positive signs include: Growth in migration to Florida; growth in hiring; housing inventory is declining; and more businesses are expanding. Perhaps the most surprising outperformer is professional and business services, which account for 40 percent of the jobs that have been added statewide since December 2009. "While Florida will still need a few more years to fully recover all of the jobs lost during the 2007-2009 recession, a change in direction is clearly evident across much of the state," Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner and economic analyst Joe Seydle wrote. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


Florida Trend Exclusive
Budgetary flak: Florida military bases hope to avoid cuts

U.S. Airforce
Military/Civilian Federal Workforce
County Workers % of Total Employment
Okaloosa 24,497 18.5%
Escambia 15,762 8.6
Bay 8,329 8.0
Santa Rosa 2,152 4.2
Source: 2010 Florida Defense Industry Economic Impact Analysis, Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, University of West Florida. Figures are 2010 estimates.
Northwest Florida economic strategists aren't keen on the possibility of another Base Realignment and Closure round in 2013. But they're even more worried about the possibility of across-the-board military cuts that could hit sooner. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, campaigning for possibly two BRAC rounds, has told lawmakers that unless Congress acts by the summer to present a deficit-reduction plan, cuts would begin automatically by law next January and produce an additional $500 billion in savings... continued, go to full article.

Elections officials looking at 180,000 voters to determine citizenship

Florida elections officials say the number of potential noncitizens they're examining on the state voter rolls is 180,000, a figure far higher than what was initially reported. Florida's Division of Elections said that it's combing through the long list of names to make sure its list is as clean and as small as possible. The state is then turning over smaller batches of the more-verified names to county elections supervisors, who are contacting the potential noncitizens to see if they can lawfully vote. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


Opinion: Employers squeezed by federal policy push to hire ex-cons

As if Florida’s private-sector employers didn’t have enough government regulations to worry about, a federal agency now wants to tell them how to screen job applicants who have criminal records. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is now “recommending” in a 52-page “Enforcement Guidance” that private employers remove any question about a criminal record from their job application forms, and delay such inquiries until later stages of the hiring process. Such criminal background checks are critical because in Florida, when an employee with a criminal history commits an act of violence on the job, the employer can be sued by the victim for the “negligent hiring” of the aggressor.... continued.
» Read more of this opinion piece by Angel Castillo Jr. at Florida Voices.


City of Deefield Beach trains employees to fight crime

This city has a new way of fighting crime: Employees who are out and about, trimming trees or picking up litter on the beach, are officially on the lookout for signs of a crime. A group of about 70 landscapers and garbage truck drivers got training from the Broward Sheriff's Office this week so they know what to look for. Another group of about 35 will train next week. If the information leads to an arrest, the employee gets a reward of up to $100. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Poll: Stand Your Ground enjoys strong support
Florida voters — especially men and Republicans — support the state's Stand Your Ground law, an opinion poll has found. A Suffolk University/WSVN-Ch. 7 poll released Thursday shows 50 percent of Florida voters support the law that allows people who feel threatened in the street or most other public places to use deadly force to defend themselves. Just 32 percent oppose the law and 18 percent are undecided.

› RNC chairman Reince Priebus to Florida GOP: There's room at Tampa Bay Times Forum
Florida Republicans better not count on a lenient national GOP to give them prime floor seats to the Republican National Convention in Tampa after they broke the party's primary schedule rules. But RNC chairman Reince Priebus said Thursday that they don't have to worry about access to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in August. "We're talking about 50 seats on the floor. Believe me, we're going to need a lot of people here in Florida filling that arena. It's really not something that I think people here in Florida should be obsessing over," Priebus said.

› MacNamara made exception to 'approved travel' list for friend
Chief of staff Steve MacNamara approved travel for Shari Kerrigan, the state's film commissioner, to go to Sundance Film Festival in Utah, over the objections of Doug Darling. Darling is the head of the Department of Economic Opportunity. Kerrigan is a lawyer and friend of MacNamara’s. Darling originally told Kerrigan she couldn’t go to Sundance, but then, wrote Darling, “Without notifying either her direct supervisor or myself, she [Kerrigan] attended on her own. Unfortunately she did not notify us that she was attending and, to date, has not called. We only learned this by contacting her staff.”

› Opinion: Wait to see benefits of PIP reforms on car insurance
This year the Legislature took on the challenge of reforming Florida's broken personal injury protection auto insurance system, which has been infiltrated by crooks and enterprising industries, driving up costs for all Floridians. I believe this Legislature, with the support of Gov. Rick Scott and many others, passed meaningful PIP reforms that will positively impact Florida's drivers by targeting fraud, reducing costs and making our roads safer for citizens and visitors.


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