Wednesday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
House, Senate reach deal on budget's biggest numbers
House and Senate leaders took a key step Tuesday toward starting negotiations on a new budget, but they face hundreds of millions of dollars in unexpected costs and less tax revenue than originally thought. Senate bugget chairman Sen. Rob Bradley said that legislators have agreed on how much to spend overall. He also said that the House and Senate have agreed to set aside about $80 million for tax cuts. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the AP.
U.S. intel says Florida among seven states hacked by Russian operatives
NBC News reports that three senior intelligence officials say that Florida, Alaska, Arizona, California, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin were believed to have had state websites or voter registration systems compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives before the 2016 election. However, a spokesperson for Florida's secretary of state said the state was informed by DHS in September 2017 that Florida had been targeted by hackers in 2016, saying, "This attempt was not in any way successful and Florida's online elections databases and voting systems remained secure." More from the Tampa Bay Times and NBC News.
Florida consumer sentiment slides
Florida’s consumer sentiment in January climbed near a record high. But February’s level of shopper optimism “tumbled,” according to a monthly study by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Full story from UF, here. Also read more at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
An eHarmony for adopting kids? Florida launches novel computer-matching pilot program
Can the same data-crunching technology that matches potential couples based on personality, values and interests help Florida’s foster children get adopted? It’s a question that a wealthy Boca Raton tequila company CEO, his wife, child-welfare workers and two nonprofits have come together to answer. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida lawmakers again reject assault weapons ban
On a mostly partly line vote - Republican state Rep. Bill Hager was the only member of his party to join with Democrats to support the ban - the House Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday against adopting the assault weapons ban as an amendment to a gun bill moving through the Legislature. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Jacksonville mayor plans to meet with union about JEA sale
Mayor Lenny Curry plans to meet with the union that represents JEA linemen, a vocal group that has led the charge against privatizing JEA. Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, dressed in red shirts and carrying “JEA is Not for Sale” signs, have packed City Hall chambers whenever the idea has come up for public discussion.
› Florida takes No. 4 spot in best retirement states
Florida earned the number 4 spot in a new ranking of the best states for retirement by MoneyRates.com, a personal finance and banking website.
› Florida-bound Carnival Horizon getting final touches
The pork is set to be pulled, the beer set to be tapped and the cat is about to find its hat as Carnival Horizon readies for its debut in just over a month. Carnival Cruise Line will officially take possession of its new Vista-class ship at the end of March, and the final touches are taking shape. Also see a news release about entertainment aboard the Horizon, here.
› Rays stadium might be the answer to Ybor City identity crisis
The Tampa Bay Rays like Ybor City for a new ballpark. So do political and business leaders working to make it happen here. The project would pour hundreds of millions of dollars or more into an area centered on the district’s southwest corner.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
In case you missed it: