Gov. Rick Scott signs sweeping education bill
On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott signed a sweeping education bill that will revamp high school graduation requirements and create two new diploma designations. SB 1076 will also allow state universities to be designated as "pre-eminent research universities," and receive additional funding to develop online learning institutes and high-tech degree programs. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida home sales, prices rise, continuing rebound
Florida homes sold quicker, more often and for higher prices last month than the year before, as tight supplies and investor zeal helped the market to revive, state Realtors data show. Florida's median home prices last month bested the year before for the 15th month in a row, climbing 15 percent to $160,000, data show. Sales climbed 9 percent over March 2012, with nearly half of the 20,000 closings paid in cash. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida's do-not-call registry grows sixfold after fees dropped
One year after the state eliminated a $10 registration fee and $5 annual fee, the number of Floridians on the statewide Do Not Call list has jumped from less than 72,000 to more than 464,000, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Monday. The state registry allows Florida residents to opt out of phone calls from telemarketers and most other solicitors. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
The Florida Bankers Association and the Texas Bankers Association filed suit against the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service over rules that require banks to report interest paid on nonresident alien deposits. In the suit, the bankers associations cited specific cases in which banks have been hurt since the rules were adopted. More from the Tampa Bay Business Journal and the San Antonio Express-News.
Few things affect Floridians’ lives as much their vehicles, and by the time state lawmakers finish their session early next month, they could significantly alter that relationship. Lawmakers are working on an array of legislation that will impact motorists from texting while driving to car stereo volumes to auto tag fees. [Source: Gainseville Sun]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› March was a standout for South Florida hotels [Miami Herald]
April showers might bring May flowers, but March brought gold to South Florida hoteliers. Thanks to last month’s confluence of big events, holidays and picture-perfect weather, hotels were more full at higher rates than they have been in years — if ever.
› Office Depot activist shareholder seeks to replace board members [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Activist shareholder Starboard Value is seeking to replace some of Office Depot's board members, claiming the Boca Raton office-supply retailer never intends to hold an annual meeting to vote in new directors.
› JaxPort board selects Miami port's deputy director as new CEO [Florida Times-Union]
The deputy director of Miami’s port will put his stamp on Jacksonville’s docks after the JaxPort board unanimously selected him Monday as its next chief executive. The board chose Juan Kuryla, 45, who has worked at Miami’s port for 15 years.
› Sequestration hampers federal prosecutors in South Florida [South Florida Business Journal]
The automatic federal budget cuts, widely known as sequestration, have hampered the caseload of federal prosecutors in South Florida, said Wifredo Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. Nearly all arms of government were impacted by sequestration, from airport security, to food safety inspectors, to the military.
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› Orlando Magic: Demand exists for $100M entertainment complex [Orlando Sentinel]
Orlando Magic executives said Monday they believe there is enough demand for additional hotel rooms, office space and retail in downtown Orlando to move forward with a $100 million sports-and-entertainment complex in Parramore.
› Florida vets could see old VA claims settled soon [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Disabled veterans who have waited a year or longer for the government to compensate them could see their claims quickly granted — or denied — under a new Department of Veterans Affairs initiative.
› Former billboard artist still likes having a brush in his hand [Florida Times-Union]
David Gillyard never had an art lesson in his life. Yet he’s spent a lifetime with a brush in his hand, creating images. “I’ve been so blessed,” Gillyard, 67, said of his 40-year-career working for an outdoor advertising company.
› Liberty Group unveils plans for Tampa's Channelside retail complex [Tampa Bay Times]
The new buyers for Channelside Bay Plaza have a vision: They want the place to hum during the day, not just at night. "We want it to really be a true mixed-use lifestyle center," said Liberty Group CEO Punit Shah, one of the potential new owners.