Most Floridians living in poverty have families, and the situation has been made worse by an 11 percent decline in incomes during the downturn. The findings by a research group at Florida International University conclude that poverty in the Sunshine State disproportionately affects African-American and Latino residents. About 23 percent of Florida’s 18 million residents live in what the federal government considers poverty or “near poverty,” defined as earning $14,000 or less. [Source: Miami Herald]
On Wednesday, Florida lawmakers sent legislation to the governor that eliminates political slush funds and imposes new ethics rules for elected officials across the state. But one of the measures raises limits on campaign contributions, which Gov. Scott has been reluctant to embrace while his own session priorities remain in peril. There will be pressure on Scott to sign or veto both the campaign finance bill, HB 569, and the ethics bill, SB 2, before the session ends May 3. [Source: Miami Herald]
President Barack Obama and members of Congress have touted a law that makes crowdfunding, a method of soliciting money over the Internet, as a way for startups and other small companies to raise money and create jobs. But small businesses looking for a windfall of investor money from crowdfunding may find that it's more of a bust. [Source: AP]
Florida drivers face a dizzying array of specialty license plates to choose from — 120 designs to be exact with at least three more under review in the Legislature. The growing number of plates — Florida issued its first specialty plate in 1986 — has prompted the future senate president to wonder if priorities are being misplaced. [Source: Fort Myers News-Press]
Immigrant workers who are eligible to become U.S. citizens have something to smile about: their employers may be willing to help them through the naturalization process. Tuesday, the National Immigration Forum launched a nationwide initiative at Miami Dade College to encourage businesses to help their immigrant employees become citizens. [Source: Miami Herald]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Northrop Grumman's Melbourne expansion to create 2,500 jobs [Florida Today]
When all is said and done, Northrop Grumman Corp.’s planned expansion in Melbourne will lead to the creation of 2,522 jobs, according to a just-released analysis by the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.
› Forbes: Jacksonville third-best city in the country for finding a job [Florida Times-Union]
Forbes Magazine has put out another list with Jacksonville looking pretty good. This one lists the 10 best cities in the country for finding employment. Using data from Adecco Staffing U.S., the magazine has Bethesda, Md., at No. 1, followed by Austin, Texas, and then at No. 3: Jacksonville.
› It's full steam ahead on plans for new train service [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A new privately financed passenger rail service between Miami and Orlando is still on track, although the start up may be delayed about a year until the end of 2015.
› Mobiquity to expand to Gainesville, create 260 jobs [Ocala Star-Banner]
Mobiquity, a Boston-area mobile app developer, announced Wednesday that it chose Gainesville for its expansion plans and expects to create 260 jobs over the next three years.
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› Small changes can make a difference in work/life balance [Miami Herald]
At big milestones in life, we wonder how change will affect our work life balance and as parents, we hope that we’ve spent enough time with our kids to mold them into independent adults. Yet, I’ve noticed at every turn of our journey, from having kids to handling health issues to caring for parents to sending kids off to college, there are people for whom navigating life changes seems effortless.
› Farmers market vendors report solid business as season ends [Marco Island News]
Vendors packed up for the last time today April 24 at the Marco Island Farmers Market after what most described as an extremely successful season. It had been extended by two extra weeks to run through the end of April.
› Former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll gets new job [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Former Florida lieutenant governor Jennifer Carroll is getting a new job. Global Digital Solutions announced it was hiring Carroll as a senior advisor. A spokesman for Carroll confirmed Wednesday that she accepted the job.
› Pinellas officials concerned about St. Petersburg's spending on new pier [Tampa Bay Times]
Pinellas County commissioners are being drawn into the political and legal entanglements of St. Petersburg's plans for its controversial $50 million Pier.