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Friday's Daily Pulse

Major bills await Florida Legislature's final day

Lawmakers will have to settle the fate today of a sweeping response to last year's elections meltdown; a plea by sports teams for hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies; and a $74.5 billion spending plan that funds teacher raises, universities and Everglades cleanup alongside hometown pork. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

» Elections bill lingers on Legislature's last day
» Florida Legislature passes texting and driving ban
» Legislature approves small changes to Citizens
» There's something about 'Mary' — the Florida House robotic auto-reader
» Time running out for Dolphins stadium bill

Carmen Castillo
The owner of the largest Latina-owned business in the country is a Spaniard who visited Florida and sensed a business opportunity. Full story

Florida Trend Exclusive
An American Dream: A Latina-owned business

Carmen Castillo is a triply rare CEO — female, Hispanic and expatriate Spaniard with a business that generates nearly $1 billion in revenue. The sixth of 10 children born into a poor family on the Spanish island of Mallorca, Castillo came to Florida in 1987 as a tourist visiting friends. Smitten with the United States and seeing it as the place to fulfill her ambition of owning a business, she returned the following year on a student visa and went to culinary school in Palm Beach. Full story...

Supreme Court: Utilities can recover nuclear costs

A Florida law allowing utilities owned by Duke Energy Corp. and NextEra Energy Inc. to charge customers in advance for nuclear power projects that may not get built is constitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled. Read more from Businessweek and the News Service of Florida.

Lawmakers sign off on Everglades restoration plan

The bill, HB 7065, which had earned the rare support of both environmentalists and sugar companies, will be accompanied by a $70 million investment in the clean-up efforts which are included in the proposed $74.5 billion budget. The Senate approved the measure 39-0 after the House approved it last month 114-0. [Source: Times/Herald]

Orlando, Tampa, Lakeland among best for flipping homes

A new report says metro Orlando leads the nation as the best place to make a profit flipping homes, with Tampa and Lakeland close behind. The report says the average purchase price for a home in Orlando was $103,701, and the average price it sold for was $168,677. The deal makes the seller a 62 percent return. Read more from the AP and the Tampa Bay Times.


› $1 billion of unclaimed property in Florida's vault
Do you have cash waiting for you in Florida's unclaimed property vault? A lot of Floridians do. Right now, the vault contains about $1 billion, that's $1 billion, of unclaimed property.

› Florida Orchestra concertmaster headed to Cuba John Fleming
Jeff Multer will be playing Sibelius in Havana this month. Multer, concertmaster of the Florida Orchestra, is going to Cuba on Tuesday as part of the orchestra's ongoing cultural exchange with musical institutions on the island.

› Ocala vet has national mission
Six months ago, Ocala-based veterinarian Dr. Sarah Kirk had her hands - and an emergency shelter - full with hundreds of pets impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

› FedEx confirms interest in Cecil Commerce Center
FedEx Ground Package Systems Inc. is in talks to build a distribution center at Cecil Commerce Center, the company confirmed Thursday, although it’s still staying mum about the details.

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› Courts make little progress in foreclosure backlog
Court systems across Florida have made little progress on their foreclosure backlogs during the past year — the pace of new home defaults has kept almost lockstep with those dismissed by a special task force.

› National Retail Properties reports growth in first quarter earnings
Orlando-based National Retail Properties reported strong increases in first-quarter earnings, profit and funds from operations. The company, which invests in shopping centers, brought in $92.6 million in revenues, compared with $77.4 million the previous year.

› Scrubs car wash making waves with water-saving measures
Conserving water isn’t just about being eco-friendly for the owners of Scrubs Car and Dog Wash in Gainesville - it’s also a cost-saving strategy. Scrubs owners Chris Koenig and Mike Wasik gradually started to invest in water-saving strategies several years ago, but they recently garnered praise for their efforts from Alachua County.

› President Clinton lauds UCF, Orlando collaboration
UCF and the Orlando community are examples of the type of successful collaborations that are key to the future of the United States, former President Bill Clinton told about 1,600 graduates and their guests at a commencement address.