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Monday's Daily Pulse

State budget stuffed with turkeys poses election risks for Scott

During the Great Recession, budget deficits and tea party protests meant pork barrel spending gave way to austerity. But now it's an election year and legislators are looking at a $1.2 billion surplus in what is expected to be a total budget of around $75 billion. So lawmakers are scrambling to haul in projects to benefit their districts. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


Florida's gambling growth fuels legislative push

Florida's Seminole casinos perform above many of their peers around the nation in terms of revenue. This is what keeps casino giants Las Vegas Sands and the Genting Group coming back to the state's capitol every year since 2010, hoping to get into the game. [Source: AP]


Working and advancing in 'retirement' years

A growing number of baby boomers are transforming the 21st-century workplace. By choice or chance, they are pushing their retirement dates into an uncharted future. By remaining — and even thriving — on the job, they may be toppling many subtle but stubborn assumptions about older workers that helped push previous generations into retirement. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]


Cruise industry booming despite rough seas

At first glance, the cruise industry's public-relations disasters during the past two years would seem like enough to make almost any business take on water. Yet despite repeated images of stranded, frustrated passengers, business has been booming — and the trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon, industry watchers say. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


Feds investigate Florida's Bright Futures scholarship program

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has quietly revived an investigation of Florida's Bright Futures scholarships, a move that could reignite long-simmering complaints about the fairness of the popular program. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Getting to know the horse business
Marion County has dubbed itself Horse Capital of the World. But for many people who live or visit here, evidence of the thoroughbred part of that business is largely out of sight.

› Proposed legislation would benefit charities
A major piece of legislation that will impact every nonprofit in Florida is making its way through the Florida Legislature. Leaders of the Florida Nonprofit Alliance describe why this is a proposal that nonprofits and funders can endorse.

› Miami tech company .CO Internet to be acquired for $109 million
Thousands of flying pigs — symbolizing anything is possible — flew across website screens on .CO Internet’sã??launch day in 2010. Now, nearly four years later, CEO Juan Diego Calle shared in the company’s blog that "it's onward and upward for .CO" — the young Miami technology company is being purchased.

› Port Tampa Bay pines for Latin America's pineapples
There's a great future in pineapples, or so the Tampa Port Authority hopes. The port hosted the International Pineapple Organization's second annual Global Pineapple Conference this past week.


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› Miami ranks as 7th top global city in Wealth Report
Miami rose to seventh place in a recent survey of the most important global cities to the world’s wealthy. Miami and New York were the only North American cities to make the top ten list of the Wealth Report, which is issued annually by London-based real estate consultancy Knight Frank.

› Lawmaker seeks to revamp Florida's medical malpractice system
Within days of the Florida Supreme Court eradicating medical-malpractice damage limits, a Central Florida Republican laid out his vision for turning the entire system on its ear. Trial costs would be eliminated, and so would accusations of negligence or medical malpractice.

› Surge in Affordable Care Act enrollment as deadline nears
With a week to go before the March 31 deadline to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, South Florida enrollment efforts have surged. Organizers from elected officials to religious institutions are marshaling one last campaign to cover as many eligible consumers as possible.

› Tampa's land-use website for citizens, businesses still balky
Two of Mayor Bob Buckhorn's top priorities are for City Hall to be tech-savvy and user-friendly for business. But when the city rolled out the first phase of a new online planning portal in December, it ran into problems on both fronts. Now some of the very people Buckhorn wants to impress are exasperated instead.