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Wednesday's Daily Pulse

Lawmakers litter budget with hometown projects

For lawmakers, the state’s economic rebound has re-kindled a feeding frenzy for hometown projects. The competing, $75 billion House and Senate budget plans lawmakers will hash out over the next three weeks are littered with hundreds of requests from lawmakers. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

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Gas prices jump for three weeks straight, more increases expected

Nationally, the price for a gallon of unleaded gas has increased for 20 straight days, an AAA news release said this week. The current national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is at $3.64. Florida and Georgia prices reflect the national trend. [Source: Florida Times-Union]

Florida has hurricane lull before the storm, expert says

After nearly a decade without a strong storm making landfall, many Floridians don't know much about storm evacuations, don't know how well their homes are insured and don't have an overall plan for survival. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

See also:
» At Orlando hurricane conference, predictions for a quiet season, plus apologies
» Hurricane forecasters will map potential storm surge

State considers lionfish ban

They gobble up native fish on South Florida's reefs and fend off predators with an intimidating array of venomous spines. Now that the lionfish population has exploded hopelessly out of control, the state is considering banning further imports of them into Florida. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Lawmakers 'chipping away' at state open meetings laws

With two work weeks left in Florida’s legislative session, lawmakers have passed just one measure related to creating or widening loopholes in the state’s “sunshine” laws but they are close to passing more than a dozen others. [Source: TCPalm]


› 'Fresh From Florida' Produce Enjoys Warm Reception In South Korea
Even as Florida’s orange crops continue shrinking amidst a worldwide greening disease outbreak, the state agriculture department is celebrating new export opportunities for citrus. More than 100 South Korean Outback Steakhouse restaurants plan to offer a grapefruit cocktail called “Fresh from Florida.”

› 'Cavernous' Amazon warehouse in Ruskin is well under way
Amazon is racing to complete a massive warehouse in southeastern Hillsborough County in time for the holiday shopping rush and likely will end up hiring even more people than the 1,000 originally planned.

› Darden, Publix, SeaWorld support easing Obamacare requirements
Under Obamacare, workers at large companies who put in 30 hours a week are considered full time and must receive health insurance from their employers. Three powerful Central Florida companies are backing federal legislation to change that standard to 40 hours.

› Electricity cheaper in South Florida than national average
Gasoline prices have been shooting up in South Florida but there's still once energy bargain: Electricity. Households in Broward and Miami-Dade counties paid an average 11 percent less for electricity last month than the national average, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

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› Home prices edge up in Orlando as inventory shrinks
An increase in closings on foreclosed homes helped drive the core Orlando real estate market in March, with more sales, slightly higher prices and a shrinking inventory of listings compared with February, according to a new report.

› Broward School Board may ban all smoking
Smokers may soon have to keep their butts away from Broward County schools. The School Board gave initial approval Tuesday to a policy that prevents tobacco products on any school district property, even outdoors or while parked inside your car.

› Florida Bar charges lawyer in Nevin Shapiro booster case
The lawyer who represented rogue University of Miami booster Nevin Shapiro has been accused of unethical behavior during the botched NCAA investigation that led to sanctions against the school.

› Alex Sink will not run for Congress again
Alex Sink will not run for Congress again this year. The Democrat said in a statement Tuesday that she will not wage another campaign in the fall after losing a high-stakes special House election last month to Republican David Jolly.