October 17, 2019

Friday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/13/2019

Warnings of economic slowdown, future shortfalls don’t faze Florida lawmakers

A top state economist warned lawmakers Thursday the state could face an economic slowdown next year, even as it becomes more reliant on tourism and faces a possible budget shortfall in coming years. But legislative leaders weren’t concerned, saying the numbers backed up their decisions to put more money in reserves, pay down debt and keep taxes low. They said they will continue that strategy as they head into 2020. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the Lakeland Ledger.

Florida insurers must refund $107 million to customers

The premiums that some private insurers charged over the past three years were too high, so now they will have to return some of that money -- a total of $1.3 billion -- to their customers, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Florida insurers, including health and life insurance companies, are paying $107 million in rebates. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

University of Florida lab leads the way in commercial fish farming

Fish could be Florida's next big industry and researchers at the University of Florida are helping farmers with the latest technology. The University of Florida has a tropical aquaculture lab in Ruskin, where they have a farm-to-fish tank operation. UF Assistant Professor Matthew DiMaggio said that they have cultured 50 to 100 different species at the lab, including some fish that have never been cultured before. [Source: WOFL]

Half of Floridians delayed or skipped medical care because of high cost

More than half of Floridians are uninsured, delay or skip medical care, or struggle to pay their medical bills because health care is too expensive for them, according to a new survey. “The survey results are a good reminder that [health care] is a serious source of distress for Floridians,” said Anne Swerlick, a senior health policy analyst and attorney at the Florida Policy Institute. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

The Everglades Burmese python might finally meet its match, if this agency gets its way

Burmese pythons might finally face a formidable foe in the Florida Everglades. The South Florida Water Management District wants to double the number of its snake hunters and expand other aspects of its nearly three-year-old Python Elimination Program. The proposal would cost $750,000. That’s $525,000 more than the agency is spending annually now on removing the invasive species. [Source: Miami Herald]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› DeSantis, Bass Pro Shops founder announce Bahamas relief from fishing community
Gov. Ron DeSantis made a stop in South Florida on Thursday morning, announcing his support of a new Bahamas relief coalition to a crowd of fishing enthusiasts and corporate donors. The coalition, Anglers for the Bahamas, was unveiled at a press conference at the Bass Pro Shops store in Dania Beach.

› Tropical Storm Humberto expected to form and hit Florida Saturday, forecasters say
A Tropical Storm Watch was put into effect for Central Florida while Tropical Storm Humberto is expected to form by Saturday morning as the system moves up the east coast, National Hurricane Center forecasters said Friday morning. “Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine” was located about 255 miles southeast of Freeport, Bahamas, and is gaining speed while moving northwest at 6 mph, the hurricane center said in its 5 a.m. Friday update.

› Co-working in Palmetto Bay? It’s coming soon
Miami-Dade already has more co-working spaces than any other U.S. city. Thursday, Venture X announced it is bringing yet another one -- but to the co-working desert of Palmetto Bay. Venture X announced plans to open its second location in Miami-Dade County in summer 2020.

› St. Petersburg is losing murals to construction. They’re always temporary, artists and officials say.
In the face of St. Petersburg’s rapid growth in recent years, vacant lots have become prime spots for developers to snatch up property for condominiums and new storefronts in the booming downtown.

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