Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Advocates push for more tax breaks for film industry in Florida
As film advocates push for state lawmakers to bring back an incentive program meant to lure big budget movie projects and jobs to Florida, critics are blasting calls for new state tax breaks as unnecessary handouts for Hollywood. Florida’s tax credit program for filmmakers ended three years ago. The nearly $300 million program was supposed to last for six years. [Source: WFTS]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Economic backbone: Florida's energy sector
Duke Energy Florida is planning to use the same lithium-ion battery technology that power most cell phones and laptops to supplement its power grid in parts of Florida and allow for quicker recovery from short-term power outages. The St. Petersburg-based utility, which has about 1.8 million customers in Florida, plans to build battery stations throughout its service area to eventually store a combined 50 megawatts of power. Read the full story at Florida Trend and see more in our Economic Backbone series:
How one Florida psychiatric hospital makes millions off patients who have no choice
More than two thousand people arrive each year at North Tampa Behavioral Health in extreme crisis. They are checked in under a state law that lets mental health centers keep people who might hurt themselves or others for up to 72 hours. But when that time is over, some patients find themselves held captive by the place that is supposed to protect them. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
House panel mulls budget asks for economic incentives, election security
On Wednesday morning, the House Transportation and Tourism Subcommittee took a preliminary look at a group of departmental budgets. Of particular interest are the Department of Economic Opportunity and the Department of State, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and the Department of Transportation. DEO, which houses Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida, and the Job Growth Grant Fund, has historically been controversial, with the House often agitating to cut the incentive programs. [Source: Florida Politics]
Dogs find citrus greening disease faster than humans
Citrus growers in Florida, California and elsewhere have a new tool available to find devastating greening disease long before humans can spot it: dogs. The dogs can spot the disease on trees years before lab tests can, and animals can be much cheaper than repeated laboratory testing, experts say. [Source: UPI]
A Pearl in the Oyster
Many business leaders think of St. Pete as Florida’s Goldilocks – not too big or complicated, not too small or provincial – just right on the opportunity landscape. A quiet corner of ocean prowess. Anchored by the USF College of Marine Science (USF CMS), St. Pete’s ocean researchers are on the scene 24/7/365, from monitoring the pulse of the Gulf to measuring the health of Antarctica’s ice sheets that affect our coastline. [Sponsored report]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Poll shows Trump narrowly leading top Democrats in Florida
A new poll from Florida Atlantic University shows President Donald Trump beating all three of the top Democratic presidential candidates in Florida, but his margins of victory all are within the poll’s margin of error. Democrats Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders all are in a “statistical dead heat” with Trump in Florida, according to the poll.
› Company asks $500,000 for Broward County park land it scooped up at auction
A company that bought a piece of a park at auction for less than $25,000 now wants Broward to pay a half-million dollars for the land, county officials said. Its other option: Fork over $6,000 a month in rent to use the property. The county has no intent of doing either and may wind up in court.
› Florida texting ban results in 1,000 citations and warnings in first 10 weeks
Florida’s tougher prohibition on texting-while-driving has resulted in almost 1,000 citations and warnings being issued in the first 10 weeks the law has been on the books, a House panel learned Wednesday. While no details were immediately available on the age, race or gender of the motorists getting pulled over, a Florida Highway Patrol officer said the measure is having an effect.
› Ahead of the Super Bowl, NFL presents $1.2 million new football field in Miami Beach
We don’t know yet who will be playing at Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium but we do know who will be grinding up a new gridiron in South Florida. Miami Beach Senior High, home of the Hi-Tides football team, is getting a $1.2 million football field upgrade, thanks to the National Football League’s Legacy Project and the Miami Super Bowl Committee.
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