April 7, 2020

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 2/12/2020

Florida E-Verify bill advances with 'compromise' exempting ag industry, small businesses

A crackdown on the hiring of undocumented immigrants is getting closer. Florida lawmakers, on Tuesday evening, pushed a bill requiring employers to use the e-verify system to check the immigration status of new hires. Senate Bill 664 cleared its first committee hurdle with a split vote but not without changes. Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. David Simmons (R-Longwood), got the approval of a major amendment essentially rewriting the legislation. [Source: WFTS]

See also:
» With governor’s blessing, contentious E-Verify proposal passes first Senate stop
» Farmers worry Florida bill will worsen labor scarcity woes

The Sunshine State economy: The business of the Hamilton bump

The “Hamilton Bump” is not a dance move during the blockbuster musical. It is a financial move driven by the hugely successful show. When a tour of the Broadway show plays at a theater, the “Hamilton Bump” means an increase in audiences, especially new-to-the-theater audiences—and money. Hamilton is playing now at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and opens next week at the Arsht Center in Miami. The musical played a year ago at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Each theater is experiencing a bump in business because of Hamilton. [Source: WLRN]

Surgeon General says Florida is clear of coronavirus — for now

Despite suspected cases, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said the state has no confirmed patients with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus that has killed more than a thousand people in China. Some states are providing information on pending cases and results. Health lawyers say Florida has chosen not to, but Rivkees told the South Florida Sun Sentinel this week that coronavirus had not risen to the threshold in Florida in which his department needed to reveal information on pending cases. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida Legislature not moving to address marijuana legislation this session

As the Legislature reaches the halfway point of the 2020 session, no committee has yet to hear any of the wide range of bills filed to address a list of issues in Florida’s medical marijuana program. Marijuana advocates are frustrated and people in the industry are left scratching their heads. 2019 was an eventful year for cannabis, but without a constitutional amendment to be implemented or the prodding of Gov. Ron DeSantis to make moves, there is little motivation for leadership to take up marijuana bills. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

In ‘Blackfish’ lawsuit, SeaWorld reaches $65 million settlement

SeaWorld has reached a $65 million settlement agreement to end a 2014 class-action civil lawsuit that accuses the company of misleading investors over the damage from the “Blackfish” documentary. The Orlando-based company revealed the settlement in a new SEC filing Tuesday. The settlement comes as SeaWorld seeks to move forward after years of scrutiny over its orca habitats, turnover in the chief executive position and declining attendance. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Royal Caribbean reverses ban on Chinese cruisers, Norwegian adds green card exception
After banning Chinese passport holders from its cruise ships Friday, Miami-based cruise companies Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. have rethought their policies. Royal Caribbean completely reversed its ban on Chinese cruisers Monday. Norwegian Cruise Line added an exception for U.S. green card holders sailing from the U.S.

› Who’s shooting or stabbing dolphins in Florida? Investigators want to find out.
Two dolphins have been found dead of gunshot or stab wounds in Florida recently, prompting investigators with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to offer $20,000 in reward money for information that leads to the culprits.

› Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announces new picks for JEA board of directors
Mayor Lenny Curry announced Tuesday the seven people he wants to join JEA’s new board of directors, who all resigned last month in the face of the city-owned utility’s scandal surrounding its attempt to sell itself to a private operator. Curry appointed a group of local business leaders, health care executives and the leader of Edward Waters College. His picks must be approved by the Jacksonville City Council.

› Two companies will soon bring e-scooters to Pensacola as part of a pilot program
The city of Pensacola is scooting toward its new micro-mobility program after a selection committee recommended two companies to bring e-scooters downtown. City staff are now working with Bird, headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and Chicago-based VeoRide on licensing and operating permits to bring e-scooters downtown for a yearlong pilot program.

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