October 24, 2020

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/21/2020

Federal aid for Florida’s unemployed has run out. What’s next?

Despite months of pandemic-induced chaos, Florida hasn’t fallen off the economic cliff. There are policy reasons for that, experts say: Gov. Ron DeSantis has largely erred on the side of keeping businesses open. Since April, the state has had an eviction and foreclosure moratorium on the books. And the federal government has given Floridians billions in unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic. But starting this week, that last, crucial factor — federal unemployment assistance — will be missing from Florida wallets. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Incoming House speaker warns of ‘deep budget cuts’ coming to Florida government programs

Florida’s incoming House speaker warned members of the South Florida Business Council last week that in order to weather the “massive financial hit” the state sustained from the pandemic, there will need to be “significant cuts to the budget.” Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican who is in line to become the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives for two years in November, hinted that the budget austerity needed to recover from the coronavirus-induced recession would take “three to four years to get back to where we are." [Source: Miami Herald]

Big issues and big money set tone for constitutional amendment campaigns

While the race for the White House dominates Florida politics, a half-dozen proposed constitutional amendments set for the same November ballot could have a dramatic effect on state elections and household incomes. These down-ballot items won’t grab voters’ attention like the clash between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. But some of these campaigns are driven by just as much dark money intrigue, out-sized personalities and culture conflicts as the presidential contest. [Source: Lakeland Ledger]

Six months of pandemic have profoundly changed Florida’s restaurants

The news was delivered shortly after 2 p.m. on a sunny Friday afternoon: Within hours, Florida restaurants would have to close their doors to dine-in business. They would most likely have to lay off the majority of their staff. And there was no word when they would be able to reopen. It has been six months and restaurants are still reeling from the six-week, state-mandated shutdown, a summer surge of COVID-19 outbreaks that caused temporary closures and capacity limits that have crippled an industry reliant on notoriously thin profit margins. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

National cable networks join effort to aid Florida felons voting effort

An effort to pay court-ordered costs for felons who have served their time behind bars is getting a $250,000 boost from MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central, the cable networks announced on Friday. The money will go to a “Fees and Fines” fund created by the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition in response to a controversial state law requiring felons to pay court-ordered “legal financial obligations” to be eligible to vote. [Source: News Service of Florida]


› Everglades restoration to ‘get the water right’ estimated at $7.4 billion through 2030
Everglades restoration projects will require about $7.4 billion over the next 10 years, compared with $6 billion spent through 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday while presenting a draft of its work schedule. The estimated cost for 2020-30 is what has been authorized for construction, and doesn’t include other projects that are currently waiting for authorization, said Eva Velez, a Corps project manager.

› Miami-born Barbara Lagoa reportedly seeing stock rise as possible Supreme Court nominee
A trio of appeals court judges have emerged as front-runners as President Donald Trump prepares to nominate his third justice to the Supreme Court: Amy Coney Barrett, Barbara Lagoa and Amul Thapar, according to people familiar with the process.

› Florida’s nursing home visitation rules leave families confused
On Sept. 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed long-term care facilities to reopen to controlled visitation after a months-long closure to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The state created two categories of visitors — general and caregivers. The former must stay 6 feet from residents and visit alongside others in a community room. The latter can have private visits and touch their loved ones, but their status must be approved by facilities.

› Punta Gorda company aims to launch new toy in time for holidays
The countdown is on: Punta Gorda-based Pressure Games is working hard to get a new toy to market. The company was launched in October 2018, and the idea for its toy dubbed “Countdown” came a couple of months prior.

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Rare, two-headed snake found in Palm Harbor home
Rare, two-headed snake found in Palm Harbor home

A family in Palm Harbor recently found a rare creature in their home – a two-headed snake. FWC researchers said the phenomenon is named bicephaly – an uncommon occurrence that happens during snake embryo development. When two monozygotic twins fail to separate, it leaves the heads conjoined onto a single body.

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