January 17, 2021

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 1/12/2021

COVID-19 business protections on fast track in Florida

A new report from Florida TaxWatch estimates that the state could lose hundreds of thousands of existing jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity if lawmakers don’t act to protect businesses from COVID-19-related lawsuits. Florida lawmakers are moving quickly to enact safeguards. State Sen. Jeff Brandes, of St. Petersburg, is leading the charge to protect businesses from lawsuits related to COVID-19. “Any type of lawsuit would essentially drive them under because many of them are teetering on the brink,” Brandes said. [Source: WJXT]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Orlando region community portrait

For many years, promoters of econnnomic development across Metro Orlando have touted the region's promise as a place to "live, work, and play." Despite the pandemic, at least three area corridors of growth have continued to burgeon in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. [Source: Florida Trend]

Opinion: Film industry should be part of Florida’s economic recovery

The film and television industry can and should be a part of Florida’s economic recovery moving forward, continuing to diversify the state’s economy while supporting high-wage, high-tech jobs. When an average feature film or television series films in a location, they spend $20 million in the local community while hiring 1,500 Floridians. One single production can put $150,000 per day directly in the pockets of citizens and small businesses. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida high school grad rates climb, thanks to exemptions during pandemic

Graduation rates for Florida high school students ticked up this year, with 90% of students graduating, according to a state Department of Education report released this week. The report showed a 3.1 percentage-point increase in seniors graduating statewide during the 2019-2020 school year. Jacob Oliva, chancellor of the state’s K-12 public school system, attributed at least part of the gains to the state’s waiving of testing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. [Source: Palm Coast Observer]

Manatees had a terrible 2020. Rainfall and floodgates are partly to blame

In a year when a third of manatee fatalities in Florida were not investigated because COVID-19 restrictions limited necropsies and boat strikes once again topped deaths caused by humans, one indicator stood out: manatees killed by floodgates and locks. Of a total of 619 deaths in Florida's waterways last year, 10 manatees were crushed or drowned in flood control structures, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's preliminary mortality report. [Source: Miami Herald]


› Marcus Lemonis wants to show America the ‘grind’ behind Miami’s Little Havana
If the shorthand term “Miami hustles” — having more than one gig going at the same time — ever makes it into the dictionary, Marcus Lemonis could be part of the definition. He’s the CEO of the largest RV conglomerate in the country, the star of two business-themed reality TV shows on CNBC, a former Democratic candidate for the Florida House of Representatives and an investor/adviser for small businesses that are struggling to stay afloat.

› Connect selects Tampa for 2021 Marketplace trade show
Connect, a prominent national hospitality industry marketing company, will hold its annual Connect Marketplace trade show at the Tampa Convention Center later this year. The event, scheduled for August 30 through September 1, is expected to provide a major economic boost to downtown Tampa hotels and the region’s hospitality industry as a whole.

› Should computers seized in raid of data analyst's home be returned? A judge will hear arguments this week in court case
A Leon County circuit judge is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday about whether the Florida Department of Law Enforcement should return property to fired state Department of Health analyst Rebekah Jones after agents searched her home and hauled away computer equipment last month.

› After 23 'inspirational' years, HabiJax CEO retires to her home 'after helping so many others find theirs'
Mary Kay O'Rourke grew up in a big, Irish Catholic family in New Jersey. During her 23-year career at Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, also known as HabiJax, she became part of about 2,050 other families who received affordable homeownership opportunities and other housing services from the nonprofit.

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Economist says estimates of Super Bowl's impact often exaggerated
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