January 17, 2021

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 1/13/2021

Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida's veteran jobs are in high demand

Veterans usually come with strong job skills but sometimes run into problems finding work due to outdated perceptions by some employers. Up to 55% of veterans struggle to find a job after leaving the military, and one-third are underemployed, meaning they can’t find work (or enough paid work) that makes full use of their skills and abilities, according to a LinkedIn study. Many leave the military without the certifications or licenses they need for civilian employment. Some find it hard to translate their skills and military experience into something private-sector human resources departments understand. [Source: Florida Trend]

$1.4B in emergency federal rental assistance headed to Florida

Florida is in line to receive $1.4 billion in federal COVID-19 emergency rental assistance, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday. The state has confirmed its participation in the U.S. Department of Treasury's Emergency Rental Assistance Program, DeSantis said. The federal funds were made possible by the COVID-19 stimulus passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump late last month. The assistance is meant to help pay rent and utility bills. [Source: The Center Square]

‘Putting seniors first was the right decision.’ DeSantis defends vaccine rollout

Gov. Ron DeSantis defended Florida’s rollout of the vaccine to older and vulnerable residents at The Villages mega-retirement community on Tuesday, saying he was ahead of other states in prioritizing seniors. Long lines, faulty appointment websites, jammed phone lines and blinsided local officials marred Florida’s push to offer the shot to seniors. But DeSantis said he made the right call to rush out the vaccine to seniors. He touted state statistics showing that more than 296,600 Floridians older than 65 had received their first dose as of Monday. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida receives funds for agriculture & natural resources protection

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has allocated more than $5.5 million to Florida as part of its effort to strengthen the nation’s infrastructure for pest detection and surveillance, identification, and threat mitigation, and to safeguard the U.S. nursery production system. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has received a significant portion of these funds to support numerous projects. The funding is provided under Section 7721 of the federal Plant Protection Act. [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida Senate may consider permanent post to address climate change

An effort is back in the Senate to permanently set up a statewide office to consider climate change impacts, as environmentalists wait for a new chief resiliency officer to be appointed. Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, filed a proposal Friday to establish an Office of Resiliency, a priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Office of Resiliency would be part of DeSantis’ office. Rodrigues’ proposal (SB 514) would also set up a nine-member Sea-Level Rise Task Force to establish baseline projections on anticipated sea-level rise and flooding impacts along Florida’s coastlines. [Source: News Service of Florida]


› Pandemic a boon for Alachua's biotech industry
While industries like airlines, hospitality and retail struggled much of 2020, one local sector took off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alachua’s biotechnology industry, anchored by startups mostly contained in one section of town off U.S. 441, contributed more than $1 billion to the local economy last year, aided in part by the University of Florida’s business incubator program.

› Florida agencies ramp up human trafficking awareness ahead of Super Bowl
As a part of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrests of 71 people in a human trafficking operation. These arrests mark the end of a month-long operation named “Operation Interception” aimed at targeting and combating human trafficking ahead of Super Bowl 55.

› Lake Nona tennis center avoids $1 million a year in property taxes through a tax break meant for charities
The USTA National Campus at Lake Nona, a nearly $70 million “tennis heaven” with features like clay courts covered in crushed red brick imported from Italy, is avoiding property taxes by claiming a tax break meant to help charities. The perpetual tax break saves the United States Tennis Association more than $1 million a year in property taxes that would otherwise help fund Orange County schools, libraries and other local government services.

› St. Petersburg’s Fairgrounds announces artist roster
Fairgrounds, an immersive art and technology experience, is in the home stretch: It’s set to open in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District this spring. Recently, the roster of more than 65 artists whose work will fill the inaugural exhibition in the 15,000-square-foot space was announced in a news release.

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