Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida’s unemployment claims jump again as airlines warn of layoffs
Florida’s first-time unemployment claims rose sharply for a second straight week as airlines warned of more layoffs because COVID-19 vaccines aren’t being distributed fast enough. For the week ended Jan. 30, initial Florida claims rose to 71,046, up 8,228 from an adjusted 62,818 the week before, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor. The trend was in the opposite direction of national figures, which declined from the previous week by 33,000 to 779,000. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
DeSantis announces new programs to expand coronavirus vaccinations
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced the state’s interfaith vaccination campaign, as well as a pilot program to set aside hundreds of coronavirus vaccines for homebound seniors. For the pilot program, he said, 1,500 doses of the vaccine were reserved for those 65 and older, including 750 for Holocaust survivors. “Not everyone can go to a drive-thru site; not everyone can go to a hospital,” the governor said from the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and WJXT.
Florida voting company sues Fox, Giuliani for $2.7 billion over election fraud claims
A voting technology company is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former lawyers for former President Donald Trump — Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell — for $2.7 billion, charging that the defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped “steal” the U.S. presidential election. The 285-page complaint filed Thursday in New York state court by Florida-based Smartmatic USA is one of the largest libel suits ever undertaken. On Jan. 25, a rival election-technology company — Dominion Voting Systems, which was also ensnared in Trump’s baseless effort to overturn the election — sued Guiliani and Powell for $1.3 billion. [Source: AP]
Legislature replacing utility watchdog as Florida Power & Light seeks rate increase
As Florida’s largest electric utility company positions itself for a $1 billion increase in its base rates, a legislative committee will decide who to hire as the watchdog to protect residential customers from being overcharged by the monopoly utility companies. The Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight met Thursday in what is scheduled to be the first of two meetings to fill a vacancy at the Office of Public Counsel, the legal office created to protect customers from excess utility profits in rate cases before the Florida Public Service Commission. [Source: Miami Herald]
Florida says it will enforce ruling on LGBTQ+ civil rights
They’ve been fighting for more than two decades, and now LGBTQ people in every corner of Florida will have the same civil rights protections their peers enjoy in the more liberal pockets of the state. Florida’s Commission on Human Relations (FCHR), the state’s civil rights enforcement agency, says it will enforce a Supreme Court ruling that deemed discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation illegal. The decision means the FCHR will investigate claims of anti-LGBTQ discrimination — giving an estimated 880,000 LGBTQ people in Florida a path to pursue justice for the first time. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
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ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› For the first time in years, it’s cheaper to rent in Miami than in Fort Lauderdale
It’s cheaper to rent in Miami than in Fort Lauderdale, thanks to a glut of apartment units in the Magic City. Miami’s median rent slid by 9.1% from January 2020 to January 2021, while Fort Laudedale’s median rose by 3%, according to the latest national rent report by the rental listing company Zumper. The result: Miami’s median is at $1,600 per month for a one-bedroom unit, versus $1,690 in Fort Lauderdale.
› Suzuki Marine picks Tampa for corporate headquarters
Suzuki Marine USA, a division of Suzuki Motor of America that makes outboard motors, is moving its headquarters to Tampa. “We wanted to move to the heart of the marine business,” said George “Gus” Blakely, a vice president of Suzuki Motor of America and head of its marine sales division. “We really felt that Tampa would offer us all the things we were looking for. It was a great place to attract future workers and just had a lot to offer.”
› Azamara cruise fans will find the programs they love — and more — from new owners
As cruising remains banned nearly worldwide, Azamara cruise line is preparing to test the waters on its own for the first time in the company’s 14 year history. After a sale from Royal Caribbean Group to private equity firm Sycamore Partners wraps up in March, Miami based-Azamara plans to welcome a new ship to its fleet and a new executive to its C-suite as it prepares to resume cruises — whenever that may happen.
› Volunteers sought for public vacancy on Florida Board of Bar Examiners
Members of the public are invited to volunteer on or before March 22 for a three-year term on the Florida Board of Bar Examiners beginning Nov. 1. The board ensures that recent law school graduates and attorneys licensed in other states seeking admission to The Florida Bar have met the requirements regarding character and fitness, education and technical competence.
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