Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Senate rules committee to revisit election bill after time runs out
The plan is still under fire from Democrats and voting rights groups who say the rest of the bill makes it harder for Floridians to vote. Sen. Dennis Baxley’s (R-Ocala) bill isn’t so much a response to Florida’s elections—which went largely problem free during the last cycle, but to what he describes as issues in other states and future problems: “No, I’m not trying to present a case that there’s a problem," Baxley said in response to questions by Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer. "I’m presenting a case that we can prevent ever having a problem." [Source: WLRN]
Get top news-to-know with Florida Trend's headline-focused video newsbrief, hosted by digital content specialist Aimée Alexander.
Has Florida red tide returned? Elevated levels reported along Sarasota County beaches
Water samples collected on Monday and reports of respiratory irritation have prompted health officials to place signs at some area beaches from North Jetty to Longboat Key. The last terrible outbreak of the microorganism that turns the turquoise waters of the Gulf the color of Coca-Cola lasted from October 2017 to February 2019. It killed tens of thousands of sea creatures, including dolphins, sea turtles and manatees. [Source: Herald-Tribune]
Florida lawmakers carve out $31.6 million tax break for business meals
Florida legislators may be using the budget to cut government and services, but they are also advancing proposals to deliver millions in corporate tax breaks to a select number of businesses — including a $31.6 million break to allow qualifying businesses to write off 100 percent of the cost of all business meals from their state income taxes. Dubbed the “three martini lunch” tax deduction by critics when it was passed by Congress last year, it refers to the practice of taking long leisurely business lunches and deducting them on tax returns as a business expense. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Bankers seek to get foothold in medical marijuana industry
Alex Levine, whose Denver-based business entered the Florida medical marijuana market in late 2020 with plans to open at least 10 locations in the state in 2021, says a 2015 banking scramble was a drag. “We had one year where we really didn’t have any banking,” Levine says, citing third-party lenders with double-digit percentage loan terms as one of several issues. “It was a horrible experience.” [Source: Business Observer]
Florida sees small increase in unemployment claims
The estimate for the week that ended April 10 was up from a revised count of 15,025 the prior week. The federal agency initially projected 11,891 new claims filed during the week that ended April 3. The uptick came as the number of claims nationally dropped last week by 193,000 to 576,000. It also came as the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity prepares to release a March unemployment report on Friday. [Source: Jacksonville Business Journal]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› FRLA President and CEO Carol Dover highlights COVID-19 impacts on Florida’s hospitality industry
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) shared its concerns over the state’s hospitality labor shortage during a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade and Export Promotion.
› Key West business owners lobby legislators over port bill
Key West organizers then assembled at the Governor’s Mansion, where they hoped to send a message to urge the governor to threaten a veto.
› Miami Heat eliminate vaccination-only seating and COVID-detection dogs
With a greater amount of the population having receive coronavirus vaccinations, the Miami Heat have eliminated the use of COVID-detection dogs and are no longer are offering vaccination-only sections.
› Tech upgrades aim to curb I-4 crashes, congestion between Tampa and Orlando
The Interstate 4 corridor is targeted for connected vehicle technology, diverting motorists to other routes.
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