May 8, 2021

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 4/19/2021

As session wanes, Florida lawmakers race to complete agenda

With just two weeks left before their scheduled adjournment, both chambers of the Republican-controlled Legislature are inching closer to a budget deal as they continue to work on a slate of bills central to the governor’s legislative agenda. In the coming week, lawmakers are contending with a contentious proposal that would rewrite rules on voting by mail, including imposing stricter ID requirements for changing voter registration information and submitting completed ballots. Also still awaiting action is a slate of bills focused on the power of Big Tech — in how it controls the information on social media platforms and in how it collects and uses consumer data. More from WJXT and the Miami Herald.

$400 signing bonus for restaurant workers? It’s happening in Florida.

Want to work at a restaurant during a pandemic? If the answer’s “no,” would $400 cash change your mind? South Florida restaurants are so desperate to fill critical jobs they are taking a page from the playbook of Silicon Valley headhunters: signing bonuses. Hospitality experts argue the drought in employees can be explained with three theories: fear of returning to closed spaces during a pandemic, ex-employees leaving the restaurant world for good, and the ease of collecting unemployment benefits. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

DeSantis opposes plan to increase weekly unemployment benefits to $375, saying goal is to get people back to work

Gov. Ron DeSantis indicated Friday he won’t support increasing weekly unemployment benefits for out-of-work Floridians. Florida has one of the stingiest unemployment systems in the country, paying a maximum weekly benefit of $275. A proposal in the Florida Senate would increase that amount by $100, but DeSantis told reporters in Lakeland he doesn’t see a need to raise benefits. “Our goal is to get people back to work,” he said. “I think there is a lot of demand right now. ... There is demand in the economy for hiring and that’s a good thing, much different than it was a year ago. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

End of an era in Cuba? For exiles in Miami, Raúl Castro’s exit is just ‘more of the same’

Enrique Yglesias left Cuba two years ago for a better life. From Uruguay, he trekked to Guyana, across the Amazonian jungle and Central America to Mexico and the U.S. border, where he asked for asylum. He just arrived in Cutler Bay in South Miami-Dade after his release from detention, so he hadn’t heard: Raúl Castro is retiring from official power in Cuba at 89. The 36-year-old Yglesias’ reaction? Not much. More from the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.

‘We’re kind of invisible.’ Orlando convention workers remain jobless, feel forgotten.

A drive-through food bank where Disney World workers lined up in their cars for two miles before the sun rose shut down last month. Enough people had been called back to work, a sign Orlando’s economy is slowly healing from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the theme parks are open and busy again, one force is still largely unemployed: The workers of Orlando’s multibillion-dollar convention industry. For some of these Central Floridians, union jobs had paid better than the low wages so often tied to Orlando’s tourism industry, elevating them into the middle class. But for the last year, those jobs have mostly vanished. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Hospitalizations plunge among Florida seniors, as COVID immunity takes hold
The number of Florida seniors entering the hospital for COVID dropped sharply over the past month, an indication that the vaccination campaign begun in December has been effective in protecting the group most vulnerable to the disease. Hospitals have registered a 46% drop in admissions for COVID patients aged 70 or over since mid-February, an encouraging sign in the fight against the pandemic. And since COVID deaths are typically preceded by hospitalizations, the drop is an indication that the death rate may continue to fall.

› JAX Chamber recommends name change for six Jacksonville schools
The JAX Chamber board of directors announced April 16 it unanimously passed a resolution asking the Duval County School Board to change the names of six public schools that are named after Confederate soldiers. “This is an economic development issue,” JAX Chamber Chair Henry Brown, who serves as president and CEO of Miller Electric, said in the news release. “We are asking companies to invest here, and for top talent to move and live here. We say that we are open to everyone and I believe that we are. But, right now, we have six school names that tell African Americans otherwise.”

› Nike Live store in development at Tampa’s Hyde Park Village
Nike has big plans for Tampa’s Hyde Park Village. The sportswear giant has filed plans with the city indicating it intends to build a Nike Live store at 1520 W Swann Ave. in Hyde Park Village. The building was formerly occupied by an LA Fitness gym. Nike Live stores are membership-driven boutiques built around consumer data and customized service, with rotating merchandise and member perks and exclusive experiences.

› Formula One is coming to Miami Gardens beginning in 2022
Formula One racing is finally, officially coming to South Florida. The open-wheel circuit announced Sunday that the Miami Grand Prix, beginning in 2022, will be a part of its yearly schedule — a major triumph for Stephen Ross, Tom Garfinkel and their staff after years of setbacks. The deal is for 10 years. A date for the 2022 race will be revealed in the future, but the expectation is it will be next May or June.

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Domino Park, symbol of Little Havana, reopens after COVID closure
Domino Park, symbol of Little Havana, reopens after COVID closure

The sound of laughter and clacking dominoes returned to Little Havana's popular Domino Park on May 3, 2021, as it reopened after being closed for more than a year due to COVID-19.

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