Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Credit card debt crushing South Florida consumers
Pandemic-weary South Floridians are maxing out their credit cards and living beyond their means more than anywhere else in the nation, according to a new survey. One reason appears to be the high cost of housing, which has worsened during the pandemic and could result in a surge in personal bankruptcies as federal unemployment aid and rent moratoriums melt away. One in three people in South Florida has maxed out a credit card. Four in 10 are spending at least 35% of their income on housing. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Judge set to hear arguments in Florida cruise ship fight
A federal judge will hear arguments Thursday in Florida’s bid to block federal restrictions on cruise ships during the COVID-19 pandemic, while U.S. Department of Justice attorneys point to a return to cruising by mid-summer. U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday will hold a hearing in Tampa on Florida’s request for a preliminary injunction against restrictions imposed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The hearing will come after the two sides reached an impasse in mediation aimed at settling the dispute. [Source: WMFE]
Space Florida CEO: State needs to continue to invest in infrastructure, people
Ten years ago, following the final space shuttle flight, Brevard County was in a very dark place. Nearly 10,000 space jobs had been lost, and perhaps three times as many other jobs that indirectly supported the space program also disappeared. Today, a private company, SpaceX, is sending men and women to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center. NASA is planning to send humans back to the moon. And commercial launches are becoming a near-weekly event on the Space Coast. [Source: Florida Today]
Farmworkers hotline helps Florida farmworkers during pandemic
Florida Rural Legal Services (FRLS), a non-profit law firm, launched the line specifically catered to the needs of Florida farmworkers, with a live response team available during extended hours and communication in three languages. The Covid-19 pandemic has added a myriad of legal issues our farmworker communities already faced. Due to the pandemic, farmworkers, especially migrant workers, are being denied unemployment, food stamps and other public benefits they might normally get, putting them in desperate circumstances. [Source: WTXL]
Visit Florida CEO, staff get pay raises
Visit Florida President and CEO Dana Young got an 8 percent boost in pay and a $7,500 bonus Tuesday, as leaders of the tourism-marketing agency pointed to Florida being in a “position of strength” against other states trying to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. The Visit Florida Board of Directors, meeting in person for the first time in more than a year at the Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa in Jensen Beach, also directed Young to distribute up to $130,000 in performance raises among staff members. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› DeSantis says he'll sign property insurance bill that could bring higher rates
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday he will sign a property insurance package that could lead to larger rate increases for customers of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. while seeking to curb roof-damage claims and lawsuits. But he added more will need to be done to make the private insurance industry “stronger.”
› Boca Raton bans balloons and confetti at its parks
Another South Florida city banned balloons and confetti and restricted plastic foam at its parks and on city property. Starting Jan. 1 in Boca Raton, food trucks and food stands won’t be allowed to use plastic foam on city property. Individuals and takeout businesses are exempted. First-time violations come with a warning. After that, there’s a $25 fine. The fine rises to $50 for each subsequent violation.
› Orlando's tourist corridor is seeing an apartment construction boom. Here's what's driving it.
Apartment developers are betting big that Central Florida's economy returns in full force as Covid-19's effects lessen on the tourism sector. In fact, roughly 4,274 apartments are under construction in the I-Drive submarket, which is tops in Orlando, according to CoStar Group research. That's a significant amount of construction and represents roughly 18% of the submarket's current inventory.
› Red Tide reported off Pinellas County beaches
Bloom levels of Red Tide have been found in water samples along the Pinellas County coast, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The agency said it has also received several reports of fish kills discovered in the county since Friday. Red Tide was found in samples taken off Pass-a-Grille, Redington Beach, Redington Shores and Indian Shores.
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