Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida Trend Exclusive
Legislative preview - Rags to riches
Heading into last year’s legislative session, Florida lawmakers were bracing for deep budget cuts amid a pandemic-induced economic downturn, but the $3-billion shortfall they anticipated didn’t materialize. In the end, they approved a record $101.5-billion spending plan (about 10% higher than the previous year) bolstered by billions of federal stimulus dollars and better-than-expected revenue collections. [Source: Florida Trend ]
Omicron could peak at 90,000 Florida cases in mid-January, UF model shows
Florida’s rocketing number of COVID-19 cases likely will peak by mid-January as the highly contagious omicron variant potentially infects most of the state’s population during this wave alone, according to disease modelers with the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute. UF biostatisticians and scientists said they revised their forecast for the state’s omicron wave to account for the astonishing speed and breadth with which the virus was spreading through Florida in December, leading to record numbers of COVID-19 cases during the state’s fourth wave of the pandemic. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
A new proposal has Florida municipalities worried they could be subject to a myriad of lawsuits
Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) says businesses should be able to claim damages from local governments if they pass an ordinance that causes a revenue loss of 15% or more. Hutson is sponsoring a bill (SB 620) in the upcoming session that paves the way for that. The proposal was introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee last November and was approved by a 7-4 vote. To file a claim, businesses must have been operating for more than three years, and must give 180 days’ notice. [Source: WFSU]
What can Florida's startup culture learn from the Theranos verdict? Experts weigh in
As the fallen startup wunderkind Elizabeth Holmes awaits her sentencing for defrauding investors in her failed blood testing company, Theranos, what does the verdict the mean for venture capital investors in Florida? Post-verdict, commentators are divided on what the trial outcome means for the venture capital industry: Some insist the case was an exception rather than a sign of a flawed system that funnels billions into startups that seek to deliver new innovations to industries ranging from health care to transportation. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida restaurant requires all diners to tip 20%, stirs controversy
A Florida restaurant is stirring controversy with its solution to rising food costs and upcoming minimum-wage increases: requiring every diner to tip 20%, regardless of how customers feel about the service. For each table, the server keeps 17% of the tip, and the remaining 3% is split among support staff including the bar, hostess and server assistants. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Norwegian and Royal Caribbean call off voyages due to omicron
Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, two of the cruise industry’s largest global operators, are temporarily halting certain cruises, marking the first mass cruise cancellations due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Royal Caribbean said Friday it’s canceling cruises on three of its ships starting Saturday and postponing voyages on a fourth ship until March 7. One of the ships will remain out of service until April 26.
› Orlando airport CEO search whittles down to 3 outsiders, FDOT boss
The parent agency of Orlando International Airport pared down a list of candidates for chief executive officer Friday, agreeing on three applicants from other airports and Kevin Thibault, the head of Florida’s transportation department. Falling out of contention was Don Fisher, Osceola County’s government manager, and an executive from another airport.
› Wawa wants you: Convenience chain rolls out incentives to hire 2,000 new Florida workers
Ten years after opening its first Florida store, convenience store chain Wawa is now as familiar in the Sunshine State as sandals and beer bellies. With more than 230 stores here, the chain isn’t finished expanding. Twenty more stores are planned to open in Florida this year, including in Miramar, North Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami Gardens, Hialeah, and Hialeah Gardens, according to the company’s website.
› Kevin Hyde named chair of Jacksonville Public Education Fund
Kevin Hyde, managing partner in the Jacksonville office of the Foley & Lardner law firm, is the new chair of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund board of directors. Lisa Cochran, chief information officer for VyStar Credit Union, and Terry Patrick Walton of Terry Patrick Walton Consulting also joined the board for four-year terms.
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