Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
State gets $4 billion bump in estimated tax dollars
With lawmakers preparing to craft a new state budget, economists estimated Friday that Florida will collect nearly $4 billion more in general-revenue taxes than had been expected over two years. The increased estimates come after federal stimulus money has helped fuel consumer spending and as the state’s economy has bounced back during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the economists warned of a slowing that could occur because of the end of stimulus money and anticipated interest-rate hikes that will affect the housing market. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Annoyed by robocalls? A new Florida law might help
A state law passed last year makes it easier to sue telemarketers over unwanted robocalls and robotexts. Its effects are emerging. To those who pushed for the law, it’s an exciting new weapon in a battle against rogue telemarketers, whether they’re scammers or legitimate businesses that overreach. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
COVID-19 update: Florida reports 22,818 new cases, lowest daily count since Christmas
Florida reported 22,818 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, dropping the state’s 7-day average to 37,414, a 31% decline from one week ago, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Hospitalizations have held steady for nearly two weeks, another key indicator that the omicron wave is slowing. There were 11,351 patients with the virus in Florida hospitals on Friday and 1,619 adult COVID patients in intensive care, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
House advances first redistricting map, but Democrats have many questions
Democrats could gain as many as seven seats in the Florida House of Representatives and Republicans could retain a solid majority under a redistricting map approved Friday along partisan lines by a state House subcommittee. But despite their numeric gains, the proposal was criticized by Democrats who questioned several of the decisions made by staff, including why they did not maximize minority districts when it appeared shifts in population would allow for it. [Source: Miami Herald]
World’s largest surfing park in Florida a step closer to reality
Want to ride the waves without risking shark encounters or sand in your suit? Florida may get what’s being touted as the world’s largest surfing park, Wavegarden. It’s envisioned as the signature feature surrounded by a massive live-work community in the Treasure Coast that includes 600 hotel rooms, 1,000 residences, and 650,000 square feet of commercial space. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› FIU president Mark Rosenberg abruptly resigns, stunning colleagues and students
Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg stunned students, friends and staff with his resignation on Friday, abruptly ending his 12-year tenure leading South Florida’s biggest public university. The sudden resignation raised eyebrows, and Rosenberg quickly issued a statement saying his decision was prompted by his and his wife’s health issues.
› Universal won’t require COVID testing for non-vaccinated workers
Universal employees will not be required to undergo weekly COVID testing if they are not vaccinated, a decision made in response to a change in federal regulations, the company said. The announcement reverses a policy Universal updated 10 days earlier.
› As Brightline sees ridership increase, here are the additions on the way
Brightline, South Florida’s high-speed railroad, said Friday its ridership numbers during the pandemic are starting to rise, even with a fare increase. More than 95,000 people rode the Brightline in December. Although that’s still far below the 127,690 riders at the same time two years earlier, Brightline’s service was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the company to halt operations between March 2020 and early November 2021.
› With deadline nearing, Jacksonville short on results from plan to clean up St. Johns River
Jacksonville projects to cut algae-feeding pollution reaching the St. Johns River may only produce about 60 percent of the improvements the city told a state agency it would deliver, a city administrator has reported. Cutting that pollution is required by a permit the state controls under the federal Clean Water Act.
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