Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Sports betting initiative misses mark for 2022
Florida voters won’t have a chance to decide whether to legalize sports betting after supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment backed by major online gambling companies FanDuel and DraftKings acknowledged Friday they lack the required signatures to make it on the 2022 ballot. Florida Education Champions, a political committee sponsoring the sports-betting measure, had until Feb. 1 to submit nearly 900,000 valid signatures to place the proposal on the November ballot. The measure called for authorizing sports betting at professional sports venues, pari-mutuel facilities and statewide via online platforms. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Cruise ship delays SpaceX launch attempt, will try again Monday
While weather dealt SpaceX three days of delays for its attempt to send a Falcon 9 rocket up from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, it was a cruise ship down range that caused a Sunday scrub. The company will try again on Monday. Mission managers scrubbed the launch with less than a minute before the planned liftoff. The company will now attempt a 6:11 p.m. liftoff on Monday. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Hurricane Catastrophe Fund reform could save insurance consumers $1 billion a year, backers say
Florida home insurance customers could get a substantial break from rising rates — saving about $150 a year — if they no longer had to pay into the state’s hurricane insurance reserve fund and if insurance companies could access those reserves more easily — with fewer overall claims losses. Reforms proposed in the state Legislature on Thursday by state Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Pinellas County Republican, could save Florida consumers $750 million to $1 billion a year in insurance costs, he said. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Florida’s omicron deaths nearly double as infections keep falling
Florida’s omicron infection wave is on a steep decline, but the death count is soaring and fewer Floridians are seeking the protection of vaccines and booster shots. The state reported 1,192 deaths this week, the highest death rate since October’s delta wave and nearly twice as many deaths as the previous week. Florida health officials recorded 198,719 COVID-19 infections during the seven-day period of Jan. 21-27, according to the weekly report released late Friday. That’s a 53 percent drop from the omicron peak of 430,297 cases reported Jan. 7-13. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Coaster rollout in Florida accelerating in 2022
Florida’s theme parks are plunging into a record year for roller coasters. At least four of the rides will debut in 2022, the most active period in almost two decades. The Interstate 4 corridor will see a diverse set of new coasters, from the intense Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay to the gentle, kiddie-inspired Daddy Pig Roller Coaster at Winter Haven’s Peppa Pig Theme Park, which opens next month. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Miami Beach won’t be ‘dictatorial’ in spring break messaging. It’s hiring influencers.
The city of Miami Beach, which once warned spring breakers to “come on vacation, don’t leave on probation,” says it plans to roll out a more welcoming message this March when thousands of college-age tourists come to town. But it won’t be delivering that message alone: The city will pay local influencers to use their social media followings to welcome spring breakers and remind them to follow the law.
› Amazon print on demand book center opens in Orlando
Amazon is printing books in Orlando with a new “print on demand” center near Orlando International Airport. The site, at the company’s fulfillment center at 12340 Boggy Creek Road, opened in November and makes books when customers order them, according to an Amazon news release. It added 120 full-time jobs, with starting pay of $15 an hour.
› Where does Fort Lauderdale stand on its goals? A look at what the city did in 2021 and what’s coming in 2022
Every city has its litany of problems and ideas on how to fix them — and Fort Lauderdale is no different. Every January, the commission and staff get together and brainstorm in the heart of downtown at an informal goal-setting workshop held away from City Hall at the Fort Lauderdale Woman’s Club. Before setting the goals for the coming year, they assess where things stand, what progress has been made and what else must be done.
› Security company lays off nearly 300, including employees along Gulf Coast
First Coast Security has laid off nearly 300 employees in Florida, including 74 on the Gulf Coast. The security company, based in Jacksonville, says in a letter to the state that the cuts come after it lost its contract with Trulieve, the Tallahassee-based medical cannabis company. “This was determined by our client, as they chose an alternative option for security.”
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