Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida jobless claims remain at pre-pandemic levels
Florida continues to see first-time unemployment claims at a pace similar to before the COVID-19 pandemic slammed into the state’s economy. The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday released a report that estimated 5,734 new unemployment applications were filed in Florida last week. That was down from a revised count of 5,925 claims during the week that ended Feb. 5 and lowered a four-week average of claims to 6,421. The state has averaged 7,201 claims a week since mid-May, when Florida leaders ramped up efforts to push people back into the workforce during the pandemic. More from the News Service of Florida.
Florida will distribute $676 million in homeowner mortgage assistance, but state isn’t yet saying how you can get it
There’s good news and bad news for Florida homeowners who fell behind on their mortgage payments because of the pandemic. The good news is the U.S. Treasury Department on Feb. 9 approved Florida’s plan to distribute $676 million in federal homeowner assistance funding included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan enacted in March 2021. The not-so-good news: Florida’s program is being administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity — the same agency that runs the state’s troubled unemployment system — and the agency has not yet announced when or how it will begin accepting applications. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Lawmakers grapple with insurance 'catastrophe'
Offering a grim picture of Florida’s property-insurance system, senators backed proposals Wednesday aimed at bolstering the private market while slowing a flood of policies to the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. “The word might be ‘catastrophe’ is where we are right now,” said Senate Banking and Insurance Chairman Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican who is sponsoring a bill (SB 1728) to try to address the issues. More from the News Service of Florida.
St. Petersburg company pushing for bill that would prohibit higher local wages
A St. Petersburg company that paid millions to settle a wage theft case is pushing a controversial bill that would prohibit local governments from setting a minimum wage higher than the state’s current $10 an hour for employees and contractors. The company, Power Design, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the political committees of key legislators, including the bill’s sponsors. And the company is tied to a mysterious group lobbying on behalf of the bill. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Space balloon company to fly from Kennedy Space Center now accepts cryptocurrency
A commercial spaceflight company that plans to fly a massive balloon from the Space Coast will let you pay with cryptocurrency. Space Perspective, which aims to fly its first passengers on board its space balloon from the old Kennedy Space Center shuttle landing facility by late 2024 announced it is accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and several other cryptocurrencies for deposits on the future flights. The full price for the flights is $125,000, but deposits starting at $1,000 per person can be made with transactions that will go through coinbase.com. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Are electric boats the future? You can check them out at the Miami International Boat Show
While car engines have been shifting away from gasoline for years, the boating industry is just starting to catch up. The Miami International Boat Show is returning Presidents Day Weekend after skipping 2021 due to the pandemic, with organizers expecting a record 100,000 people and plenty of new things for boating enthusiasts. Among them, several electric boating companies are trying to make a name for themselves and educate the public about what they say is the future of boating.
» More from the Miami Herald.
Micro Wrestling: Small people, big moves, wrestling show shuts down Jacksonville
Micro Wrestling. It’s exactly what it sounds like. A wrestling event featuring people who are little competing against each other and is a smaller-scaled production than All Elite Wrestling or World Wrestling Entertainment shows. This is the fifth time they’ve held a show in Jacksonville, and they’ve started to build a following amongst a crowd of whimsically intoxicated fans.
» Read more from the Florida Times-Union.
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