Thursday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Judge says Florida congressional map unconstitutional, says he’ll block it
A state judge said Gov. Ron DeSantis’ congressional map that eliminated a Black district in North Florida was unconstitutional and ordered the old boundaries restored. Leon Circuit Judge Layne Smith, whom DeSantis appointed in 2020, said from the bench Wednesday that while he couldn’t rule on whether the map violated the federal Voting Rights Act, he had determined it did violate the Florida Constitution’s Fair District amendment approved by the voters. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the AP.
Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida Icon: Randy Wells
Randy Wells, biologist, zoologist, and director of the Chicago Zoological Society's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program tells us: "I wish Florida was not so divided. I wish there was more of a coming together and appreciation of what truly makes Florida great. What makes Florida great is what brought us here, the natural environment, the climate. For us to lose track of those things, and the value of maintaining them, I think that’s really sad." [Source: Florida Trend]
Casinos had best month ever in March
Inflation may be soaring, supply chains remain snarled and the coronavirus just won’t go away, but America’s casinos are humming right along, recording the best month in their history in March. The casinos collectively also had their best first quarter ever, falling just short of the $14.35 billion they won from gamblers in the fourth quarter of last year, which was the highest three-month period in history. Three states set quarterly revenue records to start this year: Arkansas ($147.4 million); Florida ($182 million), and New York ($996.6 million). [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Florida dominates Airbnb’s Top 10 list of trending summer travel destinations
Florida destinations popped up in the hot spots this summer, Airbnb announced Wednesday as the online reservation platform is seeing signs people are anxious to travel again in the pandemic. Six Florida spots placed in the Top 10 trending summer domestic destinations when U.S. guests searched in the first quarter, the company said. [Source: Florida Politics]
Florida to weigh property insurer rate hikes next week
Florida regulators have scheduled three hearings next week on proposals by property insurers to raise homeowners’ rates more than 20%, while the state weighs a plan by another insurer that has shed policies amid financial losses. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation will hold hearings May 17 on proposed rate hikes by First Floridian Auto and Home Insurance Co., Kin Interinsurance Network and Florida Farm Bureau General Insurance Co. and Florida Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co. [Source: Click Orlando]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida’s largest law firm finds new home in Tampa’s Westshore District
The largest law firm in Florida is moving its Tampa office to a new home. Cole, Scott and Kissane, P.A., has signed a 42,500-squre-foot lease across three floors at Westshore 500, an office building at 500 N Westshore Blvd. The Miami-based firm plans to move from its current Tampa space at Corporate Center IV, 4301 W Boy Scout Blvd. by August 2023.
› Workers at 2 Jacksonville Starbucks stores vote to unionize, adding to small national move
Employees at two Jacksonville Starbucks have voted to unionize, the first Northeast Florida stores to join a spreading labor organizing effort. “We are so excited to have won our union election. This is only the beginning of a long journey to acquiring true accountability and democracy in our workplace,” Mason Boykin, a shift supervisor at the store at 11441 San Jose Blvd., said in an emailed announcement of results from balloting overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.
› Elections chief frustrated by Seminole’s slow progress on new headquarters
A frustrated Chris Anderson, Seminole’s supervisor of elections, told county commissioners on Tuesday he can’t understand why Seminole is moving at a slow pace in its plans to build his office a larger headquarters at the Five Points Complex in time for the 2024 presidential election. “I’ve done my job, and I would say today that it’s time for you to do yours,” Anderson said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “I’m asking you to let’s get this project moving forward.”
› Tri-Rail says trains will be in downtown Miami by November
In a more optimistic presentation to the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust, Steven Abrams, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, reassured members that the Tri-Rail trains the authority oversees are going to roll into the downtown Miami station in November. “We do anticipate commencement of revenue service by Nov. 1,” he said last week, noting that the starting date is also contingent on tasks to be handled by the Florida East Coast Railway and Florida East Coast Industries, the parent company of Brightline.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
In case you missed it: