December 9, 2022

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 11/21/2022

Florida jobless rate up after Ian

Florida saw an uptick in its unemployment rate in October after deadly Hurricane Ian swept through Southwest Florida, while the labor force continues to grow, according to numbers released Friday. The state Department of Economic Opportunity said the unemployment rate was 2.7 percent in October, up from a historic low of 2.5 percent in September. The report estimated that 285,000 Floridians qualified as unemployed in October, an increase of 19,000 from September. The civilian labor force grew for the 10th consecutive month and was at 10.75 million. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Did your doctor make a mistake? Suing medical providers in Florida is easy, winning isn’t

Your mammogram showed you had breast cancer but no one caught it. Your doctor botched your surgery because he himself was ill, or the hospital staff gave you the wrong medication and it led to a disability. There are lots of reasons Floridians want to sue their doctors, radiologists, surgeons and hospitals — and many do. Florida medical malpractice attorneys say their phones ring round the clock with callers who want to sue. But those attorneys turn away the majority of those callers. So even if you were wronged by a doctor or medical professional, or by a hospital error, it could be nearly impossible to get a lawyer to represent you. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

The Amazon Effect: How much money do new facilities generate from property taxes?

For local tax collectors, Amazon is the gift that keeps on giving. Nowhere is that more evident in Florida than in Daytona Beach, where the taxable value on a 211-acre parcel soared from $49,168 to $11,599,157 once Amazon took possession of the property where it is building a 2.8 million-square-foot distribution center. And once the facility is built, the taxable value is expected to again soar to more than $100 million, generating property taxes well in excess of $1 million. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]

Florida hotels have stacked up thousands of violations of a 2019 sex-trafficking law. But not one has been fined.

More than 14,000 citations have been issued to 6,669 hotels and other public lodging establishments for violating the law, which requires employees to be trained to recognize and report trafficking for sex or forced labor. Violators are subject to fines of up to $2,000 a day. But the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has not issued a single fine, even though more than 100 hotels and other lodging establishments have racked up at least six violations each. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Florida utility customers will pay more next year as companies look to guard against future storms

State regulators have signed off on electric utilities collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from customers next year to pay for projects aimed at bolstering the power system against storms. The Florida Public Service Commission approved proposals by Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Co. and Florida Public Utilities Co. The proposals involved amounts that will be recovered from customers for projects planned in 2023 and to “true up” costs for projects in 2021 and 2022. The true-up process involves resolving discrepancies between projected and actual costs. [Source: WUSF]

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› SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, company’s first overseas park, to debut in 2023
SeaWorld’s first theme park outside the United States, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, will open in the United Arab Emirates next year with six marine environments, five floors of indoor attractions and zero killer whales. John Linn, SeaWorld’s vice president of global theme park development, said the park is the culmination of over 50 years of SeaWorld’s theme park experience and will include “all the cool things we wanted to do that we never got the approval to.”

› North Miami is still considering changing its local election date. Residents are concerned
The North Miami city council discussed changing its May 2023 municipal elections to November 2024 to align with national elections, but ultimately decided to delay their vote on the matter. The change would mean that two council members would spend an additional 18 months in office.

› Hurricanes knock out traffic lights. Could a Tampa solar sidewalk change that?
Could a solution to traffic lights going dark in big storms come from the Florida sun? The city of Tampa is looking to find out. In a pilot program, the city has installed 84 solar panels on the surface of a downtown sidewalk near the intersection of Jefferson and Cass streets to soak up the abundant sunlight and power the traffic signal there.

› MSC Cruises’ private Ocean Cay is a dream realized, environmental victory
What was once an industrial wasteland of an island has been turned into a tropical paradise with diligent work by the MSC Foundation, the philanthropic nonprofit arm of MSC Cruises. Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve is a 95-acre private island in the Bahamas for cruise guests that features glistening white sand beaches and shimmering turquoise blue waters. But it’s also a hard-won environmental victory for MSC, which transformed the space into a welcoming, pristine ecosystem to be enjoyed by humans, marine life and avian species.

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