January 27, 2023

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 11/29/2022

Inflation woes may not move legislative leaders to hike Florida’s low jobless benefits

Since 1999, when the Legislature raised it from $250 per week to $275, so many other states — including Republican-controlled states — have increased their benefits that Florida is the second-stingiest state in the U.S. Only Mississippi is lower, at $235 per week. Florida also has the lowest maximum weeks of benefits available, at 12 weeks. Inflation has spiked this year, reaching to nearly 9% in some months, the highest rate in at least 40 years. The economy has seen even higher increases for some needs such as select food items and gas, which has pinched pocketbooks, especially for low-income households. The maximum of $275 per week in 1999 would be the equivalent of nearly $492 today. [Source: Florida Politics]

Will a wrecked Cuban economy — and record Cuban migration — revive U.S.-Cuba engagement?

For the past five years, U.S.-Cuba relations have been all but frozen. But circumstances may be moving things back toward cooperation. The Biden administration wants to reduce the record number of Cuban migrants arriving at the U.S. southern border. But that won't happen unless Cuba's wrecked economy improves… which really can't happen without U.S. help… which really won't happen until Cuba's communist regime stops human rights violations, like imprisoning people for anti-government protests. [Source: WLRN]

State looks to limit protests at Capitol

Florida officials may get new tools to silence dissent and prevent demonstrations at the State Capitol under new freedom of speech rules proposed by the Department of Management Services, the agency that serves as the state's property manager. DMS wants to empower law enforcement to remove individuals they think may prove disruptive from traditional public forum arenas — such as the fourth floor rotunda separating the Florida House and Senate chambers, and the Capitol Courtyard. The Florida ACLU warns, as currently written, the proposed rules are a how-to guide to chill political speech. [Source: Palm Beach Post]

Florida Trend Exclusive
FPL's first-ever commercial drone helps quickly identify and restore power outage issues

FPL has launched the first-ever commercial, fixed-wing drone of its scale designed to capture high-quality images and videos of its infrastructure and thousands of miles of power lines. Called FPLAir One, the drone is capable of flying from South Florida to the Panhandle and back on a single flight. The device will help maintenance crews identify potential issues before an outage occurs and quickly survey damage to power lines and substations following severe weather outbreaks and hurricanes. [Source: Florida Trend]

Don't call Florida a red state yet: Left-leaning groups say their voters stayed home

Florida Republicans won elections up and down the ballot by staggering margins this year. Some political experts say this election could mark the end of Florida's long-time status as the biggest swing state in the country, but Democrats and third-party groups say they are not convinced Florida is officially a Republican stronghold. They say there's a more complicated explanation for what happened in Florida during the midterms. [Source: NPR]

Consortium of Florida Education Foundations

Right now, a Florida student is having a learning experience made better by the work we do. Our work is about students. It’s about teachers. It’s about connecting them with the resources they need to be successful in the classroom and in life. Our mission: We connect individuals, organizations and financial resources to build the capacity and impact of local education foundations. Our network includes an education foundation in nearly each of Florida’s 67 countywide school districts. Collectively, Consortium members serve 98% of the state’s 2.9 million K-12 students.[Sponsored report]


› The Florida Lottery encourages retailers, players to prevent underage gaming
For the holiday season, Florida Lottery wants to help prevent retailers and players from encouraging underage gaming. “Responsible play is a cornerstone of our mission here at the Lottery. By ensuring that every Lottery player and retailer does their part to prevent underage gaming this holiday season, we can create a more enjoyable playing experience for everyone.” said Florida Lottery Secretary John F. Davis.

› Jacksonville reopening pandemic aid website for eviction, utility help
Jacksonville City Hall is reopening an online portal at 8 a.m. Wednesday for people to request federal pandemic aid to prevent evictions or utility shutoffs. The city has received another $3.3 million for rent and utility aid after distributing $62.3 million since March 2021. Applications will be taken at www.coj.net/erap through Dec. 5 at 5 p.m.

› A Hialeah woman’s lawsuit over Velveeta seeks over $5 million from Kraft Heinz
Microwaveable cups of Velveeta take longer to make than the outer box says — “ready in 3 1/2 minutes” — making the packaging fraudulent and misleading, a Hialeah woman’s federal class action civil lawsuit claims. Amount of damages sought by Amanda Ramirez’s lawsuit against Kraft Heinz: over $5 million. That’s not just for her, but for Velveeta microwave buyers in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Utah, New Mexico, Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee and Virginia.

› Central Florida man finds his voice, business through art and typewriter poetry
Although words are Marquis Lee’s specialty, he struggles to find the nouns and adjectives to adequately and accurately describe himself. There’s too much to contain in a sentence. “I’m still finding myself as far as the arts go because I have so many different things that I do,” he said. “I consider myself a multidisciplinary visionary artist. I delve into photography, a bit of videography, typewriter poetry, spoken word poetry, performance poetry and painting as well.” Many of these myriad media Lee has long enjoyed as passions and hobbies. Now, he’s finding a way to make a living for his family and himself through his words, paintbrushes and creative energy.

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Mika Shevit, 48, who has run a half-marathon distance for more than 650 days consecutively and is looking to reach a 1000-day streak, talks about participating in the 2023 Miami Marathon.


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