Monday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today
Florida tourism climbs during first quarter
First-quarter tourism into Florida was up 6.7 percent from a year ago, with overseas visitors still under pre-COVID-19 figures, according to a release from the governor’s office Friday. Florida’s tourism agency Visit Florida estimated a record 37.9 million travelers into the state during the first quarter of 2023, up from a prior single-quarter high of 35.528 million in the first three months of 2022. [Source: WUSF]
After Hurricane Irma ravaged parts of Florida, victims are still waiting for the state’s help
HUD has given Florida $615 million since 2018 to repair and rebuild properties for under and uninsured Irma victims. Now, five years later, hundreds are still waiting on help from the Rebuild Florida program. The Department of Economic Opportunity administers the Rebuild Florida program. DEO confirms it has spent $311 million and has returned more than 3,000 people to their homes so far. [Source: WFTS]
Why property insurance could keep rising in Florida
Insurance companies buy their own insurance — reinsurance — to spread out risk and cover claims. Experts are expecting the price of it in Florida to jump 40 - 50% — or even 70%. Inflation, fraud, litigation, and Hurricane Ian — "the second costliest insured loss ever on record globally" according to a report by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association — all contributed to reinsurers backing away. [Source: Axios]
How will Florida’s new immigration law impact law enforcement?
Tampa Bay police departments said they are not currently conducting traffic stops to check driver’s licenses despite Florida’s new immigration law, which will not recognize documents issued by other states to those without legal status. But Nanci Palacios, a Dover advocate, advised immigrants not to risk driving without a license and to be accompanied by someone with proper documentation. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Daylight saving time: Sunshine Protection Act reintroduced. Still fall back in Florida? Yes, for now
Just over a week before daylight saving time started for 2023, the Sunshine Protection Act − bills to permanently adopt daylight saving time − were reintroduced. That was two months ago. How are they doing? Well, in November 2023, we'll still have to change our wall clocks by one hour and "fall back." So if you're not a fan of daylight saving time, the good news is you have six months to air out your grievances. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Does downtown Tampa work at the office or go hybrid? Survey has answers
What do downtowns look like in a post-pandemic shutdown world? A recent survey of workers and residents in downtown Tampa offers this glimpse. Very few employees — only 8% — reported that they worked fully from home in 2022, a notable drop from the 28% who said they worked totally from home in 2020. But plenty of workers — 43% — have been embracing the hybrid model of working both at home and in the office, up from 34% in 2020.
› Three Florida Keys water main pipes burst in a week. The state is now investigating
The state’s main environmental enforcement agency this month informed the Florida Keys’ water utility that it’s under investigation for failing to maintain aging underground pipes, according to a letter obtained by the Miami Herald. The deteriorating state of the pipes resulted in three breaks in one week in March, disrupting traffic and temporarily cutting off water to the island chain, where residents, businesses and tourists continue to be asked to conserve usage.
› Orlando among nation’s fastest growing metro areas in 2022
The flight from urban areas that took place during the first year of the pandemic either reversed or slowed in its second year, as last year metropolitan areas in Texas and Florida boomed and declines in New York and Los Angeles were halved, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. During the first full year of the pandemic in 2021, more than half of the 20 largest U.S. metro areas lost residents, and all U.S. metro areas grew by just 0.1%, as fear of the virus sent residents fleeing the most densely-populated urban areas and the popularity of remote work allowed people to live far from their workplaces.
› Pinellas should give Dalí $34 million for expansion, tourism panel says
Pinellas County should give the Dalí Museum $34 million it is seeking, its tourism board said this week, which would cover about half the cost of a planned expansion. The Tourist Development Council made the recommendation at its monthly meeting. The final decision rests with the Pinellas County Commission, which will vote on whether to approve the funding this summer.
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