December 8, 2023

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/25/2023

Lawyers struggle to advise Florida schools on books

It’s been no secret that Florida law governing issues such as library book selection has confused educators around the state. Attorneys charged with advising school boards and superintendents have found themselves equally flummoxed. Recently released email chains show school board lawyers struggling to determine whether mere mention of certain words would get districts in trouble. Meanwhile, the state has advised school districts to consult their lawyers if uncertain about what a law means. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Stunned by a Citizens Insurance ‘depopulation’ letter? Here’s what you need to know.

Tens of thousands of customers of state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. are getting a stunning surprise in their mailboxes. It’s a letter from Citizens’ “Depopulation Unit” stating their policies have been assumed by a private-market company. Cause for celebration? Not if the private company’s estimated annual premium is higher than what the policyholder is paying Citizens. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

School districts hit by Idalia face millions of dollars in repairs

The school districts hit by Hurricane Idalia are looking at millions of dollars in repairs. Taylor, Madison, Suwannee and Dixie County school districts were hit the hardest by the Category 3 hurricane, with Taylor experiencing the most damage, said Dave Stephens, executive director of risk management for the Florida School Boards Insurance Trust. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]

Florida researchers find stormwater ponds and reclaimed water feed red tide blooms

Nutrients from stormwater and reclaimed water are feeding red tide algae blooms, according to findings from a peer-reviewed study out of the University of Florida. There are over 76,000 urban stormwater ponds across Florida, and the state leads the nation in reclaimed water use, primarily in residential areas. [Source: WFSU]

Take a safari through Florida's 500 invasive species

Florida has more than 500 invasive species— more than any other state in the country. In July, Vox reporter Benji Jones spent a week in Florida on what he’s called an “invasive species safari." Essentially, he traveled all around the state, from Tampa and Naples to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, searching for nonnative animals — and he found them. [Source: WBUR]


› Judge weighs Gainesville utility overhaul
A Leon County circuit judge heard arguments Friday in a challenge by the city of Gainesville to a new state law overhauling control of the Gainesville municipal utility. Judge Angela Dempsey held a hearing on competing motions by the city and the state for summary judgment in the case filed in July. The law, approved this spring by the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis, created the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority to direct the utility system, known as Gainesville Regional Utilities.

› Two new towers will be West Palm Beach’s tallest as the city sees massive growth
Two massive towers are rising in West Palm Beach, reaching 426 feet high to clutch the tile for the city’s tallest high-rises. They’re just the latest sign of the expansive growth as the downtown lures more businesses and residents. The 30-story mixed-use complex, titled One West Palm, will contain 326 luxury residential units, 200,000 square feet of Class A office space, a hotel and a long list of amenities, including a fitness club, spa, movie theater and indoor tennis courts.

› Tampa Bay EDC wins top international award
The Tampa Bay Economic Development Council has won the International Economic Development Council's Gold Economic Development Organization of the Year Excellence Award for 2023 in the large market category, which means regions with a population greater than 500,000.

› Miami-Dade County looks to cut ties with Ygrene energy improvement funding
Miami-Dade County is moving to cut all ties with a tax assessment district that helps finance energy-efficient home improvements and is administered by Ygrene, whose financial problems left some homeowners in highly publicized binds. The commissioner who is championing the pullout says the improvement financing vehicle is actually making consumer loans.

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Art Basel attracts artists from all over the globe. This New York artist shares his experience
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