February 22, 2024

Monday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 2/12/2024

La Niña could develop this year, possibly bringing a busy hurricane season

One of the strongest El Niños on record that has forged a stormy winter in Florida will remain in play in the coming weeks and likely months ahead, bringing its rainy, windy ways for the rest of this winter, forecasters predict. But the so-called "super" El Niño — thought to be the fifth most powerful on record — is expected to shift to its counterpoint, La Niña, by June, with less than usual spring storminess but increased risk of wildfires and hurricanes. More from Florida Today, News 4 Jax, and South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Florida tax holidays won't match 2023's, but businesses might get another break

With business groups long saying the tax should be scrapped, state lawmakers could look at further reducing a tax on commercial leases. The House Ways & Means Committee on Thursday reviewed tax-cut “concepts,” including a possible reduction in the lease tax, as the House and Senate prepare in the coming weeks to negotiate a tax package. But committee Chairman Stan McClain, R-Ocala, agreed with Senate Appropriations Chairman Doug Broxson’s assessment that the final tax-cut package won’t reach a $1.3 billion total in the current fiscal year. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida could remove the majority of mentions of climate change from state law

A bill advancing through the Florida Legislature with the backing of the House speaker would delete the majority of references to climate change in state law. House Bill 1645 would enact wide-ranging changes to Florida’s energy policy, something Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, has said is needed to ensure state residents’ power is reliable and affordable. In the process, the bill would delete eight times the phrase “climate change” is mentioned in current law. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida cruise ships are filling up fast for spring and summer vacations, AAA says

AAA says a majority of spring and summer cruise vacations are booked during the first three months of the year. Officials said the record-setting bookings from the end of 2023 have carried over to this year. The first 3 months of the year are known as “wave season,” because demand is strong as families book cruises for spring break. AAA says many itineraries are almost sold out.[Source: WFTV]

U.S. military hopes one day to move supplies, maybe troops, on SpaceX’s Starship

While NASA is rooting for SpaceX to achieve Starship success so it can land humans on the moon, the U.S. military has plans of their own for the massive rocket that could include launches from Florida’s Space Coast. Elon Musk’s next-generation rocket currently in development at SpaceX’s southeast Texas facilities is gearing up for its third suborbital test flight as soon as this month after its first two ended in explosions last year. It’s part of the company’s long-term plans for a completely reusable spacecraft with more payload capacity into space than any other rocket ever. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Want an airport job that pays $90,000 or more a year? FLL has openings and is hiring
If you want a career that keeps people on the move, Broward County’s airport system is hiring. The county is listing a variety of positions, some with salaries that exceed $90,000 a year. Note that private airport vendors, such as restaurants and shops, hire separately.

› Who actually eats the Florida State Fair food? This Tampa thrill-seeker.
The Florida State Fair, which opened Thursday for a 12-day run, is infamous for its weird takes on food, like pulled pork on top of a funnel cake or ice cream on a burger. Tampa is often the place that debuts these famous concoctions. It is the birthplace of the Krispy Kreme Donut Burger, and it elevated the Pickle Pizza to national fame.

› Lobbyist wrote bill to protect Visit Orlando but sought to hide his role
A state bill that would have restricted the ability of Orange County commissioners to cut Visit Orlando’s funding was written not by the senator who carried it, but by a lobbyist for the county, the Sentinel has learned. Lobbyist Chris Carmody sought to hide his role in the legislation, which is now raising eyebrows and stirring anger among county commissioners who believe he was undermining the county’s interests when he is paid to defend them.

› ‘A brand new future’ for South Florida’s only HBCU after it gets a $1 million donation
Computer science students at Florida Memorial University — South Florida’s only Historically Black University or College (HBCU) — use outdated and basic Dell computers to learn about artificial intelligence (AI). Meanwhile, other students nearby at larger universities like Florida International University and the University of Miami dabble with cutting-edge servers with graphics processing units (GPUs) to do the same.

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