Why legalized sports betting is unlikely in 3 largest U.S. states, including Florida
Sports gambling legalization efforts are nonexistent or very unlikely to happen anytime soon in the nation’s three most populous states, which together hold more than a quarter of the U.S. population. The reasons vary. In Florida, powerful tribal interests that control most casino gambling are reluctant to reopen their agreements with the state and potentially share the gambling market with other players, including card rooms and race tracks. More from the AP and the Tampa Bay Times.
How big is Puerto Rico’s economy? We may soon find out
Puerto Rico has a bigger economy than some states, but how big — and how badly it was undercut by Hurricane Maria — is not clear because the island is the only U.S. territory whose economic data is not fully measured by the U.S. Commerce Department. That’s about to change. [Source: MIami Herald]
Florida environment weighs on lawmakers as boom continues
From water quality to infrastructure needs, education funding and prison overcrowding, many of the big issues facing Florida revolve around a familiar challenge: Rapid population growth. It’s an issue that has been at the heart of Florida’s public policy debates for many years. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Florida governor meets with NYC businesses amid Amazon fallout
Two weeks after Amazon announced it was abandoning its deal to come to Queens because of vocal opposition from local officials and activists, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has swooped into the city to tell major financial firms that they won’t have such problems in his state. [Source: NY Post]
Florida may get into the business of backing films again if state bills pass
Even without the state incentive that lures productions to places like Georgia, the Tampa Bay area is experiencing an independent film boom as seven-figure budget flicks schedule shoots across the area. Now, two different state programs have been proposed in Senate bills that could bring more film and television work here. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Company that oversaw construction of collapsed FIU bridge files for bankruptcy [The Real Deal]
The contractor behind a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University that collapsed last year said it filed for bankruptcy to reorganize with protection from creditors. A spokesman for the company said MCM plans to reorganize in bankruptcy and resume normal business operations over the next six months.
› Pretzel company searches for franchisees as it expands further into Florida [Business Observer]
It serves traditional soft pretzels, mini pretzels, cinnamon pretzels, pretzel dogs — and don’t forget cheesesteak pretzels. Now Philly Pretzel Factory, with 173 locations, plans to expand further into Florida, setting its sights specifically on Sarasota.
› Could Brightline trains one day ride through a tunnel under the New River? [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Brightline train passengers may one day be whisked through the heart of Fort Lauderdale — over a high span or even through a tunnel — in a big change in how trains get past the New River.
› Orlando Tesla store may close as Elon Musk company will shutter most dealerships [Orlando Sentinel]
Employees at Orlando’s Tesla dealership didn’t know Friday if the electric car showroom and sales center will close after founder Elon Musk announced a major shift in how the company would sell vehicles
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› Florida ranks near bottom in services for babies, toddlers [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Florida finished in the bottom 25 percent nationally in a new report on how well the state provides for babies and toddlers. The “State of Babies Yearbook 2019” cited Florida’s higher than national average numbers in several key metrics, including infant mortality rate, babies with low birth weight and uninsured low-income babies, for the ranking.
› SpaceX’s new crew capsule aces space station docking [Miami Herald]
SpaceX's new crew capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, acing its second milestone in just over a day. No one was aboard the Dragon capsule launched Saturday on its first test flight, only an instrumented dummy. But that quickly changed once the hatch swung open and the space station astronauts floated inside.
› Tampa’s Laser Spine Institute abruptly closes, lays off hundreds [Tampa Bay Times]
The Laser Spine Institute abruptly closed its doors and fired its employees on Friday, apparently without warning. The 14-year-old institute that regularly advertised its minimally invasive spinal procedures notified its more than 500 employees nationwide that it would cease operations.
› Jacksonville’s ethics commission wants to enforce open government [Florida Times-Union]
The Jacksonville Ethics Commission wants to begin investigating and imposing penalties for non-criminal violations of Florida’s open government laws, an idea gaining traction inside City Hall after a State Attorney’s Office investigation found City Council members regularly spoke privately on the phone but failed to uncover evidence that met the high threshold necessary to file criminal charges.