Florida gambling deal could bring in $2.5 billion
Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe finalized a 30-year gambling agreement on Friday, inking a deal that would deliver at least $2.5 billion to Florida over the next five years in exchange for giving the tribe control over statewide sports betting. While talks between the state and the tribe had been ongoing for months, DeSantis over the last few weeks played a personal role in cementing what has been a perennially elusive deal. DeSantis noted Friday that the agreement, which requires approval by the Legislature, would allow the state to capitalize on online sport betting. More from the News Service of Florida and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Gavel awaits Florida lawmakers in session’s closing week
Florida lawmakers are expected to gavel their session to a close on Friday — if they can produce a state budget by Tuesday — but return to the state Capitol two weeks later for a special session to consider a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. While sticking points remain in budget negotiations, lawmakers seem poised to meet their budget deadline. The state budget is expected to be about $100 billion, although the specific amount is still under negotiation. [Source: AP]
Where are the millions who aren’t getting vaccinated? Florida won’t say.
As officials work to ramp up the number of Floridians getting coronavirus vaccines, a key element is knowing which pockets of a community aren’t getting the shots, experts say. The Florida Department of Health has said it would keep track of that information by ZIP code. But in response to records requests, it has released just a sliver of the data to the public. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida’s online sales tax is now law. So what does this mean when you click ‘Buy?’
Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill (SB 50) that requires out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases made by Floridians, the state is soon poised to collect an estimated $1 billion a year in revenue. Supporters, such as many Florida brick and mortar businesses and the Florida Retail Federation, applauded the move that made it official on Monday, April 19. But what does that mean for you, the consumer, when you hit “buy” on your laptop or smart phone? [Source: Miami Herald]
Elon Musk says reusability will ‘revolutionize space’ after recycled rocket launches astronauts from Florida
An hour before sunrise Friday, four astronauts launched from Florida for SpaceX’s third crewed mission to the International Space Station. The rocket’s trail glowed in the pitch-black sky as much of the Space Coast was still asleep. The mission known as Crew-2 is the first time astronauts reached orbit in a refurbished rocket and capsule under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which largely relies on private companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The Falcon 9 rocket is the same one that launched Crew-1 in November, and the Dragon capsule the foursome will ride in also carried Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› A ban on new gas stations? Not in Florida, lawmakers say [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A proposal that would prohibit local governments from banning gas stations is set for a final vote in the Senate. Sen. Travis Hutson, a St. Augustine Republican who is sponsoring the “preemption” bill (HB 839), said the proposal would allow local governments to advance clean-energy options without prohibiting already-existing energy sources. The bill also would prevent mandating infrastructure, including electric vehicle charging stations, on fuel retailers.
› One Florida McDonald’s offers $50 to anyone who interviews for a job [WTSP]
As businesses and restaurants continue to reopen during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many are struggling to hire workers. One Tampa McDonald's appears to have attempted to solve that problem by offering people $50 to show up at an interview.
› St. Petersburg, Pinellas County pick consultant to negotiate with Rays [Tampa Bay Times]
City and Pinellas County leaders selected Inner Circle Sports LLC, a New York-based sports and entertainment investment bank, to help them negotiate a new stadium deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. The four-month contract, which in draft form is valued at $80,000, will call for Inner Circle Sports to help public officials in three ways: prepare them for negotiations with the team, assist in the negotiations and ultimately to help the city draft a preliminary agreement with the team.
› This year’s O, Miami festival puts poetry in your face — and in other unlikely places [Miami Herald]
During April, National Poetry Month, festival organizers hope you’ll see their installations, attend their events and realize that poetry is everywhere, whether it’s the iambic pentameter of a train clacking along the tracks or the song of a mockingbird. Listen to the stanzas of a thunderstorm. No need to be a Shakespeare scholar. The festival makes poetry accessible.
UF Research spending reached a record $942.2 million in fiscal year 2020, despite a two-month pause in most operations due to the pandemic. According to a new report to the National Science Foundation, research expenditures supported by the federal government increased to $397.2 million, while state and local expenditures increased to $169.2 million. Learn about ongoing UF research in areas such as Alzheimer’s, early childhood learning and agriculture.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› Prominent banker honored for influence in industry and community [Business Observer]
Well-known area banker Rita Lowman has been named the Tampa Bay Chamber’s woman of influence for 2021. Lowman is now president of Tampa-based Pilot Bank and in her career has managed or been part of 22 acquisitions, including the Nations Bank, Barnett Bank deal in 1997. Last year she was named to the board of directors of the American Bankers Association and is serving as vice chairwoman of the ABA’s Government Relations Council. She’ll take over as chairwoman in 2022, according to a statement.
› Ponte Vedra-based Treace Medical Concepts upsizes IPO [Jacksonville Daily Record]
Treace Medical Concepts Inc. upsized its initial public offering as its stock was priced April 22, with existing investors selling more shares. The Ponte Vedra-based company, which makes devices for bunion surgery, said it is selling 11.25 million shares at $17 each. The offering consists of 6.25 million new shares and 5 million shares sold by existing stockholders. Its previous registration statement said existing stockholders would sell 3.125 million shares.
› Florida may loosen ban on killing goliath grouper, a giant fish with a fan club [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A 600-pound fish that has become an unlikely South Florida tourist attraction may soon have a target on its back. Goliath groupers gather around the sunken freighters, drug-smuggling ships and other vessels that form artificial reefs off the coast, where legions of divers photograph these fish that display unusual curiosity about their human visitors.
› Pentagon mystery with a Florida connection is solved. Sort of. [Tampa Bay Times]
A very strange thing happened on the internet the day President Joe Biden was sworn in. A shadowy company residing at a shared workspace above a Florida bank announced to the world’s computer networks that it was now managing a colossal, previously idle chunk of the internet owned by the U.S. Department of Defense. That real estate has since more than quadrupled to 175 million addresses — about 1/25th the size of the current internet.