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Friday's Daily Pulse

State, national jobless claims decrease

First-time unemployment claims in Florida and across the nation dipped last week, while a study showed small businesses continuing to grapple with supply-chain issues. The U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday estimated Florida had 6,072 unemployment claims during the week that ended June 25, down from a revised count of 6,500 during the week that ended June 18. The initial estimate for the week ending June 18 was 5,778. Florida claim totals are similar to the pace before the COVID-19 pandemic caused massive job losses in 2020. [Source: News Service of Florida]

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Supreme Court’s EPA ruling could slow Florida’s climate change fight

A Supreme Court ruling that limits how federal environmental regulators can force power plants to shift away from fossil fuels could delay efforts to fight climate change, including in Florida, legal experts say. In an opinion released Thursday, Justices voted 6-3 to limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority. Republican attorneys general representing 18 states (along with Mississippi’s governor) brought the case, West Virginia v. EPA. Florida was not among them. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Crypto curious: Academics, bankers, entrepreneurs look to the future of money

Financial institutions are increasingly waking up to the fact that cryptocurrencies are here to stay and the forward-thinking ones can even benefit from them. Dunedin-based Achieva Credit Union, for example, recently became the first Florida credit union to offer bitcoin trading services via its mobile app, generating fees from each transaction. [Source: Business Observer]

Invasive giant African land snail found in Florida can carry meningitis, officials warn

Florida officials warn that the giant African snail can carry the parasite rat lungworm, which is known to cause meningitis in humans. According to the Florida Department of Health, people can get infected by the parasite by eating raw or undercooked snails, which may be found in small fragments on unwashed produce. More from WESH and KIRO.


› Low attendance at job fair as companies struggle to hire in Southwest Florida
The signs are hard to miss. Help wanted, now hiring and on-the-spot interviews. And still, employers can’t find enough people. At a job fair on Wednesday, there were more hiring managers than job seekers. The job fair was looking to fill 200 jobs. But that was wishful thinking. The room was nearly empty.

› Judge to temporarily stop Florida’s 15-week abortion ban
A Leon County circuit judge said he will temporarily block Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, finding it unconstitutional. But when the order will take effect is unclear. Although the abortion ban takes effect Friday, Judge John Cooper said his temporary injunction will not take effect until he signs the order. “It will not be today,” Cooper told attorneys on Thursday.

› Florida lowering fees to reinstate suspended driver licenses
The fees required to pay for reinstatement of a suspended driver license in Florida are about to be lowered, as a new state law takes effect on Friday. The law will make it more affordable to pay off court fees and reinstate licenses to drive. Beginning July 1, House Bill 397, among the laws approved by the governor, makes changes to how court clerks charge residents for fines and other penalties. Upfront payments in full will no longer be the only method to pay off fees for traffic violations and other citations.

› Will Disney get on board the Brightline, SunRail Sunshine Corridor?
A historic quest to pair public commuter and private intercity train service across the Orlando region – spanning from the gargantuan growth coming to the east, to the centrally positioned international airport and west to theme parks – has taken on blockbuster drama. Will the feds grant billions of dollars for Central Florida rail dreams? Will the SunRail commuter system’s local governments turn to dysfunctional bickering over inflating costs? Will Orange County voters approve a penny increase in sales tax to underwrite transportation upgrades?

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› As chlorine plant moves out of Tampa’s Rattlesnake Point, development readies
For years, a chlorine plant on a narrow peninsula once infested with the venomous reptiles it was named for concerned activists even as its 30 acres enticed developers. Activists and some City Council members worried that an accident could spread deadly gases on a narrow peninsula with no easy way to escape. As developers eyed the attractive waterfront real estate just south of the Gandy Bridge, a longtime occupant, Chemical Formulators Inc., became increasingly worried as well.

› As federal programs dry up, South Florida food banks struggle with inflation and increased demand
Families are feeling the bite of inflation at the gas pumps, at the grocery stores and in their rent prices. As more families turn to food banks to make ends meet, South Florida meal sharing programs are struggling too. “Demand is increasing out there,” said Stephen Shelley, the CEO of Florida-based food bank Farm Share. “The general population that are affected by inflation, high gas prices, high rent, food costs, household staples, they’re once again turning to food banks for support.”

› Prominent Naples family buys Florida Weekly media company
The Hoffmann Family of Cos., one of the most prolific buyers of businesses in the region, is getting into the newspaper and media business. The Naples-based company is acquiring Florida Media Group LLC, publishers of nine newspapers with a combined circulation of more than 220,000 weekly readers, according to a statement. Financial terms of the deal, to take place July 1, weren’t disclosed.

› TD Bank withdraws application for new Oviedo branch — but still plans to open one there
TD Bank still plans to add a location in the Oviedo market, despite withdrawing its application for a site there. The Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based American subsidiary of Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE: TD) had withdrawn a request to open a branch on Mitchell Hammock Road, according to the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The bank previously got approval to open a branch there in December 2021.