Wednesday's Daily Pulse
Major insurance issues teed up for Florida's special session
With Florida’s property-insurance system in turmoil, state lawmakers could be poised to take major steps to try to stabilize the market during a special legislative session next week. Lawmakers will consider a series of hot-button insurance issues. Those issues include trying to curb costs of lawsuits over insurance claims; boosting the availability of critical reinsurance; limiting a long-controversial practice known as assignment of benefits; and bolstering the financial stability of the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Study: 70 percent of Florida’s coral reefs are eroding
The decline is a result of bleaching events which are driven by climate change, ship groundings and disease. In 2014, researchers discovered an outbreak of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, which is decimating reefs both in Florida and the Caribbean. The state’s coral reefs also support around 70,000 jobs and generate $8.5 billion annually, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show. [Source: The Hill]
Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida Icon: Craig Waters
"The first obligation of judges and courts is to maintain the independence of the judiciary," says Craig Waters, retired Florida Supreme Court communications director. "Florida’s long history of openness in state government, its Sunshine Laws, is I think something that Florida has done incredibly well. But I’m concerned that it’s under threat right now. Openness has worked well in the past. Let’s not abandon it now." [Source: Florida Trend]
Florida Supreme Court to weigh whether officers who kill can have identities shielded
The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that could decide whether the identities of police officers who kill civilians in violent encounters can be withheld from public record. Law enforcement is one of the only civilian professions in which the use of deadly force is authorized. The court is considering whether a Florida constitutional provision deems officers who use deadly force to be victims of imminent threats of harm and therefore protected under Marsy’s Law, preventing their identities from being made public. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
Puerto Rico governor aiming to expand business connections in Central Florida
Expanding the economic bridge between Puerto Rico and central Florida, Puerto Rico's governor expressed the importance of that relationship at an event Monday in Orlando. "There's a natural connection between Florida and Puerto Rico, which we are promoting," said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi. Thirty businesses were on hand at the Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality at Valencia College Downtown Orlando campus. "Some businesses already have a presence here, and I welcome that and I think that's great. They're expanding in Florida. Florida is their gateway to the U.S. market," Pierluisi said. [Source: WESH]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› ‘I just won Art Basel’: Famous DJ’s bank balance on display at ATM exhibit in Miami [Miami Herald]
Diplo was the king of Art Basel, temporarily. On Friday, the world famous DJ tweeted a video at The Perrotin Gallery’s much-publicized “ATM Leaderboard” brought to us by Brooklyn art collective MSCHF that doubled as “art.” Perrotin, Basel watchers may recall, is the same gallery that presented the famed banana attached to the wall with duct tape that sold for $120,000 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in 2019.
› Jacksonville's Changing Homelessness gets $2.5M Bezos grant to 'double down on our work' [Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville-based Changing Homelessness has received a $2.5 million grant — the largest in the agency's nearly 50-year history of serving struggling families in Duval and Nassau counties — from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Day 1 Families Fund. The nonprofit will use the money to "leverage and improve existing family programs and fill in identified gaps," CEO Dawn Gilman said.
› Holiday Cosplay adds a winter twist to Tampa comic convention [Tampa Bay Times]
A winter holiday-themed comic convention is coming to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend. It will feature anime, comics, sci-fi, fantasy and gaming with voice actors, comic artists and professional cosplayers as guests. Dewey Caruthers, the organizer of the St. Pete Comic Con and Anime St. Pete, came up with the idea of a winter holiday party “for geeks and nerds to celebrate the season.”
› Orlando Epic Universe work is ‘right on track,’ executive says [Orlando Sentinel]
As enthusiasts spot roller coaster track at the construction site of Universal’s upcoming theme park Epic Universe, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said the Orlando attraction is “right on track” to open by summer 2025. “I don’t think we’ve said the exact date that we’re opening in, but we will have an impact in ‘25. It will open in time for the summer of ‘25,” he said Monday. Shell gave additional context on the theme park during the UBS Global TMT Conference on Monday, saying it has “perfect timing” as Orlando sees high demand from tourists.
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› Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab launching FIRST LEGO League robotics program [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
The Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab is launching a FIRST LEGO League robotics program for local students. The FIRST LEGO League introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children ages 4-16 through fun, hands-on learning. Participants gain real world problem-solving experience through a guided, global robotics program. FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."
› Attorney General sues to stop Miami-based robocall routing service [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
A Miami-based company accused of routing foreign-based robocalls into the United States is the target of a federal lawsuit by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody seeking to stop the alleged operation. Smartbiz Telecom LLC has continued to “facilitate the transmission of millions of foreign-based robocalls into the U.S.,” Moody’s office said in a news release about the suit that was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami. The suit alleges violations of federal laws barring telemarketing fraud, the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
› More than 100 animatronic dinosaurs and dragons on display in New Port Richey [Tampa Bay Times]
Realistic-looking animatronic dinosaurs and dragons are stomping the grounds of a New Port Richey education center, and it’s all in the name of science. Dinos & Dragons, a traveling exhibit of creatures, is in place in downtown New Port Richey Dec. 9-Feb. 26 at the Harry Schwettman Education Center in downtown New Port Richey.
› Port Canaveral lines up busy 2023. Here’s what to expect. [Orlando Business Journal]
More ships and passengers will kick off vacations out of Port Canaveral in 2023, said leaders. The Central Florida sea hub expects to see 5.8 million passengers come through the port next year, up 41.5% from 4.1 million cruise travelers in 2022, said port leaders at a state of the port event on Nov. 30.