Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Families lose homes after Florida cities turbocharge code enforcement foreclosures

Fort Pierce, like a number of cities across Florida, has begun to aggressively foreclose on homes in the city for violations ranging from unmowed lawns to unsafe structures. The foreclosures have brought in millions for the cities, but have taken away homes that have been in families for generations, particularly in heavily Black and lower income neighborhoods. And the lawyer who has aggressively pursued the practice is trying to make cities in South Florida next. [Source: Miami Herald]

Florida National Guard members would be paid for recruiting to build up military in the state

Most members of the Florida National Guard could be paid to bring in new recruits, as lawmakers expand efforts to bulk up the military in the state. The House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee on Monday unanimously supported a bill (HB 723) that would provide $250 to “recruiting assistants” for each new member referred to the National Guard and an additional $250 upon a recruit’s enlistment. [Source: News Service of Florida]

When will Florida property insurance reforms bring relief to homeowners?

Over the past year, state lawmakers have made changes on paper through several attempts to cure Florida’s property insurance crisis. But a homeowner in Florida who opens their annual renewal and sees their premium has increased, or finds out their carrier has suddenly dropped them, may not have noticed anything different. That was the expectation, after all. [Source: Florida Today]

DeSantis wants to ban federal digital currency, despite debunking of concerns

Echoing recent claims by Alex Jones and other right-wing personalities that the federal government wants to create a Communist-style surveillance system to track the spending habits of Americans, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said he wants to ban such activities in Florida. At a news conference in Panama City, DeSantis said he’d heard such a plan was in the works within the Biden administration. He called on the Legislature to pass a law forbidding the use of Centralized Banking Digital Currency, or CBDC, in Florida, which he called a backdoor attempt at pushing “woke ideology.” [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida gas prices have topped the national average

Florida gasoline prices topped the national average for the first time since early February, with pump prices increasing 14 cents in the state over the past week. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Florida was $3.45 on Monday, a penny higher than the national average, according to the AAA auto club. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› St. Pete technology company one of the fastest growing in Florida
There’s a company in St. Petersburg that has seen exponential growth and success from buying excess computer chips and electronic parts for resale to businesses dealing with supply chain issues. IBuyXS is currently the fastest growing businesses in the state of Florida, according to Inc 5000’s list of fastest growing companies in 2023.

› National spotlight on fight over Eatonville land
In less than two weeks, a decision will be made to determine the future of a 100-acre plot of land in Eatonville, the sale of which could dramatically change the historic Black town. For months, residents and elected officials have been speaking out against the project, adamant that the 350 houses, townhomes and apartments the planned development would bring would erase the town’s legacy. Over the weekend, the controversy over the possible sale and development garnered nation attention in a segment that aired on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

› If you thought this winter in Jacksonville was warm, you're right. It was record-breaking.
After a Spring Break week in Jacksonville that felt more like winter than spring, numbers just released by the National Weather Service show that this winter felt more like spring. This winter, Jacksonville set a record for the most days with a high temperature at or above 80 degrees at 28 days, the National Weather Service Jacksonville reported Thursday. The normal for that time span is just 10 days. The weather service defines the winter period as December through February.

› Miami artist combines creativity and work ethic to get her hair products in Walmart stores
Peace, love and joy are three themes central to the artwork and life of 2011 Coral Reef High School graduate and South Beach resident Reyna Noriega. Whether it’s spending time with her Cuban father and Bahamian mother, three siblings or pet schnauzer Pepper, the 2015 Florida International University alumna takes pride in her Miami roots and her family’s Caribbean lineage. The visual artist and entrepreneur’s latest collaboration with hair care company Goody is emblematic of that.

Go to page 2 for more stories ...

› Disney plans 4,000 layoffs as part of previously announced job cuts: report
The Walt Disney Co. plans to lay off about 4,000 people company-wide as part of the 7,000 job cuts CEO Bob Iger announced in February, according to a report by Business Insider. Managers have been asked to identify layoff candidates by April, an unidentified person with knowledge of Disney’s decision told the publication. The same individual said the remaining 3,000 cuts will come from open positions that will be eliminated, Business Insider reported. It is unclear how many of Disney’s jobs in Florida could be affected by the cuts.

› Undercover agents saw nothing ‘lewd’ at Orlando drag show. Florida is going after venue anyway
When the historic Plaza Live theater in Orlando hosted an event last December called “A Drag Queen Christmas,” the show drew a full house, noisy street demonstrators — and a small squad of undercover state agents there to document whether children were being exposed to sights that ran afoul of Florida’s decency law. But while agents took photos of three minors — who appeared to be accompanied by adults — at the Orlando drag show, they acknowledged that nothing indecent had happened on stage.

› $800 million hotel, condo project moves toward 2024 completion
One of the largest construction projects in the region, the Residences at the St. Regis Longboat Key, is playing out like an orchestra of materials, manpower and managed chaos. The $800 million, two-and-a-half-year-long project is the largest on Longboat since Arvida started shaping the Key in the 1970s.

› Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard resigns suddenly amid frustration
Less than one hour into the City Council’s budget workshop on Monday morning, Mayor Frank Hibbard said he was concerned about the direction his colleagues were taking the city, packed his briefcase and resigned from the dais. During the budget discussion, Hibbard was the lone council member to push back against spending $90 million on building a new City Hall and municipal services complex, a project currently with a $60 million deficit. Hibbard called a five minute break. When he returned, he began explaining what he said was one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make.