Thursday's Afternoon Update
What you need to know about Florida today
In major move, Space Force selects Florida's Space Coast for STARCOM training headquarters
After years of surveys and deliberations, the Space Force on Wednesday announced it would headquarter one of its major commands at Patrick Space Force Base in Florida. The headquarters for the Space Training and Readiness Command, or STARCOM, will initially bring hundreds of personnel to the Space Coast to help develop training programs for Space Force members. More from Florida Today, the News Service of Florida, and the Orlando Sentinel.
Survey: 20% of Floridians make no prep for hurricane season, despite last year’s destruction
A recent hurricane prep survey by AAA revealed how Floridians plan — or don’t plan — for deadly storms. The annual survey shows that 20% of those asked said they do nothing at all to prepare for hurricane season. AAA conducted the survey, which queried 400 residents ranging in age from 18 to over 65, in late April. As for how they react to evacuation warnings, 24% said they simply ignore them. Of those who actually heed them, 56% say the hurricane needs to be at least a Category 3 storm, with wind speeds reaching 111 mph to 129 mph, to drive them from their homes. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
New law kills Enterprise Florida, creates commerce agency
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed a bill that will eliminate Enterprise Florida, the state’s business-recruitment agency, and announced that J. Alex Kelly will serve as the new commerce secretary. The bill (HB 5), a priority of House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, will shift contracts and more than 20 programs to the Department of Economic Opportunity, which will be renamed the Department of Commerce. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Florida’s homeowner insurance rates are four times the national average
Hurricane season officially starts Thursday. But no matter how many storms hit Florida this year, the state’s residents are already struggling as they try to get homeowners’ insurance. National insurers have very little presence in Florida. Big insurance companies dominate more than half the market in the rest of the country. But in Florida, State Farm has about 7% of the market, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group. No other major insurer has as much as 2%. More from KESQ.
Florida unions are working around new restrictions on how dues are collected
Florida unions are getting creative when it comes to collecting members’ dues after a law passed making it illegal to deduct these fees from a person’s paycheck. Ron Pollard is the local president of Orange Education Support Professionals Association. He says without dues, unions die. Pollard is helping teachers and support staff sign up for an alternative payment platform called e-dues through the Florida Education Association. More from WFSU.
Michelle Maikisch is in the driver's seat
Pursuing a career in transportation made sense to Michelle Maikisch, a ninth-generation Floridian who grew up in a family of engineers and farmers in Cottondale, a rural town in the Florida Panhandle. Maikisch is leading a slew of transportation projects as executive director of the Central Florida Expressway Authority, the regional agency known as CFX that oversees a 125-mile expressway system in Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
» More from Florida Trend.
Florida Trend Exclusive
Out of the blue
Steve Murawski, a University of South Florida professor, offers an illuminating data point: The economic value of commercial and recreational fishing in Florida is greater than aerospace, citrus and ranching combined. Researcher Charles Colgan, working for the non-profit Florida Ocean Alliance, pegs the direct economic contribution of ocean resources and work in Florida — from a mai tai at a beachside hotel to a 7,000-passenger cruise ship — at $37 billion. Florida’s ocean economy, says Murawski, “really is the economic driver of the state.”
» Read more from Florida Trend.
In case you missed it:
Florida health coverage rate is better but still lags most of the U.S.
Numerous Florida college rankings drop under new U.S. News methodology