December 9, 2023

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 8/2/2023

Why do we need coral reefs? Here’s why they are so important.

The potentially record-breaking ocean temperatures don’t just make a sweaty day at the beach less refreshing — they also threaten the survival of coral reefs. This matters for everyone, not just divers and snorkelers, scientists say. Coral reefs’ economic impact goes beyond the commercial fishing industry. The total tourism value of Florida’s Coral Reef — a stretch of coral extending from the Dry Tortugas to the St. Lucie Inlet — is estimated at $1.1 billion annually. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida regulators balk at EPA power plant plan

Florida utility regulators and other industry officials are objecting to a federal proposal aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants, arguing the changes could drive up costs for consumers and hurt the reliability of the state’s electric system. The Florida Public Service Commission on Tuesday approved sending a document to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raising concerns that the proposed rule could “result in unjust, unreasonable, and excessively costly carbon emissions performance standards that would risk the safety, reliability and affordability of electric service in Florida.” [Source: News Service of Florida]

Is Florida failing its children? More babies are born early, at low weight and high risk of death

In 2021, 9% of babies born in Florida weighed less than 5½ pounds, an increase from 8.7% in 2019, a troubling trend considering birthweight is one of the strongest predictors of an infant’s health. “Florida is a state where a lot more work needs to be done to help children and families,” said Norin Dollard, senior policy analyst and Kids Count director for the Florida Policy Institute. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Industry group raises alarm that investment law could curb Florida growth

New legislation that went into effect July 1 seeking to curb the influence of the Chinese government on Florida’s affairs could hurt the state’s economy, the state is being warned. The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) is warning the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) of “unintended consequences” that may result from legislation restricting the land-owning rights of people from China. [Source: Florida Politics]

Florida’s provision will block aspirations to practice law among certain immigrants

Jose Godinez-Samperio was brought to the U.S. from Mexico by his parents when he was 9. In 2014, he achieved his dream of becoming a lawyer after the state amended legislation to allow non-U.S. citizens and immigrants without permanent legal status like him to pursue a career. But a new provision in Florida could change that. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› 'One storm away from a crisis': Effort underway to keep Blue Angels in Pensacola
When Hurricane Sally tore through the Pensacola area in 2019, it forced the Navy to condemn an aircraft hangar at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Three years later, local leaders are advocating for more federal funding to repair that hangar to avoid a distant but catastrophic scenario of losing the Blue Angels. The advocacy effort is part of reorganizing how the local business community advocates for bases like NAS Pensacola and NAS Whiting Field.

› Tampa's Slide Insurance to assume 100,000 more Citizens policies in latest take-out agreement
Slide Insurance is set to assume 100,000 policies from state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. in October, CEO Bruce Lucas told the Tampa Bay Business Journal. In June, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation granted Slide approval to assume 25,000 Citizens policies beginning this month. The latest agreement brings the Tampa-based insurance company’s book of business to 275,000 total policies in force.

› Sale completed: TIAA Bank is now EverBank
TIAA said Aug. 1 it completed the sale of its TIAA Bank subsidiary to private investors, and the bank is now operating as EverBank N.A. The company also said Greg Seibly became new chief executive officer for EverBank. Seibly has more than 35 years of financial services experience, most recently as president of Union Bank in Los Angeles before it was acquired in December by U.S. Bancorp.

› MIA sees record number of passengers in first half of 2023. Here's why.
Miami International Airport (MIA) has served a record number of passengers in the first six months of the year as more people return to flying all over the globe through South Florida's main gateway. There were nearly 26.2 million passengers who passed through MIA as of June, a 2.6% increase from the previous year that puts the airport on pace for more than 52 million travelers by the end of the year, according to audited statistics recently released by the airport.

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