December 9, 2023

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 9/26/2023

Business owners say minimum wage hike will strengthen the economy

Florida’s minimum wage will increase from $11 to $12 an hour on Sept. 30 and business leaders across Florida are welcoming the raise, saying it will boost consumer spending, bolster local businesses and strengthen the economy. Florida’s minimum wage will continue to increase by $1 per year until it reaches $15 in 2026, followed by cost of living increases in subsequent years. [Source: South Central Florida Life]

Florida Trend Exclusive
Where the wild things are

If it’s built in rural Florida, there will be wildlife roaming about. In Southwest Florida, an FPL motion-activated wildlife camera in Hendry County has captured Florida panthers traversing a fenced solar plant. “The cameras have observed thousands of animals — including panthers, bears, deer, rabbits, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, caracaras, sandhill cranes, herons, egrets and more,” says FPL spokesperson Jack Eble. FPL points to the images as evidence its solar plants and specially constructed, wildlife-friendly fencing don’t interfere with the state’s fragile ecosystem. [Source: Florida Trend]

Florida warns fantasy sports firms they may be ‘conducting illegal lottery’

Florida gambling regulators last week sent cease-and-desist letters to three daily fantasy-sports operators accused of offering potentially illegal mobile betting games and threatened legal action if the sites don’t immediately stop. Emails obtained by The News Service of Florida indicate that the Florida Gaming Control Commission’s crackdown also places season-long fantasy sports games in the crosshairs, just as the football season picks up. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Judge won’t block Florida ban on deducting union dues from paychecks

Dealing a blow to teachers unions, a federal judge has refused to block part of a new Florida law that prevents union dues from being deducted from workers’ paychecks. Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Friday issued denied a preliminary injunction sought by the Florida Education Association, the United Faculty of Florida and unions representing employees of the Alachua County, Hernando County and Pinellas County school districts and the University of Florida. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Publix partners with Florida company to cut costs on drugs 

Visory Health, a prescription savings company based in Orlando, offers discount cards that can be used at pharmacies across the country. Now, it has partnered with Florida-based Publix to give customers a chance to save on medications, Visory announced on Wednesday. The challenge is to keep ahead of rising prescription drug costs. [Source: Miami Herald]


› Following Orlando station debut, founder Wes Edens expects Brightline to grow Florida route
Wes Edens said it was surreal when he saw signs of the first riders on a Brightline train from Orlando to Miami. "I got here this morning and saw a bunch of people queueing up and forgot we had a revenue train," the founder and chairman of Brightline said. Miami-based Brightline debuted its first revenue service trains on Sept. 22 between Orlando and Miami, marking the completion of nearly a decade of work to bring the train from concept to reality.

› USF and Tampa Bay Wave kick off fintech accelerator program with 15 new startups
Tampa Bay Wave and the University of South Florida announced 15 fintech startups will take part in its second annual FinTech-X Accelerator Program. The program seeks to support and develop startups while building a reputation and tech ecosystem in the area. The program is funded by a partnership between Tampa Bay Wave, USF Muma College of Business, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Encore Bank and Smiley Technologies.

› Boca Raton-based national real estate brokerage files bankruptcy with $60 million in debt
A national real estate brokerage filed bankruptcy in Florida Southern District Court to restructure nearly $60 million in debt following a slew of state lawsuits over its marketing practices. Boca Raton-based MV Realty Holdings submitted a Chapter 11 petition Sept. 22 on behalf of all of its entities across 30 U.S. states claiming it owes $58,763,035.80 to three lenders.

› Tourism slowly recovering in Fort Myers, Naples
Images of Hurricane Ian’s destruction appeared in the news and social media all over the world. So it’s no wonder many tourists stayed away from Southwest Florida for much of last season. That could start changing in 2023-24, says Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman, who also chairs Lee County’s Tourist Development Council. But it might be another year or two before Southwest Florida returns to the record tourism numbers of its previous season.

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