April 13, 2024

Wednesday's Daily Pulse

What you need to know about Florida today

| 2/28/2024

Funds for economic development, tourism and more at stake as budget talks continue

As budget talks continued Tuesday, Senate and House negotiators had quickly settled issues ranging from money for tourism marketing to school safety. But with most of the work on the fiscal year 2024-2025 budget taking place behind the scenes, differences remained on numerous issues such as an economic-development fund, law-enforcement recruitment bonuses and water projects. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida Senate panel scales back hotly debated child-labor measure

A controversial proposal to loosen work restrictions for 16- and 17-year-olds is ready to go to the full Senate after changes Monday night drew at least some labor-union support. The Senate Rules Committee voted 15-3 to approve the revised bill (HB 49), which addresses issues such as how many hours that 16- and 17-year-old youths can work. The House voted 80-35 on Feb. 1 to pass a more far-reaching version. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida's car insurance, 3rd-highest in U.S., expected to rise again

Tired of sticker shock when you look at your auto insurance premiums? Good news! Sort of. OK, yes, the price for car insurance is almost certainly going to rise again in 2024. But maybe not as much as they have been. Insurance comparison site Insurify is predicting a 7% rise this year, but annoying as it is, it's still a huge improvement. [Source: Daytona Beach News Journal]

Federal judge won't remove himself from Florida elections law case

A federal judge Tuesday refused to step down from a case challenging a 2023 Florida elections law, rejecting arguments by the state that suggested he had a “closed mind.” Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker issued a seven-page order denying a request for recusal filed last week by attorneys for Secretary of State Cord Byrd. Groups such as the NAACP, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Hispanic Federation are challenging the constitutionality of the 2023 law. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Report finds that 86% of rural Florida hospitals no longer deliver babies

A new report has found that the majority of Florida rural hospitals do not provide labor and delivery services. The Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform analyzed federal data and found that, as of January, 18 of the state’s rural hospitals no longer have obstetrics care. The report also reports that at least one of the three hospitals still providing care was losing money from it. [Source: WLRN]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Florida Keys fish kill has scientists, fisherman concerned, probing for causes
Smalltooth sawfish, the shark-looking ray with a serrated rostrum, once ranged from Texas to North Carolina. But, these days, the only place you’ll likely find one is Florida, and even here, count yourself lucky if see one in the wild. Now, a mystery has unfolded that is setting off alarm bells among fishermen and biologists alike about the future of the vulnerable animals.

› Orlando wants to buy multiple downtown properties, including City Centre building near Lake Eola
Orlando's community redevelopment agency (CRA) wants to spend more than $19.34 million to buy four downtown properties. The Orlando CRA advisory board will consider the property purchase at its Feb. 28 meeting. City spokeswoman Ashley Papagni saidl the city wants to buy the properies to "further support the evolution of downtown and make investments in plaza/open space, further activating the city’s urban core."

› A major dining and retail destination is coming soon to Ybor City
A historic Ybor City landmark has been transformed into an ambitious new dining and entertainment hub, courtesy of two big names in local and national hospitality. Tampa Bay bar consultant and restaurateur Ro Patel is behind the project, which he envisions as a hybrid experience combining a fine dining restaurant called Bar Martinez, a cocktail bar, a cafe and a retail shop with spaces for rotating art displays and seating throughout.

› Measles reaches Central Florida as Polk County resident contracts virus
Measles has arrived in Central Florida, with the disease infecting a Polk County resident age 20-24, the first Florida adult infected with the highly contagious disease this year. It’s unclear exactly when and how that person, whose gender wasn’t revealed, contracted the virus. The case was reported to the Florida Department of Health on Saturday, according to data from Merlin, Florida’s web-based reportable disease surveillance system.

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