Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 10.19.21
Good Tuesday morning.
Medical marijuana provider Trulieve is opening its 100th dispensary in Florida with a new store on Tennessee Street in Tallahassee.
The company is holding a grand opening event at the new location Tuesday morning. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. at 1800 W. Tennessee Street, the site of Trulieve’s 100th Florida dispensary.
“Tallahassee is where we opened our first dispensary and where we’re proud to open our 100th in Florida,” Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said.
“Trulieve was the first licensee in the state of Florida approved to cultivate medical marijuana, first in the state approved to dispense, and first to open a dispensary, right here in Tallahassee. As the site of many important firsts and milestones for our company, Tallahassee has always been and will continue to be central to the Trulieve success story.”
“This is a day of celebration, not only for Trulieve but for our communities and patients across Florida,” Rivers added.
“From day one, we’ve been driven by the opportunity to create positive economic impact, support local philanthropic organizations, and improve the everyday lives of our patients, employees and communities. Tallahassee, Gadsden County, and the surrounding communities have been instrumental to Trulieve’s story, and we’re excited to continue honoring those relationships and growing with the community.”
The 100th opening celebration comes less than two weeks after the United Way of the Big Bend honored Trulieve with its Business Partner of the Year award.
“This award is presented to one of our business partners who has gone above and beyond in their philanthropy to support the Mission, Vision and Goals of our United Way,” said United Way of the Big Bend Board Chair Jim Murdaugh.
“As the largest private employer in Gadsden County, Trulieve impacts the neighbors we serve and provides economic opportunity and growth.”
Converge Public Strategies is announcing a strategic partnership with HeraldPR to see the New York-based company operate under the Converge Public Strategies brand.
Under the deal, HeraldPR’s personnel will boost Converge Public Strategies’ broader suite of corporate communications services. Converge’s expanded communications division will be codirected by HeraldPR founder Warren Cohn and president Juda Engelmayer. Engelmayer will lead crisis and corporate communications, having worked with and built a powerhouse roster of clients across the globe.
“The opportunity to join with Converge was a win-win. No public affairs firm in the country matches their momentum. It’s a merger of HeraldPR’s public relations and communications talents with Converge’s growth trajectory nationwide and hard-won client trust,” Cohn said.
The partnership will bolster the Converge’s mainstay capabilities in issue advocacy and clients in the technology, health care, insurance, transportation, hospitality, luxury, professional services, and beauty sectors with a more robust suite of public relations services.
HeraldPR’s deep experience and a lengthy list of clients include the Gansevoort Hotel Group, beverage giant Diageo, Le Marais Steakhouse, Israel’s Foreign and Tourism Ministries, World Likud, attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Duncan Levin, New York City entertainment property Broadway Stages, Surface Media, DuJour Media Group, TransPerfect Global, The Glimpse Group, MyndVR and Alerion Aviation.
“HeraldPR’s move into Miami was a stroke of luck for all of us. Converge was looking to take its communications division to the next level and you can’t get better than HeraldPR — their track record of success and ‘whose who’ client list speaks for themselves. We can now offer world-class communications to our clients nationwide and beyond,” said Jonathan Kilman, founder and chair of Converge Public Strategies.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
Latest CDC vaccination data:
At least 1+ dose:
66% of all Americans
77% of Americans 12+
79% of Americans 18+
96% of Americans 65+
57% of all Americans
67% of Americans 12+
68% of Americans 18+
84% of Americans 65+
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) October 18, 2021
—@GovRonDeSantis: @ is going to fight back against cancer with courage, determination, and trust in God. The outpouring of support we’ve received from across Florida and the country is heartwarming — there is light at the end of the tunnel and we’re going to get there.
—@ChristinPushaw: Not sure what was more predictable: Florida’s rapidly accelerating decline in COVID … or the corresponding rapidly accelerating decline of media coverage of COVID in Florida?
—@RonFilipkowski: Don Bongino announced today, “they can have the mandate, or they can have me.” Bongino, who is vaccinated, says he will quit and refuse to honor his contract with Cumulus Media, the company that carries his show on hundreds of stations, if they enforce their vaccine mandate.
—@Scott_Maxwell: Welcome to the race, Senator. If you shake up this campaign the way you shook up the shady ghost-candidate races — where you called for an investigation while other state officials sat on their rears — it will be a welcome addition.
What a classless response from our Lt. Gov. But that’s par for the course for this authoritarian administration that lacks basic decency, consideration & respect for the opposition (or for citizens that disagree with them). https://t.co/QLClJpFJ3D
— Kartik Krishnaiyer (@kkfla737) October 18, 2021
Sen. Kathleen Passidomo doing a trial run of her speech for her official Senate President-designate ceremony tomorrow pic.twitter.com/a416BRGxUe
— Gray Rohrer (@GrayRohrer) October 18, 2021
Great meeting such a wonderful group of women engaging in something as fundamental as behavioral mental health. This is a long term issue, many times it lingers from generation to generation. Thank you for making the difference @Floridabha__ https://t.co/GE5I6XTbvn
— Ileana Garcia (@IleanaGarciaUSA) October 18, 2021
—@Ovillegator: As a conservative Republican filmmaker and lifelong Floridian, I want to make films in Florida, and still try — but other states lure our investors on every project. Last two movies have been in Oklahoma. Rep. (Dana) Trabulsy‘s conservative program that brings film back makes sense.
— DAYS UNTIL —
’Dune’ premieres — 3; ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ returns — 5; World Series Game 1 — 7; Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum begins — 8; Florida TaxWatch’s annual meeting begins — 8; Georgia at UF — 11; St. Petersburg Municipal Elections — 14; Florida’s 20th Congressional District Primary — 14; The Blue Angels 75th anniversary show — 17; Disney’s ’Eternals’ premieres — 17; ’Yellowstone’ Season 4 begins — 19; ’Disney Very Merriest After Hours’ will debut — 20; U.S. to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers — 20; Miami at FSU — 23; ‘Hawkeye’ premieres — 26; ExcelinEd National Summit on Education begins — 30; FSU vs. UF — 39; Florida Chamber 2021 Annual Insurance Summit begins — 43; Jacksonville special election to fill seat vacated by Tommy Hazouri’s death — 49; Steven Spielberg’s ’West Side Story’ premieres — 52; ’Spider-Man: No Way Home’ premieres — 59; ’The Matrix: Resurrections’ released — 64; ’The Book of Boba Fett’ premieres on Disney+ — 71; CES 2022 begins — 78; NFL season ends — 82; 2022 Legislative Session starts — 84; Florida’s 20th Congressional District election — 84; Florida TaxWatch’s 2022 State of the Taxpayer Day — 85; Joel Coen’s ’The Tragedy of Macbeth’ on Apple TV+ — 87; NFL playoffs begin — 88; Super Bowl LVI — 117; Daytona 500 — 124; St. Pete Grand Prix — 131; ‘The Batman’ premieres — 136; ’Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 158; ’Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 202; ’Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 220; ’Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 226; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 262; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 274; ’Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 353; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 381; ‘Captain Marvel 2’ premieres — 388.
Happening today — The Republican Caucus of the Senate meets to officially select Sen. Kathleen Passidomo as the President-Designate for the 2022-2024 Legislative Session. Passidomo was elected to the Senate in November 2016 after serving in the Florida House since 2010. Senate President Wilton Simpson appointed her to serve as Senate Rules Committee chair for 2020-2022. During 2018-2020, she served as Republican (Majority) Leader under former Senate President Bill Galvano.
The designation ceremony begins at 3 p.m., Senate Chamber, The Capitol.
“Coronavirus is not Kathleen Passidomo’s first crisis, only the most recent” via Andrew Meacham for Florida Politics — Passidomo is no stranger to crisis. On the afternoon of Feb. 14, 2018, she was in Tallahassee, laying out her budget for public schools. She was recommending more funding that would help schools detect mental health issues and connect students with help. She will never forget what happened next Valentine’s Day when someone shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. One of her biggest projects actually began during the 2008 recession. The real estate crash had hit Collier County hard, erasing 14,000 construction jobs. In 2010, the same year her daughter left for college, she was elected to the House. For the next three years, she worked on legislation that would be fair to both sides. The result, the Fair Foreclosure Act of 2013, toughened requirements for lenders to prove their case for foreclosure and borrowers to prove their ability to pay.
— DATELINE TALLY —
“Blame redistricting: Top Florida House Democrat expects ‘animalistic’ Legislative Session” via James Call of USA Today Network — While COVID-19-related restrictions and debates about abortion, guns, and voting have dominated news cycles since lawmakers adjourned in May, redistricting is at the top of many lawmakers’ agendas right now, according to House Democratic co-Leader Evan Jenne. Here’s why: “A lot of people’s political careers will hang in the balance of what comes out of those redistricting subcommittees and the Legislature as a whole,” Jenne said. Jenne expects tempers will flare once maps are drawn to accommodate population movement during the last 10 years, and a redistricting bill begins to move. He was the House Democratic whip the previous time lawmakers reapportioned the state.
“Future of Florida’s abortion bill remains unclear” via Melissa Hernandez de la Cruz and Anna Wilder of Fresh Take Florida — The high-stakes court fight unfolding over the off-again, on-again abortion law newly passed in Texas threatens to throw into confusion plans by Florida lawmakers to pass a similarly restrictive law banning abortions after a physician can detect a fetal heartbeat. Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature has already failed twice to pass a so-called “heartbeat” bill in the past two years. Efforts in Florida in 2019 and 2020 died before any hearings or votes could be scheduled. The Legislature’s latest effort is a bill introduced last month by Rep. Webster Barnaby. During next year’s Legislative Session, it would be considered, even amid a national court fight over the Texas law that is still unfolding.
“‘We’re all old guys, not much time left:’ Lawmakers race to compensate Dozier abuse victims” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — With the help of Sen. Darryl Rouson and Rep. Tracie Davis, former students of the former Dozier school may soon receive state compensation under newly filed legislation. They’re known collectively as the White House Boys, referring to a place on the school grounds where the abuse often took place. The bills (SB 482 & HB 161), which do not include a compensation amount, come years after an investigation uncovered rampant physical, sexual and mental abuse at the institution. Opened in 1900 in Mariana, the school housed children convicted mostly of minor offenses such as truancy or smoking, though others attended for more serious offenses.
Jason Brodeur bill could save some trees — Sanford Republican Sen. Brodeur filed a bill that would make it harder for developers to shirk local tree canopy protections. As reported by Bruce Ritchie of POLITICO Florida, the bill (SB 518) would cinch the loopholes in state law that allows landowners to clear-cut cut lots despite local ordinances. The measure, filed Friday, is backed by the Florida League of Cities as well as tree experts and landscaping professionals. The bill comes a few years after lawmakers OK’d a property rights bill that prohibited local governments from requiring permits to remove or trim a tree that “presents a danger to persons or property.” Under SB 518, no-permit removals would only be authorized if the risk presented by the tree cannot be reduced through other industry-accepted means.
“Danny Burgess proposes teaching social media literacy in Florida schools” via Gary White of The Ledger — Students in Florida’s public schools would devote attention to social media in the classroom if a bill proposed by a Polk County legislator gains traction next year. Sen. Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican, filed a bill Wednesday that would require public schools to include “social media literacy” in their curriculum. Burgess, a father of three children under age 10, said he wants students to understand better the hazards they might encounter on popular internet platforms and mobile applications.
“‘Florida Native’ license plate shows support for local plants — or proof that you’re not a snowbird” via Brett Clarkson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — It’s a proposed new specialty license plate designed to promote Florida’s incredible array of native plants. But it probably would also be used as a way for the locals to flaunt their Flo-grown status — and why not? Presale orders are being taken for a proposed new Florida specialty license plate with the words ‘Florida Native’ emblazoned on it in all caps. Proceeds from sales of the plate, featuring an image of various native Florida plants, will benefit the Florida Native Plant Society. According to the society’s website, its mission is to “promote the preservation, conservation, and restoration of the native plants and native plant communities of Florida.”
— STATEWIDE —
Assignment editors: Gov DeSantis will hold a press conference at JAXPORT at 10:30 a.m. Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault will be in attendance.
“‘She’s not going to be denied’: Ron DeSantis inspired by First Lady’s cancer fight” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Amid an outpouring of support for Casey DeSantis, DeSantis is calling her message inspirational. The Governor’s office announced the First Lady’s breast cancer diagnosis earlier this month. On Saturday, Casey DeSantis made her first public appearance since announcing her diagnosis, joining the Governor onstage at the Hernando County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner to thank supporters for their prayers and well wishes. The Governor noted a particular outpouring of support from others diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of those diagnosed are mothers.
To watch a video of Casey DeSantis’ appearance, click on the image below (via Sasso Media Group/Twitter):
—“DeSantis orders flags to half-staff in honor of Gen. Colin Powell” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics
“Evan Jenne: DeSantis’ political calculus is fit for 2024 bid” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Jenne is giving DeSantis props for making the right moves as he vies for reelection and The White House. “The Governor’s political calculus has been pretty accurate,” Jenne told reporters Monday. The first-term Republican Governor, who faces reelection next year, has been a rising star in the GOP and a possible front-runner in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary. However, DeSantis has steadfastly denied he’s eyeing the presidency. So far, DeSantis has done a good job holding his base together for 2022 and 2024, said Jenne, who’s now serving his seventh term in the House. He’s done a magnificent job picking wedge issues to generate support from the working class, he added.
“Florida proposes spending $3.8 million more to help suffering manatees” via Elise Elder of Fresh Take Florida — The DeSantis administration is asking state lawmakers to allow it to spend nearly $4 million to help Florida’s suffering manatees, which have been dying of starvation at a frightening rate. Deaths could rise further over the upcoming winter months. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes $3.8 million designated as aid for manatees, the cow-size aquatic mammals that feed gracefully on Florida’s seagrasses. Those grasses have been increasingly imperiled from fertilizer runoff from yards and farms and algal blooms known as “red tide,” and the wildlife agency has proposed spending millions more next year on seagrass restoration projects near shorelines around Florida.
— CORONA FLORIDA —
“Florida COVID-19 update: 3,096 cases and 430 deaths. Most people died in the past 28 days” via Michelle Marchante of the Miami Herald — Florida on Monday reported to the CDC 3,096 more COVID-19 cases and 430 deaths. In all, Florida has recorded at least 3,626,142 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 58,142 deaths. Of the deaths added Monday, about 89%, occurred over the past 28 days and about 48% in the last two weeks. On average, the state has added 247 deaths and 2,357 cases per day in the past seven days. There were 2,913 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida.
“DeSantis, in rhetorical shift, de-emphasizes promotion of COVID-19 vaccines” via Michael Moline of Florida Phoenix — With booster doses coming soon, aides to DeSantis aren’t saying whether the Governor will take advantage. “I do not have any details to share about the Governor’s personal medical decisions. As the Governor has said, each person should be able to make his or her own informed choices,” press secretary Christina Pushaw said via email last week. DeSantis was more open about his plans last winter, when he was actively promoting the then-newly available vaccines and traveling the state opening vaccination clinics. Officially, the administration encourages people to get vaccinated, but these days DeSantis spends more time fighting with the Joe Biden administration, school boards, and private businesses.
“Miami school says vaccinated students must stay home for 30 days to protect others, citing discredited info” via Jaclyn Peiser of The Washington Post — In April, a Miami private school made national headlines for barring teachers who got a coronavirus vaccine from interacting with students. Last week, the school made another startling declaration, but this time to the parents: If you vaccinate your child, they’ll have to stay home for 30 days after each shot. The email from Centner Academy leadership repeated misleading and false claims that vaccinated people could pass on the so-called harmful effects of the shot and have a “potential impact” on unvaccinated students and staff. David Centner, one of the school’s co-founders, said the policy is a “precautionary measure” based on “numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.”
“Counterterrorism unit was mistakenly on list for violating ‘vaccine passport’ ban, FDLE says” via Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — Someone filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about a potential violation of the state’s ban on vaccine passports, and an employee passed it along. But somehow, the FDLE itself ended up on a list of potential violators facing a $5,000-per-worker fine, the agency said Monday. That’s the explanation from an FDLE spokeswoman about how its counterterrorism unit in Jacksonville wound up as one of the more surprising entries on the list of 120 agencies and businesses. FDLE spokesperson Gretl Plessinger said, “We received notice from the Florida Department of Health that FDLE is not in violation of [the vaccine passport ban]. FDLE does not have a vaccine mandate, nor do we require disclosure of vaccination status.”
— 2022 —
How it played: Annette Taddeo jumps in — Miami Herald, Miami Democrat Taddeo launches campaign to be Florida’s first Latina Governor — “Taddeo is the only Hispanic gubernatorial candidate among the top contenders, in a state where Hispanics make up nearly 27% of the population … she would be the first Latina candidate to earn a major party nomination for Florida Governor.” POLITICO Florida, Miami Democrat upends Florida Governor’s race — “Taddeo, who had been hinting at a run for months, said that ‘what ultimately pushed me over the edge’ was DeSantis’ battle with local school districts over COVID-19 policies, including his push to ban mask mandates.” News4Jax, Taddeo enters Democratic Primary — “ … entering a Democratic primary that includes Crist, who chose her as his running mate in an unsuccessful bid for Governor in 2014. ‘I’m a lifelong Democrat,’ she said in an announcement video. While she doesn’t name Crist, it could be seen as a subtle way of pointing out a major difference between them.” Orlando Sentinel, Taddeo becomes third Democrat seeking to defeat DeSantis — “Taddeo said she has ‘tremendous respect’ for Crist ‘but this race is not about Charlie or about me. This race is about the future of Florida.’” The Palm Beach Post, Taddeo enters, saying voters want a ‘fighter and a leader’ — “Taddeo said that she can unite and inspire a Democratic coalition of Black and Hispanic voters that the party needs to win.” Tampa Bay 10, Who is Taddeo? — “’ … it’s not just about making history. It’s about making a difference for others to achieve the American dream,’ she said in her campaign video.”
Annie Betancourt endorses Charlie Crist for Governor — Former Rep. Betancourt endorsed U.S. Rep. Crist in the Democratic Primary for Governor on Monday. “No one knows Florida better than Charlie Crist; as our former Education Commissioner, Attorney General, and Governor, he’s the most prepared person in this race to take on DeSantis and create a Florida that truly works for everyone. That’s why I’m proud to lend him my support as he becomes our next Governor,” said Betancourt, the first Cuban American Democrat elected to the state Legislature. Betancourt joins dozens of local, state, and community elected officials and leaders in endorsing Crist, who most recently earned endorsements from 2018 Lt. Gov. nominee Chris King and Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam. Crist faces Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Sen. Annette Taddeo in the Primary.
“Carlos Giménez adds $309K in Q3 to defend CD 26” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — Giménez’s reelection campaign for Florida’s 26th Congressional District added more than $309,000 last quarter, with gifts coming across several major business sectors with significant presences in South Florida. Giménez’s financial reports show his campaign had nearly $847,000 on hand as of Sept. 30. The campaign spent about $263,000 between July 1 and Sept. 30 and owed Giménez $70,000. Two political newcomers have registered to run against him next year: Democrat Juan Paredes and fellow Republican Jeremiah Schaffer. The Federal Elections Commission has yet to post fundraising reports for Paredes. Schaffer has raised just over $12,000 so far, including a $10,500 self-loan and $1,510 in individual contributions last quarter.
“Randolph Bracy picks up $107K for race in tightening CD 10” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Sen. Bracy‘s congressional campaign raised $107,000 in the third quarter of 2021 as a crowded field appeared to tighten around the presumed front-runner in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. Bracy’s third quarter campaign cash haul was only second-best among Democrats and barely. Generation-Z progressive activist Maxwell Alejandro Frost walked away with the third quarter, raising $169,000 through a CD 10 Democratic Primary campaign with high-profile community appearances and sophisticated internet grassroots fundraising. Frost’s haul topped even Bracy’s kickoff effort when he raised $165,000 in the second quarter of 2021.
“Kamia Brown picks up support from Audrey Gibson in SD 11 contest” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Sen. Gibson is backing Rep. Brown for Senate District 11 in Orange County, Brown announced Monday. The endorsement is another major pickup for Brown, who previously announced the backing of Sens. Lori Berman, Shevrin Jones, and Victor Torres. “From legislative assistant to state Representative, Kamia Brown has worked diligently on a policy that positively impacts her community and similar communities across the state,” Gibson said. Gibson’s nod also is an apparent disappointment for Democratic Rep. Geraldine Thompson, Brown’s new and formidable opponent in the 2022 SD 11 Democratic Primary. Thompson had invoked Gibson‘s name as a kindred lawmaker when Thompson announced her SD 11 candidacy two weeks ago.
“Evan Jenne makes case for prompt Special Election” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Jenne questioned Monday why DeSantis has yet to call a Special Election to fill three forthcoming vacancies in South Florida legislative districts. Jenne, speaking to reporters via Zoom, suggested Republicans have little to lose in the elections. The Legislature, he stressed, will remain in Republican control if the seats are filled again by Democratic lawmakers. “You don’t get anything by holding them back,” Jenne said of the Democratic-leaning districts. “We are still a small minority, facing a large majority. That doesn’t change with those seats.” The Special Elections will replace three lawmakers, Rep. Bobby DuBose and Sen. Perry Thurston and Rep. Omari Hardy.
— CORONA NATION —
“Coronavirus cases rise in the northern U.S. amid lower temperatures.” via Daniel E. Slotnik of The New York Times — Even as the coronavirus wave driven by the Delta variant is receding in much of the United States, many counties across the country’s northernmost regions are experiencing rising cases as colder weather arrives. The top five states in new daily cases per capita are led by Alaska, logging the highest daily average: 125 cases per 100,000 people. The following four states, with at least 67 cases per 100,000 people, are Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and Idaho. Cases are at least trending downward or holding steady in those states. Most experts don’t expect another catastrophic winter wave, but they warn Americans not to let their guard down.
“Racial disparities may be emerging in breakthrough infections. We must track them better.” via Oni Blackstock, Alexandra Skinner and Julia Raifman of The Washington Post — The pandemic has repeatedly exposed the role of structural racism in driving troubling racial health inequities in the United States. Black, Latino and Indigenous Americans have been more likely than their White and Asian counterparts to be exposed to COVID-19, to face obstacles to accessing testing or vaccines, and to get sick and die from the disease. Now, a new inequity may be emerging: While vaccines remain effective for reducing cases and severe disease for everyone, vaccinated Black, Latino and Pacific Islander people appear more likely to experience breakthrough infections.
“Republicans hail Delta’s vaccination policy — even as it goes further than Joe Biden’s” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — For the second time in a week, Republicans who have criticized Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandate are favorably citing a policy that looks suspiciously like it and is actually tougher. Last week, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson pointed out that Fox’s own policy wasn’t technically a vaccine mandate, in that it allowed for a testing alternative. Now, it involves conservatives praising Delta Air Lines. Over the weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz and others hailed Delta’s vaccination policy as proof that you don’t need mandates. Unlike the other major airlines, Delta has held out on mandating the vaccine for its employees, and CEO Ed Bastian recently announced that it had obtained a 90% vaccination rate.
— CORONA ECONOMICS —
“Re-employment assistance program slowly re-approaching workable rhythm” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Florida’s re-employment assistance program is easing back toward more normal levels of claims, problem cases, and overall functionality. The trust fund to cover claims is back over $1 billion. The unemployment level is back down to 5%. The number of unemployment compensation claims is close to pre-pandemic levels. Nearly 90% of adjudicated claims, those where payments were being held up due to issues, have been resolved. And the CONNECT online application system overhaul and modernization is on track to meet its 2023 deadline. Those were the messages delivered Monday to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism by Adrienne Johnston.
“Now hiring: Amazon looking for 10,500 Florida workers for $15-an-hour seasonal jobs” via Rob Wile of the Miami Herald — Amazon announced Monday it has begun hiring for 10,500 seasonal jobs in Florida. The e-commerce giant’s website shows currently available positions in South Florida start at $15 per hour and tops out at $17.50. The seasonal roles come in addition to the 8,000 full- and part-time operations jobs the company had previously announced for Florida this year. “We are proud to be offering a huge range of full-time, part-time, and now seasonal jobs with great pay and benefits,” Alicia Boler Davis, senior vice president, Global Customer Fulfillment, said in a statement.