5:40 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Opponents Wary of Film Tax Credits, Part 2

Supporters of movie industry tax credits want to attract more iconic motion pictures like "Creature from the Black Lagoon."

Opponents of tax incentives for the film industry scored a de-facto victory in the 2015 legislative session’s surprise ending. But Americans for Prosperity is bracing for the sequel.

The conservative government watchdog group released a letter Monday urging Governor Rick Scott to keep the film credits off the agenda when a special session convenes June 1.

Since 2010, the state has spent $295 million to attract films, TV shows and commercials. The program expired and some lawmakers are fighting to revive it.

Read more
5:25 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Craft Distillers Preparing For Expanded Sales

A copper still used for making rum.

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 5:05 pm

Tasting rooms at Florida’s craft distilleries could be getting a bit busier soon.  Florida law may soon allow distillers to sell more bottles in face to face transactions.

Read more
5:43 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

Over 500 Local Non-Profits To Fundraise

A promotional flyer for Give Day Tampa Bay 2015.
Credit Photo Courtesy of Humane Society of the Nature Coast, Inc.

  Tuesday is the second annual "Give Day Tampa Bay."

The event is a 24-hour online fundraiser that starts at midnight and lasts until midnight on Tuesday. Last year, 385 non-profit organizations participated and the event raised over $1 million. This year, 550 non-profits are participating and organizers are hoping to exceed the amount raised last year.

Read more
9:09 am
Thu April 16, 2015

'Fight for $15' Workers March for Higher Wages

Protesters gather in front of a Walmart to demand a higher minimum wage.
Credit Quincy J. Walters / WUSF News

A national protest for higher wages for low-paid workers came to the Tampa Bay area Wednesday.

About 50 protesters gathered outside of a Walmart on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa. 

They were composed of Walmart employees, fast food employees and childcare workers.

Their demand: a higher minimum wage. It was part of a nationwide protest for the Fight for $15 movement, which seeks $15 an hour.

"Fifteen in my hand, I want fifteen in my hand," the group chanted. 

Read more
5:39 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Two Bills Enter, One Bill Leaves: Growler Legislation Headed To House Floor

After a bit of shuffling, growler legislation is on its way to the House floor.

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 5:29 pm

Two very different alcohol measures came before their final committee Wednesday.  But even though they began to converge, only one passed its final stop.

Read more
5:09 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

Lawmakers Aim To Reign In Assignments, Restoration Industry Uneasy

Originally published on Fri April 3, 2015 5:38 pm

The Florida Senate is working on a measure that would alter the way some home insurance claims are billed.  And some in the repair and restoration industry worry it could put them out of business.

Read more
10:49 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Senate Growler Legislation Roars Through Final Committee

Florida Senators will soon be voting on whether to allow 64 oz. growlers in the state.

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 5:36 pm

A bill allowing 64 ounce growlers is headed to the floor of the Florida Senate.

Read more
7:21 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Florida's Aviation Fuel Tax In House's Sights

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 6:46 pm

Florida is home to many world-famous flight schools, but the taxes on aviation fuel can further elevate the already sky-high education costs. Florida lawmakers see those taxes as unnecessary ballast.

Read more
6:33 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Former Orca Trainer For SeaWorld Condemns Its Practices

John Hargrove, a trainer who spent 14 years working with orcas, mostly at SeaWorld, eventually became disillusioned with the company's treatment of its killer whales.
Courtesy of Palgrave Macmillan Trade

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 9:12 pm

Last year 4 million people visited SeaWorld's theme parks, where the top shows feature orcas, also known as killer whales. For years, activists have charged that keeping orcas in captivity is harmful to the animals and risky for the trainers who work with them, a case that gained urgency in 2010 when Dawn Brancheau, a veteran orca trainer, was dragged into the water and killed by a whale at the SeaWorld Park in Orlando, Fla. When Brancheau died, there was some dispute as to whether the whale's intent was aggressive and whose fault the incident was.

Read more
10:04 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

New Women's Leadership Conference Announced

Arlene DiBenigno, CEO and President of the Women's Conference of Florida, announced the date for May 2016.
Credit Daylina Miller/WUSF News

Hundreds of business women gathered Thursday at the Floridan Palace Hotel in downtown Tampa for a luncheon, guest speakers and special announcement.

The announcement was tucked inside a black, matte envelope and covered in orange, purple and pink chevron print with a quote from Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling.

Read more
8:41 am
Thu March 19, 2015

More Americans Opt For Risky Long-Term Car Loans

Nearly a third of new auto loans now last 74 months or longer, which alarms some analysts.

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 7:05 pm

There comes a day in every car owner's life when she knows, it's time. For Carolyn Ballard of Atlanta, that was on a hot day last July, while driving her SUV with misfiring cylinders.

"I drove to the dealership with the car literally chugging along," she says. "I mean, in traffic on the interstate. I was just sweating, thinking I've just got to get to the dealership so I can get rid of this, before I put any more money into it."

Read more
12:29 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Florida's Unemployment Rate Remained Flat in January


Florida's unemployment rate is staying flat.

New numbers released Tuesday show that the state's unemployment rate for January was 5.7 percent. That's unchanged from revised figures for December.

The state's unemployment rate is now slightly higher than the national unemployment rate.

Florida added an estimated 13,900 jobs in December. The new figures show there are roughly 551,000 people out of work in the state.

Gov. Rick Scott announced the new jobs numbers during a visit to a production company that moved from Virginia to Ellenton in 2012.

Read more
10:38 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Growlers Marching Through Senate

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 6:19 pm

The Senate Commerce and Tourism committee took up the state’s growler ban Monday.  Measures doing away with the state’s restriction continue to march forward in both chambers of the Legislature.

Read more
9:10 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Uber Preps For State Regulation

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 5:42 pm

The ride-hailing app, Uber, has been operating in the state for the better part of 2014 despite statewide concerns over safety, insurance coverage and legality. While a patchwork of regulation has begun to develop on the local level,  state lawmakers are eager to settle the issue once and for all.

The most valuable tech start up in the world does not want to be legally defined as a car service alongside taxis and limos.

Read more
9:28 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Rays Urge Supreme Court to Back Gay Marriage

Credit Tampa Bay Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays are among the thousands of businesses, religious groups, advocacy organizations and politicians who are filing legal briefs at the Supreme Court in support of gay marriage.

So are reigning football and baseball champions, the New England Patriots and San Francisco Giants.

The cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee will be argued April 28, and a decision is expected by early summer.

Read more