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Florida’s “Docs vs. Glocks” Bill Wins Federal Appeals Court Approval in 2-1 Ruling

| July 25, 2014

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state Legislature had the right to pass the NRA-backed law, which includes provisions restricting doctors and other medical providers from asking questions about gun ownership during medical visits.

Florida Ban on Gay Marriage Is Declared Unconstitutional, But Miami-Dade Judge Stays Decision Until Appeals

| July 25, 2014

Eight days after a Monroe County judge declared a ban on same-sex marriage illegal, a Miami-Dade circuit court judge late today struck down the ban in Florida on behalf of six gay couples, but stayed her decision until the results of an appeal.

Judge Wary of Redrawing Area’s
Congressional Map Before November Election

| July 24, 2014

So far, the Legislature has declined to appeal Lewis’ ruling, and the state’s attorneys say lawmakers will redraw the map in time for the 2016 elections. But lawyers for the voting-rights groups and voters who sued to overturn the map under the Constitution’s anti-gerrymandering standards say that’s too late.

Florida Insurers Owe $41.7 Million in Rebates to Individuals and Companies, Topping Nation

| July 24, 2014

The latest round of paybacks brings Florida’s three-year total from the Affordable Care Act’s rebate program to almost $220 million. This year’s rebate will average $65 per family in Florida, according to the report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Court Authorizes Higher Ambulance Fee For Out-of-State Visitors, Opening Revenue Door

| July 23, 2014

Rejecting arguments that the policy is unconstitutional, a state appeals court said Wednesday that the city of Miami can charge an extra $100 when its rescue crews transport non-residents to hospitals for emergency care.

As Crist’s Lead Over Scott Erodes, Libertarian Adrian Wyllie Throws X-Factor Into Race

| July 23, 2014

The latest Quinnipiac poll has Scott still trails Crist, but by only five points, 45 to 40 percent. That’s in a two-way race. When Libertarian Adrian Wyllie is thrown in the mix, its 39-37 for Crist, which is within the margin of error, with Wyllie taking a substantial 9 percent.

Charter School Grades Should Alarm Every Floridian as Drag Districts Continues

| July 22, 2014

The idea that charter school operators should make a profit by providing children a better educational experience should offend no one. The fact that the numbers say they’re not doing a better job, while they’re draining away precious public resources, should alarm everyone.

Five Questions for Crist Running-Mate Annette Taddeo

| July 22, 2014

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist announced last week that his running mate would be Annette Taddeo, chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party and a political consultant’s dream: a Hispanic working mom who runs a successful small business and hosted her own show, Taddeo2Day, on CNN Latino.

In a Major Blow to Obamacare, Court Rules Health Insurance Subsidies Illegal in 36 States, Including Florida; 2nd Court Disagrees

| July 22, 2014

The decision is a potentially fatal blow to the Affordable Care Act, but it conflicts with an opposite conclusion by a different appeals court on the same day. In Florida, 91 percent of those enrolled get an average monthly subsidy of $278 a month. Most could not afford the premiums without the subsidies, which would disappear if the decision sticks.

Trial Judge Denies “Stand Your Ground” Immunity Hearing For Marissa Alexander

| July 21, 2014

The trial judge overseeing the case of Marissa Alexander, who faces 60 years in prison for firing a shot in a domestic dispute, has ruled that she is not entitled to a second immunity hearing under Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law.

Floridia Mosquitoes Are Spreading Chikungunya Virus Once Limited to Caribbean Travelers

| July 21, 2014

This year, 81 cases of Chikungunya have been identified in Florida, including 15 diagnosed last week, including two contracted in Florida. Until Thursday’s announcement, all the cases had been contracted by people who had been traveling in the Caribbean.

Florida Blue, State’s Biggest Health Insurer, Will Raise Rates in Response to Obamacare

| July 21, 2014

Florida Blue snagged a third of all new policies under Obamacare, but rates are going up due to a lack of younger and healthy enrollees and a greater-than-expected surge in people seeking expensive health services.

Florida Supreme Court Seeks Clarity on Inmates Sentenced to Life in Prison as Juveniles

| July 19, 2014

The U.S. Supreme Court held that juvenile sentencing guidelines must offer young offenders the chance to have their cases reviewed after serving a certain number of years. A Florida law went into effect July 1, seeking to comply. But it remains unclear in key regards.

Flagler Unemployment Ticks Up For 2nd Straight Month, Masking Vast Improvements

| July 18, 2014

Despite traditional unemployment figures, the jobs situation in Flagler County is vastly improved, and continues to improve, with a 38 percent drop in people without jobs since four years ago and a labor force stronger by 3,000.

Crist Picks Annette Taddeo as Running Mate, Citing Her Working Mom Credentials

| July 18, 2014

Picking Annette Taddeo, a Democratic party leader in Miami-Dade, could help Crist in voter-rich South Florida while appealing to women and Hispanics. Taddeo, 47, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2008.

Calling It “Obviously Unconstitutional,” Judge Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban in the Keys

| July 17, 2014

Judge Luis Garcia, a Jeb Bush appointee, ruled that fundamental rights such as marriage may not be defined by the state, nor can they depend on a vote, such as Florida’s 2008 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But the ruling applies only in Monroe County.

Florida’s Teachers Union Sues State Over “Sneaky” Last-Minute Voucher Expansion

| July 17, 2014

The voucher expansion had appeared dead in the Senate until getting approved in a broader bill in the waning hours of the 2014 legislative session. The Florida Education Association charges the state “log rolled” that and other education issues into a single bill.

Palm Coast Activists Drop 1,600 Postcards to Rep. Ron DeSantis, Seeking Better Gun-Safety

| July 16, 2014

The national, week-long “Not One More” campaign was inspired by the passionate plea of Richard Martinez, father of a victim of the May 23 mass shooting in Santa Barbara, in which Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured 13 before killing himself.

Florida Inverse: 2nd Highest Level of Uninsured, Dead Last in Affordable Care Grants

| July 16, 2014

Judging by the grant totals of other states, Florida appears to have forfeited at least $100 million and possibly $300 million or more, not even including $51 billion the state is forfeiting by saying no to Medicaid expansion.

John Morgan Has $6 Million in Pledges for Medical Pot Amendment, Not Including His Own

| July 14, 2014

Renewed support from Morgan — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s boss and close friend — comes as opponents of the measure, aided by Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and supporter of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, double down on efforts to kill it.

Why Obtaining Your Own Medical Records May Now Cost You a Small Fortune

| July 14, 2014

For-profit companies in the new “release of information” or “disclosure-management” industry now charge $1 a page, in paper or digital format, for what used to be free, while the Florida Board of Medicine is looking to make the $1-a-page standard for all.

Judge Throws Out Two of Florida’s Redrawn Congressional Districts, Affecting Flagler

| July 11, 2014

District 5 wraps itself around much of the western flank of District 6, which includes all of Flagler County. If District 5 is re-drawn, it would likely affect District 6, which is currently represented by Republican Ron DeSantis.

Eddie Wayne Davis Is Executed for Murder of 11-Year-Old Polk County Girl

| July 10, 2014

Davis is the 19th person executed by Florida since Gov. Rick Scott took office, the most in any governor’s single term, and surpassing the 18 executions that occurred under former Gov. Lawton Chiles, who served two terms between 1991 and 1998.

Illegal Campaign Stop? Rick Scott Owes an Apology To the Cops He Duped.

| July 10, 2014

At a re-election campaign appearance in Tampa Monday, Scott burnished his law enforcement record with a cadre of uniformed cops. The cops expressed shock to the Tampa Tribune that they’d been used for a campaign stop.

Edging Out Flagler’s Jill Espinosa, Christie Bassett of Polk Is the 2015 Florida Teacher of the Year

| July 10, 2014

Christie Bassett was named the 2015 Teacher of the Year just after 8 p.m. at the end of a ceremony from Hard Rock Live at Universal in Orlando. Jill Espinoa, Flagler County’s Teacher of the Year, was among the five finalists.

Gov. Scott Gives Up Drug-Testing Half of State’s Workers, But Still Aims Pee Cup at Rest

| July 9, 2014

The governor has not conceded that forcing state employees to undergo urinalysis is unconstitutional despite lower court rulings that spurred the concessions. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year refused to take up the case, but it is believed Scott will again ask the high court to rule on the case if he ultimately loses in lower court proceedings.

Florida Lottery Spikes to Record $5.3 Billion in Sales; Only $1.4 Billion to Education

| July 8, 2014

The Florida Lottery’s increased revenues stems largely from continued growth in scratch-off ticket sales, which range in price from $1 to $25 and are now available at more than 13,000 locations throughout the state.

Regulators Draw Sharp Criticism Over Controls On Florida’s New Pot Industry

| July 7, 2014

At the top of the complaint list: concerns about a proposed lottery system to award five organizations the chance to grow, manufacture and dispense a type of medical marijuana approved by Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature this spring.

Florida Giving Up 63,800 Jobs By Rejecting Federal Medicaid Expansion

| July 7, 2014

Florida has not accepted the offer of federal funds — estimated at $51 billion over a decade — provided in the Affordable Care Act to cover uninsured people who fall into a gap. Florida has about 850,000 of them.

Fracking in South Florida? Environmentalists Steamed Over Texas Company Drilling Near Lake Tafford

| July 5, 2014

The Dan A. Hughes Company used an unapproved method of drilling that had never been used before in Florida to extract oil from a well near Lake Trafford. Florida’s DEP has not been entirely forthcoming.

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