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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.

Can Felons, Barred From Carrying Weapons, Still Claim Stand Your Ground? Court Will Decide.

| July 3, 2014

The Florida Supreme Court will consider whether convicted felons have the right to claim immunity under the state’s controversial “stand your ground” self-defense law, even if they are barred from possessing guns in the first place.

Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio, “Undocumented” Immigrant, Earns Florida Bar Recommendation To Be an Attorney

| July 2, 2014

The action benefiting Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio, of Largo, came less than two months after Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill (HB 755) that allows “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, to be eligible for The Bar.

Crist and Scott Campaign Cash Keeps Rolling In, But Spending Differs Widely

| June 30, 2014

Scott’s political committee spent about $3.94 million on advertising during the first three weeks of June, while Crist continued to stay off the airwaves, funneling money to the Florida Democratic Party instead.

Bill Clinton in Florida Tells Democrats:
Get Out the Vote Or Lose

| June 29, 2014

Hammering on a theme heard throughout the day, former President Bill Clinton warned Democrats they won’t win critical races this fall if they don’t figure out how to get voters to cast ballots.

Florida Justice Barbara Pariente’s Crusade: Jurors Need Help Understanding that Eyewitness Testimony Is Unreliable

| June 28, 2014

Justice Pariente noted that the Innocence Commission analyzed wrongful convictions and highlighted eyewitness misidentification, which has been a factor in 75 percent of convictions later exonerated through DNA evidence nationally.

As Florida Eases Harsh Approach, Study Shows Locking Up Juveniles Makes Them Likelier Adult Criminals

| June 27, 2014

Between fiscal year 2010-11 and fiscal year 2012-13, juvenile arrests in Florida declined 23 percent and felony juvenile arrests declined 17 percent, while transfers to adult court declined 36 percent.

On Tuesday, 158 New Laws Go Into Effect in Florida. Here Are the Highlights.

| June 26, 2014

Here’s a run-down of the most important of the 158 new laws going into effect in Florida on Tuesday, from granting parents power to contest textbook selection to the “Florida GI Bill” which is intended to make Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation, to lowering college costs.

John Thrasher’s Quest for FSU Presidency Out of Special Treatment With New Consultant

| June 25, 2014

The search for Florida State University’s next president won’t be sidetracked again for a powerful state politician — or any other individual — who wants the job, the new consultant said.

Nan Rich’s Lonely Road: A “True Democrat” Fights On as Longtime Allies Back Crist

| June 24, 2014

Charlie Crist is outraising Nan Rich by millions of dollars, refuses to debate her and has collected endorsements from groups Rich has worked with for years: the Florida Education Association, the AFL-CIO, Equality Florida.

Despite Moratorium, 4 New Specialty Plates Added to Stack of 118, Hurting Sales

| June 23, 2014

The new plates also come despite warnings from Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which oversees license plates, officials that the program may have reached a tipping point in terms of sales.

Flagler Unemployment Ticks Up to 8.6% as Labor Force Surges By 2% And Jobs Increase

| June 20, 2014

Flagler’s unemployment rate in May ticked up slightly to 8.6 percent, from 8.3, but the increase was largely due to a large influx of workers into the labor force, which grew by 727 people over the month, or 2 percent, to 36,068. Flagler County residents with jobs increased by 550, a 1.7 percent improvement over the previous month, for a total of 32,952 people with jobs.

After Thrasher Fracas, Florida Board Rethinks How Universities Search for Presidents

| June 20, 2014

Sen. John Thrasher’s desire for the Florida State University presidency was said to be keeping other potential applicants from putting their name forward for the position while damaging FSU’s reputation.

Shout Shows: Internet Vitriol Makes Me Reluctant To Share My Views Online

| June 19, 2014

Any post that has even a hint of “for or against” Obama or any Washington political actions provokes vitriolic responses, writes Ed H. Moore. I lament the angry replies because they hamper the ability to have an instant town-hall of sorts on issues facing our country.

John Ruthell Henry Is Executed, 18th Inmate Put to Death on Rick Scott’s Watch

| June 19, 2014

No other first-term governor has signed the execution warrants of so many inmates since Florida re-instituted the death penalty in 1976. Since then, the state has executed 87 inmates. One in five of those has been executed on Scott’s watch, in less than four years.

For Floridians, Affordable Care Act Lives Up To Its Name: Average Monthly Premium Is $68

| June 19, 2014

The $68 a month average premium is considerably less than the national average of $82. The plans are subsidized through tax credits taken in advance. Ninety-one percent of those who enrolled in Florida received the financial help, averaging $278 a month.

Gov. Scott Punts on Proposed Land-Preservation Amendment

| June 17, 2014

When asked after the Cabinet meeting whether he would support or oppose an amendment in November that would cement funding for land conservation into Florida’s Constitution, Scott avoided directly answering the question.

Gov. Rick Scott’s Net Worth: $132.7 Million

| June 16, 2014

Among the details in Scott’s financial disclosure, his Naples home and boathouse are worth $13.2 million, he owns 60 acres in Montana worth $1.4 million, and $43 million of his investments are tied to family investment firm RLSI-CSP Capital Partners in Naples.

Disney-Owned Marvel Comics in $1 Million Deal to Give Ailing Florida Citrus a Superhero

| June 13, 2014

The Florida Department of Citrus is redirecting marketing dollars to help juice the industry’s sales as Florida orange juice production plummets 22 percent from a year ago, mostly because of an incurable disease called citrus greening.

Florida Supreme Court Upholds “Timely Justice” Law Fast-Tracking Executions

| June 12, 2014

In a concurring opinion of the unanimous decision, Justice Barbara Pariente emphasized that the law would not affect the Supreme Court’s “solemn responsibility” to block executions if needed to ensure that defendants’ rights have been protected.

Scott and Crist Continue to Rake In Cash As Both Sides Step Up Nastier Ad War

| June 11, 2014

The money will help fuel what is expected to be an expensive — and nasty — race filled with negative ads. As a sign of what’s to come, the Let’s Get to Work committee reported spending about $3.1 million on advertising in May, after spending about $5.1 million on ads in April.

Jitter Echo: Opponents of Amendment 2 Launch “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” Campaign

| June 10, 2014

Opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana launched the “Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot” campaign Tuesday, warning that passing the measure would lead to widespread abuse. Proponents of the measure are discrediting the campaign.

Bright Spot in Florida’s Budget:
A Forward-Looking Agenda on Alzheimer’s

| June 9, 2014

Alzheimer’s is the most costly disease to Medicare and Medicaid — and for a state like Florida with high ratios of older residents, this spells an impending crisis for state budgets. Gov. Rick Scott signed a record-sized state budget that included record-sized wins for the Alzheimer’s community.

Impasse Developing Between State and Counties Over Juvenile Detention Costs

| June 9, 2014

A years-long dispute over how to split the costs of detaining youthful offenders appears no closer to being settled after the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice held a rule-making hearing Friday with representatives of more than three dozen Florida counties, including Flagler.

ACLU Sues Sarasota Police For Access To Records On Cell Phone “Stingray” Tracking Program

| June 8, 2014

The ACLU of Florida has been seeking public records for several months now from about 30 police departments and sheriffs’ offices all over Florida in an effort to access whether or not police are not trampling on privacy rights.

Firefighters Hurt on the Job: Florida Justices Will Decide Legality of 2-Year Limit on Benefit

| June 6, 2014

A firefighter who was severely injured on the job got two years of total disability, but was denied more when he applied. His attorneys argue that the two-year limit on temporary benefits is unconstitutional.

Florida Leads Nation in Inmates Who Serve 100% Of Their Sentence, Increasing Chance of Re-Offending When Released

| June 5, 2014

A new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds Florida leading the nation in inmates who “max out” their sentences — serving 100 percent of their time and being released with no supervision beyond the prison gates, thus increasing the chance of re-offending. Almost a third do re-offend.

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