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Category archives for: Florida

New Laws Kick In This Week: Body Cameras, Drones, Abortion, Traffic Tickets, Secret Recordings, Flags

| June 28, 2015

Florida’s record-setting budget goes into effect on Wednesday, along with 130 other new laws that were produced by the Legislature this year in the regular and special sessions and signed by Gov. Rick Scott. Here’s a run-down.

Bad Judges: Florida Supreme Court Seeks to Rein in Rogues and Hotheads

| June 26, 2015

The number of judges facing sanctions in Florida jumped last year, and the high court is more often seeking harsher penalties than those originally proposed by the state Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Algal Bloom Observed at the Confluence of Flagler’s Dead Lake and Bull Creek

| June 26, 2015

Algal blooms damage the environment because they replace vital food sources, clog fish gills, prevent sunlight from reaching seagrass and contribute to low oxygen “dead-zones” when they degrade.

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare Subsidies, 6-3, Protecting Benefits For 1.3 Million Floridians

| June 25, 2015

Some 1.3 million Floridians and millions more across the country will not lose their health insurance subsidies as the U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled decisively, by a 6-3 vote, that the subsidies are legal and must remain in place, even in states that have not established their own health insurance exchanges.

Judge Considering Temporary Block of Florida’s New 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

| June 24, 2015

A judge is considering halting the law from going in effect July 1 while a constitutional challenge goes forward. The challenge was filed by the Florida ACLU.

Scott’s Veto Pen Hits Flagler’s Top Priority, Sinking $600,000 For Malacompra Drainage

| June 24, 2015

The $600,000 appropriation for the Malacompra drainage project was among the 450 line-items and $461 million he vetoed as he approved a $78.2 billion budget.

Environmentalists Sue Florida Lawmakers Over Amendment 1, Claiming Misuse of Dollars

| June 23, 2015

The suit seeks a court declaration that money from the state’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund, which will handle all the Amendment 1 funding, may not be substituted for general-revenue funds or used to pay for other services and programs.

Lawmakers Again Refuse to Extend KidCare Coverage to Children of Legal Immigrants

| June 22, 2015

The proposal in the Florida Legislature would have eliminated a 5-year waiting period for lawful immigrants to qualify for the subsidized insurance program that serves children from low- and moderate-income families.

$780 Million More for Education in Florida, But a $500 Million Property Tax Increase

| June 22, 2015

The special session’s much-touted tax cut of $427 million is wiped out by a nearly $500 million tax increase to pay for education funding increases.

Taxpayers’ Tab in Gov. Scott’s Losing Drug-Testing Lawsuits: $1.5 Million

| June 19, 2015

The $1.5 million in legal fees, including nearly $1 million to civil-rights lawyers, are because of Gov. Scott’s failed push to force welfare applicants and tens of thousands of state workers to submit to suspicionless drug tests.

Just as Flagler County Resolves Against Fracking, Ratepayers Will Underwrite FPL’s Fracking Bills

| June 18, 2015

FPL can invest $500 million in fracking ventures at ratepayers’ expense, making it the first utility in the nation–according to an analysis by the Public Service Commission–to spend ratepayers dollars on “non-regulated risk.”

Florida’s Nature Conservancy Gets It:
It’s About Land Management

| June 18, 2015

Most Florida environmental groups this special session made a lot of noise and spent a lot of money, but came away empty-handed and unhappy. Not The Nature Conservancy.

Gov. Scott Signs $429 Million Tax-Cut Package, Saving Average Floridians a Few Dollars a Year

| June 17, 2015

The tax savings are projected at less than $2 a month for people paying $100 a month for phone or TV services. The package reduces costs on cell-phone bills, cable TV bills, gun club memberships, college textbooks and luxury boat repairs.

Clinton Still Leads Rubio and Bush in Florida, But Most Voters Call Her Dishonest

| June 17, 2015

Te gender gap is working strongly in Hillary Clinton’s favor: she has a double-digit lead among women when matched against Rubio or Bush, though her overall numbers have weakened since late last year.

Flagler Court Clerk Throws a Switch, and Mass of Criminal and Civil Records Becomes Accessible Online

| June 16, 2015

Flagler County court records, from arrest affidavits to civil, criminal, county and probate court are now all available online, 24 hours a day, in a vast improvement of public record access ordered by the Florida Supreme Court.

Accenting His First Name, Dissing His Last, Jeb Bush Finally Declares for 2016

| June 15, 2015

Jeb Bush made his announcement in Miami with his brother and father, both ex-presidents, nowhere in sight as the latest Bush hopes to redefine the tarnished name in his quest for the White House.

Sedated We Stand: Medicare Paid for Nearly 40 Million Tranquilizer Prescriptions in 2013

| June 12, 2015

Florida had more doctors who prescribed large amounts of benzodiazepines than anywhere else in the country with some 144 Florida doctors wrote at least 2,000 prescriptions for them to Medicare patients.

ACLU and Women’s Health Center Sue Florida Over 24-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

| June 12, 2015

The lawsuit contends that for women — especially low-income women who must arrange for child care, time off work and overnight travel — the law can push them past the time it is legal to have abortions.

The War on Women, Cont’d: Enough with Mandatory Vaginal Exams, Florida

| June 10, 2015

It’s not enough that in 2011 our Legislature passed a draconian law forcing women to schedule, pay for, and look at an ultrasound of their fetus if they choose to exercise their right to an abortion.

Fossil-Fuel Utilities Band Up to Block Solar-Power Initiative Aiming to Unshackle Industry

| June 10, 2015

Florida’s largest electric utilities, AG Pam Bondi and business groups want the Supreme Court to block a proposed solar-energy ballot initiative that would go before voters in 2016.

Palm Coast Passes on Supporting County In Anti-Fracking and Drilling Resolutions

| June 10, 2015

The Palm Coast City Council chose not to sign on to a pair of resolutions opposing fracking or seismic testing for oil offshore of Florida, saying the county has already spoken.

Citing “Competition,” Lawmakers Want Hospitals Deregulated. Hospitals Disagree.

| June 9, 2015

The measure would eliminate what is known as the hospital “certificate of need” process in Florida, which requires state review and approval of building new hospitals, replacing hospitals and offering certain complex, costly medical services such as organ transplants.

16 Matanzas High Seniors Still Awaiting Diplomas Because of Company’s Late Exam Scores

| June 9, 2015

Pearson, the company scoring the Biology and US History end-of-course exams, has had a poor history of turning in its own work over the many years it’s administered standardized tests in Florida.

Childhood Cancer Clusters in Florida and The Department of Health’s Lethal Silence

| June 9, 2015

Five years have passed since the University of West Florida’s Dr. Raid Amin and his team alerted the state to the presence of cancer clusters in Florida, the state Department of Health remains mum, seemingly uninterested in investigating the issue.

Senator Blasts “Hypocritical” House Over Rejecting Medicaid Money While Getting Set to Borrow

| June 8, 2015

Disagreements led Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, to label the House as “hypocritical” for rejecting federal Medicaid expansion funding while being willing to issue bonds to pay for environmental projects.

More Than 1.3M Floridians May Lose Their Obamacare Subsidies, More Than Any Other State

| June 8, 2015

Floridians received at least $389 million in March from the federal government to help pay for their health insurance. The subsidies are at the center of a Supreme Court case challenging the health law. The case will be decided this month.

In Breakthrough, Lawmakers Agree on Health Budget and “Significant” Increase for Education

| June 7, 2015

Florida House and the Senate reached tentative agreements Saturday on money to hospitals and providers for the poor, and a $207-per-pupil increase in education funding.

At Least Now They’re Talking: Florida House and Senate Reach Deal on Budget Outline

| June 5, 2015

The agreement was the first tangible sign of progress on a budget during a special session that began Monday, but lawmakers still face days of detailed negotiations to hash out the finer points of a deal.

Opposing “Medicaid in Disguise,” Florida House Set to Kill Senate Health Plan Friday

| June 4, 2015

For all of its new provisions, House Republicans said, the so-called Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, or FHIX, remains Medicaid expansion in disguise.

Senate Approves Health Plan to Resolve Budget Impasse, But House Remains Unmoved

| June 3, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott and House Republican leaders staunchly oppose the legislation, which helped grind budget negotiations to a halt earlier this year and spark a special session currently underway.

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