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24-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions and Repeal of Undocumented Immigrant Attorney Law Filed

| February 6, 2015

In a sign that hard-core Republican legislators intend to press their case at the Florida Legislature, lawmakers this week filed bills that would impose a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, and that would repeal the law adopted last year that enabled Jose Godinez-Samperio, an undocumented immigrant, to become a practicing lawyer.

Ban on Confederates in Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame Raises Gray Hackles

| February 6, 2015

The Civil War became an unlikely point of contention at the last Florida Cabinet meeting as Agriculture Commissioner Putnam criticized a decision not to include Confederate soldiers in the hall of fame, though Florida law prevents it.

A Strip-Club Sin Tax That Also Takes Names? This Conservative Says No And No.

| February 5, 2015

Florida lawmakers are considering a measure that would charge a $10 surtax on sex-club patrons and require the business to keep a database of customers. Nancy Smith says no.

Latest Rule Proposal Would Let Pot Growers Distribute Product Directly to Retailers

| February 5, 2015

The director of Florida Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use expects growers to be able to sell their product at storefronts, possibly in regions outside of where their nurseries exist.

Don’t Expect Supreme Court’s Latest Review of Lethal Injection to Kill Death Penalty

| February 5, 2015

States changed from hanging to electric chair because it was a modern, supposedly painless method of execution. Botched executions have rendered that assumption problematic.

DCF Abuse Hotline Refused 2 Calls Before Phoebe Jonchuck Was Thrown Off Bridge

| February 4, 2015

DCF did not deem urgent a message from a lawyer for the girl’s father the day before the killing warning that Jonchuck was “driving all over town in his pajamas with Phoebe” and “seems depressed and delusional.”

Florida Lawmaker Proposes Capping All State and Local Testing at 5% of School Time

| February 3, 2015

The bill would authorize districts to use something other than tests to assess students in some courses, revamp laws tying teachers’ evaluations and pay more closely to student performance.

Not So Good For Jeb: Hillary Would Tie Him in Florida, Easily Beat Him in Other Swings

| February 3, 2015

Hillary Clinton is ahead of Jeb Bush by a statistically insignificant 1 point in Florida but beats him or Chris Christie handily in Ohio and Pennsylvania in a prospective contest for the presidency.

Still Under Fire, Gov. Scott’s Office Attempts To Deflect Criticism Over FDLE Chief’s Firing

| February 2, 2015

The ouster of Bailey has become a major controversy for Scott, who contended last month that commissioner resigned from the post. Bailey, who has only publicly commented to the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee bureau, has said, “I did not voluntarily do anything.”

Nuclear Power’s Last Tango: Industry’s Promise Fails to Outrun Crippling Costs

| February 1, 2015

If you like the U.S. nuclear power industry, it’s a Michael Jordan-type gallant return. If you don’t like nukes, it’s more of a Gloria Swanson gruesome comeback in Sunset Boulevard.

What’s the Definition of Sexual Intercourse? Florida Supreme Court Justices Will Decide.

| January 29, 2015

The question stems from charges filed in 2011 against Gary Debaun under a law that requires HIV-infected people to inform potential sexual partners about the disease before having sexual intercourse. Debaun was accused of not providing the information to a male sexual partner.

Without Evidence, Bondi Blames Governor’s Staff For FDLE Chief’s Firing as Scott Calls Bailey a Liar

| January 28, 2015

Bondi acknowledged she had no proof to back her opinion and had not discussed the matter with Scott on a controversy that has inundated the governor’s administration as Scott begins his second term.

More States Lean Toward Medicaid Expansion, But Florida Remains a Holdout

| January 28, 2015

The biggest nonexpansion states are Florida and Texas, where expansion would add a total of 2.6 million uninsured residents to the Medicaid rolls. But both the Florida and Texas legislatures are dominated by Republicans, and expansion remains a long shot.

Florida Republican Files Bill to Extend Medical Pot Access to AIDS, Cancer and Other Ills

| January 26, 2015

The proposal (SB 528), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, includes a detailed regulatory structure that would place requirements on patients, doctors, growers and retail stores. Patients could only get “medical-grade” marijuana if their physicians sign off on the need.

Heroin Overdoses Spike After Florida
Cracks Down on Prescription Pill Abuse

| January 26, 2015

Five years ago, Florida was the prescription drug capital of the U.S. Seven people died every day from overdoses. The state cracked down, but this year, heroin overdose deaths are expected to be double those number four years before.

No Surprise: Florida’s Economic Development Agency Wants Tax Subsidies for Daytona Speedway, Jaguars and 2 Other Sports Venues

| January 25, 2015

Daytona International Speedway is seeking $3 million a year for 30 years to subsidize its operations, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars have asked for $1 million a year for three decades.

Flagler Unemployment Falls to 7.6%, Lowest Since April 2008, as State and Nation Improve

| January 23, 2015

Flagler County’s better numbers in December are clouded by the fact that they are not do to healthier job creation, but rather to a decreasing in the county’s labor force.

Isolating Scott, Florida Cabinet May Seek Investigation of FDLE Chief’s Abrupt Exit

| January 23, 2015

Longtime Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey left his job abruptly in December. The departure touched off a controversy this month after Bailey disclosed that he was forced out of the job and made potentially damaging allegations about the actions of Scott and the governor’s aides.

Rick Scott’s Firing of FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey Unravels Political Motives

| January 22, 2015

The firing of a police commissioner because he would not allow his agency to be politicized sends the worst possible message to FDLE and the entire law enforcement community, writes Dan Gelber.

8 Weeks After FSU Shooting, House Panel Approves Concealed Guns on Florida Campuses

| January 21, 2015

Currently, people are banned from carrying such weapons at Florida colleges and universities, with the exception of stun guns or similar devices. Data show that 246,632 Floridians between the ages of 21 and 35 have concealed carry permits.

Seeking $500 Million Cut, Scott Asks for Lower Taxes on Cell Phone, Satellite and Cable Bills

| January 20, 2015

The governor’s office said it would save about $43 a year for a family that spends $100 a month on cell-phone and cable services, though spending on such services varies widely by household.

Florida Prison Ban on Beards Violates Muslim Inmates’ Religious Rights, Supreme Court Rules

| January 20, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Florida and six other states could not ban inmates from growing beards for religious reasons. The case originated in Arkansas.

American Sniper: For North Miami Beach Police Chief, Targeting Blacks Isn’t Profiling

| January 19, 2015

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015, Florida is still making national news over racism. Thank you for that, Police Chief J. Scott Dennis, writes Nancy Smith.

Legal Aid For Poorer Floridians Diminishing, Commission Starts Work on Seeking Fair Fix

| January 18, 2015

With Gov. Scott opposed to moire funding, the 27-member Florida’s Commission on Access to Civil Justice will have to figure out how to provide additional funding for civil legal aid without simply asking for money from state legislators.

Attention Florida Pot Growers: State Would Pick 5 Nurseries To Cultivate Marijuana Under New Rule

| January 16, 2015

A panel comprised of the director of the state Office of Compassionate Use, an accountant and a member of the Drug Policy Advisory Council would pick five nurseries to grow, process and dispense medical marijuana under a revamped rule released Thursday by the Florida Department of Health.
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The selection committee would take the […]

At Hemming Park, Jacksonville Evolves From Axe Handle Saturday To Civil Rights Saturday

| January 15, 2015

Jacksonville filled Hemming Park with racial hatred and violence 55 years ago. But January 10, 2015 was a celebration of love as it became the location of a series of gay marriages, writes Julie Delegal.

Florida Ban on Judges’ Campaign Cash Teeters as Supreme Court Takes On The Case

| January 15, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ultimate decision in the Florida case could have far-reaching ramifications, as 30 of the 39 states that elect judges have some kind of restriction on judicial candidates making personal pitches for campaign money.

In a Blow to Utilities, Alternative-Energy Coalition Proposes Solar Power Amendment For 2016 Ballot

| January 14, 2015

Backers of the initiative said during a news conference in Tallahassee that they are using the constitutional amendment route because well-funded utilities have repeatedly lobbied the Legislature and the Florida Public Service Commission against expanding solar and other alternative-energy choices.

Candidates In Special House and Senate Election Strain to Distinguish Themselves

| January 13, 2015

Five Republican candidates in the Jan. 27 special primary for House and Senate fielded questions from three Flagler County business groups in an open forum with few surprises Tuesday evening at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Child Thrown From Bridge in Tampa Prompts New Look at DCF’s Porous Safety Net

| January 13, 2015

Records of the case reveal that many answers were already available — in the form of arrests that could have raised alarms at the state abuse hotline operated by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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