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SIERRA CLUB QUESTIONS NEED FOR NEW FPL PLANT
JIM SAUNDERS |
With regulators poised to take up the issue in January, the Sierra Club is challenging the need for a new Florida Power & Light plant in Broward County... Story


SCOTT WANTS SUPREME COURT JUSTICE OUT OF APPOINTMENTS CASE
DARA KAM |
Gov. Rick Scott is asking that a Florida Supreme Court justice be disqualified from ruling on a case focused on whether Scott has the authority to appoint three new justices before leaving office in early 2019... Story

PANEL TO WEIGH CHANGES FOR SCHOOL BOARDS, SUPERINTENDENTS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
A proposal to impose term limits on school board members will be taken up Monday as the Florida Constitution Revision Commission begins to evaluate 103 measures aimed at changing the state Constitution... Story

DEMOCRATS LOOK FOR NEW LEADERS AFTER BITTEL EXIT
DARA KAM |
The fallout from the resignation of Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel continued Monday, with a top staff member stepping down and the interim party chair saying she won't pursue the permanent post... Story

STATE MOVES FORWARD WITH DISPUTED POT ID CONTRACT
DARA KAM |
After hearing a litany of complaints from lawmakers, state health officials are moving forward with a contested contract to process medical-marijuana patient identification cards... Story

STATE SAYS TOURISM NUMBERS CONTINUE TO CLIMB
JIM TURNER |
A massive and deadly hurricane didn't blow away the draw of the Sunshine State during the third quarter of the year, according to Florida tourism officials... Story

STATE SEEKS END TO SATELLITE TV TAX FIGHT
JIM SAUNDERS |
Attorney General Pam Bondi's office has asked the U. S. Supreme Court to reject a challenge to the constitutionality of a state law that sets different tax rates for satellite and cable-television services... Story

LOBBYIST FILE --- DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, NOVEMBER 20, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
BRIAN BALLARD has registered to lobby for Food Group International... Story


JUDGE BLASTS STATE PRISONS OVER HEPATITIS CARE
DARA KAM |
In a scathing ruling issued Friday, a federal judge found that Florida corrections officials have a “long and sordid history” of failing to treat inmates infected with the Hepatitis C virus and ordered the state to immediately come up with a plan to properly provide care... Story

PUTNAM, ROSS SAY RELIEF PROPOSAL LEAVES OUT CITRUS
JIM TURNER |
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Congressman Dennis Ross on Friday criticized a lack of funding for the state's storm-ravaged citrus industry in the latest disaster-relief package proposed by the White House... Story

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: FROM EUSTIS TO JACKSONVILLE
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
There were reminders this week that governors come and go, but the rituals of the Capitol remain... Read the Roundup

DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN EXITS AFTER DISCLOSURES
DARA KAM |
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel abruptly resigned Friday, just hours after a news report accused him of creating an uncomfortable work environment by leering at women and making suggestive remarks... Story

LETTERS RATCHET UP NURSING HOME REGULATORY FIGHT
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has consistently bemoaned unnecessary regulations on businesses, is escalating a legal and regulatory feud with the state's long-term care industry... Story

STATE DIVVIES UP BEAR-PROOFING MONEY
JIM TURNER |
Bear-proofing money from the state is going to seven counties, a parks department, a homeowners' association and a community for surviving spouses of retired U. S. Air Force enlistees... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF NOVEMBER 19, 2017
STAFF |
The state Capitol will clear out during the coming week because of Thanksgiving... Read the Advances

TRANSPORTATION CHIEF POINTS TO `EFFECTIVE' JOB ON DEBRIS REMOVAL
JIM TURNER |
Florida's transportation secretary is giving his agency a passing mark for debris removal after Hurricane Irma... Story


SENATE LAWYERS UP IN LATVALA PROBE
DARA KAM |
The Florida Senate has hired a prominent Tallahassee lawyer amid a probe into sexual-harassment allegations against Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican... Story

FPL, BROWARD BATTLE NURSING HOME SUBPOENAS
JIM SAUNDERS |
Arguing they should not have to turn over documents, Florida Power & Light and Broward County have been battling subpoenas from a Hollywood nursing home where residents died after Hurricane Irma knocked out its air-conditioning system... Story

IRMA AGRICULTURE LOSSES CONTINUE TO MOUNT
JIM TURNER |
Florida's $2.5 billion request for federal disaster relief for its agriculture industry after Hurricane Irma might not be enough... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: DIFFERENT TIMES, DIFFERENT BUDGET
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER AND JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott's final budget proposal of $87.4 billion is nearly a third larger than the $65.9 billion proposal he outlined in 2011, his first year in office... Read the Briefing

SPANO ENTERS RACE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL
JIM TURNER |
Hillsborough County Republican Ross Spano announced plans Thursday to run for attorney general, becoming the third member of the House and the fourth Republican seeking to replace term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi next year... Story

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, NOVEMBER 16, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
ANNA ALEXOPOULOS FARRAR will join the Department of Financial Services as communications director... Read the Personnel File


BUSH BACKS CONTROVERSIAL EDUCATION LAW
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Former Gov. Jeb Bush, who made education reform the hallmark of his two terms in office, on Wednesday praised a new state law that could spur the growth of charter schools in Florida... Story

REPORT SHOWS `STAGGERING' DRUG DEATHS IIN FLORIDA
DARA KAM |
A highly anticipated report from Florida's medical examiners shows dramatic increases in all types of drug-related deaths, including a 97 percent increase in deaths caused by the synthetic opioid fentanyl... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


PROPOSAL WOULD MAKE IT HARDER TO CHANGE CONSTITUTION

A Senate Republican on Monday proposed a measure that, if approved by voters, would make it harder to amend the Florida Constitution...

NURSING HOME ASKS CONGRESS NOT TO `RUSH TO JUDGMENT'

Contending that media reports have been inaccurate and sensationalized, attorneys for The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills nursing home asked that a congressional committee avoid any “rush to judgment or invitation to usurp the judicial branch” about findings of guilt, innocence, liability or wrongdoing...

CANDIDATES FILE FOR SPANO, BAEZ HOUSE SEATS

With state Rep. Ross Spano announcing last week he will run for attorney general, the first candidate has emerged to try to replace him in a Hillsborough County House district...

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR WATER BATTLE IN JANUARY

The U. S. Supreme Court will hear arguments Jan. 8 in the long-running legal battle between Florida and Georgia about water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system...

APPEAL REJECTED IN AIRMAN SHOOTING CASE

A divided appeals court Monday rejected arguments that U. S. Air Force airman did not receive adequate legal representation in a high-profile case stemming from a 2010 shooting outside a Tallahassee bar...

TAX BREAK PROPOSED FOR STANDBY GENERATORS

A Senate Republican on Monday proposed providing a property-tax exemption for permanently installed generators used to provide power when electricity goes out...


AHCA SEEKS TO BLOCK DEPOSITION IN NURSING HOME CASE

The state Agency for Health Care Administration asked a judge Friday to shield a high-ranking agency official from being deposed in a legal battle about revoking the license of a Broward County nursing home...

FINAL COMMITTEE WEEK TO INCLUDE FOUR DAYS OF MEETINGS

Florida lawmakers will return to the Capitol on Dec. 4 for the last series of committee meetings before the 2018 legislative session starts in January...

JUDGE SIDES WITH LANDOWNER ON DISPUTED WATER PERMIT

An administrative law judge Friday backed a decision to issue a water-use permit to a major Marion County landowner, despite arguments by environmental groups about possible harm to Silver Springs and the Silver River...

GROUP SUES OVER ACCESS TO VETERANS NURSING HOME

A disability-rights organization has filed a federal lawsuit against the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs, contending the group was improperly prevented from having access to a state veterans nursing home...

FLORIDA JOBLESS RATE DOWN IN OCTOBER

Florida's unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points in October as the state continued to recover from Hurricane Irma...


LEGISLATIVE LOBBYISTS HIT $32 MILLION IN THIRD QUARTER

Lobbyists were paid an estimated $32 million for their legislative work during this year's third quarter, a sizable increase from the same period in 2016, according to a state report posted online Thursday...

OPEN HOUSE SEATS DRAW HOPEFULS

Open House seats in Jacksonville and South Florida continued to draw candidates this week...

CANDIDATES BEGIN TO LINE UP FOR BAEZ SEAT

Two Republicans and one Democrat have taken formal steps to run in a special election next year to replace former state Rep. Daisy Baez, a Coral Gables Democrat who stepped down Nov. 1...

HOUSE MEMBERS SEEK MONEY FOR HUNDREDS OF PROJECTS

House members have filed nearly 400 proposals, worth more than $673 million, for local and regional projects to be considered during the 2018 legislative session...

DEATH SENTENCE REJECTED IN MURDER OF 82-YEAR-OLD

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new sentencing hearing for a Death Row inmate convicted in the 1997 stabbing death of an 82-year-old man during a robbery in a Jacksonville apartment...

LAWMAKERS SEEK TO BAR VENEZUELA INVESTMENTS

A House panel Thursday approved a bill that would bar state investments in companies doing business with the government of Venezuela...


SCOTT SAYS MOORE SHOULD EXIT ALABAMA SENATE RACE

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday said Alabama U. S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, accused of sexually inappropriate behavior with girls as young as 14, should drop out of the race, according to the Austin American-Statesman newspaper...

JUDGE SAYS STATE SHOULD REJECT NEW MARION HOSPITAL

With other hospitals fighting the proposal, an administrative law judge Wednesday said state regulators should turn down a request to build a new hospital in Marion County...

IRMA INSURED LOSSES NEAR $5.9 BILLION

With more than 830,000 claims filed, the estimated insured losses from Hurricane Irma continue to climb...

STATE BOARD OVERTURNED ON ST. LUCIE CHARTER SCHOOL

In the second similar decision in little more than a month, an appeals court Wednesday overturned a decision by the State Board of Education that would have cleared the way for a new charter school in St. Lucie County...

COURT TOSSES OUT VERDICT AGAINST TOBACCO COMPANIES

An appeals court Wednesday ordered a new trial in a case in which tobacco companies were ordered to pay $12 million in the death of a smoker who was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 42...

ANOTHER DEMOCRAT EMERGES FOR CLEMENS SENATE SEAT

A West Palm Beach Democrat has opened a campaign account to try to replace former state Sen. Jeff Clemens, becoming the third Democrat expected to run in a special election for the seat, according to the Florida Division of Elections website...


JUDGE BACKS PLAN FOR PEDIATRIC TRAUMA CENTER

An administrative law judge said Tuesday that the Florida Department of Health should approve a proposal to open a pediatric trauma center at Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville...

PUTNAM KEEPS BIG LEAD IN FUNDRAISING FOR GOVERNOR

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam continued last month to widen his fundraising advantage in the Republican primary for governor, bringing in nearly $1.2 million for his campaign and a closely aligned political committee, newly filed reports show...

LEVINE, GRAHAM TOP DEMOCRATIC MONEY CHASE IN OCTOBER

In the month before Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine formally entered the governor's race, a closely aligned political committee raised $963,500, according to newly filed finance reports...

SCOTT PITCHES $87.4 BILLION SPENDING PLAN

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday released a proposed $87.4 billion budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, an initial step as lawmakers prepare to negotiate a spending plan during the legislative session that starts in January...

GALVANO, OLIVA COMMITTEES EACH HIT SIX FIGURES IN OCTOBER

Political committees led by the next Senate president and the next House speaker each raised more than $100,000 in October, as they were buoyed by a relative handful of large contributions...

HOUSE STARTS MOVING AGAIN ON `DIRECT PRIMARY CARE'

A House health care panel on Tuesday approved a bill backing “direct primary care” contracts that would allow physicians to bill patients and collect payments in advance of providing care without having to obtain an insurance license...


REPUBLICAN FILES TO RUN FOR CLEMENS SEAT

A Republican candidate has filed initial paperwork to run in a special election in a Palm Beach County Senate district vacated last month by Democrat Jeff Clemens...

LEE MEMORIAL TAKES CASE TO FLORIDA SUPREME COURT

Southwest Florida's Lee Memorial Health System is going to the state Supreme Court in a dispute about the constitutionality of part of a 2000 law...

SCOTT SET TO RELEASE BUDGET PROPOSAL

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday will release his proposed 2018-2019 budget, an initial step as lawmakers prepare to negotiate a spending plan during the legislative session that starts in January...

FELONS' RIGHTS INITIATIVE BRINGS IN $700,000

Continuing to steadily submit petition signatures, backers of a proposed felons' rights constitutional amendment raised nearly $701,000 in October, with much of the money coming from the American Civil Liberties Union, a newly filed finance report shows...

TRIBE, DISNEY POUR MONEY INTO GAMBLING INITIATIVE

The Seminole Tribe of Florida and Disney Worldwide Services spent $1.55 million in October to back a proposed constitutional amendment that would make it harder to expand gambling in the state, according to a newly filed finance report...

LAWMAKERS PITCH AUTONOMOUS TRANSPORTATION INCENTIVES

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, filed legislation Monday to provide incentives to local governments to advance technology linked to driverless cars...

SCOTT COMMITTEE SPENDS MORE THAN $1.2 MILLION ON ADS

Gov. Rick Scott's “Let's Get to Work” political committee spent more than $1.2 million in October on advertising, amid widespread speculation that Scott will run for U. S. Senate next year...

SCOTT BACKS FREE TUITION FOR FAMILIES OF FALLEN OFFICERS, SOLDIERS

Gov. Rick Scott said Monday he supports a proposed constitutional amendment that would waive higher-education tuition and fees for family members of first responders, law-enforcement officers and active-duty military members who are killed in the line of duty...

JUSTICES TO HEAR FAMU HAZING CASE IN FEBRUARY

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in February in an appeal by a former member of Florida A&M University's "Marching 100" band who was convicted in the high-profile 2011 death of drum major Robert Champion...


UNIVERSITY SYSTEM LOOKS FOR CONSTRUCTION MONEY

The Florida Board of Governors agreed Thursday to ask lawmakers for $228 million in university-system construction projects and $48.6 million for maintenance in the next state budget...

DECISION MOVES ROBINSON CLOSER TO FAMU PRESIDENCY

Larry Robinson moved closer to shedding the interim label and becoming president of Florida A&M University when the state Board of Governors agreed Thursday to waive a rule that requires schools to conduct national searches before picking new leaders...

SCOTT SETS SPECIAL ELECTION FOR BAEZ HOUSE SEAT

A Miami-Dade County House seat left vacant after the resignation of Democrat Daisy Baez likely will not be filled until May...

COMBEE TO LEAVE HOUSE IN LATE NOVEMBER

Rep. Neil Combee, R-Auburndale, formally gave notice of his resignation to House Speaker Richard Corcoran late Wednesday...

RING, COMMITTEE PULL IN $52,000 FOR CABINET RACE

Former Democratic Sen. Jeremy Ring, a candidate for state chief financial officer, raised nearly $52,000 in October for his campaign and an allied political committee, according to numbers posted on the state Division of Elections website...

BILL SEEKS TO AUTOMATICALLY LIFT TOLLS DURING EVACUATIONS

Tolls would automatically be lifted for motorists in counties where mandatory evacuations are ordered, under a measure filed this week in the Senate...


DCF FACES COSTS IN FOOD PROGRAM FOR IRMA VICTIMS

Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll told a Senate budget panel on Wednesday that administering a food-stamp program in 48 counties that were damaged by Hurricane Irma cost the state about $33 million as of October...

LOCAL BUDGET PROJECTS CONTINUE PILING UP IN HOUSE

House members in the past week have proposed nearly 50 additional local projects, collectively worth $61 million, that they hope will be included in next year's state budget...

SENATE HIGHER ED CHANGES ON FAST TRACK

With relatively little discussion, a Senate education budget panel Wednesday unanimously approved university-system changes that are a top priority of Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart...

APPEALS COURT BACKS CARDROOMS IN RULE DISPUTE

Siding with cardroom operators, an appellate court Wednesday upheld a decision by an administrative law judge that Florida gambling regulators wrongly did away with rules governing controversial “designated player” card games without replacing the regulations...

LAWMAKERS SEEK EXPANSION OF NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM

Two Democratic lawmakers filed proposals this week that seek to expand a pilot needle-exchange program approved in 2016 for Miami-Dade County...

STATE TARGETS 23 NURSING HOMES ON GENERATOR RULE

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said 23 nursing homes have not responded to requirements of an emergency rule stemming from the deaths in September of Broward County nursing-home residents after Hurricane Irma...


KRISEMAN LEADS ST. PETERSBURG MAYOR'S RACE

With most of the votes counted Tuesday night, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman led former Mayor Rick Baker in a closely watched race for the city's top job...

 
 
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