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WEEKLY ROUNDUP: FREE SPEECH AND MIDDLE FINGERS
DARA KAM |
The anxiety leading up to white nationalist Richard Spencer's speech Thursday at the University of Florida nearly eclipsed the tension on campus, where the alt-right leader struggled to deliver his message amid defiant chants of “Spencer go home!.. Read the Roundup

NURSING HOME PROVIDERS QUARREL OVER QUALITY PAYMENTS
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
A bruising battle over how to parcel out billions in Medicaid payments for nursing homes is showing little signs of ending anytime soon... Story

LAW ENFORCEMENT: WHITE NATIONALIST SPEECH RESULTS IN `MOSTLY PEACEFUL DAY'
JIM TURNER |
White nationalist Richard Spencer's speech Thursday at the University of Florida prompted a state of emergency, carried a $600,000 tab and drew more than 2,500 demonstrators... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF OCTOBER 22, 2017
STAFF |
Florida lawmakers will return to the Capitol during the coming week for committee meetings in preparation for the 2018 session... Read the Advances


INCREASED ATTORNEY FEES BACKED BY SUPREME COURT
JIM SAUNDERS |
In a case stemming from a claim for water damage, a divided Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that an attorney was entitled to receive stepped-up fees for representing homeowners against an insurance company... Story

WHITE NATIONALIST SHOUTED DOWN AT UF SPEECH
JIM TURNER |
White-nationalist Richard Spencer brought his “alt-right” movement to the University of Florida Thursday, calling America a “white country,” but his message was drowned out... Story

COURT BACKS SCOTT ON EMERGENCY RULES
CHRISTINE SEXTON AND JIM SAUNDERS |
A Tallahassee-based appeals court Thursday gave a victory to Gov. Rick Scott in one part of a legal battle about emergency rules requiring nursing homes and assisted living facilities to quickly add generators that can power air-conditioning systems... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: SUPREME COURT MULLIGAN FOR BONDI?
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER AND JIM TURNER |
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is hoping for a repeat visit to the U. S. Supreme Court when the justices hear oral arguments in the decades-old legal fight between Florida and Georgia over water flow into the Apalachicola River... Read the Briefing

UF READY FOR WHITE NATIONALIST SPEECH
JIM TURNER |
University of Florida students arose Thursday to a campus outwardly expressing messages of love against the backdrop of a heavily armed law enforcement presence and the specter of a divisive mid-afternoon speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer... Story


WORKERS' COMPENSATION RATE CUT EYED
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
Fewer workers are filing workers' compensation claims, helping lower the costs Florida employers will pay for insurance next year... Story

STATE BOARD APPROVES SCHOOLS FOR `HOPE' MONEY
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
With 13 school districts challenging the constitutionality of Florida's new “schools of hope” law, the State Board of Education on Wednesday used the law to select 11 low-performing public schools to receive additional funding... Story

SPENCER GROUP DENIES BEING `HATEFUL' AS UF BRACES
DARA KAM |
Supporters of Richard Spencer, the firebrand white nationalist whose upcoming appearance at the University of Florida sparked a state of emergency, say he's not a racist... Story

LOBBYIST FILE --- DOING BUSINESS ON THE FOURTH FLOOR, OCTOBER 18, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
NICOLE STOOKEY ALBERS has registered to lobby for the Florida Municipal Electric Association... Story


CONSTITUTION COMMISSION ADVANCES MORE PUBLIC PROPOSALS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
The Florida Constitution Revision Commission on Tuesday voted to advance four public proposals, including a measure dealing with homestead exemptions and another potentially impacting abortion rights... Read the Advances

REGULATORS DEAL WITH FPL NUCLEAR LICENSE, COSTS
JIM SAUNDERS |
Grappling with a long-discussed nuclear project in Miami-Dade County, state regulators Tuesday backed Florida Power & Light continuing to pursue a critical license for two new reactors --- but turned down a company request involving costs... Story

STATE TARGETS PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY IN STOCK CASE
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
In a rare move, Florida is considering taking on a large pharmaceutical company, alleging the state's pension fund lost some $127 million in stock value because of federal security violations by the company... Story

STATE SAYS LAW ENFORCEMENT READY FOR UF SPEECH
JIM TURNER |
The commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Tuesday authorities are prepared to handle people who commit or encourage violence when a white-nationalist leader speaks Thursday at the University of Florida... Story


SCOTT DECLARES EMERGENCY AS UF READIES FOR WHITE NATIONALIST
DARA KAM |
Citing a need to protect “the health, safety and welfare” of the public, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Alachua County in advance of a white-nationalist leader's appearance Thursday at the University of Florida... Story

VETERANS' AGENCY HOPES TO AVOID BUDGET CUTS
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs Executive Director Glenn Sutphin told a House panel that the state would have to close a veterans' nursing home if the Legislature were to make steep spending reductions to his department's budget in the coming year... Story

FLORIDA TV TAX FIGHT TAKEN TO U.S. SUPREME COURT
JIM SAUNDERS |
Pointing to “protectionism,” a major satellite-television company is asking the U. S. Supreme Court to take up a constitutional challenge to a Florida law that sets different tax rates for cable and satellite TV services... Story

FARMERS MAY GET LOANS TO HELP WITH IRMA DAMAGE
JIM TURNER |
Florida farmers in 44 counties may be eligible for federal loans to help cover damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma, the U. S. Department of Agriculture has announced... Story

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, OCTOBER 16, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
NICOLE STOOKEY ALBERS has been named public affairs manager of the Florida Municipal Electric Association... Read the Personnel File


ADVANCES: WEEK OF OCTOBER 15, 2017
STAFF |
With lawmakers back in their districts between committee weeks, many county legislative delegations will hold hearings during the coming days... Read the Advances

NURSING HOMES SEEK VARIANCES FROM GENERATOR REQUIREMENT
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
As industry attorneys waged a legal battle over new rules that require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators that can power air-conditioning systems, providers worried that they cannot meet the mandate by Nov. 15 are asking for variances from the rules... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


LAWMAKERS SEEK EXTENSION IN KIDCARE PAYMENTS

The list of those asking Florida Gov. Rick Scott to waive insurance premium requirements for low-income families in 48 counties impacted by Hurricane Irma is growing...

FPL PROPOSES REPLACING TWO BROWARD UNITS WITH CLEAN ENERGY CENTER

Florida Power & Light filed a request Friday to replace a power plant in Broward County with a more modern and powerful clean energy center that will cost an estimated $888 million to build...

GAMBLING BALLOT INITIATIVE TOPS 300,000 SIGNATURES

Trying to get on the November 2018 ballot, backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that could make it harder to expand gambling in Florida have topped 300,000 petition signatures, according to the state Division of Elections website...

PASSENGER RAIL PROPOSAL EMERGES AGAIN IN SENATE

A controversial proposal for the state to oversee aspects of high-speed rail --- intended to slow a planned private passenger-rail service linking Orlando and Miami --- has been filed again in the Senate...

MORE NURSING HOME LEGISLATION PROPOSED

A South Florida state senator has filed a bill that would require nursing homes and other facilities to have generators capable of providing backup power for up to four days...

SCOTT: IRMA FUELS DROP IN PEOPLE WITHOUT JOBS

Florida's jobless rate dropped 0.2 percentage points in September --- to 3.8 percent --- even though the number of people with jobs fell by 42,000 from August...

NURSING HOME COURT CASE COULD BE PUT ON HOLD

A Leon County circuit judge could put on hold a lawsuit about whether a Broward County nursing home should be able to operate after the deaths of residents following Hurricane Irma...


BILL WOULD ALLOW LOCAL SMOKING REGULATIONS IN PARKS

A Senate Republican wants to allow cities and counties to be able to regulate smoking in public parks...

SCOTT SEEKS SECURITY FUNDING FOR JEWISH SCHOOLS

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday called for a $350,000 increase in state spending on security for Jewish schools...

ROMMEL DRAWS DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER

Republican Bob Rommel faces a Democratic challenger as he seeks a second term in the Florida House...


RECOVERY CARE CENTER PLAN FILED IN HOUSE

Florida House Republicans could be poised to make a renewed attempt to allow types of health-care facilities known as “recovery care centers,” where patients could stay up to 72 hours after undergoing surgical procedures...

FORMER LAWMAKER TULLIS HONORED

Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Thursday to honor former state Rep. Jim Tullis, a Jacksonville Republican who died Saturday...

U.S. SENATE PANEL PROBES NURSING HOME DEATHS

The U. S. Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday sent letters to Florida and federal health officials requesting information about the deaths of 14 residents of a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma and steps the state has taken to protect seniors...

APPEALS COURT ALLOWS CHALLENGES TO WATER STANDARDS

A second appeals court has cleared the way for legal challenges to controversial water-quality standards approved last year by a state environmental commission...

COURT UPHOLDS $35 MILLION VERDICT IN SMOKER'S DEATH

A South Florida appeals court Wednesday upheld a $35 million verdict --- including $25 million in punitive damages --- in a lawsuit filed against two cigarette makers over a lung-cancer death...

LAWMAKERS SEEK CONTINUED DRILLING MORATORIUM

A decades-long moratorium against oil drilling in an area of the eastern Gulf of Mexico used by the military for air and sea training should remain in place, according to resolution filed Wednesday by state Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze...


DISASTERS COULD PUSH UP INSURANCE RATES

Florida's insurance commissioner said homeowners' policies could face some “upward pressure,” as he was asked Tuesday about the impact on rates from this year's series of natural disasters...

JUDGE-LAWYER FACEBOOK CASE GOES TO SUPREME COURT

A Miami-Dade County law firm Tuesday took the first step in asking the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether a circuit judge should be disqualified from a case because she was a Facebook friend of an attorney representing one of the parties...

REPORT CHARTS COURSE TO EXPAND TELEHEALTH

The state Telehealth Advisory Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a final report and legislative recommendations to remove barriers to the use of telehealth...

CABINET APPROVES PROTECTING OKEECHOBEE RANCH LAND

Gov. Rick Scott and the state Cabinet agreed Tuesday to spend about $5.7 million to conserve more than 2,500 acres of ranch land in a deal that nearly depletes this year's funding for a program used to keep agricultural property from development...

SUPREME COURT REJECTS STAY OF NOVEMBER EXECUTION

With no explanation, the Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request to stay the scheduled Nov. 8 execution of Patrick C. Hannon, who was sentenced to death in the 1991 murders of two men in Hillsborough County...

THRASHER AMONG VETERANS NAMED TO HALL OF FAME

Florida State University President John Thrasher, a former state House speaker who served in the Vietnam War, is among 20 members of the 2017 class of the Florida Veterans' Hall of Fame...


IRMA INSURANCE CLAIMS NEAR $5 BILLION

Potential insured losses from Hurricane Irma in Florida now approach $5 billion...

MORE VARIANCES SOUGHT ON NURSING HOME GENERATORS

At least 21 more long-term care providers have filed requests for variances with the state Agency for Health Care Administration as they seek additional time to comply with Gov Rick Scott's mandate that they add generators that can power air-conditioning systems...

HUNDREDS OF BOATS REMOVED AFTER IRMA

More than 850 vessels impacted by Hurricane Irma have been removed from state waters, the U. S. Coast Guard announced Monday...

PROPOSAL WOULD FUNNEL MONEY TO INDIAN RIVER LAGOON

At least $50 million a year of voter-approved money would go to conserving and managing the Indian River Lagoon, under a measure filed Monday by Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart...

SUPREME COURT SETS ARGUMENTS IN RED-LIGHT CAMERA BATTLE

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments in February in a battle about a red-light camera program in the city of Aventura that could have broader implications across the state...

GASOLINE PRICES DROPPING AFTER STORM SPIKE

Gasoline prices in Florida have fallen 7 cents during the past week and 25 cents over the past month, after hurricanes Harvey and Irma drove up costs at the pump...


HOUSE, SENATE PLAN FOUR DAYS OF COMMITTEE MEETINGS

Coming off their first committee week in advance of the 2018 session, House and Senate committees will meet over four days in late October...

LAWMAKERS EYE STUDENT FINANCIAL LITERACY REQUIREMENT

Florida lawmakers will again consider a proposal that would require high-school students to pass a financial-literacy course before graduation...

FARMERS COULD GET IRMA-RELATED TAX BREAKS

Farmers could receive tax breaks on equipment damaged by Hurricane Irma and on fuel, under a proposal by Rep. Matt Caldwell, a North Fort Myers Republican who is running for agriculture commissioner next year...

GOP LAWMAKER WHITE RUNS FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

Republican state Rep. Frank White, a general counsel and chief financial officer for a group of auto dealerships, announced Friday he will run for state attorney general in 2018...

COURT GIVES BOOST TO ORANGE COUNTY CHARTER CHANGES

An appeals court Friday overturned a ruling that at least temporarily blocked voter-approved changes to Orange County's government...

OLSZEWSKI, PEREZ QUICKLY PREPARE FOR 2018 CAMPAIGNS

After winning special elections for state House seats, Winter Garden Republican Bobby Olszewski and Miami Republican Daniel Perez have quickly started preparing for 2018 reelection bids...


SCOTT, CABINET CONSIDER OKEECHOBEE LAND DEAL

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet next week are slated to consider a $5.7 million deal that would help protect more than 2,500 acres of land in Okeechobee County...

DEBRIS REMOVAL FIRM SAYS IT WILL USE PRE-STORM PRICING

As the state looks into claims that debris-removal companies haven't fulfilled post-Hurricane Irma contracts, one of three firms in the crosshairs of Attorney General Pam Bondi announced it will complete the work at pre-storm pricing...

HOUSE PANEL TO HEAR BAEZ CASE IN DECEMBER

The House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee on Thursday set a Dec. 4 hearing to determine whether Rep. Daisy Baez violated residency requirements when she was elected last year...

SUPREME COURT WON'T RECONSIDER INDIGENT CARE FIGHT

A divided Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined to reconsider a decision in a dispute about paying for indigent health care in Sarasota County...

VISIT FLORIDA AD CAMPAIGN TARGETS MAJOR MARKETS

Florida's tourism-marketing agency Thursday kicked off the second part of a $5 million post-Hurricane Irma effort to draw visitors to the state...

SCOTT SEEKS I-75 EVACUATION IMPROVEMENTS

Gov. Rick Scott has directed the Florida Department of Transportation to determine if traffic can be improved for people who use Interstate 75 to evacuate future hurricanes...


NEWSPAPER APPEALS WITNESS IDENTITY RULING

The Sun Sentinel newspaper has filed a notice as a first step in asking the Florida Supreme Court to take up a dispute about whether the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is required to disclose the names of witnesses to a murder on Interstate 95...

PROPOSAL CALLS FOR ELECTED SECRETARY OF STATE

A proposal to make the secretary of state an elected Cabinet position, eliminating the governor's power to appoint Florida's highest elections official, has returned in the Senate...

`GOOD SAMARITAN' PROPOSAL OFFERED IN SENATE

Failure to provide reasonable assistance to a person in “imminent danger” of grave physical harm, yet taking video and posting it online, could result in a third-degree felony, under a proposal filed Wednesday...

HOUSE PANEL SUPPORTS CREATING SLAVERY MEMORIAL

With little discussion, a House panel Wednesday approved a bill that would lead to the creation of a slavery memorial at the Florida Capitol...

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS MAJOR TOBACCO VERDICT

Though it raised concerns about a jury instruction, a state appeals court Wednesday upheld a nearly $35 million verdict against R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in the death of a longtime smoker...

FELONS' RIGHTS INITIATIVE TOPS 200,000 SIGNATURES

With continued financial backing from the American Civil Liberties Union, a ballot initiative to restore felons' voting rights has topped 200,000 petition signatures submitted to the state, according to the Florida Division of Elections website...


HOUSE PANEL BACKS RED-LIGHT CAMERA REPEAL

The House is on a fast track to try to repeal Florida's red-light camera law, with the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voting to back elimination of the devices by July 1, 2021...

SCOTT WANTS TO MAKE NURSING HOME RULES PERMANENT

Gov. Rick Scott directed agencies Tuesday to begin the process of approving permanent rules that would require nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to add generators that can power air-conditioning systems...

DISNEY PUMPS MORE MONEY INTO GAMBLING MEASURE

With the number of petition signatures continuing to climb, Disney Worldwide Services sunk another $575,000 in September into a proposed constitutional amendment that could make it harder to expand gambling in Florida...

JUDGE BACKS EXPLORATORY OIL WELL IN BROWARD

An administrative law judge said Tuesday that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection should allow a major Broward County landowner to drill an exploratory oil well in the Everglades...

SCOTT, PUTNAM TO SEEK POST-IRMA FEDERAL AID

Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will be in Washington, D. C. on Wednesday to meet with members of Florida's congressional delegation to discuss federal assistance after Hurricane Irma...

 
 
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