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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

PROPERTY TAXES LIKELY TO SPUR SCHOOL FUNDING FIGHT
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Another battle about using increases in local property taxes to bolster public schools will complicate upcoming state budget negotiations... Story

STATE PITCHES REVAMPED NURSING HOME REQUIREMENTS
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
Gov. Rick Scott's administration is proposing a new, permanent pair of emergency power rules for nursing homes and assisted living facilities that differ from controversial emergency rules unveiled in September, but long-term care providers still have concerns... Story

BETHUNE GETS BACKING TO REPLACE CONFEDERATE IN CAPITOL
JIM TURNER |
A statue of civil-rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune is getting support in both chambers of the Legislature as a replacement for a Confederate general who has long represented Florida in the U. S. Capitol... Story

STATEHOUSES ROCKED BY SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS
DARA KAM |
Throughout the nation, lawmakers are being forced to confront revelations about dirty little secrets once kept hidden behind the statehouse doors... Story


SCOTT BUDGET TAKES IT EASIER ON HOSPITALS
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has clashed repeatedly with the state's hospitals and earlier this year asked for nearly $1 billion in Medicaid reductions, released a spending plan Tuesday for 2018 that does not advocate additional cuts to the industry... Story

SCOTT BUDGET SEEKS TAX CUTS, EDUCATION MONEY
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
With a backdrop of generators, chainsaws and pressure washers in a Duval County hardware store, Rick Scott on Tuesday unveiled his final budget proposal as Florida's governor, releasing an $87.4 billion plan that calls for $180 million in tax cuts and increased education spending... Story

GUN BILLS COULD GET JAMMED AGAIN IN SENATE
JIM TURNER |
Gun-related issues for the 2018 session could be firing blanks in the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature... Story

LAWMAKERS LOOK AT BOOSTING INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
Would-be patients would have the benefit of knowing whether health care providers working at hospitals and outpatient surgery centers go to their own facilities to seek treatment, under a bill that has been fast-tracked in the Florida House... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


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...

SLAVERY MEMORIAL READY FOR HOUSE VOTE

When the 2018 legislative session starts in January, the Florida House could be poised to quickly pass a bill that would lead to the creation of a slavery memorial at the state Capitol...

BILL COULD EXPAND ANGIOPLASTY TRAINING

Fifty-six Florida hospitals could start training their nursing and technical staff in coronary angioplasty under a bill approved Tuesday by the Senate Health Policy Committee...

GRAHAM PICKED TO LEAD PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

Recently reappointed to another four-year term on the Florida Public Service Commission, Art Graham was elected Tuesday to serve as chairman of the utility-regulatory panel...

PROPOSAL WOULD GIVE VETERANS ANOTHER HEALTH OPTION

The Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday backed a bill that could allow veterans and their families to have access to providers in Florida's Medicaid managed-care program as an alternative to tapping into the federal Veterans Health Administration...

SENATORS FOCUS ON OUT-OF-HOSPITAL BIRTH INCIDENTS

Physicians, nurse midwives and midwives involved in out-of-hospital births would have to report adverse medical incidents to the state, under a bill approved Tuesday by the Senate Health Policy Committee...

HOUSE RENEWS FIGHT AGAINST `SANCTUARY CITIES'

After getting rebuffed the past two years by the Senate, the House is trying again to pass legislation targeting communities that have become known as a “sanctuary cities...

 
 
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