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GET THAT SUNPASS READY --- TOLLS ARE COMING BACK
JIM TURNER |
Toll collections will resume at 12:01 a. m. Thursday on most state toll roads after being lifted Sept... Story

HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE TO LOOK AT HURRICANE READINESS
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
From creating a state gasoline reserve to protecting vulnerable seniors in nursing homes, a newly created House committee will look at ways of better preparing Florida to face major storms like Hurricane Irma... Story

JUSTICES DECLINE TO HEAR CHARTER SCHOOL BATTLE
JIM SAUNDERS |
The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a case that challenged the constitutionality of a law that gives power to the State Board of Education in the approval of charter schools... Story

LAKE OKEECHOBEE RISE SPURS MORE WATER RELEASES
JIM TURNER |
Water started to be released southwest from Lake Okeechobee on Tuesday morning, as the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers seeks to stem a post-hurricane rise in the lake's water level... Story


IRMA INSURANCE CLAIMS ALREADY NEAR $2 BILLION
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
With 335,000 insurance claims representing $1.9 billion in property losses, Hurricane Irma has already exceeded the claims and losses from the two hurricanes that pummeled Florida last year, the state Office of Insurance Regulation reported Monday... Story

SCOTT SEEKS SPEEDY RECOVERY IN KEYS
JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott wants the Florida Keys “open for business” by Oct. 1... Story

IRMA DEATH TOLL IN FLORIDA AT 34 --- AND RISING
JIM TURNER |
Hurricane Irma has officially been tied to 34 deaths in Florida, but the number will rise... Story

NURSING HOMES PLAN `SUMMIT' ON GENERATOR ORDER
JIM SAUNDERS AND TOM URBAN |
Calling the deaths of eight seniors last week an “isolated incident,” a nursing-home industry group will hold a meeting Friday to discuss a move by Gov. Rick Scott to require nursing homes to be equipped with generators to power air-conditioning systems when electricity goes out... Story


SCOTT TAPS EX-LAWMAKER TO BECOME UTILITY REGULATOR
JIM SAUNDERS |
Little more than a year after losing a bid for the Florida Senate, former state Rep. Ritch Workman has been tapped by Gov. Rick Scott to serve as a utility regulator... Story


LAWMAKERS SEEK FDLE PROBE OF NURSING HOME DEATHS
DARA KAM |
The deaths of eight seniors who were in a sweltering Broward County nursing home for days after Hurricane Irma has spurred some lawmakers to demand a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation and to file legislation to require nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to have generators... Story

LAWMAKERS LIKELY TO FACE TOUGH BUDGET
JIM SAUNDERS |
A key economist offered a sobering message Friday to state lawmakers: Forget having extra cash for next year's budget... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 17, 2017
STAFF |
With electricity steadily getting restored after Hurricane Irma, state government should start to return to a more-normal rhythm during the coming week... Read the Advances

STATE'S TAB FOR IRMA ALREADY MOUNTING
JIM TURNER |
Florida has preliminarily outlined more than $273 million in Hurricane Irma costs for federal reimbursement, with the money primarily used for storm preparation and debris removal... Story

WEEKLY ROUNDUP: `UNFATHOMABLE'
DARA KAM |
Days after Hurricane Irma slashed a destructive swath through Florida, it's still unclear exactly how much damage the state and its inhabitants have suffered... Read the Roundup


TEACHERS UNION CHALLENGES `BEST AND BRIGHTEST'
JIM SAUNDERS |
The Florida Education Association teachers union has filed a potential class-action lawsuit alleging that the state's controversial “Best and Brightest” bonus program discriminates against older teachers and minorities... Story

PUTNAM SAYS AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY HAMMERED BY IRMA
JIM TURNER |
Parts of Florida's agriculture industry are in “tatters” as rural communities throughout the state continue to face severe conditions after Hurricane Irma, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Thursday... Story

HURRICANE NO BOON TO STATE BUDGET
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Hurricane Irma could extend her destructive reach to the next state budget... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: IRMA DOESN'T TURN OUT LIGHTS ON ELECTION
DARA KAM |
A heated contest for an open Senate seat in Miami just got hotter --- literally... Read the Briefing

INTERSTATE 75 TO REMAIN OPEN AS FLOODING RECEDES
JIM SAUNDERS |
Hurricane Irma evacuees trying to return home can breathe a little easier... Story

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
MARCO PAREDES has joined the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops as associate director for health... Read the Personnel File


STATE ACTS AGAINST NURSING HOME AFTER 8 DEATHS
JIM SAUNDERS |
State regulators late Wednesday took emergency action to block admissions to a Broward County nursing home where eight residents died after an air-conditioning system went out --- a situation that Gov. Rick Scott described as “unfathomable... Story

GAS SUPPLIES GET BOOST AS TANKERS HEAD TO PORTS
JIM TURNER |
Oil tankers are streaming into Florida's ports as demand for gasoline spikes with Hurricane Irma evacuees returning home... Story

MORE MONEY PROPOSED FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS, COLLEGES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
The Florida Board of Education on Wednesday approved a 2018-2019 budget request that includes a $200 per-student boost in the K-12 system, increased funding for the 28 state colleges and construction money for public schools, colleges and universities... Story

FLOODING COULD WORSEN IRMA TRAFFIC WOES
JIM TURNER |
Evacuees already struggling to return home because of heavy traffic and overworked fuel supplies are being advised to consider alternative routes, as flash flooding could close sections of major roads including Interstate 75 north of Gainesville... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


TOURISM MARKETING TO RAMP UP AFTER IRMA

Florida will begin a post-Hurricane Irma marketing plan to lure tourists back to the Sunshine State...

HOUSE COMMITTEES SCHEDULED FOR THREE DAYS

House committees and subcommittees could hold more than 30 meetings during the second week of October, including a meeting of the newly formed Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness, according to a schedule posted online Tuesday...

NELSON, RUBIO WANT PANEL ON SENIORS AND DISASTERS

7 With the deaths last week of eight residents of a Broward County nursing home after Hurricane Irma, U. S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla...

ACLU PLOWS MONEY INTO FELONS' RIGHTS INITIATIVE

The American Civil Liberties Union contributed another $850,000 in August to support a Florida ballot initiative that would restore voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences, a new campaign-finance report shows...

CRACKER CATTLE COULD GET STATE DESIGNATION

Florida cracker cattle would be named the state “heritage cattle breed,” under a proposal filed this week by Rep. MaryLynn Magar, R-Tequesta...

IRMA DEATH TOLL INCREASES TO 42 IN FLORIDA

Hurricane Irma's official death count in Florida has grown to 42, up from 34 on Monday --- and the number is expected to continue increasing...

TREATMENT FACILITY FIGHTS STATE IN PATIENT BROKERING CASE

Disputing allegations of patient brokering, a West Palm Beach drug-treatment center is challenging a decision by the Florida Department of Children and Families to revoke the facility's license...

FISH AND WILDLIFE PANEL CALLS OFF MEETING

Pointing to Hurricane Irma, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has canceled a two-day meeting next week...

HOUSE PROPOSAL CALLS PORN `PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS'

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, wants state lawmakers to approve a measure that says pornography is creating a public health crisis...


SENATE REPUBLICANS SET TO DESIGNATE NEW PRESIDENT

Florida Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet Oct. 24 in a caucus to designate Sen. Bill Galvano as the next Senate president, following the 2018 elections...

NURSERY CHALLENGES DENIAL OF MARIJUANA LICENSE

A Homestead-based nursery is challenging a decision by state health officials to deny the grower a medical marijuana license...

SENATE PLANS FULL SCHEDULE OF COMMITTEE MEETINGS

After canceling committee meetings last week because of Hurricane Irma, the Florida Senate plans a full slate of meetings when it gathers the week of Oct. 9...

DEMOCRAT LINES UP TO SEEK SARASOTA HOUSE SEAT

Democrat Margaret Good has opened a campaign account to run in a special election to replace former state Rep. Alex Miller, a Sarasota Republican who resigned effective Sept...

SCOTT PUSHES COUNTIES TO REMOVE IRMA DEBRIS

Implying debris is hindering the restoration of electricity and other relief efforts, Gov. Rick Scott set a noon Tuesday deadline for Florida counties impacted by Hurricane Irma to submit detailed debris-removal plans...

FIU TOPS BAR EXAM PASSAGE RATE

Law school graduates from Florida International University led the latest round of Florida Bar examinations with an 87.8 percent passage rate in July...

FREE SCHOOL LUNCHES APPROVED AFTER IRMA

The U. S. Department of Agriculture has approved allowing free school lunches for all students in 48 counties that took the brunt of Hurricane Irma, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Monday...

CABINET MEETING CANCELED AMID IRMA RECOVERY

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet have called off a meeting next week as the state continues to recover from Hurricane Irma...


LAWMAKERS BACK MONEY FOR HURRICANE HARVEY AID

A joint legislative panel Friday freed up about $1.3 million to cover costs of sending Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers to Texas to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey...

PUTNAM WAIVES FEES TO REPLACE LOST WEAPON PERMITS

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is waiving replacement fees for concealed-weapon permits and security-guard licenses lost or destroyed because of Hurricane Irma...

COURT UPHOLDS $12M IN PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN TOBACCO CASE

Rejecting arguments by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company that the amount was “excessive,” a state appeals court Friday upheld a jury's award of $12.36 million in punitive damages in a smoking-related death...

POWER NOT RESTORED AT 50 NURSING HOMES

Commercial power had not been restored Friday morning to 50 nursing homes after getting knocked out by Hurricane Irma, according to the Florida Health Care Association, an industry group...

BOATERS URGED TO STAY OUT OF KEY WEST AREA

Boaters are encouraged to avoid waters around Key West, as the Port of Key West will remain closed for the weekend, the U. S. Coast Guard announced Friday...

FLORIDA JOBLESS RATE AT 4 PERCENT IN AUGUST

Florida's unemployment rate ticked down to 4 percent in August, as the state continued to fare better than the nation on joblessness...


RUBIO, NELSON SAY FEDS SHOULD LOOK AT HOLLYWOOD NURSING HOME

Florida's U. S. senators said Thursday they want federal health officials to delve into a Broward County nursing home where eight residents died after Hurricane Irma --- and to take steps to make sure such incidents don't happen again...

POWER OUT FOR 2.2 MILLION AS CREWS CONTINUE RESTORATION

Electricity remained out Thursday night for about 21 percent of utility customers across the state, as crews continued gradually restoring power after Hurricane Irma...

COURTS APPROVED TO EXTEND DEADLINES AFTER IRMA

Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga is giving courts in Hurricane Irma-inundated areas permission to extend filing deadlines...

DOZENS OF NURSING HOMES CONTINUE TO LACK POWER

Dozens of nursing homes continued Thursday to lack electricity or had been evacuated because of Hurricane Irma, as the state grappled with the deaths of eight residents of a Broward County facility that did not have air conditioning...

SENTENCE TOSSED OUT IN 2012 JACKSONVILLE MURDER

Pointing to the lack of a unanimous jury recommendation, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a new sentencing hearing for a Death Row inmate convicted in the 2012 stabbing and strangulation death of a Jacksonville woman...

FINES PILE UP FOR FAILING TO FILE DISCLOSURE FORMS

Hurricane Irma won't stop penalties for state Rep. Kamia Brown, D-Orlando, and nearly 380 other elected officials, board members and government employees in Florida who failed to submit annual financial-disclosure forms on time...


DEMOCRAT DROPS OUT OF SPECIAL HOUSE ELECTION

Democratic candidate Paul Chandler has withdrawn from a special election next month in Orange County's House District 44, amid a lawsuit about his eligibility for the seat...

MCCLURE, FRY RAKE IN MONEY FOR SPECIAL HOUSE RACE

Readying for an Oct. 10 special primary election in Hillsborough County's House District 58, Republicans Lawrence McClure and Yvonne Fry combined to raise nearly $169,000 in August and early September, according to newly filed finance reports...

SENATE BILL FILED ON GUNS AT RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS

September 13.2017 Floridians with concealed-weapons licenses would be allowed to pack heat while at private schools on the properties of religious institutions, under a proposal filed Wednesday by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland...

NOTE TO NEWS SERVICE SUBSCRIBERS

The News Service of Florida will soon launch a new-and-improved website...

PUTNAM SAYS CITRUS INDUSTRY HARD HIT BY IRMA

Florida's already-struggling citrus industry “suffered serious and devastating losses” in Hurricane Irma, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Wednesday after an aerial tour of groves in central and southwest parts of the state...

FAMU INTERIM PRESIDENT'S CONTRACT EXTENDED

The Florida A&M University Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to extend interim President Larry Robinson's contract for another year, while considering whether to name Robinson as the permanent president or to conduct a national search for a new leader...


SCOTT ORDERS `FREEZE' ON INSURANCE RATE HIKES

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday ordered regulators to “freeze any and all efforts” to increase property-insurance rates as homeowners and businesses recover from Hurricane Irma...

MOST UNIVERSITIES REOPEN THURSDAY OR MONDAY

Students at the University of West Florida returned to classes on Tuesday, but the other state universities remain closed due to Hurricane Irma...

CONSTITUTION PANEL CALLS OFF MEETINGS

The state Constitution Revision Commission has called off meetings scheduled for next week in Tallahassee and will consider pushing back a deadline for the public to submit proposed constitutional amendments, commission Chairman Carlos Beruff said Tuesday...

TRUMP COMING TO FLORIDA TO SEE IRMA DAMAGE

President Donald Trump will travel to Florida on Thursday to look at damage from Hurricane Irma, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Tuesday...

HEARING DELAYED ON PLAN TO SHUT DOWN POWER PLANT

State regulators have delayed until Sept...

CALDWELL, GRIMSLEY TOP FUNDRAISING FOR AG COMMISSIONER

Republican lawmakers Matt Caldwell and Denise Grimsley were the top fundraisers in August in the battle to replace outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam...

LOTTERY RESUMES DRAWINGS AFTER IRMA SUSPENSION

Florida Lottery drawings were slated to resume Tuesday after being suspended Sunday because of Hurricane Irma...


STATE OFFICES REMAIN CLOSED IN MANY COUNTIES

State offices will continue to be closed Tuesday in at least 14 counties, including some of the counties hardest hit by Hurricane Irma...

SCOTT COMMITTEE RAISES $1,000, SPENDS NEARLY $135,000

Gov. Rick Scott's Let's Get to Work political committee received a single $1,000 contribution in August, while spending almost $135,000, according to a newly filed finance report...

BOOK, OLIVA COMMITTEES RAISE SIX DIGITS IN AUGUST

Political committees led by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, and Rep. Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, each raised at least $100,000 in August, according to newly filed finance reports...

STATE OFFICES CLOSED TUESDAY IN LEON, OTHER COUNTIES

State offices in Leon County and at least five other counties will remain closed Tuesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma...

MONEY FLOWS IN DUVAL, ORANGE OPEN SEATS

Races next year to replace Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, and Rep. Mike Miller, R-Winter Park, could turn into big-money affairs...

HOOPER TOPS $51,000 FOR SENATE BID

Looking to return to Tallahassee next year in a Senate seat, former Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, raised $51,400 in August, according to a newly filed finance report...

SCOTT GETS AERIAL VIEW OF KEYS DAMAGE

Gov. Rick Scott will get an aerial view Monday morning of damage to the Florida Keys from Hurricane Irma...

RING SINKS $100,000 INTO CFO RACE

Former Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Ring loaned $100,000 last month to his campaign for state chief financial officer, as a political committee backing Republican CFO Jimmy Patronis raised $140,000, according to newly filed finance reports...

MOODY DOMINATES FUNDRAISING FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

Former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody continued last month to lead fundraising for the 2018 attorney general's race...

 
 
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