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STATE PLUGS SHORTFALL IN CHILDREN'S MEDICAL PROGRAM
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
Legislative leaders quietly agreed to pump nearly $142 million into a Medicaid managed-care plan that treats some of the state's sickest children because of higher-than-expected medical costs... Story

NEGRON SUPPORTS SCOTT ON `JOB GROWTH' FUND
JIM TURNER |
Senate President Joe Negron backs a still-untapped $85 million “job growth” fund created this year, as Democrats continue to question the need to replenish what critics have called a “slush fund” for the governor... Story

PERSONNEL FILE --- PEOPLE ON THE MOVE, DECEMBER 11, 2017
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA |
CHRIS BLACKMON has been named troop commander for the Florida Highway Patrol's Troop H, which is headquartered in Tallahassee and covers Leon, Gadsden, Franklin, Liberty, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison and Taylor Counties... Read the Personnel File


FLORIDA DEMS CHOOSE NEW LEADER
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Terrie Rizzo, who began her political career as a campaign volunteer a little more than a dozen years ago, was selected Saturday by Florida Democrats to lead their party for the next three years... Story


WEEKLY ROUNDUP: WORKMAN OUT, BROWN DOWN
DARA KAM |
Christmas trees have been hoisted inside the House and Senate chambers, but lawmakers won't be around to spread the holiday cheer... Read the Roundup

NEGRON SAYS SENATE LIKELY TO CONSIDER TAX AMENDMENT
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Senate President Joe Negron said Friday he is open to the concept of a constitutional amendment that would make it harder for the Legislature to raise taxes... Story

NEGRON BACKS AID FOR AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY
JIM TURNER |
Florida lawmakers should provide financial help to the agriculture industry to aid its recovery from Hurricane Irma, the Senate president said Friday... Story

ADVANCES: WEEK OF DECEMBER 10, 2017
STAFF |
With the holidays fast approaching, government panels will meet across Florida during the coming week... Read the Advances


PROPERTY TAX MONEY COULD BE KEY IN EDUCATION BUDGET
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart told a Senate budget panel Thursday that funding would be “woefully short” next year if lawmakers do not use an increase in property tax collections to support schools... Story

SUTTON PROMOTED TO TOP SPOT AT WILDLIFE AGENCY
JIM TURNER |
Florida's wildlife management agency stayed in-house for its new executive director... Story

FOREVER FLORIDA, ST. JOHNS PROPOSALS GET SENATE BACKING
JIM TURNER |
Measures that would double Gov. Rick Scott's spending request for the Florida Forever conservation program and earmark money to improve the St. Johns River continued to move easily through the Senate on Thursday... Story

BACKROOM BRIEFING: HOUSE PROJECTS MIGHT GET CHILLY RECEPTION
JIM TURNER |
Heading into the 2018 legislative session, Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley says the House and Senate are not as far apart as casual observers, lobbyists and the media might believe... Read the Briefing

LAWMAKERS EYE FINANCIAL `HIT' IN DISABILITIES PROGRAM
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
One of Gov. Rick Scott's priorities after taking office in 2011 was to resolve a longstanding deficit in the Medicaid “waiver” program that serves people with developmental disabilities... Story


THRASHER TOUTS FSU PROGRESS, ADDRESSES CHALLENGES
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
As John Thrasher begins his fourth year as president of Florida State University, he said he has changed... Story

LABOR LEADER EXITS RACE TO HEAD DEMOCRATIC PARTY
DARA KAM |
Painting the process as antiquated and snobbish, a veteran union organizer has dropped out of a heated contest to take over the helm of the Florida Democratic Party... Story

FLORIDA BOND DEALS COULD TAKE HIT IN TAX OVERHAUL
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Florida taxpayers could lose billions of dollars in future savings under part of pending federal tax-reform legislation that would limit the ability of states and local governments to refinance bonds... Story

SYNAGOGUES CHALLENGE FEMA OVER DISASTER RELIEF
JIM SAUNDERS |
Two Florida synagogues damaged by Hurricane Irma have filed a lawsuit contending that houses of worship are unconstitutionally barred from receiving disaster assistance through a key federal program... Story

LAWMAKERS QUESTION INCREASED TOURISM FUNDING
JIM TURNER |
Gov. Rick Scott's request for lawmakers to boost tourism marketing by $24 million next year might be a tough sell in the House... Story

HOUSE SPEAKER BACKS TOUGHER TEXTING WHILE DRIVING LAW
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
Texting while driving would become a “primary” traffic offense under legislation backed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran... Story


DETAILS OF GENERATOR RULES DRAW CRITICISM
CHRISTINE SEXTON |
Emergency management officials, engineers and long-term care providers flagged problems Tuesday with a pair of proposed rules that require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to install generators and have 96 hours of fuel and also took aim at state agencies that drafted the rules for not being more collaborative... Story

GUN BILLS SILENCED IN SENATE COMMITTEE
JIM TURNER |
With the 2018 legislative session still more than a month away, gun-related measures might have died Tuesday in the Senate... Story

SENATE EYES POSSIBLE NO-FAULT INSURANCE REPEAL
JIM TURNER |
A key Senate committee next month will take up a proposal that would replace the state's no-fault auto insurance system, while a similar bill has already sped to the House floor... Story

CREATION OF SLAVERY MEMORIAL GETS BOOST IN SENATE
LLOYD DUNKELBERGER |
A bill that would lead to the creation of a slavery memorial at the Florida Capitol began moving Tuesday in the state Senate... Story


SENATE SEXUAL HARASSMENT DISPUTE ESCALATES
DARA KAM |
An increasingly toxic battle over a Senate staffer's allegations of sexual harassment by Sen. Jack Latvala is intensifying, with lawyers on both sides hurling accusations of intimidation, the staffer hiring a security guard to protect her in the Capitol and her attorney asking for a special prosecutor... Story


...Read More in the Monthly Digest


SENATE, HOUSE PLAN FLOOR SESSIONS DURING FIRST WEEK

The Senate and House will each follow the tradition of meeting in their chambers Jan. 9 before gathering for a joint session to hear Gov. Rick Scott's “State of the State” address, according to tentative schedules for the first week of the 2018 legislative session...

JUDGE TO HEAR ARGUMENTS ON BLACK FARMER POT LICENSE

A Leon County circuit judge will hear arguments Thursday on a request for a temporary injunction to block the Florida Department of Health from carrying out part of a new law that calls for issuing a medical-marijuana license to a black farmer...

`ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORATION' AUTHORITY PROPOSED

House and Senate Republicans are proposing the creation of a “Statewide Alternative Transportation Authority” that would oversee developing transportation systems for such things as autonomous vehicles...


DEMOCRATS FILE FOR COMBEE, PLASENCIA HOUSE SEATS

A Democratic candidate emerged Friday in a special election to replace former state Rep. Neil Combee, an Auburndale Republican who left the House last month to take a federal agriculture job...

NEGRON SAYS PIP REPEAL NEEDS TO INCLUDE MEDICAL COVERAGE

The Senate will consider the merits of repealing Florida's long-standing requirement for drivers to carry personal-injury protection insurance, but Senate President Joe Negron said it's important to ensure that any replacement coverage still provides Florida drivers access to medical coverage and funeral benefits...

SENATE PRESIDENT WANTS TO BOOST NURSING HOME PAYMENTS

Senate President Joe Negron said Friday he thinks Florida's nursing homes should be paid more for providing care to the state's elder and frail residents...

EX-LAWMAKER TAYLOR SENTENCED TO 13 MONTHS IN PRISON

After being found guilty this year on charges related to the improper use of campaign funds, former state Rep. Dwayne Taylor was sentenced Friday to 13 months in federal prison, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported on its website...

NON-PARTISAN ELECTIONS REJECTED FOR ORANGE COUNTY OFFICIALS

Ruling that such issues are governed by state law, an appeals court Friday rejected a voter-approved change that called for Orange County constitutional officers to be chosen in non-partisan elections...

GAMBLING AMENDMENT TOPS 500,000 SIGNATURES

A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at making it harder to expand gambling in Florida continues to move closer to the 2018 ballot...


JUDGE REFUSES TO SPEED UP SPECIAL ELECTIONS

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson on Thursday rejected arguments by the Florida Democratic Party that special elections in two legislative districts should be held more quickly so the seats don't remain vacant through the upcoming legislative session...

PROPOSAL AIMED AT HELPING OPIOID-ADDICTED INFANTS

In hopes of reducing the costs of caring for opioid-addicted infants and increasing their comfort, a Senate health care panel on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would lead to licensing niche social-service providers and allowing them to participate in the Medicaid program...

DEMOCRATS SEEK VOTE ON MEDICAID EXPANSION

Two Democratic lawmakers Thursday called for voters to decide next year whether Florida should expand the Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act...

STATE HEALTH INSURANCE COULD ADD WATER DISTRICTS

State group health-insurance benefits, including prescription drug benefits, could be made available to Florida's five water-management districts under a measure approved Thursday by a Senate panel...

SENATE PANEL GIVES GO-AHEAD TO FANTASY SPORTS BILL

Despite concerns raised by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, a Senate committee Thursday approved a bill that would make clear fantasy sports contests are not a type of illegal gambling...

LATVALA COMMITTEE RAISES LITTLE IN NOVEMBER

A political committee closely tied to Sen. Jack Latvala appears to have raised little money in November, as the Clearwater Republican has battled sexual-harassment allegations...

SUPREME COURT ASKED TO RULE ON GARDEN BAN

A Miami Shores couple has asked the Florida Supreme Court to take up a constitutional challenge to an ordinance that bars planting vegetable gardens in the front yards of homes...


REGULATORS APPROVE CITIZENS INSURANCE RATE HIKES

State regulators have approved a series of rate increases for Citizens Property Insurance customers, now that a 90-day rate freeze due to Hurricane Irma has been lifted...

FIELD SET IN SPECIAL ELECTION FOR SENATE SEAT

Democratic state Rep. Lori Berman and Lantana Democrat Arthur Morrison will square off in a Jan. 30 special primary election, with the winner facing Lake Worth Republican Tami Donnally in the April 10 general election in a Palm Beach County Senate district...

PANEL BACKS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN HEALTH PROJECTS

More than 208 requests for health-care related funding projects, totaling more than $172 million, had been filed and sent to the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee as of Tuesday...

TRAUMA CENTER APPROVED FOR CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL

The Florida Department of Health has signed off on a plan by Wolfson Children's Hospital to open a pediatric trauma center...

JUSTICES AGREE TO WEIGH DAMAGES IN SMOKER'S DEATH

A divided Florida Supreme Court has decided to take up a case that focuses on the amount of damages an adult child should be able to receive in the smoking-related death of her mother...

SUPREME COURT PUBLICLY REPRIMANDS ST. LUCIE JUDGE

The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday publicly reprimanded a St. Lucie County judge who was engaged in a long-running battle with a local attorney that included an altercation between the men...


SENATOR FILES COMPLAINT OVER LATVALA'S CONDUCT

In the latest development in a sexual-harassment investigation that has roiled the Capitol, Democratic Sen. Lauren Book said late Tuesday she has filed a complaint alleging that Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, improperly took steps to “out” a staff member who has accused him of harassment...

CANDIDATES LINE UP FOR STATE HOUSE RACES

At least four more candidates have taken initial steps this week to run for state House seats in 2018, according to filings with the state Division of Elections...

GOOD WINS DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IN HD 72

Attorney Margaret Good cruised to a win Tuesday in a Democratic primary in Sarasota County's House District 72, catapulting her into a Feb. 13 special general election...

STATE COULD PROTECT NORTHEAST FLORIDA SITE

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet next week are expected to consider a proposal that could help protect 1,863 acres of land in St. Johns and Flagler counties...

REAGAN LICENSE PLATE CLEARS SENATE PANEL

A Senate panel Tuesday approved a bill that would create a specialty license plate honoring the late President Ronald Reagan, with proceeds from the sales going to Alzheimer's disease research and programs and the Florida National Guard Foundation...

SUPREME COURT REJECTS FOOTBALL WORKERS' COMP CASE

A divided Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to take up a dispute about whether a former Arena Football League player should receive workers' compensation insurance benefits because of injuries suffered while trying to regain a roster spot with the Orlando Predators...

SECOND REPUBLICAN EMERGES TO RUN FOR COMBEE SEAT

A second Republican candidate has opened a campaign account to run in a special election to replace former state Rep. Neil Combee, R-Auburndale, in a Central Florida district...

HOUSE REPUBLICANS TARGET `CERTIFICATES OF NEED'

A key House committee Tuesday approved a bill that would repeal the controversial “certificate of need” regulatory process for hospitals, as Republican leaders again take aim at the issue...

SENATORS BACK OVERNIGHT STAYS AT SURGERY CENTERS

Ambulatory surgical centers could treat patients overnight under a bill approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Health Policy Committee...

REPORTING PROPOSED FOR OUT-OF-HOSPITAL BIRTH PROBLEMS

A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill on Tuesday that would require physicians, certified advanced registered nurse midwives and licensed midwives to report to the state “adverse” medical incidents that occur during planned births outside of hospitals...

SENATORS BACK CHANGES IN OPTOMETRIST CERTIFICATION

The Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow the Florida Board of Optometry to offer practical and written “certification” examinations to applicants...

THREE QUICKLY QUALIFY TO RUN FOR CLEMENS SEAT

Two Democrats and one Republican, including state Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, quickly qualified Tuesday to run in a special election in a Palm Beach County Senate district...

SENATE PLAN COULD EXPAND USE OF BED TAXES

With the proposal drawing concerns from parts of the tourism industry, a Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that could allow broader uses of tourist-development taxes...

MCGHEE FORMALLY TAPPED TO LEAD HOUSE DEMOCRATS

Saying it is important that “bickering and fighting” between Republicans and Democrats end, state Rep. Kionne McGhee was formally chosen Tuesday to become the next leader of Florida's House Democrats...


HOSPITAL DISTRICT FILES COUNTERSUIT AGAINST EX-CEO

One of the state's largest hospital systems is suing its former chief executive alleging, among other things, that she violated federal anti-kickback laws...

IRMA LOSS ESTIMATES CONTINUE CLIMBING

Estimated insured losses from Hurricane Irma have reached $6.3 billion as the number of claims has topped 850,000, according to information released Monday by the state Office of Insurance Regulation...

SALES TAX HOLIDAY TAKES FIRST STEP IN SENATE

With little discussion, a Senate committee Monday approved a bill that would create a sales-tax “holiday” for back-to-school shoppers during 10 days in late July and early August...

GOOD, BUCHANAN LEAD HD 72 FUNDRAISING

With a special Democratic primary election Tuesday in Sarasota County's House District 72, Democrat Margaret Good and Republican James Buchanan have dominated fundraising in the campaign to replace former Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota...

SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO TAKE UP TOBACCO CASE

In a victory for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Florida Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case that initially involved a more than $23 billion verdict against the cigarette maker...

REMOVAL OF IRMA-DAMAGED BOATS CONTINUES

More than 2,000 vessels damaged or grounded by Hurricane Irma have been removed from state waters since the September storm, the U. S. Coast Guard announced Monday...


TRUMP TO RALLY SUPPORTERS IN PENSACOLA

President Donald Trump will hold a rally in the conservative stronghold of Pensacola next week, according to an announcement Friday from his political committee...

BONDI SEEKS INFORMATION OVER UBER DATA BREACH

Attorney General Pam Bondi's office issued a subpoena to Uber in search of information related to the ride-sharing company's alleged cover-up of a 2016 data breach...

ENTERPRISE FLORIDA BACKS ORLANDO CITY SOCCER PLATE

Florida’s business-recruitment agency Enterprise Florida wants the Legislature to add the Orlando City Soccer Club to the state’s list of specialty license plates...

NURSING HOME GENERATOR COSTS ESTIMATED AT $186 MILLION

Health care regulators say it will cost Florida nursing homes more than $186 million to comply with a requirement to install generators and have 96 hours of fuel to be able to cool their facilities...

SCOTT COMMITTEE TOPS $136K IN NOVEMBER

With Gov. Rick Scott expected to run next year for the U. S. Senate, his “Let's Get to Work” political committee raised more than $136,000 in November, according to a contribution list on its website...

BROWARD JUDGE FACES DISCIPLINE OVER APPOINTMENTS

A Broward County judge could face a public reprimand and a 30-day suspension after an investigation into decisions to appoint as a mediator her former campaign adviser, according to documents released Friday by the Florida Supreme Court...


COURT BACKS HOSPITALS IN OUTPATIENT RATE DISPUTE

Siding with dozens of hospitals across the state, an appeals court Thursday said the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration improperly dismissed challenges dealing with Medicaid reimbursement rates for outpatient care...

LAWMAKERS WANT SOFT DRINKS OFF LIMITS FOR FOOD STAMPS

Two Republican state lawmakers this week filed proposals that call for barring the use of food stamps to buy soft drinks...

GAMBLING, FELONS' RIGHTS INITIATIVES AT 443,000 SIGNATURES

Backers of proposed constitutional amendments about gambling and felons' rights had submitted almost exactly the same amount of valid petition signatures to the state as of Thursday afternoon...

 
 
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