Politics
10:20 am
Thu March 5, 2015

State Supremes Prepare To Rule On Congressional Borders

Florida Supreme Court

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 4:50 pm

A coalition of voting rights groups and the Florida Legislature squared off Wednesday over the state’s congressional borders.  Nick Evans reports, lawmakers are defending the changes they made in last summer’s special session before the state Supreme Court.

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Health News Florida
10:19 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Child Dies, FL Admits Fault, Millions Owed

Matthew and Mark Robinson

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 2:46 pm

Matthew Robinson loved to have eggs for dinner.
 
But they were out the evening of November 4, 2010. So the 10-year-old and his brother Mark walked out of their Kissimmee apartment and headed across the street to the Kangaroo convenience store.
 

While crossing the street to come home, a city bus made a left turn into the crosswalk and hit the two boys.

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News
10:19 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Scott Drops Welfare Drug Testing Challenge

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 9:13 am

After spending at least $300,000 of taxpayer money on legal expenses, Gov. Rick Scott is abandoning his fight to force welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug tests.

A federal appeals court ruled in December that the state’s mandatory, suspicion-less drug testing of applicants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program is an unconstitutional violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.

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Politics
10:05 am
Thu March 5, 2015

House OKs Restroom Rules Bill In Justice Subcommittee

Rep. Frank Artilles

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 6:35 pm

  A measure basing which bathroom a person is allowed to use on biology has cleared its first hurdle in the House. The Civil Justice Subcommittee heard more than one dozen testimonies Wednesday for and against the bill, which makes entering a bathroom designated for another sex illegal.

The state should ensure women and girls can feel safe in possibly vulnerable places—such as restrooms and other facilities. That’s Miami Republican Representative Frank Artilles’ argument.

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Health News Florida
8:19 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Music Soothes As Alzheimer's Cure Sought

Julie Martin, a certified music therapist, works with patients living with Alzheimer's disease.
Empath Health

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 2:25 pm

Julie Martin sits at a table in a nondescript room at Suncoast Hospice in Clearwater. She strums an instrument called a Qchord, a type of electronic autoharp.

"Hello my friends. Hello my friends," she sings in a slow, comforting voice. "Hello my friends, it's nice to see you today."

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Politics
10:30 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Gun Evacuation Bill Clears More House, Senate Committees

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:31 pm

A bill allowing people to carry a gun without a license during a mandatory evacuation as part of a declared state of emergency cleared hurdles in both the House and Senate Wednesday.

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Law & Order
10:20 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Fla. Prison Reform Package Clears Another Panel, But Not Without Bipartisan Concerns

Sen. Greg Evers (R-Baker) listening to Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner on her thoughts on his omnibus prison reform bill Wednesday.
Florida Channel

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:16 pm

A comprehensive prison reform package cleared another Senate committee Wednesday. But, at the bill’s next stop, the measure may look a little different due to some bipartisan concerns with the omnibus bill.

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PolitiFact Florida
4:37 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

PolitiFact: Scott's Promises Worth Watching

PolitiFact Florida's "Scott-O-Meter" tracks the promises of Gov. Rick Scott
Credit PolitiFact Florida

With Gov. Rick Scott's State of the State Address and the start of the 2015 Florida Legislative Session both taking place this past Tuesday, the promises coming out of Tallahassee are going under PolitiFact Florida's microscope.

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Florida Matters
4:23 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Florida Matters: What Will Lawmakers Do This Session?

Florida lawmakers have officially started the 2015 legislative session. The one item they have to do is pass a state budget -- and this year they have a $1 billion surplus, a growing state economy and a governor fresh off a re-election win.

Each spring for 60 days the Florida Legislature tackles a year's worth of state business. On the agenda this law-writing session are reforms to public-education testing, hundreds of millions of dollars of mandated spending on the environment and billions of dollars in federal money for health care.

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Culture
4:15 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Malfunctioning Miami Beach Welcome Sign Sends Mixed Message

A sign welcoming tourists to Miami Beach briefly offered visitors a confusing message.

The flashing, portable sign along the Julia Tuttle Causeway on Tuesday read: "Welcome visitors! Prohibited."

It was supposed to flash this message on three different screens: "Welcome visitors! Prohibited on the beach: glass, metal, alcohol and Styrofoam."

By Tuesday evening, city officials had apologized for the error and the sign was removed to be corrected.

The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Ferguson Report: Former Officer Won't Face Civil Rights Charges

The Ferguson, Mo., police department is criticized in a new Justice Department report. The department says there is no evidence to warrant civil rights charges over the death of Michael Brown last August.
BILL GREENBLATT UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:00 pm

(This post was last updated at 7 p.m. ET.)

Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson, Mo., police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown last August, will not face federal civil rights charges over the killing. That's according to the Justice Department, which has now released its reviews of both the shooting and the local police department.

While Wilson will avoid federal charges, the Justice Department review found that the Ferguson Police Department engages in "a pattern of unconstitutional policing."

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Health News Florida
1:27 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

State Looks To Ramp Up Fight Against Human Trafficking

Targeting what one senator described as a "sick but profitable criminal enterprise,'' lawmakers have started moving to ramp up Florida's response to human trafficking.

One proposal (HB 465/SB 1108) would increase penalties for "soliciting, inducing, enticing or procuring another to commit prostitution." Another (HB 457/SB 698) would dedicate funding from a "Safe and Free Florida" specialty license tag to victim services. 

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Business
1:18 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Bill To Prevent Rate Increases From Meter Reading Extensions Moving In Senate

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 11:00 am

Utilities won’t be able to up a customer’s rates because of how they read meters if a bill sponsored by  Sen. Charlie Dean (R--Ocala)  becomes law. Dean says some of his constituents saw higher bills after a utility in his area extended its meter reading period. The longer time bumped customers' usage up into a more costly pay bracket. Dean says his bill would prevent that.

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Health News Florida
10:13 am
Wed March 4, 2015

No Medicaid Expansion? No Problem For Many Safety-Net Hospital Profits

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 8:57 am

Hospitals that treat many poor and uninsured patients were expected to face tough financial times in states that did not expand Medicaid under the federal law known as Obamacare.

That’s because they would get less Medicare and Medicaid funding under the Affordable Care Act, while still having to provide high levels of charity care.

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Health News Florida
10:13 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Budget, Health Care Issues Cloud Legislature's Opening Day

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 9:13 am

The Republican-led Florida Legislature kicked off its annual session Tuesday with the usual pomp, but the celebratory nature was overshadowed by lingering questions about the state budget, tax cuts and health care.

The two GOP legislators in charge opened the session by stressing areas on which they plan to work in tandem over the next 60 days. That included dealing with the state's standardized testing system.

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