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Lawmakers Prepare For Familiar Health Battles

Health care has been a hot-button policy issue for years in the Florida Legislature, and it’s starting to look like the session scheduled to start on Jan. 12 will be no different.
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In a stunning turn of events, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has withdrawn from the race to become the next speaker of the House.

McCarthy was the favorite ahead of Thursday's closed-door vote by House Republicans. He was in a three-way race for the top spot in the House with Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Daniel Webster, R-Fla.

The state needs to spend another $50 million next year cleaning and preserving Florida’s polluted freshwater springs. That’s what a top regulator told a Senate panel Wednesday.

The Florida Senate will likely jettison the Confederate battle flag from the chamber's official seal.

The Senate Rules Committee on Thursday voted unanimously to revise the Senate seal that now contains the battle flag along with four others that have flown in Florida. The entire Senate will vote on the change during the annual session that starts in January.

The Confederate flag would be replaced with the Florida state flag.

In addition to polling attitudes about marijuana, the survey of 1,173 Florida voters found that some of the Republicans who want to succeed Sen. Marco Rubio would lose in a general election to either of their major Democratic rivals. On the marijuana issue, a group called Floridians For Freedom has begun gathering petitions asking voters to legalize the drug by state constitutional amendment. At the same time, a group called United for Care is trying for the second time to legalize medical marijuana via constitutional amendment.

Adrian Wyllie resigned as chairman of the state Libertarian Party to protest Invictus’ candidacy last week, detailing his decision in a Facebook post and alleging Invictus wants to lead a civil war in the country, recruit neo-Nazis to the party and supported a eugenics program. “Clearly, this man is the absolute antitheses of a Libertarian. Violent Fascist and Neo-Nazi ideologies are completely incompatible with Libertarian values,” Wyllie’s post states. According to the Associated Press, Invictus admitted to sacrificing a goat in the Mojave Desert as part of a pagan ritual two years ago.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

Tampa City Council members continue to oppose Mayor Bob Buckhorn over the creation of a Civilian Police Review Board.

Council members said the current proposal gives the mayor too much power.

Buckhorn called for an executive order, establishing a board of citizens that would independently investigate police conduct and give him the ability to appoint nine people to the 11-member board.

City council members asked to appoint seven people to the board, one citizen member for each city council member, while allowing Buckhorn to still appoint four members.

State health officials are nearing a decision on who will get to grow medical marijuana in the Florida.  Meanwhile two lawmakers are hoping to expand the pool of eligible patients.

Senate Panel Wants Answers From DOH On Children's Health Programs

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A Florida Senate panel on Wednesday demanded answers from a state Department of Health official about how many special-needs children have recently lost services as the state transitions to a new Medicaid system --- and why.

The families of three high school students who died after being hypnotized by a former principal will receive $200,000 each from the Sarasota County School District under a settlement agreement unanimously approved by the School Board on Tuesday.

President Barack Obama has signed legislation aimed at preventing premium increases that some smaller businesses were expecting next year under his signature health care law.


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