News

News

Rules Focus On Gay, Trans Foster Youth

Jul 14, 2015

As the state Department of Children and Families considers a new rule governing group homes for foster kids, advocates are pushing to include provisions requiring better treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths who live in such facilities.

The agency is updating its rules for group homes for the first time in almost 30 years to try to bring more uniformity to the facilities, which are supposed to be short-term solutions for children in state care.

Appeal Filed In Major Workers Comp Case

Jul 13, 2015

The Florida Supreme Court could wade into a case that potentially has major implications for the state's workers-compensation insurance system.

The legal group Florida Workers Advocates last week asked justices to take up the case, according to an online docket.

Ebyabe / Wikimedia

St. Petersburg City Council is moving on with the Pier Park. The City Council approved $5.2 billion in contracts for the new pier today.

Pier Park will replace the decade’s old inverted pyramid.

The contract was approved with a seven to one vote, with only Councilman Wengay Newton voting against it.

“It is absolutely a terrible idea to tear down their pier before you get all the permits on something you're going to put out there. I don't care what process you want to spin it with,” he said at the council meeting.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's congressional maps don't meet the requirements of a voter-approved constitutional amendment that prohibits political lines from being drawn to favor incumbents or a political party. The court ordered the Legislature to try drawing the maps again.

Florida Asks to Resume Executions

Jun 30, 2015

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking the state Supreme Court to allow officials to execute a man convicted of murdering four people in Orlando.

Bondi asked the court Monday to lift the stay on the execution of Jerry Correll now that the U.S Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a sedative that is used in lethal injections in Florida.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

When Port Richey resident Dawn Cain and her girlfriend, Randi Jackson, first heard the news of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last Friday that legalized gay marriage nationally, they cried.

While they had already planned to get married next May- Florida legalized gay marriage Jan. 6- the couple said they’re exhilarated their friends and family in other states now have the same right.

Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in Florida and 35 other states and the District of Columbia. The court's 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.

While the state has made new strides in efforts to combat human trafficking, a statewide panel convened by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says there are still areas that need some work.

Children's Program Boost Makes Budget

Jun 26, 2015

After worries about cuts earlier in the year, $13 million is being added to the state’s Early Steps program, which serves babies and toddlers with developmental disabilities or delays.

House and Senate budget negotiators initially agreed on $3 million for Early Steps -- and Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, added $10 million to the program as legislative leaders finished hammering out a $78.7 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Gov. Rick Scott included the program in his final budget, signed Tuesday.

The Obama administration and the state have reached an agreement to continue funding the hospital Low-Income Pool for two more years but at a much lower cost.

Citizens Proposes Rate Hikes for Coastal Customers

Jun 23, 2015
National Weather Service

More than half of Citizens Property Insurance customers will face rate increases next year, under a proposal going before the insurer's Board of Governors on Wednesday.

The biggest increases are expected to hit coastal policyholders.

"The overall increase is being fueled by a continued spike in water loss claims in Southeast Florida and the fact that most coastal policies with nearly adequate rates have found coverage with private market insurance companies," a release from the state-backed insurer said Monday.

Humane Society Asks Scott To Stop Bear Hunt Vote

Jun 23, 2015
TBO.com

The Humane Society of the United States on Monday delivered more than 90,000 names of people who, the group says, want Gov. Rick Scott to halt anticipated approval of the state's first bear hunt in more than two decades.

Scott, however, is deferring to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on the proposed hunt, which has the backing of the powerful National Rifle Association and Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

Calling it a “slap in the face to Florida voters,” environmental groups filed a lawsuit Monday that contends state legislators “defied” a constitutional amendment approved last fall.

Legislators just last Friday approved a nearly $79 billion state budget, but they included only $55 million for major land acquisition efforts.

Over the past 15 years in Polk County, more than half of the rape kits collected in criminal cases remain untested in evidence rooms, the

A bruising budget battle that divided Republicans in the Florida Legislature is over for now, but the truce is likely only to last a few months.

Legislators passed a nearly $79 billion budget Friday with just days to spare. Legislators had until July 1 to pass a budget or state government would have been partially shut down. They didn't pass a budget during their regular session because they were divided over health care spending. That sparked a stalemate — and finger-pointing will remain when legislators return for their 2016 session.

Taxpayer Tab for Drug Test Lawsuits: $1.5M

Jun 21, 2015

Florida taxpayers are on the hook for more than $1.5 million in legal fees -- including nearly $1 million to civil-rights lawyers -- because of Gov. Rick Scott's failed push to force welfare applicants and tens of thousands of state workers to submit to suspicionless drug tests.

After a sprawling and messy budget fight that spawned lawsuits and finger-pointing, the fractured Republican-controlled Florida Legislature approved a nearly $79 billion budget and ended its special session Friday.

Legislators were racing against the clock to pass the budget after they failed to pass one during their regular two-month session that ended in late April.

Wikipedia

Largo Police said an 81-year-old man was out for a walk, got caught in a storm and he was struck by lightning Friday. The man, Jay Freres, did not survive.

Summertime in Florida is typically wet with gully washers virtually every day. Bay News 9 Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay said daily storms are why the state is known as the "lightning capital of the world" and not because the lightning here is more intense. 

Health care fraud sweeps across the country have led to charges against 243 people, including doctors, nurses and pharmacy owners accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid, the government announced Thursday.

The dragnet spread from Miami to Los Angeles, Tampa and Dallas to Brooklyn, N.Y. Arrests were made earlier this week. Combining all the cases, allegedly fraudulent billings totaled some $712 million.

Nearly $80B State Budget Ready for Vote

Jun 19, 2015

Following a drawn out, contentious battle that saw the state flirt with a partial government shutdown, the Florida Legislature is poised today to approve a nearly $80 billion budget.

The final budget is full of winners and losers.

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