News

News

Tobacco Co. Wins Appeal In Smoker Death

Jul 17, 2015

Rejecting arguments that a jury improperly reached a "compromise" verdict, a federal appeals court Wednesday cleared Philip Morris USA from potential damages in the smoking-related death of a Florida man.

A Jacksonville jury last year found the tobacco company was 5 percent liable in the death of Robert Reider but did not award damages to Reider's widow, Barbara.

Court Limits Fees on Birth-Injury Case

Jul 17, 2015

An appeals court Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of a 2012 move by state lawmakers to limit fees paid to attorneys who represented a child severely injured at birth in a Southwest Florida hospital.

Scott Seeks Disability Job Training Money

Jul 16, 2015

Amid a controversy about cuts to the state's Adults with Disabilities program, which provides job training to more than 13,000 Floridians, Gov. Rick Scott will recommend restoring at least part of the money in next year's budget, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"We still have more work to do, and that is why I look forward to once again recommend investments into vocational rehabilitation services to help provide job training to adults with disabilities in my proposed budget later this year,” Scott said in a statement.

Streamsong photo

In remote central Florida, land turned inside out by phosphate mining has been transformed yet again -- this time as an upscale golf resort that's getting a lot of attention in the golfing world. The thousands of acres of Mosaic land that makes up Streamsong may be depleted of phosphate -- but it's rich in something  invaluable in the golf business. Sand.

Everglades Bike Path: Yea Or Nay?

Jul 15, 2015

The window for public comment on the latest Everglades tourism project is closing soon. The controversial River of Grass Greenway (ROGGwould be a 75-mile bike path running along U.S. 41 from Naples to Miami.

Florida drivers with Takata air bag inflators are still at risk on the roads, according to the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency urges drivers to check their cars after eight Takata air-bag related deaths, including one in Orlando last year.

Morgan Pours Money Into Medical Pot Effort

Jul 14, 2015

A political committee leading a renewed effort to pass a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana raised nearly $293,000 in June, with about $233,000 of the money coming from an Orlando law firm headed by prominent trial attorney John Morgan, according to a newly filed report.

The committee, People United for Medical Marijuana, is spearheading an effort to pass a medical-marijuana ballot initiative in November 2016, after narrowly failing to pass a similar constitutional amendment in 2014.

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.

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