Jim Saunders - News Service of Florida

Jim Saunders is the Executive Editor of The News Service Of Florida.

State regulators Tuesday unanimously approved a settlement agreement that includes $811 million in base-rate increases for customers of Florida Power & Light, with $400 million slated to take effect Jan. 1.

Update (12/05):   The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation said Nov. 29 it is appealing a circuit judge's ruling that would block a 14.5 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates. The office filed a notice of appeal, a move that is expected to allow the rate increase to take effect Dec. 1 as originally planned.

In a major shift from last month, a poll released Wednesday shows Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump overtaking Democrat Hillary Clinton in the key swing state of Florida.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed 34 bills into law, including a measure that will require standards for the use of police body cameras and a plan that could lead to revamping dental care in the Medicaid program.

The body-camera bill (HB 93) was a priority of many Democratic lawmakers and came after a series of highly publicized confrontations across the country between police and members of the public.

Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump hold hefty leads as next week's presidential primaries loom in Florida --- a potentially ominous sign for home-state GOP candidate Marco Rubio, according to a poll released Wednesday.

Clinton, the former secretary of state, leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by a margin of 62 percent to 32 percent among likely Florida Democratic voters. Trump, meanwhile, leads Rubio by a margin of 45 percent to 22 percent, with Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz at 18 percent, the Quinnipiac University poll shows.

John O'Connor / WLRN

Buoyed by support from women and older voters, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds a comfortable lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary in Florida, a new poll shows.

The Quinnipiac University poll, released Friday morning, found that Clinton leads Sanders by a margin of 59 percent to 33 percent among likely Florida Democratic voters. The new numbers come less than three weeks before Florida's March 15 presidential primaries.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald

In the latest in a series of similar cases, a South Florida appeals court Wednesday rejected legal-dependency requests from teens who fled Guatemala and Honduras and entered the United States as undocumented immigrants.

A determination of dependency, based on issues such as abandonment by parents or abuse, would help the teens apply for a special immigration status and seek permanent residency, according to court documents.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department / lacounty.gov

  In a key step for supporters of legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would go on the November 2016 ballot.

Justices said the proposal, spearheaded by the group People United for Medical Marijuana, meets legal tests that include dealing with a single subject and having a clearly worded ballot title and summary. The Supreme Court does not consider the merits of proposed constitutional amendments but reviews them, in part, to make sure voters would not be misled.

BRUCE BREWER / AP

When Leander Shaw took the Florida Bar exam in 1960, he was not allowed to stay or eat at the whites-only hotel in Miami where the exam was administered.

Three decades later, Shaw became the first black chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.

Shaw, whose career included working as a public defender, prosecutor, and appeals-court judge before serving on the Supreme Court, died Monday at age 85. A statement from the Supreme Court said Shaw had suffered from a lengthy illness.

Donna E. Natale Planas / Miami Herald

State regulators will hear arguments Tuesday on a proposal by Florida Power & Light to build a power plant in Okeechobee County, but critics question the need for the nearly $1.2 billion project.

FPL contends the natural-gas plant is the "best, most cost-effective option" to meet a need for additional power generation starting in 2019. The project, designed as what is known as a combined-cycle plant, would be built on an undeveloped site owned by FPL in northeast Okeechobee County.

Donna E. Natale Planas / Miami Herald

Almost a year after regulators gave approval to the controversial plan, Florida Supreme Court justices are ready to take up a battle about Florida Power & Light's investment in a natural-gas drilling operation in Oklahoma.

The Supreme Court on Dec. 8 will hear arguments in a challenge led by the state Office of Public Counsel, which represents consumers in utility issues, and the Florida Industrial Power Users Group, which is made up of large electricity customers.

Continuing to grapple with decades-long sentences for juveniles who commit serious crimes, a divided state appeals court refused Monday to order a new sentence for a man serving 45 years in prison for crimes he committed at age 15.

Mike Ray/flickr

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday approved a proposed ballot initiative that seeks to expand the use of solar energy, moving the state one step closer to a fierce political battle next year.

Donna E. Natale Planas / Miami Herald

The state's four major investor-owned utilities --- stretching from Miami to Pensacola --- say they expect residents' monthly electric bills to drop by a few bucks next year.

Regulators still need to finalize the numbers for Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric and Gulf Power. But the utilities said this week that relatively low prices for natural gas and coal are helping hold down the costs of generating power. Low natural-gas prices are particularly important as utilities increasingly move away from dirtier-burning coal.

Solar Energy Tampa Florida/flickr

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, more than once Tuesday, advised lawyers that arguments about a proposed constitutional amendment to expand the use of solar energy leaned toward campaign rhetoric rather than key legal issues.

Still, when justices finished hearing arguments about ballot language proposed by the group Floridians for Solar Choice, supporters and opponents of the controversial initiative emerged from the Supreme Court offering positive spins.

Pages