Rick Stone has been a journalist in Florida for most of his career. He's worked in newspapers and television but believes that nothing works as well as public radio. He and his wife, Mary Jane Stone, live in Broward County.
For a lot of Florida voters and a lot of environmentalists, one of the big disappointments of this chaotic legislative session is the apparent fate of Amendment 1. That's the ballot initiative that makes three-quarters of a billion dollars available every year to buy and protect sensitive lands. But it's a shopping trip the Legislature doesn't feel like making.
TALLAHASSEE -- State House Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting on Tuesday apparently still resolved to oppose expanding Medicaid for 800,000 low-income Floridians.
Meanwhile, the Senate, in an unusual workshop session to hash out the Medicaid problem and its implications for Florida's hospitals and its economy, was hearing from the state's chief economist that the House position threatens an economic catastrophe that begins with Florida's safety net hospitals.
Miami-Dade County is about to acquire 82 acres of state land that could one day be the site of the largest mall in America.
The vacant land is just west of Miami Lakes in an area surrounded by the Florida Turnpike, Interstate 75 and Northwest 170 Street. That’s where development company Triple Five wants to build a combination shopping mall and entertainment complex that would supplant its other big property, the Mall of America in Minneapolis, as the largest mall in the nation.
Every county in South Florida has big problems for the Legislature to solve this year. Some of them you may know about, some are pretty obscure. But all found their way on to lists of legislative priorities that the various county delegations brought with them this year to Tallahassee.
Florida legislators this year may expand the prescribing authority of physician assistants and nurse practitioners to include controlled substances. The move responds to Florida's reported doctor shortageand its developing flood of patients with new Obamacare health policies.
The stars seem to be aligning for Medicaid expansion in the Florida Legislature this year. After two years of blunt refusals to even consider it, some top Republicans, like Miami State Sen. Anitere Flores are saying the time has come.
"And what's interesting," Flores said after a Monday interview with the Miami Herald editorial board, "is that you have the buy-in from the business community, from the private sector, from your nontraditional supporters of government funding."
OPENING DAY A photographer made this panorama from 81 separate frames as the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals opened the 2009 Spring Training season at the Astro's facility in Kissimmee. The two teams now want to build a new stadium in West Palm Beach.
Credit Andrew T. Sullivan / Flickr Creative Commons
State health policy experts said Thursday prospects for expanding Medicaid in the Legislature this year remain dim because of unwillingness in the leadership and possibly fatal flaws in the two leading proposals. And those experts warn another refusal could come with a stunning economic cost for Florida.
Just after midnight on Tuesday morning, gay marriage became legal in Florida. But the first marriages started in Miami-Dade County about twelve hours earlier.
It was about 11:30 in the morning. Judge Sarah Zabel held a hearing and decided there was no need to wait. She lifted the stay on her ruling declaring Florida's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
And gay couples could start getting married right away.
Our reporter John O'Connor was at the courthouse. And we had people at courthouses in Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, too.
Clerk of Courts Howard Forman officiates at a mass same-sex marriage ceremony at the Broward County courthouse. About 40 of the approximately 100 couples who got marriage licenses stayed to take their vows.
In Fort Lauderdale, about 100 couples were issued legal marriage licenses starting at a minute after midnight. Some will have to endure the state's three-day waiting period before they can marry. But 30 or 40 same-sex pairs who qualified for waivers stayed behind to take their vows in a mass ceremony.
The first couple in line was the first to be married. Melissa Keller and Joanne Stiger got the special treatment of a ceremony in the court clerk's chapel with County Judge Kathleen McHugh officiating.