Florida

Health Care
6:36 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Florida Is No. 32 in Health Rankings

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:18 am

A new report places Florida as the 32nd healthiest state in the nation.

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Latino Voters
9:49 am
Tue November 25, 2014

How Barack Obama Took Latinos For Granted – And How It Cost Charlie Crist

A Spanish-language election-day sticker: "I voted."
Credit Elle Cayabyab Gitlin / Flickr

So you’re a Florida Democrat. You’re looking for a silver lining to the humiliating Sunshine Shellacking your party took in Tuesday’s midterm elections. 

There really isn't one. But there may be a pewter lining: Your gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Crist, lost to the Republican incumbent, Governor Rick Scott, by only a percentage point. What's more, Crist might have won if not for a dumb political move by President Obama that alienated Latino voters.

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Politics
8:12 am
Mon November 3, 2014

How Effective Are Florida Lawmakers?

This Congress is seen as the least active in history.
Credit Matt Laslo

This Congress is the least active in the nation’s history. In the past two years, the body has passed only 181 bills that were signed into law by the president. Norm Ornstein, a congressional scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, doesn’t rate it very highly.

“This is an embarrassing and miserable Congress, really one of the worst I've ever seen,” he says.

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Gay Marriage
11:00 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Attorney General Pam Bondi Asks Judge To Continue Blocking Gay Marriage In Florida

A file photo shows Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Credit Rick Scott/flickr

  Same-sex couples should continue to be prevented from getting married in Florida until a legal battle plays out about the constitutionality of the state's gay-marriage ban, Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a federal-court filing Friday.

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Latin America Report
7:41 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

What The Non-Cuban Latino Vote Means For Florida Politicians

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (center) and running mate Annette Taddeo-Goldstein (right) talk with Hector Parra (left) and his daugher Marcela Parra.
Credit Charlie Crist campaign

Latinos, as if you needed more media reminding, are America’s largest minority today. Winning their swing vote matters more than ever – even if means politicians making speeches in really bad Spanish.

In Florida, that exercise used to be a day at the beach. Or rather, an hour at Miami’s Versailles restaurant. Drink a café cubano. Declare your hatred for Fidel Castro. Head to the next campaign stop.

But that was back when Latino in Florida meant almost exclusively Cuban. And Cuban meant Republican.

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Commentary
4:46 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

Can Venezuela's U.S. Dollar Restriction Keep $1 Billion Out Of Florida?

Trading U.S. dollars for Venezuelan bolívares
Credit venezuelaanalysis.com

What do you do when your country’s foreign reserves are dropping at a rate that would make avid bungee jumpers nauseous? If you’re left-wing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, you take strong, decisive macroeconomic action.

You withhold dollars from Mickey Mouse.

Yessir, you discourage your countrymen from traveling to Florida, by further restricting the amount of dollars they can spend there with their bank credit cards – from $2,500 to $700.

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Redistricting
6:41 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

New Congressional Map Won't Apply In November Elections

Credit Florida House of Representatives / floridaredistricting.org

  A Leon County judge upheld a second draft of the state's congressional districts in a decision issued Friday, but shelved the new map until after the November elections.

The decision marked a major victory for legislative Republicans, who approved the new plan this month after Lewis ruled that their first draft violated the Florida Constitution's ban on political gerrymandering. The GOP had also pushed for the earlier version of the districts, approved in 2012, to remain in place through this year's elections.

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Redistricting
7:44 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

After Hearing Arguments, Judge To Rule On New Congressional Map

The judge will decide soon if he will accept the newly redrawn map.
Credit Florida House of Representatives / floridaredistricting.org

  Plaintiffs say newly drawn congressional districts still favor Republicans and discourage black representation in Central Florida.

But the defense argued Wednesday before a judge the new districts follow his order and asked for his approval. 

Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis had ruled the districts unlawfully favor Republicans and ordered the Legislature to redraw them. 

David King is a Central Florida attorney for the League of Women Voters and other groups suing over the districts. He rejects the argument the new districts protect black representation.

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Environment
3:49 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Corps Of Engineers Hopes To Accelerate Permit Process To Protect Endangered Species

In South Florida, marine species are at the top of the endangered species list.
Credit Wikimedia / Creative Commons

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a controversial history in Florida -- especially when it comes to the Everglades and the state’s wildlife.  

But now, the agency wants Floridians to know they’re working harder to protect endangered species.  

Each year the Corps of Engineers receives requests for various projects to build on regulated wetlands or the coast.  

The agency tries to issue half of those permits within 120 days.

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Mortgage
3:34 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Florida Homeowners Will Receive Significant Portion of SunTrust Settlement

Credit freedigitalphotos.net

A nationwide settlement between SunTrust Mortgage and a state and federal partnership amounts to over $500 million. Nearly 40 percent of the settlement will go to Floridians who financed their homes with SunTrust.

According to Whitney Ray of the Attorney General's Office, 8,400 Floridians have been targeted for direct cash payments. They are borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008 and 2013.

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Voting Rights
2:40 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Locals Testify On Florida's Election Issues

The commissioners from left to right: Leon W. Russell, Dr. Daniel A. Smith, The Honorable Dan Gelber and Lida Rodriguez-Taseff.
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

The National Commission on Voting Rights met Monday at the University of Miami. 

National and local experts on voting law heard witness testimony on topics ranging from felon disenfranchisement, to long voting lines, to restroom access at polling places.

The goal of this commission is to create reports out of the testimony in hopes that Congress will make changes to voting laws. 

Hear what some Florida voters would like to see changed for the 2016 election.

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News
6:38 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Why Florida's Immigrant Children Must Wait Five Years For Health Care

Severiana Novas-Francois and two of her daughters. Under Florida law, Novas-Francois has to wait until her children have lived here for five years to qualify for the subsidized health insurance known as Florida Kidcare.
Credit Courtesy of Severiana Novas-Francois

In Florida, children who were born outside the United States -- and live here lawfully -- have to wait five years to qualify for the subsidized health care program known as Florida KidCare.

Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, and Rep. Jose Felix Diaz, R-Miami, are sponsoring legislation to drop the five-year waiting period.

The law made its third trip to the legislature this year, and will get its first hearing in the Senate committee Tuesday.

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Sunshine Economy
8:47 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Got Water?

Water being treated on its way to from Florida City to the Keys via a 130 mile pipeline.
Credit Tom Hudson

 

The good news from last summer's rains is that South Florida's water supply is running above average. But that doesn't ease the concerns of those responsible for finding, protecting, cleaning and distributing freshwater to the more than six million people from Pam Beach County through Key West.

They tell us there is no "average" year for water supply. It's either too wet or too dry. And while it's technically the dry season, there's plenty of water.

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Latin America Report
4:53 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

From Scorched Earth To Palm Beach: The Maya Are Coming To Florida

An outreach worker in indigenous Guatemalan garb aids a Maya family in Palm Beach County.
Credit The Guatemalan-Maya Center, Lake Worth

The Maya have many cool nicknames. The Greeks of the New World. Men of Maize. But you can add a more unfortunate moniker – the Children of Scorched Earth – to explain why they’re suddenly one of Florida’s fastest-growing immigrant communities.

The Maya are the largest indigenous group in the Americas, descendants of the glorious pre-Columbian civilization that occupied southern Mexico and northern Central America. Most live in Guatemala – where in recent decades they’ve faced one violent plague after another.

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Jobs
11:04 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Crist, Others Fed Up With Florida's Glitchy Unemployment Website

Credit kbzachry / Flickr CC

A U.S. senator, a Boca Raton lawmaker and a former Florida governor are demanding answers about why a new website is still tying up unemployment benefits for thousands of out-of-work Floridians.

The state's $63 million unemployment website, CONNECT, has been plagued with technical glitches since its Oct. 15 launch. Complaints have been flooding into the offices of Gov. Rick Scott and the Department of Economic Opportunity, which oversees the website. But the state agency won't explain what the problems are.

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