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The debate that's been raging in Florida for five years: to expand Medicaid as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act or not?

Florida lawmakers have consistently decided "no." As other states with stiff opposition to Medicaid expansion, like Iowa and Indiana, have forged modified expansion plans that have been approved by the federal government, Florida has steadfastly rejected any change. 

Lawmakers return to the capital for a 20-day special legislative session today. They have to pass a budget by July 1 or risk a state government slowdown or shutdown.

Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter is speaking at the beginning of the 65th Congress of soccer's worldwide governing body. Blatter faces a re-election vote Friday, in the face of new corruption and bribery charges against senior members of FIFA.

"These are unprecedented and difficult times for FIFA," Blatter said. "The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this league's congress."

It was a somber opening to FIFA's meeting of international sporting bodies, an assembly that was celebrated with flag-bearers and other pageantry.

11/10/14 - Monday’s Topical Currents examines our looming retirement predicament with James Russell, author of SOCIAL INSECURITY:  401(K)S AND THE RETIREMENT CRISIS. The pitch for 401(K)s began in the 1980s.  They were heralded by the financial services industry as better than traditional pensions. Russell says what was promised proved untrue . . .

taxcredits.net / Flickr Creative Commons

The next time you open your cellphone bill and feel it's overpriced, don’t blame your carrier alone.

Florida ranks fourth in the nation with the highest state-local taxes imposed on cellphones at 16.55 percent, according to a recent study.

The Tax Foundation tracked tax rates across different states to see how much customers were paying on their phone bills.

University of Maryland Press / Flickr/Creative Commons

Close to $50 million has been spent buying airtime in Florida through the end of September by Florida's gubernatorial candidates and their political parties.

While some of the messages include bright pictures of Rick Scott and Charlie Crist touting their economic and education plans, most of the messaging features ominous sounding narration and dramatic music telling an audience what's wrong with the other guy. 

  According to the Center for Public Integrity at least half of the ad money spent in Florida has been spent on negative ads like these:

Håkan Dahlström / Flickr

The line for the new Miami-Dade IKEA has been in place for two days and boasts tents, fans, and a lot of IKEA passion.

The Swedish store’s location, adjacent to Dolphin Mall in Sweetwater, will start selling it’s affordable, assemble-yourself, modern furniture. At 416,000 square feet, the store will be the second largest in the country and also have Florida’s biggest solar panel array on its roof.

Tony Grandson got to IKEA at 5 a.m. on Monday. As the first person in line of about 40 people, he has a chance to win bragging rights and a brand new sofa.

Florida Lobbying Firms Collect Millions During Second Quarter

Aug 15, 2014
freedigitalphotos.net

With industries ranging from casinos to taxicabs looking to influence the Legislature, new reports offer a glimpse of the millions of dollars in fees that lobbying firms collected during the second quarter of the year.

The reports, due before a Thursday night deadline, show that at least four lobbying firms collected $1 million or more in fees from April 1 to June 30 --- a period that included the second half of the 60-day legislative session.

Nadege Green / WLRN

 

Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is asking the city of Miami to account for how much money it has invested in the Liberty City neighborhood since the 1980 Arthur McDuffie race riots.

Liberty City, a neighborhood of about 20,000 residents, is one of Miami's poorer neighborhoods.

Sarnoff says the analysis will provide a clearer picture of what initiatives or programs have been funded in the neighborhood and whether Miami has significantly helped improved Liberty City.

401(K) 2012/Flickr

  Broward County school leaders have unveiled a $900 million list of projects they want to complete over the next five years.

That includes turning portable rooms housed in mobile trailers into permanent classrooms, replacing aging air-conditioning systems and upgrading art, music and athletics facilities.

Broward County schools superintendent Robert Runcie said the district scrutinized every project on its wish list and chose those that were most important.

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